On Monday, September 19, 2011, the SMGT 466 (Sport Public Relations) class had the privilege of being visited by two leaders in their field, Lori Ginsburg and Dan D’Armond, to discuss the importance of community relations in both sports businesses and corporations.
Ginsberg currently works for the Houston Dynamo and serves as the Dynamo Charities director. D’Armond works for BMC Software as the Community and Government Relations Director, covering the corporate headquarters in Houston as well as company sites around the globe. While Ginsberg worked her way up through the traditional non-profit sector, D’Armond gained years of experience working in Public Relations for the likes of the George H.W. Bush’s 1988 Presidential Campaign and one of the largest PR firms in the world, Edelman.
D’Armond’s role at BMC involves finding opportunities to get the employees involved that not only support their hometown, but are also meaningful to BMC. He said, “At the end of the day, we could just write a check, but we want to do more than that. We want to find opportunities for our employees to get out of the office and give BMC a connection to the community.”
Ginsberg’s role with the Houston Dynamo includes matching their most valuable resource, the members of their soccer team, with initiatives that support the local community. The members of the Dynamo are known for their extensive work in the Houston community, and as D’Armond said, “They just get it.” This is in large part due to Ginsberg’s efforts to find initiatives that each player can really become passionate about.
D’Armond and Ginsberg had an opportunity to work together on a project with a star player of the Houston Dynamo, Brian Ching. BMC Software was one of the supporters of “The House That Ching Built,” a fundraising event that partnered with Habitat for Humanity and raised $75,000 to build a home for a family living in Houston. BMC Software employees were given the opportunity to help construct the home during one of the build days, and both Ginsberg and D’Armond were pleased with the success of the project.
Thanks in large part to D’Armond and Ginsberg’s visit, the students learned that to many companies and professional sports teams alike, community relations is about more than getting a name out there- it’s about finding issues that employees are passionate about and are willing to put in the work to gain respect and make a difference in their communities.