Newark Mayor Cory Booker Knows How to Engage — Strong Model for Your Org’s Thought Leaders

Newark Mayor Cory Booker Knows How to Engage -- Strong Model for Your Org's Thought Leaders Newark Mayor Cory Booker is one dedicated civil servant, and a personal hero of mine. He's made it his business (and pretty much his life) to move the city to a state of health and works 24/7 to do so.

Two core components of his strategy are engagement and transparency.  Booker and his team communicate constantly, via a broad range of channels, to keep supporters informed and involved. Because making Newark a healthy city is his administration's cause.

I recommend that your organization's thought leaders take a cue from his approach. Here's how Booker does it:

  • Puts himself out there as the public face of Newark. A face enables a connection; a geography doesn't. Are your thought leaders putting themselves out there, in a full and real way, as leading voices on your issues?
  • Shares his struggles as mayor, and the issues that continue to plague Newark. Again, we can connect with that struggle. Are your leaders sharing the downs, as well as the ups? That's real.
  • Is out there always communicating, everywhere supporters, citizens, partners may be. Booker's on Twitter (with 845,00 followers of @corybooker) and active on Facebook (with 15,339 supporters). Recent Facebook posts range from a Judy Garland quote to heads up on the opening Nets game at their new venue. A little humor, carefully done, always helps.
  • Inspires by thinking and talking vision and future, but also shares the concrete tactics he's putting in place to make it happen. This is a rare but potent combination — the inspirational doer. He shares inspirational quotes, personal hopes and Newark news. Irresistible!
  • Goes beyond the norm to reach out and engage.
    • When Conan O'Brien lambasted Newark, Booker was on it (sense of humor front and center) immediately. He responded by posting a video on YouTube and eventually Hillary Clinton settled the fray. You couldn't buy better coverage. Here's a recap.
    • Booker recently launched, interweaving content on the city and himself and it's a hit. Particularly compelling is his "day in the life" feature, where Booker shares each day's schedule. The schedule shouts dedication, awareness and hard work.

Consider how your org's thought leaders are communicating. It's likely they can put some of these strategies to work to advance your cause, whether that includes Conan O'Brien or not. 

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Photo: HopefulinNJ on Flickr

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Strategy | 4 comments
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