In this multi-part series, we explore considerations and approaches for helping clients decide if, when and how to respond to pressing social/political issues.

Authenticity, Urgency, Empathy. As our socio-political world becomes increasingly complex, there is a heightened expectation for companies to take a stand on hot-button issues – and to do it right. With silence often no longer an option, companies have become increasingly intentional about sharing their perspective on everything from environmental sustainability to Black Lives Matter. Yet decisions on the if, when and how to communicate need to be grounded in ensuring the message is timely, authentic to their ability to meaningfully have a voice on the issue and empathetic to the needs of their internal and external stakeholders. With the recent decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, companies are faced with another key moment in time to assess response, and thoughtful communications counsel can help them navigate issues that often present more questions than answers.

In Part 1 of this series, we’ll explore one stakeholder group that’s often driving the need to engage with societal issues and that should be made apprised of any corporate stance: Employees.

Understanding Employee Expectations: Companies can at times be so focused on building their external reputation that they neglect communication to their most valuable stakeholder group – their employees. With societal issues taking an increasing mental and emotional toll on employees and their ability to show up as their best selves at work, any company response/action must prioritize their wellbeing and consider their perspectives and expectations.

While not all employees will feel the same way about a particular issue, many now expect employers to have a voice and take meaningful action. That means, inaction or “going dark” in the wake of a large social issue could signal indifference and jeopardize trust and credibility in the employer. When done right, (remember: authenticity, urgency and empathy) a company’s strategy for internal communication on societal issues can drive greater employee engagement, pride and a deeper connection to their core values and purpose.

  • Key Considerations:
    • Companies can’t, and shouldn’t, attempt to take action on every topic. Build a response framework that balances expectations to respond with a company’s core values, strategy and needs of the business
    • Set guidelines for the level of response required: go all in and lead on certain issues, participate or simply prepare for others, and stay silent when appropriate
    • Creating an internal taskforce made up of key stakeholders (communications, HR, crisis response team, etc.) can ensure and consistent messages that align with the overall response strategy
    • Ensure internal communications are consistent with what, if anything, is being shared externally

Matching Words to Action: In the landscape of “woke-washing,” or appearing socially conscious without any substance, companies are under scrutiny of falsity when their words aren’t backed up by meaningful action. Messages of “we stand” or “we are committed” should be followed by proof points of tangible examples, goals and progress of that commitment (i.e., medical benefits, remote-working adjustment, mental health support) and/or providing resources for employees to make an impact should they chose (i.e., internal surveys to improve company offerings, sharing donation information and/or matching donations).

  • Key Considerations: In addition to potentially identifying new ways/benefits to provide to employees based on your company’s mission and values (i.e., providing reimbursement for travelling to other states in the case of Roe v. Wade), reinforce and/or revisit existing offerings and re-iterate availability. Doing so provides credibility that the company is proactively supporting its employees while also ensuring that groups who may not agree with social sentiment don’t feel marginalized with new offerings that may not be aligned with their personal beliefs.

After an internal statement is made to employees, the next step will be to consider external communications. We will explore considerations of external engagement, and the various levels, in Part 2 of this series.

Whether speaking about Roe v. Wade or any other important social issue, companies that are authentic in their approach, demonstrate an understanding of stakeholder needs, and a commitment to keeping employees apprised of company positioning/offerings, will be positioned to not only weather any storm but come out stronger on the other side.

May is Women’s Health Month, and as a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise, Green Room is always exploring new ways to strengthen our commitment to and support of the health and wellbeing of our team.

Last month, we were thrilled to roll out a new employee benefit: Green Room’s Health and Wellness Fund. Created with the goal of supporting employees’ health and well-being in a way that is tailored to their unique needs, the fund provides each team member with the same allotted reimbursement amount for health-related expenses across the categories of fitness and wellbeing, self-care and general health. Green Room leaders aimed to go beyond the status quo of health insurance, employee assistance programs (EAP) and other offerings, as the fund offers the flexibility to support additional health and wellness services and resources that are best suited for each individual.

John Callandrello, Green Room’s Controller who led this initiative, provided his perspective:

Wellness looks different for each of us, which is why Green Room leadership wanted to provide an inclusive option that reflects the diverse ways our team likes to stay active, de-stress, reset and practice self-care. The fund’s reimbursable list is broad, including gym memberships, exercise equipment, therapy, meditation apps, chiropractors, massage therapy and much more.

We aim to stay ahead of the curve with trends and pioneer different offerings to support our employees, especially as retention continues to be top-of-mind for many companies. COVID-19 changed peoples’ daily routines and this fund helps our employees focus on their whole person by adding to the existing benefits, PTO and sick days Green Room provides.

As a life-long athlete, I plan to use the program to reimburse my visits to the regenerative center where I receive stem cell injections that repair cartilage and help my knee pain. The fund gives me a way to try innovative solutions for my particular needs and alleviating some of the cost associated with receiving these treatments.

Green Room’s benefits help me keep health top of mind and our Health and Wellness fund is just one more way we further our commitment to supporting our employees as we continue to grow and remain competitive in the healthcare communications industry!

Advocacy for rare diseases is at the core of Green Room Communications, and Rare Disease Day (RDD) gives us the opportunity to reflect on how we can spread awareness for people impacted by rare diseases. At Green Room, advocating for people with rare diseases is a part of our overarching mission of keeping patients and caregivers top of mind in our healthcare communications work. To recognize RDD, we asked our team to share why raising awareness for rare diseases is so important to them – starting with our agency founder’s Deborah Fowler and Karen Carolonza who have close ties with the rare disease community both personally and professionally.

Deborah Fowler, Founding Partner, explains that “A disease is only rare until it happens to you. Then, it becomes the center of your universe. You realize how simple questions, such as ‘What can you tell me about this disease? Are there any treatments? What will the future hold?’ many times have no answers. Having lived this scenario, raising awareness about rare diseases and empowering rare voices have become my passion. It is also another way that we embody diversity, equity, and inclusion. DE&I isn’t only about race, gender, and ethnicity. It’s about giving a voice to underserved and underrepresented populations. This includes patients with rare diseases, as they often feel excluded, alone, and misunderstood. Education is one of the most important ways that we can realize health equity as a society, by empowering the rare among us which can lead to research, treatments and more importantly, hope for a brighter future.” Deb is also the founder of Soft Bones—a non-profit foundation that provides information, education, and support for people living with hypophosphatasia (HPP), their families, and caregivers—which was born out of her son’s journey with the rare bone disease, and ultimately played a key role in bringing the first FDA-approved treatment for HPP to patients.

For Karen Carolonza, Founding Partner, shares that “Raising awareness of rare diseases is so important to me because unlike more common diseases that impact many families, there is a big gap in understanding how to treat them and why. Because they are ‘rare,’ these diseases do not get the same attention in the public eye and therefore advocates must fight harder for recognition, funding, education and ultimately, patient care.”

For Heather Rose, Senior Vice President, helping patients became her “why” after working on the first-ever awareness campaign for the rare disease pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). “At my first job, I had the chance to speak one-on-one with patients and caregivers impacted by PAH. Those conversations were eye-opening. There is one young woman I will never forget. She was in her early 20’s, like me at the time, and was a gifted opera singer. Despite needing two double-lung transplants, she continued to be a warrior who lived life to the fullest. Medicine extended her life 15 years after diagnosis. Medicine made by companies that need communications support as they innovate for patients in need. I get to be part of that process, and when I step back and remember that, it reaffirms that I am absolutely living my purpose to help others.”

Allison Pishko, Senior Vice President, shares that she learned firsthand how the role of the caregiver is often unappreciated and underestimated – even more so in the rare disease community. “By definition, when someone you love is impacted by a rare disease, there are so few people that truly understand your journey and challenges. Working in healthcare communications gives us the opportunity to help create communities of caregivers who can share information, support and empathy. Joining some of these groups as a caregiver myself, has provided me with knowledge and an invaluable community. #LHON”

Maura McBride, Vice President, shares that “After a rare (or underdiagnosed) condition landed me in the neuro-ICU in my 40s, I set out on a long journey to recover my ability to eat and to walk and to manage my risk factors. My only symptom of the condition was migraines, especially during intense, high-impact exercise. A year later, I learned I had a second rare disease, one that was present at birth but treatable through inexpensive, life-long injections. The scientists who discovered the treatment for pernicious anemia were awarded the Nobel Prize in the 1930s. Awareness of rare disease means hope – for diagnoses, treatments or cures – for the estimated 7,000+ people in the U.S. and their families who are impacted. #FMD”

Julie DeVoti, Assistant Account Executive, shares her experience with family members with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS), dissociative identity disorder (DID) and other undiagnosable afflictions. “I enjoy working in healthcare communications because I help clients reach patients who can use the companies’ products to decrease pain and improve the quality of patient’s and caretaker’s lives,” Julie explains. “We can create awareness campaigns that educate the public on a rare disease and how to advocate for those living with it. RDD is important to me because when each of us educates ourselves and others on rare diseases we can create more inclusive environments.”

At Green Room, we recognize Rare Disease Day as a day dedicated to advocating for patients, caregivers and families who have been heavily impacted by the burden of rare diseases. Beyond our personal connections, we are united as communicators to continue our efforts in bringing additional awareness to, and advocating for, people impacted by rare diseases. To join in raising awareness and supporting the rare disease community, go to to learn more.

Year at a Glance – 2021 by the Numbers

Like many recent graduates during the COVID-19 shutdown, it was difficult to know where to turn to jump-start my career. However, after graduating with a degree in public relations (PR), I came across Green Room’s Fellowship Program that was designed to expose recent graduates to the healthcare communications industry and provide hands-on experience in preparation for a potential full-time position. As a graduate of the program — I’ve been a full-time Assistant Account Executive (AAE) since March 2021 — I am eager to share my experience for those looking to land their first PR job out of college, or who are looking to transition to a new career path in healthcare PR.

  • Exposure to Clients. As a Fellow, I built the foundation to prepare for the actual work I would be responsible for as a Green Room AAE, which was not something covered in my college classes. I gained exposure to different healthcare clients, from pharmaceuticals to biotech, consumer health and advocacy, where I learned client expectations, gained experience working in different disease states and developed communications materials with detailed instructions and feedback from project leads.
  • Dedicated Onboarding Buddy. I was paired with an onboarding buddy who was also a recent Fellow-turned-employee. Having someone who had been in my position to share advice helped me learn how to be proactive in developing my skillsets and gave me the confidence to ask questions and jump into projects to learn as I go.
  • Connected & Caring Culture. Green Room has a flexible work environment, with many employees working remotely and an office space available to those who wish to use it. While onboarding, I got to know my coworkers better because of the culture team’s efforts to keep employees connected. Through our coffee chat program, we can connect with colleagues who we may not work with every day and learn more about one another. The team also recognizes hard work through rewards like Starbucks and Dunkin gift card days. The culture team helped me feel connected to the company even in a remote environment.
  • Collaborative Learning Environment. As an AAE, I became a core member of a team handling communications for a client in ophthalmology and began supporting internal and external projects from ideation to completion. In this role, I could see the entire process play out and learned valuable lessons on how to navigate media engagement, make strategic decisions about messaging and design and collaborate with the team to ensure items move at a consistent rate.

The skills I learned as a Fellow made for an easy transition to full-time and I would encourage others to explore our program. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about current fellowship opportunities at Green Room, please reach out to or visit

How My Daughter’s Rare Disease Diagnosis Transformed My Career

“You will never forget this day as long as you live,” Deb Fowler, a Managing Partner of Green Room Communications, told me on August 19, 2020, and she was right (as she often is!). That was the day my younger daughter was diagnosed with a lifechanging, debilitating, rare disease that we never saw coming; it completely flattened us as a family. As we slowly started to pick ourselves back up and began the seemingly endless scheduling of doctors’ appointments, frantic late night Google searches, and desperate calls to family and friends, I had no idea how I would ever work again or, honestly, if I would even care about work again.

But I did. After taking a brief leave of absence to get our arms around the diagnosis and treatment protocols (unfortunately there is no cure), I returned to work with the full support of leadership and all my colleagues. The biggest surprise to me? Work truly saved me. It gave me a focus when I never thought I could focus again. I have something to contribute. I can solve problems here that I cannot solve in my life.

Since I work in healthcare communications, I believe I am a better strategic partner to my clients than I have ever been before. We talk a lot about being “patient centric” and focusing on the ecosystem surrounding the patient. The insights I have gained as a caregiver and patient advocate give me a perspective that is invaluable – for me and my clients.

As we near the one-year mark of her diagnosis, here are a few insights that have made me better than ever at work:

  • Everyone is dealing with something – approaching each other and each interaction with a sense of empathy and openness, knowing people may be dealing with something that has nothing to do with you or their work has released me from taking things personally.
  • Perspective is everything – I know what matters and what doesn’t and that allows me a freedom and confidence in my work that I never had before.
  • Every (work) problem has a solution – What we do is important, especially in the healthcare space and there are solutions. Lean on your teams and listen to a variety of opinions – just like I have learned to do since no one doctor has my daughter’s cure – listen and learn.
  • Give your opinion – What’s the worst that could happen; someone will disagree with you? You can handle that. You have and will, handle worse.

I hope others don’t have an August 19, 2020, but I know they will. I am not the first person to deal with an unexpected family crisis. My hope for you is that you can take some of the lessons I have learned and apply them to your own career – without the crisis.


Are you at a deciding point about what’s next after graduation? If so, I encourage you to remain open to opportunity, take risks and try experiences outside of your comfort zone. As a rising college senior with NO IDEA of my future career path, embracing this mentality led me to an internship in healthcare communications at Green Room. Fast forward six years – I am now a Senior Account Supervisor leading multiple projects for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical clients and managing our Intern and Fellowship Programs.

The Green Room Fellowship Program stemmed from a trend our account leads noticed that recent college graduates needed to further develop their foundational skillset and gain more relevant experience before transitioning into a full-time, entry-level position. Fellows work alongside team members to gain hands-on experience that helps set them up for a successful career path in healthcare PR. The program has proven to be such a success that we often look to hire directly from the program if staffing needs allow.

I often reflect on the strong and diverse exposure I had as a newcomer and how these experiences introduced me to and created a passion for healthcare communications. Green Room’s development programs cultivated many of the skills I still leverage in my role as a Senior Account Supervisor. Who knew six years ago that I would be leading corporate strategy, HR/change management and product communications for leading pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies.

The best guidance I can give to someone applying to our programs is this: If you show up with an eagerness to learn and a “can do” spirit, Green Room can provide a growth trajectory to help launch your career and accelerate your professional development.

Fellowship Qualifications

  • Highly motivated recent college graduates or graduate students
  • Degree in public relations, communications, marketing or related field
  • Previous relevant internship/professional experiences
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Exceptional writing skills
  • Growth-focused mindset, independent self-starter who aligns with agency Core Values
  • Prior healthcare experience is a plus, but not a requirement

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about current fellowship opportunities at Green Room, please reach out to or visit


Best Kept Secrets of a Working Mom

Working Mom. The term comes with a sense of accomplishment and the ever-present wave of emotions. I cannot tell you I have it all figured out, but I CAN tell you how I have learned to create physical and mental space to focus on one thing at a time, one day at a time.

It took a long time to find my stride and a workplace that allowed and trusted me to do both jobs well. When I first met with Green Room, I knew something was different. I talked with one employee after the next – each a working mom herself. I kept hearing words like “balance,” “trust,” “flexibility,” and “support.” It became clear that Green Room was really “walking the walk.” And what says it all is the retention rate, which speaks volumes about how great their culture truly is. In addition to finding a great culture fit for me, below are key components that have been tested and tweaked to help me remain successful at the balancing act. And even today, I am still refining my methods.

Time Management. As a working mom, I often feel like there is just not enough time in the day for it all. Something that helps me make the most of each day is being smart about how I spend my time. Below are four consistent steps I take to organize my time.

  1. Reviewing my work and family calendars on Sunday to sort out coverage.
  2. Prepping and reprioritizing my to-do list every afternoon for the next day ahead.
  3. Booking dedicated time in my calendar to work on certain projects.
  4. Allowing for short “brain breaks” throughout the day to help me bring my best, most strategic self to my next assignment.

Communication. In healthcare PR, it is literally our job to communicate about complex topics and corporate issues and still, the struggle is real to communicate our own personal and professional needs. One element of the Green Room culture that I love is that asking for help is encouraged. When I feel my workload getting too full, I raise my hand. It ends up being better for me (mentally), but also allows us to get more done for our clients, faster.

Work-Life Integration. Whether you are a mom or not, everyone deserves balance. Work-life integration is one of the most important pillars of Green Room’s cultural values and one of the most prominent reasons I wanted to work here. It allows us to set personal boundaries to prioritize our lives and, in turn, bring our best selves to work. Our “in-and-out” Slack channel is also great to quickly communicate when I am stepping away to drop something off at daycare or to take a “brain break.” The key is to communicate and have a supportive team at work (and at home!) to cover for you. Likewise, there are high-priority work events that come up and for these, I rely on my village at home (e.g., husband, daycare, mother-in-law, meal subscriptions!)

Flexibility. As most working parents know, you cannot always plan for the unexpected. Life happens and no matter how strong your village is or how many back-up plans are in place, flexibility is one of the most important assets to keeping it “seemingly” all together. For those days, I flex my hours by picking up an extra hour or two on a day when I know things will have calmed down.

As a parent, I feel it is incredibly important for my children to see how hard I work AND how present I am when I am around them. I am setting an example for possibilities I hope they see for themselves one day. I want them to know that they can achieve anything through hard work and dedication and, most importantly, that you do not have to sacrifice one role over the other. Working at Green Room allows me to feel more whole as a person; able to chase my passion, provide for my family and remain completely plugged into both worlds. My only regret is not having worked here sooner.


By Linda Chang, Talent Resource Manager at Green Room Communications

One year into working from home and here we are: braver, stronger, and more connected than ever. While COVID-19 tested companies’ remote work abilities, Green Room did what we already do best — we pivoted (word of 2020!) to elevate our existing infrastructure. Along the way, we uncovered important insights.

Flexibility and Agility is Key

When our office-based team packed up our desks last March, we thought work-from-home would last two weeks. We quickly realized we needed to prepare for the long haul. Luckily, Green Room already established a nimble and flexible work culture – we refer to it as work/life integration. This term took on a deeper meaning as team members juggled work priorities with the demands of home life, virtual school, and keeping families safe and healthy. Having the tools already in place, like the ability to flex our hours, allowed us to remain responsive to clients while still being able to take care of personal needs. This already built-in mutual level of understanding, trust, and support gave team members a fighting chance at getting it all done, because as we all know – it takes a village.

Team Connectivity and Mental Health are Essential

Since we are still not able to physically be together in the office, we added to our arsenal of collaboration platforms like Slack and quickly got onboard with Zoom and FaceTime. We also implemented Coffee Buddies – a weekly video coffee chat with a team member selected at random. We held a virtual Trivia happy hour, Halloween costume contest, and shared Starbucks QR codes for a pick-me-up. Perhaps, most important, we prioritized offering bi-weekly meditation sessions and encouraged brain breaks, walks, and lunches away from laptops. During a time where we are being asked to stay home and distance, we found that little acts like this go a long way to show how much we value our team. These new staples will live in our culture well beyond COVID.

New Hires Need More Connected Onboarding

Our new hire onboarding process was reworked to be fully virtual … and it worked! Aside from the logistics of shipping laptops, issuing cell phones, accessing tools, enrolling for benefits, etc. – our biggest challenge was: how do we welcome new team members virtually and help them feel comfortable and connected on day one?

In addition to bringing our new hires in on virtual team activities like Coffee Buddies, we also now pair them with an onboarding buddy, schedule more and quicker onboarding meetings for their first weeks, welcome them on Slack (followed by an onslaught of excited team member welcome messages) and introduce them at our quarterly Town Halls. We are currently working to up our game in company swag and with a team welcome video. And like all processes, we listen to feedback and implement as we go.

A Look Ahead

Vaccines are finally here, and we are so hopeful to reunite in person sometime soon. This pandemic threw big curve balls, but one positive is how it shined a light on the importance of work culture. Green Room is proud we had a strong foundation that is flexible and respectful of our teams’ lives outside of work, so that we bring our best selves to work. Our advice: listen to what your employees truly need, create a space for feedback, make real solutions happen, and do not be afraid to pivot when things change. This will ultimately strengthen your culture, help to retain talent, and better position your team for success post-pandemic.


Stand Out in a (Pandemic) Job Hunt

By Linda Chang, Talent Resource Manager at Green Room Communications

Job searching is hard. Add a pandemic on top of it and forget it … the act itself feels like you are climbing up an escalator that is moving in the opposite direction. It is a tough job market. Companies are closing their doors with many more on the brink of closing. But as I write this, there is hope. With vaccine programs rolling out, we are taking steps globally to get back to where we once were.

As a talent resource manager, I spend a lot of time scanning resumes and talking to candidates. I see my role as a matchmaker – connecting experience with opportunity. Even though interviews are now conducted on Zoom, the essence of interviewing has not changed. Hiring managers want to get to know you and give you an opportunity to get to know the company. Below are some tips that have helped job seekers successfully stand out to me:

  • Start by updating your LinkedIn profile and include a photo. If you know who the hiring manager is, you can also reach out via LinkedIn.
  • Perhaps most important right now, is to get comfortable with Zoom! Without the ability to meet face-to-face, there is more emphasis to make sure your personality makes it across the screen.
  • Prepare an elevator speech in anticipation of the ever-popular statement, “Tell me about yourself.”
  • Review the job requirements and look for parallels. Be prepared to tout your skills and experience as it relates to the job. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Research the company. Understand the company’s mission, values, and services.
  • Be curious and ask questions. You are interviewing the company, too! Your questions will provide insight into your thought process and can be a segue into how you can add value.
  • Send a follow-up thank you note or email.
  • If the process moves slowly, periodically check in so that you stay top of mind. Things can change in an instant and showing proactivity and continued interest says a lot about you.

This is all basic advice, but when you are not interviewing on a consistent basis, it is easy to forget these things!

If you are in a lull and are having a hard time finding a job, make the most of the time you have right now and be productive with it. Employers want to see initiative and drive. Spruce up your resume to make sure it is easy to read and highlights your relevant experience. Continue to apply for jobs. Consider freelancing – often times these opportunities can lead to full time jobs. Obtain additional training and certifications. Network and volunteer your talents.

Most importantly, keep showing up. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue to climb your way up the downward escalator. With time, patience, and perseverance, you will make it up to the top.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning about current opportunities at Green Room, please reach out to me at!