Chanda Daniels

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Chanda Daniels

Communications Coordinator at International Women’s Media Foundation

Chanda lives in Washington, D.C. and is originally from New York, NY
Website: www.iwmf.org
Instagram: @chandacdaniels/@theiwmf
Twitter: @chandadaniels/@iwmf
LinkedIn: chandadaniels

  • How did you get started in PR/Communications and how did you find yourself where you are now?

My start in communications was actually pretty serendipitous. It began when I was a summer fellow at Control Arms, an international non-governmental organization working on disarmament issues globally. I was afforded an opportunity to explore all aspects of the organization, and I found myself attracted to communications strategy and messaging. I loved the ability of the team to take these seemly large concepts that most people would think is out of their realm, and convey them in a compelling but still meaningful way. The whole experience showed me the lasting impact that communications can have.

After that experience, I went on hone my knowledge at Human Rights Watch, and was invited back by Control Arms to manage communications for the organization. Afterward, I accepted a job at the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA) as their communications coordinator. Each experience crafted my skill set further but in separate ways, and I was offered a chance to discover different approaches and learn through trial and error. My time at NYSTLA solidified my interest in the field, but deep down, I was yearning to be back in campaigning and International Relations. Those aspects are what drew me to my current position at the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), and I couldn’t be happier. The IWMF works to support, protect, and recognize the critical role of female journalists, by offering safety training, reporting trips, and byline opportunities, all tailored to female journalists — both established, and up-and-coming.

  • What is your role within the company?­

As the Communications Coordinator at the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), on most days I am managing social media, implementing outreach and campaigns for the organization, creating newsletters and graphics, and renovating the website. I work to position the IWMF as an ally to female journalists, and top of mind thought leader and advocate of freedom of press worldwide. The major role I play in the organization is spearheading the digital content strategy and management – which mainly entails creating and curating all online brand content and campaigns. I also manage design elements and print materials, but particularly messaging and brand cohesion. In addition, I liaison with a team of consultants who manage our earned media relations to leverage the reach through both mediums. On the day-to-day, I’m always working to keep the organization up-to-date on the best ways to incorporate the IWMF's voice and mission in the online conversation.

  • What are you currently working on? 

There’s a few major projects I’m working on currently. The one I’m most excited about is a podcast that we are launching as an organization. The podcast will highlight the challenges and interesting untold stories from female journalists, and will serve as a way explore topics that often arise in our community. I haven’t had the opportunity to work on production before, so I’m excited to explore and learn more about that side of things. In conjunction, we’re working on an organizational ‘face-lift’ as I like to call it. The first phase is creating a new gorgeous website, that we recently launched, as well as a change of tone. In addition, I’m working on a peer-to-peer campaign, which is a fundraising campaign powered by community members, and announcing the winners of our Courage in Journalism Awards. Never a dull moment!

  • What is a recent success you're particularly proud of?

On World Press Freedom Day, I ran a multi-platform social media campaign addressing the current gender disparity in the news. It was an awareness-building campaign to challenge the lack of diversity in reporting. The call to action, #CheckYourBylines, encouraged people to check the home page of their favorite newspaper and count how many were written by women. To my surprise, it was widely picked up in the community, but it was even more expansive. Some of the vendors we work with told us about how they saw our content everywhere that day, and people are now incorporating that hashtag in the day-to-day! I was proud that the message ended up so widely received.

  • What is most important in your work?

The most important aspect of my work is to keep the sincerity and humanity of messaging. I think it’s so easy to forget and slip away from what is important, and why you entered the field in the first place within the day to day. I think to keep things fresh and engaging, you have to remember why you chose the field and why what the work you do is important, but I think that applies to any position in the social justice field in general!

  • How would you say the media landscape in your field has changed since you started working?

I think what’s been most interesting is seeing the difference of the priorities in social media strategies. When I first started, I think the interest was having some sort of consistent presence online in general was the main goal. Now, I think there’s shift to use social media to cultivate a strong brand, especially after all the grassroots success seen in other groups and movements, such as the #MeToo movement, Times Up and March for Our Lives, which I think is amazing to see. I think this shift has been important because I feel like there’s a real energy to engage community members and helps smaller organizations see that through this engagement, larger waves can be made.

  • Where are your favorite places for business meetings or drinks with writers, colleagues?

Since I’m relatively new to D.C., I’m still on the search for the perfect place! Two spots that I’ve found so far are Barcode and Toro Toro. Both have a great outdoor space and great (and inexpensive!) drinks.

  • PR/Communications can be fast-paced and stressful, what is your favorite way of relaxing?

I think work-life balance is essential to productivity. For me, yoga is a crucial way to release stress and re-centered. Ensuring time to spend with friends to just laugh, explore museums, try new places is my favorite after things to do after work. My ultimate way to relax is food and travel — any chance I can get to have a delicious meal or book a getaway to explore a new place, I’m there.

  • What are you reading these days?

Professionally, I am reading If We Could Put a Man on the Moon, which is an amazing resource about using past policy examples to get big things accomplished. Personally, I’m almost done with A Man Called Ove but it’s so good, I’ve been putting off finishing it.

  • What are you listening to these days? 

I just recently discovered an amazing new podcast called ‘Deconstructed’ with Medhi Hasan. It has a unique and interesting approach to addressing popular topics. Also, Kendrick Lamar on repeat.

  • What is the next event you're the most looking forward to in the next months?

I’m really excited for an event happening this week: There was such incredible reporting that came from female journalists during the height of the US border crisis, and the National Press Club is hosting a special panel event on July 26 to speak to the reporters themselves about their experience on the ground.

 

Juliette Delman-Lagot

Vanessa Clairet