FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — For Forsyth County Director of Communication Karen Shields, getting news, updates and information out to the public is what it’s all about.
Since she joined the staff July 9, she has been working on county publications, media relations, social media pages and internal communications.
“Use the resources and methods we’re providing to find out what’s going on,” she said. “Our job in communications is to help you know what’s going on.”
These responsibilities are nothing new to Shields who brings more than 20 years of experience in communications having served as communications manager and public information officer for the Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources.
“The transition has been fantastic,” she said. “I’m proud of the way the communications team here pulled together in the interim between directors.
They were able to continue on and make sure the government in Forsyth County was able to continue to communicate with residents.
They’ve been able to help me come in, and we didn’t miss a step, we kept going and just have one more person on the team now.”
One of the biggest goals the department has is to expand the interactions with the community.
“We are looking to expand some of our social media outlets so people have more ways and places they can find out what’s going on in Forsyth, projects going on,” she said.
“We want to have more places and ways for people to find out what’s going on in the community.”
As a Gwinnett resident of 30 years, Shields kept up with the ever-increasing population of Forsyth County.
“I’ve experienced that for the past years in the Gwinnett County government,” she said. “I’ve seen how things change from communicating with smaller numbers of people to a larger number.
You have to be that communications change agent to help make sure the communications keep up with the community’s growth. I saw this opportunity in Forsyth and I thought I could bring my experience in one of the largest growing counties in the country.”
It helps that Shields enjoys the staff she works with.
“The people here are dedicated to the community,” she said. “I like that we are public servants and good stewards of the county’s resources.
I like that and county government as a resident and an employee.”
She has found no two days are exactly the same.
“Even if I have a schedule, I can count on something coming up, whether it’s breaking news or a new initiative we’re learning about, every day is something new to learn,” Shields said. “I like that.”