As we here in Washington settle into the summer season, I know two things are certain — 1) I will have to start breaking into my stash of extra dress shirts because the “swamp” will inherently get hotter right before a client meeting and 2) there will be a litany of family barbeques to attend where I will be asked, “so, what do you do?”.
It’s a question that I have often struggled with when talking with family and friends who aren’t necessarily familiar with the public affairs space and the intersection where communications, digital and creative services meet. So, just like my drawer of shirts, it’s time to prepare so I don’t have to sweat that question too.
Here’s my crib sheet for those questions taking place in between the grill and the beer line. My notes would ideally be written on a napkin, because BBQ’s can get messy and explaining why my third cousin removed is seeing TV ads on the border adjustment tax can get equally so!
What is NJI Media?
We’re a digital and creative services firm that works with clients to produce really smart and beautifully designed assets which brings their communications strategy to life via content features, digital properties, videos, events and other experiences.
What do you do there?
I often serve as an “interpreter”. I interpret our client’s vision and goals to our (incredibly talented) team of strategists, web developers and designers using their creative-based language and then interpret their plans back to our clients using the language of business and policy.
Do you like what you do?
We have a fully stocked fridge, and my dog sits underneath my desk – so yeah, I have it good and I work with some of the smartest and most creative team members you could hope for.
Your title is what?
Senior Vice President of Strategy & Client Services – I know it’s a mouthful, it just means I oversee the relationships we have with our clients and the project management process in the office that keeps our teams organized.
So you build websites?
Yes, we build some amazing websites, but we do much more – the goal is often to create a memorable digital presence that then serves as anchor for a full suite of communications that engage audiences wherever they consume content.
Do you know how to code?
I know enough to be dangerous, but more importantly I know enough to let others who are much smarter than me handle the coding and web design.
Are you in politics?
Well, politics is the “currency of DC” and we get involved in a lot of issue debates that matter to political stakeholders in Washington, and beyond. For us “politics” just means a debate that is taking place among elected officials, their constituents and other groups like the business community or the media. Our goal is to contribute to well constructed public debates.
So what do you think of President Trump?
He definitely keeps things in DC interesting…I then promptly change the conversation and head back for a second hamburger.