My name is Lauren Oakley.
I was born and raised in a small town 30 miles east of Dallas, Terrell, Texas. I took a broadcast journalism class during high school and loved it, which sparked my interest in a career path for the first time. So, I applied to the University of Texas at Austin since it had one of the top journalism schools in the nation.
I got accepted. HOOK ‘EM. August 2005 rolled around, and for the first time in my life, I moved away from my small town of Terrell, where I knew everyone, to a college town where I knew no one. It was scary at first but ended up being fantastic. I believe actual growth happens when you can take a step out of your comfort zone.
After three years of living college life, my senior year finally came around, and it was time to start making plans for after graduation. Our professors often guest speakers from nationally known publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post during my senior-level journalism classes. Sadly, the one piece of advice for students was to GET OUT OF JOURNALISM because it was a dying profession due to crowdsourcing. Also, these speakers would often say that journalism is underpaid and underappreciated. Even though I had three unpaid journalism internships under my belt (daily newspaper, NBC, and a travel magazine), I began to rethink my career goals.
I began to learn about virtual storytelling in some of my multimedia classes. I became familiar with graphic design, website design and development, audio and video production, and animation. This is what first sparked my interest in technology and multimedia design.
So before graduating, I landed a paid internship for a lobbying firm doing multimedia, graphic design, and video projects, which eventually morphed into a contracted full-time position post-graduation. Everything was great, but the rent was still ridiculous. Living in Austin, Texas, is very expensive, so I began to apply for any part-time work I could find to supplement my income and my full-time position. That’s when I saw a part-time administrative assistant role at the Texas Academy of General Dentistry (TAGD), and alas, my association career began.
In 2009, I started working part-time as an administrative assistant at TAGD and was soon promoted to full-time employment and a title change to Communications Coordinator. During that time, I also picked up contract work for other associations doing member services, design, marketing, and social media to supplement my income. In 2011, I was offered a position at the Texas Dental Association (TDA) as a Publications Coordinator. There, I learned even more about the healthcare and dental industry and how associations work. After living in Austin for almost ten years, I eventually decided that I was ready to move back to the Dallas area to be closer to my family, but not before finding a job, of course. In January 2014, I was offered a position at the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP) as a Communications Specialist. I was soon promoted to Web Manager and then to Associate Director of Communications and Technology.
During my association career, I have acquired extensive experience in technology strategy and management, digital communications and marketing, social media, graphic design, multimedia production, writing, editing, project management, website design and development, as well as management and integration of eCommerce systems, communities, CRM database platforms, registration systems, Microsoft 365 admin, Adobe teams and information technology software.
In 2017, I earned a Master of Science at the University of Denver in Information Communications and Technology, focusing on website design, development, and project management.
From my master’s program, I’ve gained the ability to create interactive, web-based applications that support the demands of contemporary e-business processes. I’m also proficient in using project management software and understand how to develop a clear plan that fits within the context of an organization’s strategic vision. I also know how to apply tools and techniques for effective project management while working with practical, hands-on case studies.
My objective is to be a part of an innovative organization where my desire and drive to grow within my field of expertise are rewarded and nurtured in a challenging environment. I am looking for a company or association with a great culture and outstanding reputation and need my skills and experience for decades to come. I want a director position for the next step in my career.
Associate Director of Communications & Technology
National Association of Dental Plans (NADP)
2014 – Present • Dallas
- Develop, implement, and evaluate a cohesive mission-aligned digital, technology and data strategy for the organization.
- Provide direction and management for all technology across the organization, including tools, project management, internal communications, databases and infrastructure.
- Actively participate in business development to assess opportunities and continually evaluate new technologies and trends to increase business results.
- Manage and maintain CRM / AMS membership database and implement into other digital platforms.
- New employee training and onboarding.
- Collaborate with programs, communications, and administration departments in guiding day-to-day website, technology and data operations.
- Manage a digital/technology budget and resource allocation, including management of consultants and staff, if applicable.
- Responsible for the practices, administration, policies, controls, compliance and standards by working with company IT vendor to ensure security and consistency of IT systems, including websites, email security, networks, firewalls, virus protection and software applications.
- Collect data and analyze processes to provide business intelligence information to management, including identifying actionable insights from website, CRMs, and program and membership databases.
- Maintain, design, or build all websites and digital platforms with authoring or scripting languages, content creation tools, management tools, and digital media.
- Optimize website exposure by analyzing search engine patterns to direct online placement of keywords or other content.
- Implement online user processes to ensure positive and consistent user experiences.
- Write, design, or edit web page content, or direct others producing content.
- Engage, train, and educate staff in content management best practices.
- Execute all web-based content updates.
- Implement internal processes with the Director of Communications to forecast scheduling, outline project tasks, timeline and resources, identify barriers hindering effectiveness and provide solutions for website and web-related external communications.
Marketing and Communications
- Develop unique marketing ideas and campaigns to promote NADP membership recruitment, registration for events, webinars, and research report sales.
- Staff liaison for the association’s Communication Committee which develops, directs, and deploys a communications strategy to position the association as the voice and thought leader of the dental benefits industry. Present marketing pitches to the committee and received feedback. Provide explanations for decisions when required and incorporate requested changes.
- Responsible for all social media campaigns, utilizing the platforms to raise brand awareness and recruit members as well as promote upcoming NADP events and webinars.
- Conduct and design all online marketing initiatives, such as paid ad placement, retargeting, affiliate programs, email promotions, or campaigns on social media.
- Press releases and distribution.
- Brand advocacy and awareness.
- Analyzing analytic reports for all NADP campaigns to observe performance and identify trends to tailor communication and marketing efforts accordingly.
- Create and develop videos for events and other needs of the association through Adobe Premier and marketing them across digital platforms and social media accordingly.
- Improve executive and management communications by providing coaching, training, messaging, and developing and implementing standard and consistent communication processes, procedures, materials and tools.
- Collaborate on messaging and communication strategies with public relations, member communications, marketing, and social media teams.
- Influenced and led a variety of change management efforts, including association leadership transition and internal cultural change, by participating on cross-functional teams, drafting communication plans and tools, and providing coaching, training, and messaging.
- Supported and championed re-branding efforts by contributing communications expertise and organizational knowledge in the shaping and development of brand standards, tools and communications, and leadership.
Texas Dental Association (TDA)
2011 – 2013 • Austin
At TDA, I was responsible for advertising sales for the Texas Dental Journal, the longest existing scientific dental journal in the Americas with a readership over 50,000. I also managed all payments for advertising and subscribers for TDA publications. I provided copy editing and proofreading support for both publications as well as graphic design of the TDA Today. I was the staff liaison for the Student Organization which included many visits the dental schools for speaking engagements and new member recruiting events. I also provided graphic design/multimedia support for TDA when needed.
Texas Academy of General Dentistry (TAGD)
2009 – 2011• Austin
At TAGD, I was the point of contact for all technology-related issues. I managed all web platforms and online courses. I provided marketing, graphic design and promotional support for all TAGD educational events as well as our regional component’s CE events (Dallas AGD, Houston AGD, etc.). I managed all social media strategy and campaigns along with implementation, execution, and design of email marketing according to current trends and metrics. I also provided editorial assistance with all print and digital publications. I managed the PACE certification program. I provided support for all communications efforts for TAGD as well as managed volunteer recruitment and member engagement. Provided graphic design and production support for the association’s quarterly magazine, the Texas GP.
Member Services Director
Associated Security Services & Investigators of the State of Texas (ASSIST)
At ASSIST, I designed and created effective marketing mailers that resulted in increased membership. I also maintained membership records and payments. I developed and distributed new membership retention materials as well as statewide email marketing and newsletters. I provided promotional insight and implementation for conferences and regional CE meetings. I was in charge of managing and producing the association’s quarterly magazine, Managing Security Today. This was a contract position where I worked remotely in addition to my full-time job.
Public Strategies, Inc.
2009 – 2012 • Austin
For Public Strategies, I created and implemented social media and multimedia marketing for upcoming women’s networking conferences around the nation. I created video highlights through video production software as well as podcasts from conferences for publication. I became proficient in Joomla through various training seminars for the website. This was a contract position where I worked from home in addition to my full-time job.
The University of Texas at Austin
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (Multimedia)
2005 – 2009
University of Denver
Master of Science in Information & Communications Technology
Website Design & Development with Project Management
2014 – 2017
Thesis: How to Create an Effective Virtual Team
skills & experience
- A/B testing
- Aesthetic Sensibility
- Analytical Skills
- Attention to detail
- B2B marketing
- Brand management and advocacy
- Budget planning and management
- CMS tools
- Collaboration tools
- Content creation and messaging
- Creative thinking and problem solving
- CRM / AMS database management
- Data Analysis
- Data Visualization
- Data governance
- Digital advertising and marketing
- Email Marketing and Automation
- Emotional intelligence
- Event mobile app development
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Graphic design
- Familiarity with taxonomies, ontologies, or knowledge graphs
- Information Architecture
- Interpersonal skills
- Journalism experience
- Knowledge of SEO / SEM strategies
- Layout and design for campaigns
- Management of LMS and eCommerce
- Market Research and analysis
- Marketing Communications
- Membership recruitment, retention, engagement
- Presentation and public speaking
- Press releases
- Project management experience with a track record of delivering on objectives
- Social media management and marketing
- Strategic Planning
- Thorough understanding of technology strategies for UX best practices, web security requirements, and search engine optimization; working knowledge of HTML, XHTML, CSS design.
- Vendor management – Demonstrated experience managing multiple vendors, timelines, and budgets
- Video and audio production
- Virtual conferencing
- Webinar management and facilitation
|Adobe Creative Suite |
- Premiere Pro
- After Effects
- Acrobat Pro
|Email Marketing |
- Constant Contact
- Constant Contact
- Real Magnet
- Google Adwords
- LinkedIn Campaign Manager
- Facebook Ads Manager
|Project Management Software |
- Microsoft Project
- Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft Planner
|Video & Audio
- Final Cut Pro
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- Adobe Audition
|Cloud Server Admin |
- Google Drive
|Association Management Systems (AMS) |
- Timberlake (now Naylor)
- SAMs / Crystal Reports
|Website Content Management Systems
|Social Media |
|Office 365 |
- Admin Management
- Google Drive
|Learning Management System (LMS) |
- Peach New Media
|Events & Conferences|
- CrowdCompass by CVENT
- Microsoft Teams
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe InDesign
- Adobe Photoshop
who am i?
Okay so now taking off my serious hat – on a personal side note, who the heck am I? Well, here are a few of my favorite things to clue you in:
family :: friends :: cooking :: coffee :: gardening :: dogs + all animals except for rats :: apple products :: working out on the peloton – and pretending I do it everyday :: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime shows :: re-purposed things :: old houses :: antiques :: websites (of course) :: central market :: wine :: PIZZA :: Fridays :: tex mex :: brunch :: sleep :: Alamo Drafthouse :: crime shows :: Audible books :: pretending I am a foodie
Things I geek out about when it comes to creativity:
- any and all things technology
- digital marketing
- anything that has to do with websites!
- any and all graphic design (print, online, etc)
- video projects
- animated typography
- social media
- audio editing / podcasting
- email marketing / template design
- web / marketing analytics and reporting
- brand development / design / implementation