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Taking Risks: Stephen Loudermilk of LexisNexis on Tech and Communications

May 1, 2015

Stephen Loudermilk
Stephen Loudermilk

“Since I had a passion for sports and writing, I always wanted to be a sports reporter for the Hartford Courant or The Boston Globe,” says Stephen Loudermilk of his dream job as a child. Today, he’s the global director of media and analyst relations at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, but still finds time to play soccer, take photographs and watch his kids play sports in his downtime.

He is responsible for creating and executing communications strategy for the company via key influencers through various traditional and social media channels. Loudermilk is also in charge of developing corporate reputation and CSR programs, reputation management strategies and dashboard reporting and metrics to elevate the company’s brand and share of voice in the market.

Prior to joining LexisNexis, he worked at Alcatel-Lucent, Lucent and Avaya for 15 years. He also served as a breaking news reporter for eWeek and LAN TIMES early in his career.

Loudermilk is a senior member of PRSA’s Georgia Chapter, was a former Board member of the Southeast District and currently serves as the immediate past chair of the National’s Technology Section and co-chair of the Section Council. He is also vice chairman of marketing for the MIT Enterprise Forum and sits on the Board of the Technology Association of Georgia’s Marketing Society.

He graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism in 1991 and now resides in Cumming, Ga., with his wife and two boys. Loudermilk is an active volunteer in Cub Scouts, Little League, his church and other organizations.

How did you get your start in public relations? And how did you come to work for LexisNexis?

I started my career in public relations in 1996 after a five-year stint as a reporter for two trade magazines. AT&T had just spun off Lucent Technologies, the systems and technology division, and the company was looking for someone to lead public relations for its enterprise telecommunications products. I have never looked back!

How would you describe your personal leadership style? Also, what makes a good leader?

I try to add value and insights on the growth of our business — whether it’s leading our team to tell stories better, or developing better strategies for our internal clients that ultimately affect our relationships with key influencers in the media and analyst communities. A good leader is someone who is receptive to listening, then planning and executing on new ideas.

Talk about your role as global director of media and industry analyst relations at LexisNexis.

I have been at LexisNexis for almost four years, leading global public relations for some of our key businesses in government, business services and technology. Whether it’s crisis communications or working on strategic messaging, my job changes on a daily basis.

What are some challenges you face in your day-to-day job?

Juggling different tasks at once can be a major challenge but it’s part of the job of being a PR leader. You can’t sweat the small stuff and you need to take everything in stride.

How important is public relations to LexisNexis and what the company is trying to accomplish?

Public relations is a vital function within my company. Public relations is a vehicle to strength our brand, our reputation and, ultimately, our relationships with regulators, customers, partners, and key influencers in the media and analyst communities.

How does LexisNexis use social media to reach customers and promote the brand?

We use multiple social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus to enhance our engagement level with customers and promote our brand. For example, we just had a Twitter chat on tax fraud that generated more than 100 followers.

 What are you most excited about regarding this year’s Conference in Atlanta?

The fact that it’s in my hometown! Atlanta is a terrific place to have the Conference and I know that PRSA will hold another stellar event with excellent speakers and breakout sessions.

You’ve been a member of PRSA since 2008 and in the PR profession for 19 years. Why do you think it’s important to be involved in organizations that focus on networking and continuing education?

Being a member of PRSA is vitally important to me because it’s the best volunteer organization in the world for professional development, training, networking and leadership. As a Section Council co-chair, the immediate past chair of the Technology Section, a former Board member of the Southeast District and a co-chair for my local Chapter’s Technology Section, I’m looking for ways to connect and share my PR knowledge with like-minded volunteers.

What advice do you have for those looking to break into the technology or media relations sector?

Dive in headfirst, ask a lot of questions and become a strategic part of the organization. Public relations is much more than writing press releases; it’s a function that combines the best of communications, integrated marketing and social media.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“If you strive for excellence in everything you do, then your work will speak for itself.”

What trends do you see on the horizon for public relations?

Big data and predictive analytics being used as tools for measurement standards will be hot. Gone are the days of measuring media hits by quantity only. The new paradigm is measuring the tone and quality of media coverage to provide more insights to your C-level executives or clients.


 

Getting to Know… Stephen Loudermilk

Favorite movie?
“The Natural”

Any three dinner guests, past or present?

George Washington, Babe Ruth and Oprah Winfrey

Best place to travel?
London or Disney World

Amy Jacques

Amy Jacques is the managing editor of publications for PRSA. A native of Greenville, S.C., she holds a master’s degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and a certificate in magazine and website publishing from New York University.

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