What motivated you to start Mango Strategies?
We started Mango Strategies because we have seen firsthand how effective communication can make or break an organization, especially in a time of crisis. As the pandemic impacts schools, communities, and families across the country, people have craved accurate and timely information and many organizations have struggled to meet this need. By forming our partnership right now, we hope to help schools and nonprofit organizations use communications as a tool for building community awareness about critical issues regarding educational access and equity. We believe that forging and maintaining strong ties with families and communities will be essential for educators in this new reality.
What are the unique skills and experiences you each have that complement the team you’ve created together?
As former public school teachers, we understand and respect the dedication that classroom educators, and the people that support them, bring to their daily work. We also share a passion for helping education-focused organizations craft messaging that reflects their unique missions. However, we also bring different experiences to Mango, and our partnership benefits from our complementary skills.
Chris has deep roots in Houston, Texas, where she has held numerous senior roles in education. She has expertise in marketing, development, and digital communications, and understands the intersection of education and public policy, as she serves as the elected School Board President for Spring Branch ISD.
Based in New York, Steve brings a national perspective on K-12 education to Mango that draws on his experience consulting with school networks and nonprofits in more than 25 states. Steve understands the education media landscape, the policy issues impacting schools, and how to frame a story to elevate an organization’s mission and values.
We are also fortunate to have built a stellar team to support our clients (link to team page). They collectively bring expertise in social media, digital marketing, project management, editorial writing, media relations, design, crisis communications, and many other areas. Together, we are excited about the range of skills and experience we can deploy to support our clients’ goals.
Why did you call the new company “Mango”?
We came up with a dozen different names but when we surveyed our friends and peers, none of our ideas inspired much enthusiasm.
A friend suggested we could blend the first syllables of our two last names (Mancini & Gonzalez) into “Mango,” and this made us both smile because Mango is the nickname for Steve’s adorable three-year-old daughter Margaret and Chris had recently received a mango tree sapling as a gift. When we tried out the name with some key clients and friends, we got nothing but “thumbs up,” so it stuck.
What are the most difficult communications issues facing education organizations right now and what do you think Mango can do to help address these challenges?
News travels at lightning speed and education organizations have to be ready to respond to external events quickly to get ahead of stories that could impact their brand and messaging. At the same time, they need to be authentic in their communication and align all media interactions with their mission and core values.
As schools navigate re-opening and return to in-person instruction this spring and into the fall, it is critical that they use strategic communications to identify key messages and share them consistently with families and educators.
One of our clients, DeArchie Scott of Ambition Prep in Jackson, Mississippi, recently wrote a commentary for US News with lessons learned from his school’s successful reopening for in-person learning. For Ambition Prep, the key is constant communication and trust-building with parents.
What do you hope to achieve at Mango Strategies?
Our goal is to utilize strategic communications to help our client partners increase life opportunities for young people.
We share a belief that successful client relationships depend on trust, openness, and commitment to shared goals. We look forward to building a diverse and joyful culture at Mango where people are motivated to come to work every day and make a difference for our clients.