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Debbie Install, vice president of employee comms, diversity & inclusion and wellbeing at information technology company Aveva, received a Fellowship from IoIC in 2020. Here, she shares what it means to her to become a Fellow, and why she loves IC.

What does it mean to you to be an IoIC Fellow?

I see it as a huge accolade – to be recognised as an expert among so many others who I have admired over the years.

In IC, we’re still not very good at acknowledging that we have a specific skill set, so accreditations like this help.


How long have you been in the industry and why have you chosen to stay?

I’ve been in the industry for a long time! I started out in marketing and PR working for an organisation that was about to embark on a large change programme, and they knew I was good at engaging teams, so they brought me in to help with employee comms.

I did this role through HR because the organisation didn’t have an internal comms function at the time. After I supported the programme and got positive feedback, the organisation created an IC team – which I led.

Throughout my career, I’ve worked in all the disciplines of comms – crisis, external, change, etc – and I’ve remained for so long because I love what I do. You have to have a thick skin, but you get to make an impact, and no one day is ever the same, so you’re never bored.

What has been your biggest achievement in regard to your professional development (outside of becoming a Fellow)?

It’s hard to pinpoint just one as I’ve been in the industry for so long, but in general I would say it has been raising the profile of IC and having the C-suite recognise the value IC has in an organisation. We’ve come a long way, and moving away from a “nice to have” to being essential has been very rewarding.

Team wise, I have worked with some fantastic people over the years (including my current team – and I’m not just saying that!), which feels like an achievement in itself. Seeing people develop as their skill set grows is great.

What does IoIC need to do to support IC professionals through future challenges, and how would you like to get involved?

Looking at how ICers can demonstrate the value we bring is really important – it’s been an issue for a long time, but we need to commit the time and resources to really nail it. We need to show the outcomes we achieve and not just the stats. There’s lots to learn from other teams about how to do this, for example our marketing colleagues are excellent at showing ROI and clearly defining how they impact business success.

I’d also like to see a continued focus on inclusivity in comms, understanding employees’ personas and how to make an impact with that.

I would love to work with others on projects that aim to develop industry tools and standards for how we do these things and help the profession to improve in these areas.

Why is a commitment to continuous personal development so important?

It’s important because nothing ever stays the same. We need to focus on our audience’s needs and wants, and communicate in a way that works for them.

We shouldn’t expect our employees to absorb news and information at work in a different way to how they absorb it outside of work, which means it’s necessary to stay ahead of the game and ensure we’re tuned in to new trends.

Read our interview with 2020 Fellow Misty Oosthuizen.


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