Public Affairs from the Inside: An Interview with Taylor Connolly, Part II

I spoke with Castle Senior Director of Public Affairs, Taylor Connolly, about what it’s been like to work at the intersection of public policy and the private sector—and how her experience in public affairs from inside government adds depth to our agency services. See Part I here: Public Affairs Definition from the Inside: An Interview with Taylor Connolly. We continued the conversation with a focus on public affairs work at Castle.

What is your day-to-day like at Castle?

Agency life. Each day brings a new challenge and opportunity to learn—and keeps me on my toes. It’s part of what I love most about working at Castle. I lead a variety of client accounts across industry sectors, so my day-to-day starts with keeping up with news and policy developments that may affect Castle clients. Most of my day is then spent connecting the dots—and connecting with our clients—to create ways to build effective relationships with their stakeholders. I also collaborate regularly with Castle’s cross-agency team members in crisis and public relations and work on Castle’s sustainability committee. There’s a lot to do!

Why did you choose to join a public affairs agency?

Short answer. I was eager to start a new chapter in my career. I particularly enjoy working with people and companies who understand that their business priorities impact their communities. Castle has many clients who look to engage with their external stakeholders, build relationships, and educate the public about their mission and values. I was at the point in my career where my experience in public policy development, stakeholder and community engagement, and strategic communications converged to help business tell their story in the best possible light—and that excites me. I think it’s important to note that even though I’ve moved over to the private sector, I’ve always been—and am still—politically and civically engaged.

Why do clients come to Castle for public affairs guidance?

First, we always start by asking, ‘who is your audience?’ In government, often the best way to get your message, program, or policy endorsed, is through third party validators. For example, public affairs tactics help to identify and connect people and businesses with other governments, officials, associations or organizations already doing work in that space to say “yes, this is a value add.” It’s not a traditional ‘hit’ in the PR sense, but it can go a long way to advance a company’s mission. Public affairs tactics help businesses amplify their communications strategies beyond media relations and traditional relationship building; broaden a company’s influence in the political realm; and position organizational leaders at the forefront of the conversation. 

How do public affairs and public relations work together at Castle? 

Here’s where we really benefit from having public relations, crisis, and public affairs all under one roof. Transparency in communication is key. Our cross-agency, collaborative communications experts regularly leverage our expertise to strengthen and refine communications strategies for our clients. We’re always at the ready to brainstorm together and offer each other fresh perspectives, insights and creative solutions to advance the missions of our clients. It’s an exciting time to be in public affairs and, for me personally, to bring that next layer of expertise to our public relations and crisis management strategies. 

If there was one piece of advice you could share, what would it be?

When you’re working with the public, keep community top of mind. Public policy impacts people lives—powerfully. 

Want to learn more about public affairs strategy? Castle Group has you covered.

If you need advice on how to best connect with your stakeholders or want to learn more about whether a public affairs strategy is right for you, contact Taylor for a consultation.

The Castle Group, Assistant Account Executive, Public Relations, Kenna McCafferty
Written By: Kenna McCafferty


Outdoors of the Castle Group office