North Star Communications Consultancy is a consultancy with core capabilities in communications talent development, as well as in employee/change communications strategy. It has provided communications consulting services to a string of prestigious clients over the years. We learn more from Founder and President, Mark Dollins, about his twinkling career to date and the reasons behind the firm’s latest win in the 2023 Global Excellence Awards.
Founded in 2011, North Star Communications Consulting (North Star) specialises in creating and executing strategies to keep employees engaged through change, whilst articulating and evaluating competencies and creating development plans to close talent gaps. On top of all this, the firm also offers coaching and training tailored to fit both individual and team needs.
With change management communications, North Star develops and deploys leader and employee engagement strategies that deliver measurable returns, and which are connected to business metrics that matter. With talent development, from identification of marketing and communications competencies to deploying assessment tools, change management and coaching for individuals and teams, North Star is uniquely positioned to drive successful talent management capabilities.
“The combination of insightful strategy, creative storytelling and metrics-driven communications programming is a powerful, unusual blend of art and science that yields innovative business performance in out-of-the ordinary ways,” explains Mark Dollins, the firm’s Founder and President. “Our values have remained a fixed as the name we chose for our firm: we honor our own North Star. We believe in listening first, delivering solutions that work, measuring what matters to our clients, and honouring our commitments as we strive to make the workplace better than it was before we partnered with our customers.”
Mark has been where the firm’s clients work today. As a 35-year corporate communications leader, including holding chief communication roles at some of the world’s largest companies, he understands how good communication can deliver results.
Mark began his career in broadcast and print journalism, working with ABC News and other print news outlets. He currently serves on the national advisory council of George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, served for eight years on LSU’s journalism advisory board for the Manship School of Communications, and holds a seat on The Conference Board’s Change & Transformation Council.
He received a bachelor’s degree in Radio/TV from The George Washington University, and a master’s degree in organizational communications from Purdue University.
Mark previously spent 17 years in executive communication leadership roles with PepsiCo. He was SVP and Chief Communications Officer at Pepsi Beverages and PepsiCo Americas Foods, and SVP of global internal communications, among other senior corporate roles. He led communications for PepsiCo’s 2011 acquisition of its anchor bottlers and ran merger communications for PepsiCo’s acquisition of The Quaker Oats Company, where he was VP of Corporate Communications. While at Quaker, he led both Corporate Communications and brand communications for Quaker, Life and Cap’n Crunch cereals, Aunt Jemima syrups and mixes, Rice-A-Roni, Gatorade, and Tropicana juices. He also led corporate public relations, internal communications, government affairs, philanthropy, and community relations.
From strategy to resources, competing priorities to disruptive and competitive marketplace forces, he understands the challenges that clients face because he’s literally been in their roles. Mark’s ability to coach and teach further strengthens his ability to partner with clients to develop and deliver solutions that matter.
“We’re laser focused on results that matter,” he enthuses. “We move far beyond outputs and focus on delivering outcomes. Change is never-ending in the business world, and communication is central to every successful change management effort. From mergers and acquisitions to digital transformation and cultural change, organisations need both strategies that engage the right internal stakeholders and creative solutions that engage heads hearts and hands of the people they employ. That’s where North Star shines.”
As the author of the first full-semester college textbook on Engaging Employees Through Strategic Communication and an adjunct professor at one of the world’s leading Journalism schools, he has deep, proven skill sets that allow North Star to fully understand the unique needs of his clients in driving employee engagement.
Today, North Star’s clients range from Consumer Goods (Signet Jewelers, owners of Kay, Zales and Jared brands) and helping develop communications talent and supporting its Chief Communications Officer; the Pittsburgh International Airport and its transformation efforts (building a new terminal, engaging workforce on change journey); Raytheon Technologies (re-defining critical internal communication tools, processes, competencies); and the Responsible Jewellery Council (London- focused on driving communications that shape member understanding of the organization’s global sustainability efforts).
“Each of these clients has unique needs that requires identifying best practices, emerging communication technologies and strategic counsel,” Mark elaborates. Drawing from one of the chapters in my new book, there is a chapter on emerging technologies, such as AI and its impact on employee communications. I’ve begun new research to understand what these new technologies can do, and how they can best support my clients, who are always looking to work smarter with the resources they have. AI will give them the opportunity to explore doing that.”
Having recently gained recognition in the AI Global Excellence Awards 2023 and being bestowed with the prestigious accolade of Best Business Communications Consultancy 2023 – Northeast USA, Mark and his dedicated team strongly believe that no other consultancy in the industry has the unique, blended experience of strategically running and advising local, regional, national and global employee communication and engagement functions; no other consultancy in the industry has led and/or counselled employee change and engagement communications for the largest mergers in history (Dow/DuPont and Raytheon/United Technologies Corporation); no other consultancy has developed the unique approach to marketing and communications competency development and assessment that North Star has; and no other consultancy has the research and academic partnerships that North Star has – resulting in first-ever published text books focused on employee engagement and communications.
And now, looking to the future, Mark has clear plans of where he wants to be with North Star over the next five years.
“Through our connections and partnerships with clients, universities and business schools, we will continue to explore emerging technologies, trends and their impact on employee engagement. From AI to block chain, remote working trends to cultural and digital transformation, we will provide new and future value through insights and anticipatory solutions for our clients and industry.
“We believe that’s what true leadership is: to be on the cutting edge of new, meaningful insights and act on them in ways that deliver measurable performance.
“We all can use a North Star from time to time – a strong, established guide to help us navigate challenging conditions and complex change.”
For further informatio, please contact Mark Dollins or visit www.northstarcomms.com