Author Archive

Not the What, But the Why.

A few months after moving to D.C., I was quickly able to anticipate the first question most new people I met were going to ask me—“What do you do?” And over the last five years, I have had a few different prepared responses—“I’m a middle school Spanish teacher.” or “I work in education communications.”

Lately, though, I have challenged myself to ask not the what, but the whyThe why might seem too forward or personal at first, but I have found it leads to more connected conversations. It’s what feeds you when your energy is running low. The core of your passion. It’s not just your job title.

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Five Crucial Questions to Frame Advocacy Communications

Who had people spontaneously cheering from their seats during his key note address at The Communications Network’s ComNet conference and on their feet afterwards? Grant Oliphant, from The Heinz Endowments.

His powerful culminating keynote charged all of us ‘communicators for good’ with one mission: “Speak, as your purpose, position, and privilege demand”. He made it clear that he did not mean ‘speak as your position allows’, but rather that the word demand was intentional. We each have a charge to live up to the roles we have been privileged to accept as communicators for good.

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Who Needs Words?

Kind of a strange question coming from a communications firm. And I do get the irony of a blog that’s nothing but words about who needs words anyway. But bear with me.

Some of the most powerful commercials ever made—not a word said: VW’s The Force spot, the Navy Seals Footprints commercial, among others. In movies, some of the most tender scenes and some of the scariest have no words. And the action sequences, if there are words they’re usually incomprehensible grunts. Then there’s the whole genre of classical music. Conductors and their symphonies say so much without any of them saying a word. Yet we all experience it, and we all understand.

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Lessons from the Field: “New” Media

I’m what people call a “millennial.” Like many other millennials, I spend much of my time on social media.

Recently, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, and a succession of photos from the outdoor gear and apparel retailer L.L. Bean caught my attention. Viewed one by one as they appeared in my feed, the photos appeared as oddly close-up segments, some with sections of large type on them, of what appear to be a larger image. When I went to L.L. Bean’s account to investigate, I was presented with this:

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Where Millennials Stand on Education’s Most Controversial Issues

Recently, I attended an event focused on millennials’ views on a variety of education-related issues. The event’s panelists discussed results released as part of GenForward’s education survey. Survey results were included in a report titled Education in America: The Views of Millennials, released by GenForward in September. According to the report, GenForward surveyed over 1,750 young adults ages 18-34 with a particular focus on “how race and ethnicity influence how young adults or Millennials experience and think about the world.”

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