Older Adults Technology Services

More than 20,000 older New Yorkers took OATS classes in 2013 — 200% above the annual enrollment goal.

Synopsis: Combining our expertise in media relations, public affairs and social media, Spector worked to highlight the OATS Senior Planet Exploration Center as a national model for public-private partnerships.

A New York City-based public-private partnership, Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) selected Spector & Associates after a competitive pitch in late 2012. Initially tasked with event management and media support for the launch of the Senior Planet Exploration Center, the country’s first technology center focused squarely on the needs of seniors, Spector quickly recognized that media relations would be only one part of a multifaceted campaign.
 
In order to establish the Exploration Center as the blueprint for successful collaboration between the government and private industry, we created a plan that would employ our agency’s skills in public affairs, media relations, social media engagement and coalition building.
 
Spector embedded its team into the nonprofit’s structure to orchestrate a successful two-phase launch event. The opening ceremony featured remarks from officials including members from the New York City Council and State Assembly, a proclamation from the New York State Senate and a prepared statement from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Corporate partners such as Sony Corporation of America, Verizon and Time Warner Cable were also represented.
 
Following the official program, Spector & Associates organized a unique panel discussion, with experts on aging from AARP Foundation, the City of New York and OATS director Tom Kamber, joined by New York Times reporter Judith Grahamlive, via Google+ Hangout. The discussion focused on technology adoption issues facing the U.S. over the next decade, and was simultaneously live-streamed and tweeted using the hashtag #seniorplanet. The panel generated active participation online, with questions coming from New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Minneapolis, Minn., among scores of others.
 
Media interest in the center and its mission skyrocketed following the launch event. In an eight-week period, coverage included USA Today, Crain’s New York, The New York Times, the New York Observer, CNBC, NY1, NPR’s Morning Edition and Science Friday, as well as numerous trade publications. The center was even featured on NBC’s the TODAY Show, with host Jenna Wolfe participating in the center’s classes.
 
In addition to securing unprecedented media coverage for the center, Spector also supported OATS’ political activities, acting as a liaison to federal and local government officials such as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on a number of policy-related issues. 

Spector’s work to launch and secure funding for the OATS technology experience center earned it PRWeek’s Community Relations Campaign of the Year on March 20, 2013. From left to right: Nina Dunn, Elliott Suthers, OATS' executive director Thomas Kamber, PhD, and Shelley Spector.

Spector’s work to launch and secure funding for the OATS technology experience center earned it PRWeek’s Community Relations Campaign of the Year on March 20, 2013. From left to right: Nina Dunn, Elliott Suthers, OATS' executive director Thomas Kamber, PhD, and Shelley Spector.