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DRiWaterstone Candidate Stories: Dorry Levine Shares Insights on Strategic Communication and Impactful Campaigns

We recently connected with Dorry Levine, who we helped place as the Managing Director of Strategy at Hattaway Communications. In our conversation, Dorry shared insights into her role and the agency’s approach to storytelling. She sheds light on the dynamic landscape of strategic communication, including its impact on policy, and shares some great advice for candidates in today’s job market, among other topics.

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DRiWaterstone (DRiW): Can you tell me about Hattaway Communications?  

Dorry Levine (DL): Hattaway Communications is a full-service communications agency. We work at the intersection of strategy, science, and storytelling, working together to communicate with maximum motivating power. We draw on the art and science of Aspirational Communication to create communications that inspire and engage people.  

Achieving impact begins with clear goal setting and strategic focus. Research delivers audience insights that help frame your cause and engage your audiences.  
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We then craft an Aspirational Narrative that provides a strategic framework for compelling and consistent communications. Our linguists, designers, and storytellers bring the narrative to life with Winning Words, Inspiring Images, and Strategic Stories. 
  
We create breakthrough ideas for meaningful engagement with via social, paid, earned, and owned media, as well as offline activities and experiences. It all works together to drive measurable impact—raising awareness, changing attitudes, and motivating people to take action. 

DRiW: Can you tell me about your role and what you’re responsible for?  

DL: I am the Managing Director of Strategy. I work with many client and project teams to match different communication opportunities to clients’ needs. So, they’ll come, and they have some issue they’re trying to wrestle with and figure out the best ways communications can help them achieve that goal. With some clients, we analyze their internal communications and figure out ways to streamline their processes, build trust and buy-in across their internal communications. With other clients, it’s trying to motivate different target audiences to take all kinds of actions and achieve impact, from attitude or behavior change to real policy wins.  

DRiW: What attracted you to Hattaway Communications and the position?  

DL: What attracted me to Hattaway Communications was the incredible types of clients I work with. We work with mission-driven organizations and individuals. I liked how this was less about trying to get someone’s name out there for news clips and other types of PR and vanity. These organizations and individuals are trying to make a difference in the world to achieve real impact. I was also really motivated by the team at Hattaway—they all had such interesting and varied backgrounds, and I knew I could learn a lot from all of them. I love that I can work across teams, and we can come up with the best solutions for our clients—creative ways of getting ideas into the world.  

DRiW: What projects or initiatives have you worked on that you’ve enjoyed?  

DL: One of my favorites was right when I joined the company. I was working with UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. And Hattaway had been working with Unidos for years to develop an accurate narrative about Latino communities. Now, they wanted to see what this looks like in the world. How could it motivate people on the ground in the real world? I joined Hattaway as we were launching a pilot campaign in Phoenix, Arizona, heading into a contentious senate race. There was a lot of coverage of Latinos, and a lot of the ads covering the airwaves were all just negative and nasty. And we had this campaign that felt like a breath of fresh air that was focusing on Latinos’ contributions and using that to open the door to talk about the barriers they faced. 

To make sure we could measure the difference our campaign was making, we did a pre-pilot and post-pilot survey in the area. And we asked people, “During this time, did you see any ads that Latinos?” And this was Arizona in the Senate campaign—yes, everyone had seen ads about Latinos. Then we asked, “If so, what do you remember about them?” And that’s when they started quoting our ads back to us. They remembered, “You had the firefighter, the essential workers, and the business owners.” Then, we found in our post-pilot survey that the people who had seen the ads were 10 to 15% more likely to strongly agree with our campaign messages about Latino contributions than folks who hadn’t seen the ads at all. Seeing what we could do in a crowded, contentious space in just two months was inspiring. And then ask, where can we take it from here?  

DRiW: Can you describe your experience working with the DRiWaterstone team?  

DL: They were fantastic. They contacted me about this position because of my background in various nonprofit and advocacy roles. Initially, I hesitated, thinking it was a for-profit opportunity that might not align with my values. However, they assured me that the firm was deeply committed to working with mission-driven organizations and that I wouldn’t have to compromise my principles. I appreciated their support during the entire interview process as well.  

DRiW: Do you have any advice for other candidates seeking a job in today’s market?  

DL: Hold out for the right opportunity. Before I had come to this job, I had been presented with other opportunities, and I was wrestling with them. I could see myself in that role, but maybe not for the long term—it could be interesting for a couple of years before I move on to the next challenge. Somebody at DRiWaterstone said, “How badly do you want this? Don’t make a switch unless, on a scale of one to 10, you want this like a nine or a 10. Otherwise, it’s not worth making the switch—wait for the right opportunity.” And I’m so glad I did. 

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At DRiWaterstone, we have the pleasure of working with some of the best clients and candidates in the nonprofit and social impact space. To learn more about how we can help you build high-performance teams and drive growth, email us – we’d love to talk! 

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In the competitive landscape of nonprofit and social impact organizations, attracting and retaining top talent is crucial for achieving meaningful and lasting change for the communities you serve. The hiring process plays a pivotal role in this journey, and keeping candidates engaged is key to securing the best talent for your cause. This blog post will explore tailored strategies to foster candidate engagement during the hiring process.  

Ensure Transparent Communication  

Communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, and the employer-candidate relationship is no exception. Maintain transparency throughout the hiring process by clearly outlining the steps, timeline, and expectations. Keep candidates informed about their progress and provide constructive feedback after each stage. “Candidates feel more engaged when they know that the company respects their time and the work they put into the process,” says Taylor Rhodes, Candidate Stewardship Manager at DRiWaterstone. “Respecting their commitment by keeping them informed of the next steps in the process as soon as possible ensures that they remain interested and involved.”  

Emphasize Organizational Mission and Impact  

Nonprofit and social impact organizations often attract individuals passionate about making a difference. Tap into this by regularly communicating your organization's mission, values, and impact. Share success stories, highlight the difference your team is making, and the meaningful projects candidates could contribute to. This approach helps candidates connect emotionally with the organization, making them more likely to stay engaged throughout the hiring process.  

Keep the Interview Timeline Tight 

In a competitive landscape, top candidates are often sought after by multiple employers, and a swift interview process can be a decisive factor in securing their commitment to your organization. Streamlining the interview process by scheduling consecutive interviews as close together as possible can be beneficial for several reasons. First, it reflects a sense of urgency and commitment to the hiring process, demonstrating to candidates that their time and efforts are valued. And second, a rapid progression through the interview stages helps to keep the momentum going and prevents candidates from losing interest, exploring alternative opportunities, or committing to competing organizations.  

Deliver a Personalized Experience 

Tailor the hiring experience to each individual candidate. Recognize their unique skills, experiences, and aspirations, and take the time to get to know them. Personalized experiences, such as emails or text messages, show candidates that you value them as individuals and are interested in having them join your team. “Each candidate has their own reasons for applying to a position, and taking the time to understand that reason allows you to engage with them where they are. Not everyone will be interested in the same aspects of the position, and you will get more from your interview process if you respect that,” says Rhodes. This level of attention can significantly enhance their engagement and commitment to the opportunity at hand.  

Provide Feedback  

Incorporate a feedback loop that allows candidates to express their thoughts, ask questions, and share any concerns about the role or the hiring process. Collect feedback after each interview stage to continuously refine and improve your process. This demonstrates your commitment to creating a positive candidate experience, gives the candidate some insight into the type of organization they would be joining if successful, and reinforces the importance of transparent, open communication.  

Partner With Us for Your Next Executive Search.  

For over 20 years, we have been dedicated to matching mission and purpose-driven organizations with top purpose-driven candidates. Our team of experts has developed an extensive network and knowledge of the nonprofit and social impact sectors, and we excel in helping our clients find the best possible talent to support their growth and performance goals.  

Let's start a conversation—contact us today to talk to one of our dedicated team members. 

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