Member Spotlight

PRSA CT has launched an initiative to help you get to know our members better. On this page, you can find stories of varied backgrounds, experiences, and personalities that together form the unique community of PRSA CT. We encourage you to connect with them. We couldn’t be more proud of our members and all they have to offer.

Joan Huwiler 

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Joan Huwiler, July 2020

PRSA CT Board of Director, Chair of the Membership & Communication Committee, and Director of Communications at Post University

Daniel Meaney, APR

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Daniel Meaney, July 2020

PRSA CT APR Committee Co-Chair and Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at Connecticut Water Company

Tell us a bit about yourself/your career journey.

Gosh, this question makes me feel old.  I’ve worked for state government, healthcare, utilities (water, gas and electric) and nonprofits, including a national legal advocacy organization. My favorite gigs have been in the nonprofit arena, specifically in the area of philanthropy. I love to tell a good “people” story.

 

Even after all these years, I still get a rush when I see a story idea pitched get media coverage.  Today, I am the Director of Communications at Post University in Waterbury.  Post is the second largest college in the state with over 12,000 students. 

 

What attracted you to PRSA?

When Derek Beere called me to ask if I would be interested in joining the Board, I was humbled. I value the role of communications and know first had how good public relations can impact an organization.  I got involved in PRSA CT for opportunity to network with professionals and encourage the next generations of PR practitioners to join the chapter. 

 

What motivates you to get up in the morning?

My 5:15 a.m. class at Orange Theory Fitness. The 60-minutes of running, rowing and lifting is my time.  Clears my head so I can focus on the day ahead.

 

What advice would you give to a student entering the profession?

Find a mentor who will help you in your career and challenge you. Remember internships are a great way to build experience.  When I was a college student, I had two internships. My most memorable moments from those internships were the projects that were assigned to me. Those projects allowed me to begin to build a portfolio of work that helped me as I entered the workforce.

 

Anything you are reading now? 
Obama’s book -- A Promise Land and another book by Sandi Shelton. She writes under the pen name of Maddie Dawson.  She’s a former news reporter. Great characters in her books. 

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Joan Huwiler can be reached at jhuwiler@post.edu.

Tell us a bit about yourself/your career journey.

Dan Meaney, APR, Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for the Connecticut Water Company. Started at Connecticut Water in 1994 as a Public Affairs Associate. Before that, I was the Recycling Coordinator for the Town of Enfield, and prior to that was a TV and radio news and traffic reporter in New England, Missouri, and Indiana. BS from Emerson College and Masters from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

What attracted you to pursue APR accreditation?

There were a few reasons. I work with PE’s (Professional Engineers) and CPA’s (Certified Public Accountants) and wanted to put myself on a similar professional footing and show my dedication to my profession by earning accreditation. I came into public relations through radio and television news and traffic reporting and did not have the same broad-based foundational knowledge a college PR major would have. Lastly, I was pursuing my Masters at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and had a semester where none of the classes I wanted were available. I wanted to stay in the habit of studying and learning and used that semester to prepare for the APR exam.

 

Anything you are reading or binging right now? 

It’s been out several years, but one of my favorite books is The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown. It profiles a group of seemingly ordinary college boys who, through grit and commitment to each other, overcame personal and financial challenges to compete at the 1936 games. It plays out against the rising tensions in Europe as Hitler’s propaganda machine is in full gear in the run-up to World War II. The layers of this true-story illustrate the power of a team, the complexity of people, and how current events drive attitudes and reactions. I also enjoy anything by Mark Twain.

 

Do you have a favorite quote?

“None of us is as smart as all of us” – Ken Blanchard

(and shamelessly stolen from the Make Me Smart podcast on NPR).

 

What else would you like us to know about you?

I just may be the nicest ‘Meaney’ you’ll meet.

 

What advice would you give to a student entering the profession?

Plan to pursue your APR as soon as you are eligible to do so. Further develop your presentation and people skills, especially if you are not a natural extrovert. The ability to clearly articulate an idea or concept is invaluable.

 

Learn to use humor in meetings and presentations. In my experience, getting people to laugh opens them up and makes them more receptive to hear what follows. Be aware of the environment around you (read the room) and read body language. I had a boss who would ask her boss a ‘test question’. Depending on how he answered, she would then decide he would be receptive to the real issue she had on her mind.

 

Take every opportunity to recognize the success of your colleagues and invest the time to learn what they are doing and how they are doing it.

 

Don’t be satisfied with what you know – there is always more to learn. 

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Daniel Meaney, APR, can be reached at Daniel.Meaney@ctwater.com.