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Meet Darlene Hayes of WICN Public Radio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Darlene Hayes.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Darlene. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have been involved with sales and fundraising as long as I can remember. I am the past recipient of several ABC (Always Be Closing) corporate awards., I look at finding an opportunity in meeting a client’s / employer’s needs and leading it to success is a rewarding challenge, enjoyable like playing a game of chess trying to look at potential connections, build relationships and leverage to growth within an organization I am supporting.

In addition, I am a Certified Event & Meeting Planner so often these have complemented well working to promote a non-profit. I love building community and engagement while supporting a cause and it’s mission. Currently, I am the membership director at WICN 90.5FM Public Radio, Jazz + for New England. with a large focus of my efforts on building community engagement and partnerships. WICN is an NPR affiliate that in 2018 has reached a milestone of being incorporated in the Commonwealth for 50 years.

This feat for any business but especially true for a small non profit radio station it is huge, among an ever decreasing asset of public broadcasting in our country, WICN stands today as less than 20 stations in the country that is focused on the American art form jazz and curates over 140 hours of music each week with live primarily volunteer hosts.. I came on board at WICN in fall of 2017 to broaden community impact and member support that the station depends on to survive.

I have personally seen the impact this station has on its listeners who call and write in, they feel connected here and to the on-air hosts. Introduced to the American Songbook and jazz classics by especially my father who loved to take us to community concerts growing up had made me already a listener of WICN. So when the opportunity to support the station, to help it broaden its outreach seemed an ideal grassroots opportunity that I felt was ready to take on the challenge.

In 2018 WICN has seen positive growth in social media, to hosting live in house member appreciation events and grown in strategic regional partnerships that have led to offsite events and greater brand recognition of the station. WICN is being recognized by the Worcester Regional Chamber in September for reaching the milestone 50th and serving Central New England and most recently the growth of new partnerships in the community.

I am proud to be playing a role in building the station during its 50yr and look for to continuing its successes beyond. In addition, I do also take on privately a minimal amount of clients through Hayes Event Management, these include some community development projects, political advocacy, coordination of some private events and inside sales. Each day is never the same at WICN or any project I am focused on which makes it an adventure and rewarding.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think we all have bumps and hurdles in our personal journeys. I know the balance of family, kids, community responsibilities has always been a juggling act and like the sideshow act where they spin plates on a poll, I have crashed several plates in my journey. Finding that balance in life of family, career and being an active participant in my community is never easy.

As my kids have gotten older it has been easier, who are both now in college which may be easier but definitely more costly but when they were younger the guilt of traveling for work and missing an event in their lives, depending on my wonderful community to help them with rides etc is definitely in the past but so very thankful for having a supportive village and community to be able to lean on.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with WICN Public Radio – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Here at WICN, I am known for creating opportunities to increase member support for this Public Radio station, engage with community leaders to build and enhance engagement for our listeners. This has including branding the station to a more diverse audience, building the 50th year in community messaging and discover connections to leverage to build upon for the station’s continued successes.

In my personal life, known for advocacy on issues I am passionate about and focusing on linking people and organizations together that can support each other. I think what sets me apart is the drive to make these connections, celebrating each other’successes to further good for ourselves and our community.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I don’t see any big changes in the year ahead, I enjoy what I am doing, believe in the mission and impact WICN has on its regional community and look forward to continuing this. Though I would like to say I see an early retirement in the future, I know that is not a reality as I mentioned before those two kids in college will keep me working for the foreseeable future.

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