How Kimberly Kane sought employee input on return to work

The agency leader says that workers have embraced a hybrid model, coming into the office several days a week. But her most important meeting every day is with her daughter.


Over the last several months, there has been a marked change in answers to our questions about a day in the life of a PR pro.

Before the pandemic, many pros would say their team or clients were the most important people they spoke to every day. Now, the answer is often a family member, spouse or child.

Perhaps all this family time is the silver-lining to the COVID-19 crisis?

For Kimberly Kane, president and CEO with the Kane Communications Group, that special person is her 13-yer-old daughter Evelyn, or “Ev.”

Here’s how Kane navigates her new workflow during the global pandemic and WFH:

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

Kane: Just a couple of cups. I get my jolt from 10 tall glasses of ice water every day.

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

Kane: My 13-year-old daughter, Evelyn. Running a company as the mom of four is a constant juggling act. It’s so easy to put work first when you love the work you do. Checking in with Ev keeps me grounded (in so many ways!), and it helps ensure I keep everything about my life in perspective.

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

Kane: I spend about 40% of my time on Zoom calls.

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

Kane: I couldn’t live without my Apple Watch. Hours melt together these days with client meetings, team meetings, crisis management and projects to move forward. I find myself holding my breath just to power through to the next task. Love the settings on the watch that remind me to stand up, walk around and breathe!

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

Kane: We’ve experienced multiple changes since the pandemic started. I’d say the biggest has been how we think about our business and what we want our business to stand for. The pandemic exposed tragic gaps in our system and in our societies, gaps that put people and generations at terrible risk. I believe we all need to recognize these gaps and evaluate how we can play a role in addressing them.

Today, our creative team is taking Kane through a rebrand. We’re integrating U.N. sustainable development goals (SDGs) into our business practices; we’re taking steps to become certified as a B-corp; we’re partnering with organizations to develop an apprenticeship program that will introduce diverse high school students to careers in marketing and PR; and we will be integrating this kind of social responsibility into the services we offer to our clients.

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

Kane: We surveyed our employees in April and developed our return to office strategy based on what they told us, as well as on current best practices. We all enjoy working together, so we gave employees the choice to come back to the office two days a week or continue working from home. So far, team members have really embraced having that choice and the opportunity to come back just a few days a week. The best part of working from home: spending more time with my family and working out every day.

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

Kane: My number one message is to lean in and be part of the change. Focus on solutions.

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

Kane: PR is the conscience of a company, and this is a critical time for companies to have a conscience. I’ve read multiple articles, surveys and reports over the past few months, including the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Reports, on COVID-19 that demonstrate how the pandemic has reframed consumer relationships with brands.

Consumers have much higher expectations for companies and their leaders today. Ethical treatment of employees and customers is highlighted as extremely important as well as social responsibility. I predict that in 2020 more companies and their leaders will reflect on their values and what they stand for. They’ll need to turn to PR to help them dig deep, have honest conversations and activate authentic and socially responsible business practices.


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