Good PR people are good at what they do because they want their clients to get all the ink and all the love. I'm one of those PR people. I don't like to brag, boast, or take credit for the great successes my clients have had ... which kind of makes me a crappy PR person for myself, right? Huh. Oh, well. Clients first. Always, clients first.
My clients' successes are often a collaboration of their work, my work, and our colleagues' work. Much of what I do is behind the scenes and for the greater glory of moving an issue or a story forward. Still, there are some things I feel okay touting as having created, worked on, or helped with.
One of the political issues I care most about is federal funding for biomedical research. Disease and illness aren't limited to any one political party, demographic, state, or city; it affects everyone. Funding at the National Institutes of Health has not kept the pace of inflation since 2003. That's just not right. We're falling behind, globally, in new discoveries and economic growth. There's change in the air, though, and it makes me proud to be a part of forging that change: 2015 has found Republicans and Democrats in Congress working together on restoring and sustaining NIH funding. It's an honor to work with ACTforNIH on PR, relationship building, social media, and other activities that will ultimately help discover better treatments and cures.
American Society for Cell Biology
Science! [beep boop boop] I really like working with the American Society for Cell Biology. They represent the dudes and ladies peering into petri dishes, ready to change the world. I've worked with ASCB on op-eds, their annual meeting in Philadelphia in 2014, and the announcement of The Allen Institute for Cell Science.
Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area
Organizations that take a look at themselves once a year or more and ask, "how can we do better?" are organizations I want to work with. I help the CFCNCA with an annual self-evaluation of their program, conducting interviews with staff and loaned executives, offering insights and recommendations. This allows them to work most effectively with federal employees on their charitable giving. Any work that benefits strong nonprofits, I want to be a part of.
I have celiac disease and cannot eat gluten. To help others navigate the gluten-free lifestyle, I wrote a column for The Cooking Channel called "Beat the Wheat" featuring recipes, stories, and tips for those also living with the disease. So basically, I got paid to cook and eat and write a few words about it. Dreams can come true.
I bet when you hear the words "personal branding," you roll your eyes. So did I, until I started teaching a new "Personal Branding" class at Georgetown in their graduate programs in journalism and public relations. Really good PR people are good at their jobs because they know how to promote companies, brands, products, or issues. When it comes time to promoting themselves, though, PR people squirm and get shy and want to turn that mirror right around. My Personal Branding curriculum helps people have a clearer understanding of who they are, how they're perceived, what their talents and skills are, and how they can talk about themselves as a whole person, not just a job title. It seems to be working because (not to brag) I received two awards in 2015 for the course: The "Above and Beyond" Golden Bulldog Award (student- and alumni-chosen) and the Dean's "Faculty Dedication" Award, for mentoring, teaching, and devotion to students' growth and development. Check out my blog; I'll write about Personal Branding from time to time, and hopefully make it less squicky for people.
Mike Isabella's Crazy Good Italian
I wrote a book. A cookbook, in fact. With Mike Isabella, a renowned, hilarious, award-winning chef. It's called "Mike Isabella's Crazy Good Italian" and every page is delicious and awesome, and if you want to buy it, I would not be opposed to that.
National Disability Institute
Did you know 54 million Americans live with a disability? Did you also know the economic playing field for people with disabilities is atrociously out of balance? That's where the National Disability Institute comes in. Created 10 years ago, NDI forges collaborations among government, financial institutions, businesses, nonprofits, and education institutions to bring about systemic change. I help forge some of those partnerships, and secure funding for specific programs and general operating expenses to help them in their mission to help develop and advance new opportunities for work, income production, savings, and asset building for people with disabilities. I'm humbled by the work they do and the volume of people their work ultimately serves.
National Association of Veterans Affairs Physicians and Dentists
Physicians and dentists in the VA healthcare system join NAVAPD so their voices come together in advocacy for changes in the VA. From writing op-eds and crafting testimony for hearings on Capitol Hill, to getting coverage in The Washington Post and other major national publications, my work with NAVAPD helps keep the issue of veterans health care on the front pages. For years, this organization has pushed for change. After a VA whistleblower blew the problems wide open to the public eye, NAVAPD has become a valuable resource for Congress and the Administration in helping to create new policies and procedures within the VA system. Change is slower than molasses ... so patience goes hand in hand with patients in our work focus these days.
Parkinson's Action Network
More than one million people live with Parkinson's disease in America. The Parkinson's Action Network educates Congress and the Administration on the importance of research funding and supports for those living with the disease, and the family and caregivers who support them. Video matters, when you're doing advocacy work, so among other strategic communications campaigns and programs, I produced these two videos for PAN: "Science and Advocacy Working Together Toward a Cure" and "I am PAN."
When you love to eat but don't like exercise, it's only natural you take on a client who's an expert in the nexus of food, fitness, and fun. I work with Rebecca on many of her PR and social media initiatives, most recently helping her land a book deal for her first book (Happy Hours: Get the Life You Want, One Delicious Hour at a Time; Workman Publishing; 2016), and scripting some segments for the Oprah Winfrey Network.
The Washington Post
If you told me in high school that, one day, I'd be writing for The Washington Post, I wouldn't have believed you. (I also might've paid better attention to my work for the school newspaper) (but probably not, really; that thing was AWFUL) Two of my WaPo pieces you might be interested in are: One Way to Fight Food Waste - Revive Wilted Vegetables; and Hank Shaw Takes a Walk Through Sligo Creek Park and Rustles Up Dinner.