How Donna LaVoie is trying to shrink screen time

PR pros are trying to find long-term solutions for WFH and remote collaboration. Here’s how one agency leader sees the future of the industry.


Are you trying to cut down on your time spent on Zoom and video conferencing?

Donna L. LaVoie, president and CEO of LaVoie Health Science, has been trying to reduce the amount of time she spends on screens, though she says she still spends about half of her day doing video chats.

We caught up with her for our “Day in the Life” series to see how she and her colleagues are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s what she had to say:

1. How much coffee do you drink during a day?

LaVoie: I only drink tea – tea lattes are my favorite. I am a bit particular about how they are made — one English breakfast tea bag, skim milk steamed, three pumps of sugar free vanilla.

2. Who is the most important person you talk to every day?

LaVoie: Other than my husband, mom and daughter with whom I speak daily, my chief operations officer is someone I can’t miss speaking with daily.

3. How much of your day is spent on Zoom calls?

LaVoie: I am trying to ween myself off the Zoom/Teams calls. At the beginning of the pandemic it was 8-9 hours. Now, it’s about half of my day.

4. What’s a tool you couldn’t live without right now?

LaVoie: Teams is key. We’re in an Office 365 environment, so a calendar invite with a quick hit of the button on Teams Meeting makes life easy.

5. What’s been the biggest change you’ve faced since the pandemic started?

LaVoie: I thrive on energy from others; being in front of our team and clients — being part of the health and science ecosystem. I have to work harder working remotely and leading without the benefit of reading people’s vibes. Being in the room is so critical to understanding where people are at.

6. Are you still working from home? If so, what’s been your favorite part of WFH?

LaVoie: I am working from home right now one or two days per week. I enjoy the benefit of removing the daily commute and getting to my workouts with more flexibility. That said, there are definitely tradeoffs from a business perspective.

7. What’s your No.1 message to clients, co-workers or employees for the rest of 2020?

LaVoie: Be careful, be safe and be true to yourself. This is an important time to innovate and to set ourselves up for how to engage and re-invent the services model for the future. Clients need to engage and lean into non-traditional approaches to communication along with their tried and true.

8. What makes you hopeful about the future of PR? Any big predictions for 2021?

LaVoie: Leading an agency which specializes in health and science innovation makes me very hopeful about our agency’s and society’s future. Innovation is leading and making big advances in the way we deliver health care. These advances in 2021, should translate into meaningful benefits for mankind globally for COVID-19 and beyond.



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