Stephanie Banfield, who serves as the public relations coordinator for the Dare County Public Relations Department, was named Dare County’s Employee of the Month for October 2023 at the Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting that was held at 9 a.m. on Monday, October 2, 2023.
Banfield was presented with the award for this prestigious honor by Dorothy Hester, who serves as the county’s public information director. During her Employee of the Month presentation, Hester highlighted the substantial contributions that Banfield has made through her efforts to collaborate with county officials and staff members from numerous departments since she initially began her service to Dare County on September 8, 2020.
“Stephanie has been working with the county as public relations coordinator for just over three years,” said Hester. “She jumped in and never missed a beat. With her background in journalism and marketing, she has easily acclimated to the position and learned all aspects of our operations.”
In her role as public relations coordinator, Banfield is tasked with a variety of responsibilities, including writing news releases informing citizens about important actions and initiatives undertaken by the Dare County Board of Commissioners, planning and developing crisis communications, crafting website content and copy for county resolutions, creating video scripts, and developing key talking points and the answers to an array of frequently asked questions, among many others.
She also works closely with virtually every department in Dare County to promote county services, events and activities and to communicate program changes and project updates, and she develops copy for an assortment of print and digital communication materials—such as newsletters, brochures, signage, program flyers, forms and listings, event invitations and various county department webpages—all with the goal of increasing citizens’ awareness and understanding of county departments, services, programs, events and initiatives.
“To give you an idea of just how much writing is involved, the Public Relations Department has sent 379 news releases over the past year to more than 25,000 subscribers. That’s just over one press release a day,” said Hester. “In addition to press releases, there are brochures, flyers, correspondence, talking points, resolutions, video scripts, public service announcements, web content including FAQs, crisis communications and newsletters.”
Banfield was nominated for the Employee of the Month award by the Fessenden Center’s leisure activities supervisor, Susan Gray, who interacts with her closely each month to coordinate the center’s monthly newsletter.
“Stephanie is always so helpful answering any questions I have concerning our monthly newsletter process,” said Gray. “She has great knowledge of the rules of the English language and proper grammar. She is happy to clarify any questions I have with great pleasure, and she edits beautifully and represents the county with her department in a wonderful light.”
Recognizing the importance of increasing citizens’ awareness and understanding of Dare County services and initiatives, Banfield has played an active and integral role in expanding the county’s communications regarding its many current and future projects, programs and initiatives. In January 2023, Banfield launched a monthly Dare County eNewsletter that provides a comprehensive overview of the various programs, services, events and activities that are offered throughout Dare County departments.
An Iowa native who grew up vacationing on the Outer Banks since the age of 8, Banfield earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa in 2007 and previously worked for a higher education marketing firm, a daily newspaper and an Outer Banks vacation rental company, as well as two magazine publishing companies headquartered in Raleigh, where she resided before relocating to Dare County in 2015.
“Stephanie’s writing, editing, design, marketing and communication skills—coupled with her passion and love for the Outer Banks and its people—make her an excellent public relations coordinator for Dare County,” said Hester. “Thank you, Stephanie, for all you do for not only our department, but for all Dare County departments.”