There’s no “I” in “Team” – or “Southlake,” for that matter. This philosophy is rooted in humility, service, and selflessness, and is a key reason that the City of Southlake’s communications teams earned recognition at the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers (TAMIO) conference this summer.
When it comes to promoting transparency, keeping the public up to date on pertinent information, and maintaining connection with citizens, communication is key. And a lot goes on in a City like Southlake. With so many moving parts, interdepartmental teamwork is necessary to ensure citizens receive the timely and efficient communication they deserve.
Many City of Southlake team members’ hands touched each project that was honored at the 2023 TAMIO Conference, especially the campaigns for the 2023 Winter Weather Communications and the 2022 Fire Annual Report. From the Office of Communications and Customer Experience (OCCE) to the Departments of Public Safety and Public Works, transparent and effective publications can only happen with a team committed to excellence – and dedicated to teamwork.
2023 Winter Weather Communications
When winter weather hit earlier this year, the OCCE, DPS, Public Works, the Library, and Community Services pooled resources and manpower to keep residents informed while snuggled indoors. These efforts earned the City a TAMI Award in the “Best Social Media Campaign (Unplanned)” category.
The winter weather campaign was truly an all-mittens-on-deck effort, with every employee becoming a communication professional as snow and ice took over the streets of Southlake. The TAMI award encompasses the cross-departmental efforts that allowed efficient communication to happen, including over 60 social media posts.
While City staff managed more than 120 customer service calls and the Public Works department spent over 117 hours plowing and sanding streets and intersections, constant inter-departmental updates on current conditions ensured the communications teams had accurate information to push out to residents.
During these efforts, Public Works personnel, including Director Rob Cohen, sent photos and videos of road conditions and sanding operations. These were used on the City’s Facebook and DPS pages to assure residents that emergency response teams were on the job!
“The Protect Southlake team always has a laser focus on safety in these situations,” said Pilar Schank, Director of Communications. “We use images and information to tell people about changing conditions, where they can turn to for help, and when appropriate, make people laugh.”
While Southlake citizens were stuck inside, departments like the Library and Community Services made staying indoors fun with their ideas for arts and crafts, getting an at-home workout done, or curling up with one of Director of Library Services Cynthia Pfledderer’s favorite books.
These joint efforts allowed communications teams to push out news alerts on the City’s website and MySouthlakeNews, photo and video updates from the Mayor and City Staff, funny yet informative content from Southlake DPS, and more. At the end of the day, the winter storm was no match for the collaboration of the communications teams.
2022 Fire Annual Report
Additionally, the City of Southlake received an Award of Excellence for their publication of the 2022 Fire Annual Report in the “Reports for Population Under 75,000” category.
To build this report, the Office of Communications and Customer Experience (OCCE), in collaboration with the Southlake Department of Public Safety, collated a wide range of statistics to show how our Fire personnel outperformed national benchmarks and demonstrated why they remain an ISO Class 1 department.
This document contains a wealth of knowledge about the department’s structure, public education opportunities, and financial stability, among many other topics. The report also contains an exclusive collection of photos captured by Southlake DPS and the OCCE, both on-and-off the scene.
“Each of us brings a piece to the table when creating this report,” Amanda Meneses, Emergency Manager, said. “We strive to live by our mission of “Providing World-Class Service,” and this report lets us highlight the many things we do to carry out that mission.”
These communication projects are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to living out the value of teamwork. In times of crisis or clarity, City Staff band together to get the job done, all in the name of providing high-quality, world-class service for Southlake citizens – but winning a few awards isn’t too shabby, either.
Check out Some of the City’s TAMIO Award-Winning Social Media Accounts and Follow Along for Updates!