Meet Vonnie Madigan

01 Apr 2019, by Kathleen Park in IABC/SD News

Vonnie is an expert in audience engagement, content strategy, writing for all platforms, and measuring new media performance and effectiveness. When she’s not practicing her first loves – writing, storytelling and editing – you’ll find her exploring the hiking trails around San Diego County with her family.

About Me

Birthplace:Fresno, California

Current Residence: Hillcrest neighborhood, San Diego

IABC Member Since: First joined Sacramento IABC Chapter in 1992. New San Diego IABC Member March 2019.

Favorite Quote: 
“Think big or go home.”

When I’m not working, you could find me …
While I have been a NorCal girl for most of my life (favs are Point Reyes, Marin Headland, Santa Cruz Mountains), I am excited to explore San Diego’s trails. I have already hiked Cowles Mountain and Torrey Pines trails. This fall I am hiking the Camino de Santiago.

Three words that best describe me:
Joyful, hardworking, and empathetic

My Life in Communications

The biggest communications challenge I’ve faced …
Hospitals function like small cities. It is a complicated, life and death community service. Despite government oversight programs, employee training programs and ongoing staff development, serious mistakes do occur. I was of counsel to a Sacramento Hospital’s CEO when an employee unplugged a patient on a ventilator without the patient’s family’s approval. Together with management, we implemented a 90-day remediation plan that provided a framework to apologize to the family (publicly and privately), make sure the family, community, hospital managers and employees were heard, and reviewed and strengthened policies so the repeat of such a sad event would be difficult to repeat.

My favorite communications memory is …
California has a few remaining independent hospital districts. The pressures of scale and vertical integration weigh heavily on stand-alone, rural hospitals. I was involved in the community outreach for a ballot initiative that would sell a NorCal independent hospital to a large not-for-profit system. It was a door-to-door small town campaign that had to dispel the fear that city folks would take over the high-touch culture of the hospital.

After the successful passage of the initiative, we moved quickly to begin building the new regional medical center. My favorite memory is releasing hundreds of monarch butterflies at the groundbreaking with Maidu (Native American) prayer leaders.

The most important communications or professional lesson I’ve learned is …
Be kind to everyone.

Resources that I really find useful and recommend to other communicators are …
Harvard Business School case studies. A major part of creating a force field analysis is identifying what could go wrong. Case Studies teach me how to plan.

By joining IABC, I hope to gain …
a better understanding of the communications landscape in San Diego, learn about emerging technologies, and meet my San Diego tribe.

You should know this about me …
I tell the truth.

Career Highlights

Current Job: Content writer/editor at Vonnie Madigan Consulting.

Previous Jobs:

  • Deputy Director, Results and Evaluation at First 5 California
  • Communications Director, CalSTRS
  • Principal at Zebra Communications
  • State Capitol Legislative Aide