United hires Dana Brooks Reinglass as first chief storyteller

Previously, Reinglass spent almost two decades producing and managing television programs for Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Studios.

Dana Brooks Reinglass
Dana Brooks Reinglass

CHICAGO: United Airlines has hired Dana Brooks Reinglass as its first chief storyteller and MD of digital engagement.

Reinglass is reporting to Jim Olson, United’s SVP of corporate communications, with a dotted line to Mark Krolick, MD of marketing and product development. She started in the role last week.

Olson said United created the position as an extension of CEO Oscar Munoz’s vision for the brand and its communications strategy.

"[Munoz] is a true believer in the power of storytelling," said Olson.

Reinglass is overseeing United’s internal and external social media properties in terms of how the airline engages employees and customers through storytelling.

The airline’s external social channels include its Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram accounts. United has an internal site called Flying Together and a Twitter handle, @WeAreUnited, focused on the company’s employees.

"[Reinglass] will be taking charge and testing and experimenting with all of our existing platforms and new platforms across social," said Olson. "We hope to expand our employee-focused social media efforts to other platforms, such as Facebook."

Reinglass will also focus on storytelling curation, the airline’s news agenda, and identifying and modernizing United’s storytelling platform. For instance, United has a newsroom on United.com comprised of press releases and fact sheets, as well as a website called United Hub that was initially created as a destination-focused marketing site.

"She will be looking at reimagining United Hub as more of a storytelling platform instead of a marketing platform," Olson said.

Reinglass will also use her storytelling experience to bolster the company’s conferences and events. She is overseeing a team of about 20 staffers, but she plans to hire more talent and grow the company’s capabilities so it can carry out more storytelling efforts in-house.

"She might look at hiring additional journalists or other kinds of documentarians or storytellers that know how to tell stories across digital, social, and conventional media," said Olson. "She is building the team from scratch because it doesn’t really exist yet."

Previously, Reinglass spent almost two decades producing and managing television programs for Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Studios. She was the executive producer for Emmy Award-winning series Oprah’s Lifeclass, a TV and social experience on OWN with Winfrey as a teacher. Through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Skype, Winfrey engaged with "lifeclassers" from more than 200 countries around the world. Lifeclass featured a companion online class, including actual course work on Oprah.com.

Reinglass worked on The Oprah Winfrey Show between 1994 and 2011, most recently as a producer.

"In this digital age of immersion and participation, I still feel that sharing your story inspires the most powerful emotions and moves people to action," Reinglass said in an emailed statement

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