CommCore Blog and News

Meet our new VP, Strategic Communications – Debra Cope

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DebraCope

Three words you would use to describe your leadership style…

I’d say I’m collaborative, creative, and candid. I thrive on being part of a team that is solving a problem on behalf of a client. I bring creative spark to my work, which shows up in a lively writing style and also in the way I frame issues. I’m also an active listener who is always willing to ask questions and raise red flags because candor is an absolute necessity when you’re working to help clients solve their most perplexing challenges. 

What are you most passionate or inspired by…

I am inspired by great storytelling. Whether I’m reading out loud with my kids or listening to a song or watching a Broadway play, I love a compelling narrative. Storytelling can help us enliven our ideas and make abstractions meaningful in a way that dry facts simply cannot. In my career as a reporter, I learned that the most memorable stories are always the ones that are relatable. For several years, I covered banking regulation – a beat that was important but not very exciting, at least on the surface. I learned that several of the regulators played tennis together, and decided to write a feature about it in an industry newspaper, American Banker. The regulators’ intense competition on the court was actually an apt metaphor for their working relationship, and I used their musings on tennis to draw out a bigger story about rivalries. People asked me about that story for years because it was revealing and human and playful and therefore memorable. Storytelling isn’t just entertaining – it has become a vital tool in effective public relations. Think of any Super Bowl commercial you’ve seen. It’s all about using a story to trigger an emotional response. Getting to the bottom of a client’s story takes a well-developed ear and lots of patience. We keep asking questions to dig out the kernels of information that sum up a client’s mission, value proposition, or solution. Then we help them tell it in a way that will stick. 

What ideas or initiatives are you most interested in exploring through your position…

I’ve done a lot of work involving service industries – especially financial services – and I’m looking forward to spreading my wings. I’m proud of my depth and expertise in finance, but it’s easy to get pigeonholed. Finance is what touches every facet of American life, and as a result I’ve written about topics that are as disparate as art collecting, documentary filmmaking, recruiting, entrepreneurship, and charitable giving and industries as varied as auto dealerships, brokerage firms, and medical equipment distributors. I consider myself versatile and a quick study and I’m definitely excited about taking on clients in a variety of industries and sectors. 

Why did you join CommCore…

I’ve worked with CommCore as a consultant for the past two years. The team is absolutely top-notch, and the work has been consistently interesting and enjoyable. Two years gives you time to really get to know people, and I have come to appreciate CommCore’s exceptional expertise in training and crisis communications. I could see obvious synergies with the type of work I’ve been doing, since I have a good bit of experience working with clients through significant challenges. I’ve always found that the key to tough situations is to exercise empathy and compassion combined with a good dose of straight talk, and I knew that my approach was a good fit with the rest of CommCore’s team.

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