Lean on Me: The Power of Connecting with PAMN Colleagues

By Pauline Horton, Communications Manager, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Pauline Horton
Pauline Horton

You’ve been assigned an exciting new project at work, and you feel a bit intimidated and overwhelmed. Don’t worry – take a deep breath and (to quote “Veep,” one of my favorite television shows), “flex that rolodex, pal.” When you don’t know where to start, sometimes it’s as easy as finding a knowledgeable colleague who will let you pick their brain for ideas. That’s where the PAMN network comes in. The people I’ve met through PAMN are genuine, thoughtful and eager to share their experiences and insights.

I feel fortunate to work in communications at a top-notch, NCI-designated cancer center. But it’s a unique role within a unique organization. Not everyone understands the challenges. But my PAMN colleagues get it.

Reaching out to PAMN members for advice on distinct challenges or ideas has become a habit for my team. For example, KU Cancer Center recently announced plans for a new cancer research and care building. From a communications perspective, that means developing a strategic and holistic strategy that keeps our community, employees and donors engaged for the next few years. We reached out to the Huntsman Cancer Institute marketing and public affairs team. They were happy to share the communication strategies and tactics they employed when planning their own campus expansion.

In 2022, while preparing for the announcement of KU Cancer Center’s new comprehensive designation, we spoke to PAMN colleagues from multiple cancer centers. We learned there are many ways to handle a new designation announcement, and we gleaned a ton of inspiring ideas. And we’ve paid it forward. Since then, we have shared our own lessons learned with people at other cancer centers who are preparing for their big announcement. By doing so, we have fostered a strong network of collaboration and support among cancer centers across the country. An added bonus – my leaders appreciate our proactive approach in reaching out to peer institutions for guidance, recognizing the strength in collective expertise.

Simply put, connections made with PAMN peers can have a profound impact. The next time you’re preparing for a big project, don’t hesitate to lean on your PAMN network. Together, we can achieve remarkable things.

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