Meet a Member: Abigail Cugini
Abigail Cugini is the Internal Communications Manager for Rea & Associates in Ohio. As a Top 100 firm with 400+ employees, internal communications is a priority at her firm to keep employees engaged and informed. Read this month’s Meet a Member to learn more about her firm’s internal communication strategy.
- Name: Abigail Cugini
- Title: Internal Communications Manager
- Years of Experience: 10 years
- College: Walsh University; Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications
- Firm Name: Rea & Associates
- Firm City & State: Headquartered in New Philadelphia, Ohio, and an Ohio-based firm; however, we have 16 office locations nationwide
- Firm Size: Top 100 Firm, around 400 employees strong
- Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Professional Memberships: AAM
- Community Involvement: Canton Symphony Chorus member
- LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/abigail-cugini-20a0b952/
What types of internal communication strategies does your firm employ? We use an omni-channel approach to reach our employees. We leverage multiple channels to ensure our people have the information they need to remain engaged, support their team, and service our clients. Things we communicate include targeted messages to a specific service line, firmwide executive messaging, weekly and monthly newsletters that serve as strategic sources of news, reminders about administrative deadlines in Microsoft Teams, and resources on our intranet, among many other items.
What is the structure of your internal communications department? Currently, our Internal Communications department does not report up to our marketing (practice growth) team. The IC department has a direct line to executive leadership so I can remain informed about what’s happening strategically firmwide. This is important so I can consult on what communications are needed and when, and execute an internal communications plan. We have an internal communications specialist who reports up to me, and I report to our COO.
What have you learned the hard way in regard to internal communication? There will always be a squeaky wheel…someone who has complaints regardless of how well you do your job. Don’t let that discourage you! Consider their feedback and apply it where you can, but then keep moving and have confidence that the work you’re doing is making a difference.
What is a “must know” for new internal communicators? You deserve to have a “seat at the table.” You bring value to the firm’s greatest assets: their people!
What are your special skills? I love to sing! I also love to go antique shopping with my husband, where I can practice the art of negotiation (haha).
What is the biggest benefit you receive from your AAM membership? The biggest benefit is the ability to seek advice from seasoned experts when you’re looking to try something new. Odds are that someone else has done it before, and they can share best practices.
Share one internal communications tip. Just get started! Whether that’s with a newsletter or your intranet or somewhere in between, once you get started, your leadership will begin to see the benefits of internal communications at your firm.
What do you feel is the biggest issue is facing accounting marketers today with internal communication? The lack of support at the top. I’m lucky to work at a great firm with leadership that supports the essential function of internal communications. However, I know this isn’t the case everywhere, and it can be discouraging to not have the support – or information — you need to do your job.
What would you be doing if you had not become a marketer? I’d likely be an English teacher.
What is the biggest project you are working on right now? We’re revamping our current intranet. We’re in the research call phase now, but this will be a huge project that will impact every person in the firm.
If you had an unlimited budget, what is one thing you would implement immediately? I’d grow my team!
What books have you read recently that you feel would be beneficial to other AAM members? This isn’t a book, but I love to explore Poppulo. They conduct really insightful research and produce how-to guides, industry benchmarks, and whitepapers to help internal communicators.