For this Member Spotlight, we interviewed John Klingenstein, VP, Business Line Communications Manager at Citizens Bank.
Why did you join the IABC?
I was looking for a professional development organization through which I could learn and meet talented professionals from a wide range of organizations and industries. IABC interested me because it addresses the entire communications profession. I felt I could learn a great deal here and grow in the communications profession.
How have you been involved with the Boston Chapter?
Almost immediately I started helping with events. Then, I took a board position and it just went from there–I’ve been the VP of Learning Opportunities, VP of Communications, VP of Social Media…and since 2012 I’ve served as VP of Finance. I’ve enjoyed every opportunity to support IABC and the Boston chapter. It also afforded me the privilege of working with outstanding people dedicated to helping communication professionals succeed.
Has being a member of the IABC helped you in your career?
The number of development opportunities has been excellent. And then I apply what I learned to the organizations I support. In addition, there are many networking opportunities where I’ve met so many talented professionals and made lasting relationships. There is also a great deal to be gained by visiting the IABC site for a wide range of reference materials.
What has changed in the communications field since you started your career?
I’ve been in the communications profession since 1987, and the changes have been dramatic. I started out in Media Relations and was not even aware of the area of Employee/Internal Communications. Over time my career evolved, and I moved into Internal Communications. The approach to Internal Communications continues to evolve as we use different messaging platforms, including face-to-face, email, intranet, video, social media and collaboration portals to share information and encourage dialogue.
You work for Citizens Bank. What is your department responsible for?
My department is Strategic Communications. I work with a central communications team that develops and executes communications plans in support of large projects that affect the entire bank or specific business lines. Before joining this team, I developed strategic messaging and communications plans for key Citizens Business Services functions, including Technology Services and Supply Chain Services.
What’s a big communications challenge for you at the moment?
Simplifying messages and focusing on communications plans and actions that support Citizens’ strategic priorities. A lot of things come up that require attention, but I need to direct my energies on those activities that support our strategic priorities and help us achieve our vision of delivering the best possible banking experiencing for our customers.
If you had one super power, what would it be?
I want two super powers. First, I want whatever super power possessed Harper Lee when she wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Second, I would love to be able to teleport. I am not a big fan of air travel and would like to avoid it if possible.