Why Punch’s Dena Gouweloos loves Google tools

This PR pro recommends checking in on yourself, as well as your team, and leaning on technology to get your biggest tasks completed. 

How do you see the PR industry changing?

Dena Gouweloos, director of public relations for Punch Canada, says she foresees a morphing relationship between influencers and the PR industry. Will the tactic have longevity? Will podcasts become an essential tool for every organization?

She shared her thoughts about the industry and how she manages her hectic schedule in the latest in our Day in the Life series.

Here’s what she had to say:

  1. What time do you wake up?

I wake up between 7 and 7:30 a.m., after hitting snooze for a minimum of 20 minutes.

  1. How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?

At least two, if not three—either a shot of espresso or a quick cup in the French press before I leave the house, plus another once I get to work. If it’s a heavy day, an afternoon pick-me-up is usually in the cards.

  1. Who is the most important person at work you talk to during your day?

Everyone is important. I try to check in every day with each team member to ensure we’re all doing well and working towards the same goal.

If it must be only one person, it would be me. I regularly check in with myself to see what I need to shuffle and reprioritize based on client and team requirements and urgent tasks that inevitably come up. It also helps to keep things balanced mentally—if I can tell I’m getting burnt out, I can switch tasks and delegate urgent items to ensure I can make my day the most efficient it can be.

  1. What’s one tool that you couldn’t live without?

Google Docs. Internet-based, sharable documents and spreadsheets have made keeping clients and team members up to date has become a breeze (as long as they remember where the link is).

  1. What’s the last thing you do before finishing your workday?

After finishing everything I can, I’ll take a look at my agenda and prioritize the next day’s activities. If there’s anything urgent I haven’t gotten to that day, I’ll either send myself the files to complete the task from home, or I’ll bump it up to be the first thing on the docket for the next morning so I can hit the ground running.

  1. What keeps you up at night?

My cat, Margaret Thatcher, playing with the blinds (her new favorite toy). Other things that keep me up include problem-solving work issues, mentally planning my wedding, concerns about the ever-shifting media landscape in Canada, and your average midnight existential thoughts.

  1. What trend or change is the next big thing in communications and/or your industry?

Podcasts offer a huge new editorial platform for brands. I also think that push notifications and AI/programmatic targeting will start to change how media interact with their readers, which could make for some interesting opportunities for brands to curate content to target specific demographics (e.g., custom newsletters with different editorial links, based on preferences).

On a more high-level note, I’ve always been curious about where the industry’s relationship with social media influencers is heading. Though some influencers still create an authentic bridge between brands and their consumers, I think both sides are becoming somewhat jaded to Instagram #ad posts. The industry will need a new solution, or at least a new way of measuring campaign effectiveness.

  1. Anything else you want to share?

My motto in life has been—and always will be—to “manage expectations.” Effective communications only happen when everyone is on the same page, whether you’re managing a client’s expectations on deadlines and KPIs, or a team member’s expectations in their role and responsibilities. Most importantly, manage your own. Set the bar high for yourself, but make sure to allow yourself some freedom to make mistakes, learn and, ultimately, grow.


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