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Internal Communications and Your Organization

Episode Summary:

When we think about messaging, we typically think of what we say about our work to the outside world. Although that’s important to be sure, some would argue that what we say internally is just as, if not more, important. In this episode of Messaging on a Mission we hear from Phil Finch, a former VP of communications at a large not-for-profit, Sharon McIntosh, a world-renowned expert in internal communications, and Sara Jackson, executive director of Internal Comms Pro.

Key Takeaways:


  • Internal communications start with the leadership team and the focus with which they run the organization.
  • Everyone thinks they can do internal comms.

Common Mistakes

  • Focussing on the channels, not the content
  • Asking questions of employees too infrequently
  • Ignoring the leadership team’s role
  • Many people under-communicate. It’s really hard to over-communicate in a professional environment.


  • Employee comms is a continuous process, it’s not a one and done.
  • Two-way communication is critical. Listening is just as important as telling.
  • Start small and expand over time as you are able.

Five Future of Internal Communications

  1. Superior employee experience, not just words
  2. Employees expect a consumer-grade experience
  3. Internal comms professionals as internal digital marketers
  4. Collaboration between functions, such as internal comms and human resources
  5. Messaging internally will require an approach of “intra-preneurship.” Perfection is no longer required.

Useful Links:


Sharon McIntosh is president of And Then Communications. With more than two decades of communications experience, she has a passion for creating and executing new ideas to drive employee engagement at organizations both great and small.

Before starting And Then Communications, she served as PepsiCo’s vice president of Global Internal Communications, overseeing the company’s efforts to connect with its more than 274,000 employees worldwide. She and her team launched a number of innovative employee initiatives, including the company’s first social media training (SMART U), a social tool to share internal news externally, and PepsiCo’s award-winning employee ambassador program.

Before joining PepsiCo in 2004, Sharon spent a number of years at Sears and Waste Management.


Sara Jackson is the Executive Director of The Internal Comms Pro Collective and host of the podcast, Internal Comms Pro: The Podcast. Internal Comms Pro’s mission is to collectively raise the value of the internal communications industry.

Sara has extensive experience and expertise in internal and external communication and has developed locally- and nationally-recognized engagement programs and partnerships.
Prior to starting her own company, Sara worked in both public and private sectors, particularly with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cincinnati Reds. Sara was recognized as a 40 under 40 award winner, a ranking of the most influential young people in business. Sara resides in Fort Thomas, KY with her two daughters, Gracie and Ella.


Philip Finch is a marketing and communications consultant based in Boston, MA. Phil has more than 30 years of professional experience helping companies, organizations, and individuals craft award-winning strategies to deliver measurable results. He has worked in several industries including financial services, healthcare, education, technology, and consumer products, where he worked with clients on new product development and introduction, building and growing client relationships through strategic communication programs, and leveraging internet capabilities.

For 15 years, Phil was Vice President of Communications at Fenway Health, a healthcare and research organization with a mission to serve the LGBTQAI+ community. At Fenway, Phil was responsible for a variety of integrated marketing communications functions including, public and media relations, marketing, direct mail, internal and external communications strategies, internet management, and brand development. He also oversaw the organization’s fundraising efforts during a successful $15 million capital campaign.

Phil earned a Bachelors Degree from Cornell University and holds a Masters Degree from Emerson College and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in Brussels Belgium.

Douglas Spencer

Douglas Spencer is founder and president of Spencer Brenneman and an independent consultant with the 2GO Advisory Group. Douglas is a brand strategist who helps mission-driven organizations reframe their focus and remaster their messaging to thrive in any environment. He has more than 30 years of branding and marketing experience, working with professionals from around the world in verticals such as financial and professional services, high tech, higher education, healthcare, and not-for-profits. He has worked with professionals from around the world in verticals such as financial and professional services, healthcare, biotech, media, and nonprofit. Before starting Spencer Brenneman he was most recently Vice President, Global Head of Brand Management for Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of intelligent information with offices in more than 100 countries worldwide. In that role, he guided the migration of the multiple Thomson and Reuters businesses to form the new Thomson Reuters brand which consistently ranked within the top 50 of Interbrand's Best Global Brands survey. Douglas is also the author of Do They Care, a book that shows business leaders how they can create meaningful connections with customers, employees, and others. He is a frequent speaker on how strong brands improve business performance through strategic alignment, employee engagement, brand governance, verbal and visual identities and more.

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