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How to Shift from Tactics to Strategy: Q&A with Victoria Dew

This blog post is the first in a series of Q&A conversations with compelling leaders and thinkers in the corporate communications industry. The series focuses on insightful lessons that can help us all become better leaders in whatever professional role we may play.

Effective internal communication is more crucial than ever in today's fast-paced business world. It's no overstatement to say that it’s the glue that holds organizations together, ensuring that everyone works toward a shared goal and fosters a true sense of belonging and camaraderie among employees. And this is where Victoria Dew comes in. As the CEO of Dewpoint Communications, a consulting firm with hubs in California, Boston, and Canada, Victoria is on a mission to help internal communications functions be more strategic and deliver better outcomes.

Victoria Dew, CEO, Dewpoint Communications

Victoria's impact extends far beyond her role at Dewpoint Communications. She is also the lead coach for the Greenhouse IC Brain Trust, a membership community that supports the growth and success of emerging internal communications leaders. Her passion for empowering others and her deep understanding of the human connection have made her a sought-after speaker and thought leader in the communications field.

I had the privilege of meeting Victoria when she was the global chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). As the keynote speaker at our state's annual IABC conference, Victoria captivated the audience with her insights on emotional intelligence and its application in creating greater success in one’s career while lifting up other humans and organizations in the process.

In this interview, we’ll explore Victoria’s insights on the key skills for rising corporate communications leaders, the strategies for showcasing value, and the mindset shift required to create a seat at the table. From the importance of developing abilities beyond traditional communications to the power of assuming your value and helping others understand it, Victoria offers a fresh perspective on how communications leaders can elevate their careersand the success of their organizations.

Q: What skills are becoming increasingly critical for rising corporate communications leaders in this era?

A: With the rise of AI, we will increasingly need people to excel at doing very human-y things.  One of the things we train on a lot in the IC Greenhouse Brain Trust is moving from the point in your communications career where your success is measured by what you do, such as how well you perform a tactic, to “how you be.” What I mean by “how you be” is bringing awareness to your state of mindhow you manage yourself and others, act as a systems thinker, influence without authority, build social capital and connect the dots. I’ll admit that this is hard work, which is why we spend time on it. I think a lot of the skills we see that people need are more about how you perform and how you manage your functional area, more than what we have considered “core communications skills,” because those core skills will increasingly be done by non-human entities.

Q: How do you go about this hard work?

A: We talk a lot about “tactics as currency.” We all have tactics that we have to do in

our jobs. For example, think about: How can I turn this tactical town hall deck into a powerful asset that can build social capital with my stakeholders? On the outside, building a deck looks like a tactic, but by reading my leaders and the challenges they

are trying to overcome, I can turn this tactical deck into something that brings value to everyone. The reason I would spend a lot of time on it is to pack in as much punch as

I can. I’m getting every “bite of the apple” and making it as impactful as possible for

all stakeholders. 

Q: What have you found is the most common universal pain point that communications leaders struggle with?

A: I call it “the myth of being overhead.” Communication professionals (and other corporate functions) have been conditioned to think we are overhead, a cost center, a non-revenue generating area. Whether we realize it or not, over time, we internalize this and start to behave accordingly. However, we have more agency and ability

to shift this perception than we often believe. We talk about “How do we help people understand our worth?” However, the real question is, “How can we showcase our value?” If we assume that our value and worth are already there, our job is to help people understand it better. That’s very differentthat gets you back on the front foot. A lot of things shift when we come from an empowered place of building relationships

and showing people how we deliver value. That is when I see people getting raises, promotions, title changes, and new jobs with big salary increases and bigger budgets. It’s because the communication leader’s approach starts to shift, and that is what is

getting noticed.

Q: What are the strategies you advise to help communications functions have a seat at the table?

A: We hear a lot about wanting a seat at the table. We often invite people to flip that idea a little bit, and we call it “be the table.” Banging on people’s doors to ask to be a part of something perpetuates an unhealthy dynamic. Instead, think about how to create something. Figure out how you can create a place, a way of working, a way of delivering, and a way of adding value that other people in the business want to opt into and become a part of. If they want to become a part of it, it’s because it’s going to make things better for them. It creates a fundamental shift. When we shift our minds in this way, abundance will come.

Readers: Which insight from Victoria hit home the most for you, and how will you put it into action? Let us know in the comments; we'd love to hear your game plan!


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