Claudia Airey graduated from Indiana University Northwest (IU Northwest) in 2018 and received a degree in communications with a focus in public relations. During her years at IU Northwest, she interned at various places in the Valparaiso area and began an internship with NIPSCO the summer before her senior year of college.
“I applied for a communications internship at NIPSCO, and I got it. My focus was internal communications. I had the opportunity to do a lot of job shadowing, learn more about how a utility company operates, and even learned about all the different departments that make everything work,” Airey said. “In the end, my internship was extended two times.”
After graduation, Airey applied for an Internal Communications Specialist position at NIPSCO and her career began to take off. Six months after getting that position, her role transitioned into Communications Specialist, and a while after that, she moved over to work for the parent company of NIPSCO, NiSource.
“I've been a Corporate Communication Specialist since March, right before COVID, and I found out last night I'm being promoted,” Airey said. “I went through the interviewing process, and I finally heard back for sure yesterday and it's been so relieving. Now I'm going to be a Senior Corporate Communication Specialist. In total, I've been with NiSource, including the NIPSCO time, for right around five years.”
In her new position, Airey will be supporting the diversity, equity, and inclusion chief and department, and working to give a voice to the employees at the company to ensure they feel both seen and heard. She will be assisting with feature stories, crafting social media content posting, and writing internal and external stories.
“NiSource honestly is committed to ensuring that every employee has a voice and active seat at the table which is honestly one of the reasons why I enjoy working at the company so much,” Airey said. “My role offers me the ability to be the voice of the employees, our customers and our community. Whether that's with a feature story, a social media post, or just being a part of these meetings and helping folks to feel like they're being heard one way or another.”
Airey emphasized how she and her colleagues want to ensure everyone feels psychologically safe working at the company. Giving employees, customers, and community members a voice helps promote a positive psychological space.
“At the end of the day, we are all human beings. People care about being seen and feeling like their voice matters. People just want to feel like they're cared about. In communications, you have the unique ability to give voice to people's thoughts, their concerns, and their joys,” Airey said.
In addition to voicing people’s thoughts, concerns, and joys, Airey was able to create a segment to highlight employees when working with NIPSCO, and another segment to highlight leaders when working with NiSource.
“I created a segment when I was specifically with NIPSCO. It was called Meet Me Monday, and that was a way to highlight our folks,” Airey said. “Then once I came over to the NiSource side, that segment continued, but I created an avenue to highlight our leaders. I created our Leadership Limelight segment.”
Outside of work, Airey loves spending time with dogs and dog sitting, as well as dancing, going on walks, and going to the beach to decompress.
“For me, it is so important to decompress and try to feel human especially in this day and age with COVID and everything. I try to go to the beach once a week even just to sit and look at the waves,” Airey said.
Right after Airey was hired, she explained that it was important to her that community members were able to get to know employees of the company, and employees of the company were able to get to know the community members. She was able to make this happen and will continue to do so in the future.
“In a cheesy way, NIPSCO and NiSource honestly have always felt like home away from home for me. I view it as a really big family and with that, there comes a lot of different responsibilities. Communications serve an important role in making sure people feel seen and heard,” Airey said. “At the end of the day, I'm able to work with so many folks ranging from different levels and make sure that the important messages, plans, strategies, and whatnot can be shared across the company.”