40 Under 40 2017: Lauren Tilstra

Senior executive communications manager, Verizon, 32

Few PR professionals are shaping a CEO’s communications strategy in their early 20s, but Lauren Tilstra has been advising C-suite leaders of Fortune 500 companies since she was 23.

Now an executive comms team member at Verizon, Tilstra is the voice behind seven of the company’s most recognized C-suite leaders on social media, and she has developed executive social media strategy from the ground up. Her positioning efforts increased the brand’s chairman’s LinkedIn follower base by over 100,000 in less than a year.

She created an executive influencer strategy for Verizon’s Enterprise organization that increased revenue by $35 million and garnered seven new enterprise partners. She also led creative video content for Verizon’s digital annual report, which included five unique videos that tell the brand’s story. A recent PRWeek story cited this work for innovation in the annual report space.

Tilstra was recruited to Verizon in 2013 to enhance communication between the company’s wireless leadership team and the 75,000 wireless employees worldwide. In this role, she oversaw enterprise-wide quarterly employee webcasts, Verizon’s senior leadership meeting, and the rollout out of a customer experience platform and new store design.

Beyond her industry-related accomplishments and activities, Tilstra is a passionate champion for women and girl’s equality in the U.S. and internationally. Through the nonprofit Friends for Global Change, Tilstra goes on mission trips to third-world countries such as Nepal and Haiti multiple times a year, using her own money and vacation time to deliver direct aid items and to coach local girls on the importance of education and developing a strong sense of self.

  • She led the quarterly Live! With Leadership national webcast, which enabled employees and senior leaders to connect and discuss the state of the business. The webcasts garner audiences of more than 10,000 employees.
  • Tilstra is a second-generation Verizon employee. Her grandmother worked as a switchboard operator at one of Verizon’s legacy companies.
  • A passionate supporter of domestic violence prevention, she led comms for the brand’s HopeLine program, which connects survivors of domestic violence with refurbished cellphones.

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