Randy has more than 20 years of diverse experience in corporate communications, video & media production and event staging. Her production credits range from network news to video news releases to corporate videos.
In 2000, Randy founded RNB Communications (www.rnbcom.com), which specializes in developing corporate and employee communications strategies and programs, integrating different approaches and media to achieve successful outcomes. Among Randy’s clients are The Walt Disney Company, Health Net, Inc., Novartis Oncology and The ALS Association.
A graduate of Ithaca College, Randy earned her BS in Communications. After a college internship at WCBS-TV News in New York, she joined the News Assignment Desk there. Randy eventually became Associate Director of CBS Evening News.
Randy left the world of TV news to join Colgate-Palmolive Company. Among her responsibilities, she traveled the world to produce employee video news programs, direct employee events and to teach crisis communications skills to Colgate’s subsidiary management. Randy next joined Fluor Corporation as Senior Director, Internal Communications, where she directed the strategic development and execution of internal communications programs for Fluor’s 50,000 employees worldwide.
Randy is a former Board member of the Council of Communication Management. She is a past Board member of IABC-LA. Randy is a member of the Directors Guild of America. Her awards include several Telly Awards for Health Net, The ALS Association and Partners in Care video productions, the Communicators Award for Health Net’s “Transformation” video, the IABC Silver Quill Award of Excellence and Colgate’s “You Can Make a Difference” Award.
Q: How did you get into communications?
A: My high school guidance counselor suggested I do a communications internship. So I went to work at WLIR-FM radio on Long Island, where I worked with the advertising and promotions team, helping to run contests and write on-air copy. My friends were jealous! It was a very cool and popular radio station, and I hung out with all the DJs. That internship got me hooked. I majored in Communications at Ithaca College, interned at WCBS-TV in New York, and was asked to work there when I graduated. Within three years, I was working for the CBS Evening News.
Q: Was it difficult coming from a TV background? How is it different? the same?
A: The opposite, actually. My TV work provided me with some of the best communications training. Working in TV news, you learn to package information into short segments the general public can understand. That approach has served me well throughout my communications career. With the increasing demand for corporate video, I’m now constantly producing videos of all kinds for clients. I think my TV background has helped distinguish me as a communications consultant.
Q: Why did you decide to quit TV?
A: Quit is a strong word! I wanted a change and decided to take my talents to the corporate arena, where there was a rising demand for video production expertise. I had loved working for CBS News. The TV journalist’s life is an extremely fulfilling one, but also an incredibly demanding one. It was tough to leave the excitement of broadcast TV, but I knew it was the right choice for me. Video production and TV continue to be a large part of my work today.
Q: Why did you decide to start your own company?
A: The truth is, I never planned to start my own company. After CBS, I worked for Colgate-Palmolive for many years and really enjoyed it. I traveled all over the world producing an employee video newsmagazine program. I received the best on-the-job training at Colgate, because I was involved in all aspects of corporate communications. After many years, I decided it was time for another change and another coast. So I moved to California and the sun. Friends and colleagues offered me all kinds of freelance work – PR, producing TV interviews with celebrities (now that was fun!) and a variety of communications projects. Suddenly I realized, “Hey, I think I have a business!”
Q: How did you do it?
A: As a new kid in LA, it’s the honest truth that I turned to IABC. I’d been a member for years in New York. So I contacted the LA chapter, began going to events, and met many corporate communicators who were simply overloaded. They seemed relieved to meet me – a communications consultant with something different to offer, especially as one of the few in LA focusing primarily on employee communications.
Q: What were the challenges to starting your own company?
A: Not unlike others, I suppose the greatest challenge for me was simply learning all the ins and outs of owning a business. I’d worked in a big, safe, corporate environment for so long, and everything about being on my own was new. I had to learn all about marketing my talents, finding resources to support my service offerings, and of course, finding and doing the work, together with my great extended team.
Q: How is having your own company different from working at a company?
A: The schedule, mostly. Don’t let anyone tell you that working for yourself means you make your own hours and have lots of free time! I actually work much harder and longer hours as a consultant than I ever did in my corporate jobs. For me, it’s a healthy kind of pressure to know that I’m responsible for my own destiny. No one is going to give me work, I have to find it. No one is going to set the work schedule, I have to set my schedule. If I want to take Friday off and work Sunday, which I frequently do, it’s my choice. I won’t kid you. It’s not an easy life, but it is extremely gratifying.
Q: What do you think the secret to success is?
A: I don’t think there’s a secret, really. My mom always taught my sister, brother and me to be independent, driven, strong and focused, to save money(!) and most of all, to just love what you do. That’s it for me, I guess. I just love what I do, and I suppose it shows!
Q: What are the most important qualities for someone to succeed in communications?
A: The qualities that matter most are a positive attitude, the ability to listen and respect another person’s point of view, the courage to tell someone that you can help them communicate better, and a sense of humor!
Q: What kind of advice would you offer someone just starting out in communications?
A: 1. Don’t complain, don’t be bigger than who you are and don’t pretend you know more than you do. Ask questions, keep learning, and never fake it. You’ll earn more points for having an inquiring mind, than being caught having a foolish one. We all start somewhere! In my first job, I answered phones in the newsroom and fetched wire copy for producers.
2. Seize opportunities. Make things happen. Volunteer to take the assignment no one else wants. I worked the weekend 4pm-midnight shift at WCBS-TV News, because the other assignment desk assistants wanted their weekends to party. Guess what? When there weren’t enough news reporters to cover stories, they sent me.
3. Say thank you. For everything you learn from someone else, for every opportunity, for every little thing. Respect goes a long way in today’s “business casual” work environment.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Hobbies?
A: I love to cook. I enjoy working on my house and snooping around flea markets for interesting finds. I’m in the Director’s Guild, so I constantly go to movie screenings and host screenings at my house for friends. I’m a movie and TV junkie…and proud of it! I consider myself an “early adopter” of new technologies, so I’m always buying the latest audio-visual equipment. It’s an expensive but fun hobby!
Q: Any other interesting thing about yourself you’d like to share?
A: I’m a fan of all things mid-century modern. My house was built in 1955. I’m honoring it by restoring its architectural integrity, while filling it with both period and modern/techno elements that make it feel hip!
Q: Favorite novel?
A: The whole Harry Potter series. Love ‘em!
Q: TV shows?
A: Project Runway. Entourage. Lost. Heroes. American Idol! And TV news, of course.
A: I love so many films! A few favorites are To Kill a Mockingbird, Cinema Paradiso, The Godfather, Goodfellas, The Shawshank Redemption, Pan’s Labyrinth and Annie Hall.
A: A slice of Original Ray’s Pizza in New York. There’s nothing like folding a thin slice in a paper plate and walking down a Manhattan street with oil dripping down your arm and the cheese burning the roof of your mouth. Yum!
A: Tough question. I love LA, but I’ll always be a New Yorker at heart.
Q: Country to travel to?
A: Italy and Thailand. The food, the sights, the people. I’ve been to both countries several times. Always a joy.
A: The Web! iTunes, eBay, velocityartanddesign.com
A: I like all genres of music. My current favorite iPod playlist has some Five for Fighting, John Mayer, Kelly Clarkson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Justin Timberlake, Norah Jones and Nina Simone.