In commemoration of March as National Women’s Month, we found some time to connect with five leaders here at Hillard Heintze who are women and asked them about their perspective on their careers and their views on women and their role in advancing our purpose: protecting what matters here in the U.S. and worldwide.
Vicky Froderman is Vice President of Communications at Hillard Heintze. In this role, she is responsible for rigorously ensuring that our external client communications and marketing collateral reflect and convey the firm’s mission and values – placing considerable importance on the value of visual impact, clarity and attention to detail. She oversees the creative development team and its focus on presentations, brand and identity, content curation and design concept development and execution.
What led you to a career in business communications, Vicky?
As a college graduate, there was no preset trajectory for launching my career. I had a double major in English and Psychology. A business minor (a few years later, I added an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management). A strong desire to teach and a long list of interests. Business communications drew me in because I realized it checked all of the boxes. It calls for great writing, of course, but there’s more to it. You need to understand the wants, needs and motivations of an audience. Align business goals to key messaging. And, this can be the most rewarding part, educate the person on the receiving end of a brochure, presentation, training tool or any informational piece on important – in our business, potentially life-saving – topics.
How would you describe your professional background?
I got my start in business-to-business publishing, working my way up to Director of Marketing Communications. Then I set off on my own, running a boutique advertising, marketing and design business, along with a creative partner. We served a wide range of clients with different needs and budgets. That experience – working with large, medium and small businesses across various industries – is very relevant to the work I do for Hillard Heintze. It allows me to bring both an outside-in and inside-out perspective to our communications. I was introduced to Arnette Heintze back in 2004 when the firm was just starting out. I was excited to join in and could envision then where we are now.
What do you love most about your job?
There’s not just one particular thing I like about my job – and that’s why I love it. My work for Hillard Heintze over the past 10 years (I can’t believe it’s been that long already) has never followed a daily routine. I am in constant motion – shifting between the business and creative side to balance strategic priorities across the whole firm. That means I get to collaborate and connect with a wide variety of super bright, engaging people across multiple disciplines. Doing important and meaningful work for a diverse mix of clients.
What accomplishments are you most proud of during your time with Hillard Heintze?
That’s a big ask. I was employee number 5 in what is now approaching 60 employees, so that covers a lot of territory. I’ll focus on what we have done most recently. To be clear, I’m not using “the royal we.” Everything good that happens here is a team effort. I’ve been fortunate to play an integral role in developing content for our Threat + Violence Risk Management practice. That’s a strong source of pride because we are truly helping people and potentially saving lives. We also take great care to maintain the highest standards in the way we project our verbal and visual brand. It’s rewarding to see the results of my leadership in this effort on display across every touchpoint.
What is your most valuable skillset?
Flexibility. If you need it, I can get it done – or find the right person to help make it happen. I understand the business as a whole. I can quickly shift from the tactical responsibilities of project management and execution across an integrated engine to a creative mindset that transforms words and pictures into effective communications. I guide our writers, focus our designers and collaborate with our subject-matter experts to bring clarity and meaning to every form of communication we put out.
What advice do you have for young women first starting out in their careers?
Hold your values under all circumstances and find a job and company that is deeply committed to the same principles and beliefs. For me, that includes finding a balance between family and work. I have two daughters and I feel good knowing that I have shown them you can be both a devoted parent and a successful business leader. I work remotely most days from my dedicated home office. That’s a definite win-win situation. I can be immersed in work without distractions from the office, aware of my girl’s daily activities. They get an up-close-and-personal view of the challenges and rewards of being a female executive doing very important work.