International Women’s Day feature with Amy Injaian, Delta Dental of California

As a women-owned business, we are honored to highlight women who are incredible leaders in marketing and communications across a wide variety of industries. Each year on International Women’s Day we share an interview series celebrating these women and sharing their stories. 

This interview is with Amy Injaian, Director of Media Relations at Delta Dental of California.

How do you define your leadership?

I would say I have two defining leadership characteristics: A sharp focus on taking an enterprise view and a strong emphasis on empathy, respect, and empowerment. I put a high premium within my team on understanding the company priorities and being relentless in ensuring that our effort remains squarely focused on outcomes that benefit our enterprise-wide goals. Doing this enables the team to have the right conversation at the right altitude and pressure test and measure the effectiveness of our work.

I try to create a culture where people feel heard, respected, and empowered, creating a lot of space for differing opinions not only within our team but as we engage with our partners. Being open and honest in a safe space built on trust has helped us hone our creativity, feel confident in raising our hand for help when needed, bringing up concerns before they become problems, and knowing that we are all looking out for the team, our customers and our business together.

How has your leadership changed in the past year?

I was hired two years ago to lead just our social media organization. In the past year, my role was expanded to include all National Media Relations – traditional media, social media, and proactive campaigns – for the enterprise. This expansion of my role allowed me to build my team from the bottom up. Through this process, I really focused on what values are important to me as a person and hire and socialize into the team the values I listed above. Having an enterprise-wide focus while remembering that how you treat people is just as important as what you deliver. As I was building our Media Relations team, I had to challenge myself to think further out in terms of what the team’s body of work should encompass, including anticipating new social media and traditional media trends that would influence the roles and responsibilities of the team now and in the future. Leaning into this substantially larger role has pushed me to be more forward-thinking, strategic, and flexible as a leader. As a result of this, we have a deeply talented and award-winning Media Relations team.

Can you share a story that demonstrates a key learning for you in your leadership journey?

One of my top five strengths is empathy, but early on in my career I didn’t view it as a strength. In a previous job, I was asked to take on an additional body of work beyond my normal role to manage and facilitate employee engagement events with our senior leadership team, including the CEO. The events utilized a new technology and a new way of engaging the workforce and it put a lot of leaders out of their comfort zone. When the ask first came in, I didn’t fully grasp “why me,” as we had four hundred people on our communications team, and there was a long list of competent team members that could have delivered on the ask. During a 1:1, my communications leader explained why the organization wanted me to do it. He said that I have a unique ability to relate to others—to really understand what makes them tick and see the world through their eyes. He explained that engagement with senior executives, particularly when placing them in a situation that may create discomfort, requires a blend of flexibility, consultative strength, understanding of the business, confidence, courage, and—perhaps most of all—an ability to always make them feel heard and understood. I never thought about my ability to be highly attuned to the feelings and emotions of those around me—and my ability to relate to others—as a leadership strength. This was a big “aha” moment for me. Since then, I view my empathy as one of my strongest leadership qualities and has made me the leader that I am today.

Check out the stories of other incredible women leaders in the marketing and communications industry.

Subscribe for Blog Updates

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden