Our blog series honoring some of the notable women at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for Women’s History Month continue with Assistant Director of Communications Dayle Zatlin.
Dayle Zatlin first tested the waters in energy working in the Energy Group at Arthur D. Little, a consulting firm, between receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in political science and French at Indiana University at Bloomington and her Master’s Degree in Journalism at American University. She also spent time in Paris, France and was a research assistant in the Ivory Coast. Her first communications job, however, was as a reporter at the Lowell Sun, a daily newspaper in Massachusetts.
What attracted you to the career you have now?
Moving from journalism to public relations/communications is a natural career path. Many reporters and editors do it for a variety of reasons. Between being a reporter and the job I have now at NYSERDA, I spent many years at a public relations agency where I worked with clients in different industries to help them work effectively with media and communicate their messages succinctly and clearly to their target audiences. There was always something new for me to learn, and I gained a little knowledge about many areas of the economy. In my current job, I am able to delve deeper into one area – energy – an area that is critically important to the future of the earth.
What has been your greatest career accomplishment to date?
It’s hard to say. I suppose it was when – at a former employer – I managed to keep an executive whose family member was involved in a scandal out of a news story that was picked up by media nationally and internationally.
Who is your role model in your professional life?
I don’t have a particular role model right now, although I’ve had several wonderful mentors during my career.
What is the biggest challenge facing women in your field, and how can they rise above it?
Women have come a long way since I entered the workforce, but I think that finding balance in life is still a big challenge. The only way to “have it all” is to be able to set your priorities in a way that works for you individually. It’s absolutely possible to have a very interesting career and a healthy, happy family life, but it isn’t easy in certain professions that demand long hours.
What is one piece of advice you’d give a young woman looking to get in to a similar profession?
Anyone interested in going into Communications would benefit from first working in the media for a few years. With the right editor, work as a reporter can teach you how to meet deadlines, write quickly and compellingly, ask good questions and understand that any issue can be viewed in multiple ways. It also helps you understand how media work and how to work with them. It’s a wonderful training ground for many careers, including the one I’m in now.
What has been your favorite vacation so far, and why?
I have been fortunate to have visited many countries, but my favorite vacation was to the south of Spain. Every city and town was steeped in history, art and architecture. There was beauty everywhere – both natural and man-made – and a sense of being in a world where people of different cultures, religions and backgrounds had all left pieces of themselves that have been respected and preserved by those who came after them.