Happy Monday everyone! Hope you had a great weekend! I’m really happy to share today’s Career Series post because Steven and I went to college together, and now he’s kicking butt in Washington, D.C.
Enjoy…and let me know what you guys think!!
What did you want to be when you were growing up and why?
My first career-related memory from growing up revolved around wanting to be a doctor, a surgeon to be precise, and that was largely influenced by a large number of my family members being in the medical field and operating a large plastic surgery practice. As I continued growing up and discovering my talents and affinity for people, that dreamed changed. I started to see politics as the “art of the possible” and the best vehicle to affect change in society.
What’s your current job ?
Currently I lead the digital media department at The LIBRE Initiative, the nation’s largest conservative Hispanic outreach political group. Aside from the responsibilities of my team which include digital advertising, social media community management and creative/technology development, I’m also an on-the-record spokesperson for the organization and speak about policy issues relevant to healthcare, immigration, education and government regulations on a number of TV shows, radio programs and printed/online publications.
How did you land that position? (What made you want to pursue that?)
Following my graduation from Florida International University in 2012, I moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue an advanced degree in Public Administration and Crisis Management at George Washington University. While in the process of applying for graduate school, I reached out to some friends in the city who referred me to a job at LIBRE as an operations assistant. From there, it was an organic professional development process. My interests aligned with the needs of the organization, and having demonstrated a strong work ethic and some early success, I was able to transition into a role on our press team and from there start our digital team.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
It’s very difficult to describe a typical day because no two days are alike in the center of the free world. Washington, D.C. is a vibrant city full of incredibly smart individuals and it’s very fast paced. Some mornings I’ll start my day with a 6:00 AM television interview speaking about the issues of the day, and then I make my way to the office where I work on brand management advertising and growing our digital footprint. The day is peppered by meetings and briefings on policy matters and outreach strategies for our constituents.
What do you love most about it?
I love my team and the work that we do to advance the interests of the Hispanic community in the United States. We believe that freedom drives progress and I’m constantly surrounded by some of the most talented, engaging, and hardworking people who are living examples of our mission and infuse all of their work with that belief.
What do you hate most about it?
The one thing that I can say I’m not crazy about is the fact that results don’t come overnight when you’re trying to affect societal change. I’m a very measurement-oriented individual, but the return on investment is not immediate when you’re in the business of changing hearts and minds.
What’s the coolest thing that ever happened to you at work?
I think the coolest thing and something that I still look back proudly on goes back to one of my first days on our press team. I had written my first opinion piece on student loans (a topic that most millennials, myself included, have first-hand experience with) and John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, tweeted my article to his followers which put my words in front of hundreds of thousands of people.
What strengths do you think are necessary for someone to be successful at this job?
In a job like mine, there’s a lot of things that are necessary to succeed, but the main three things in my opinion are:
· Flexibility/Nimbleness: the issues of the day change, and what your audience is interested in is not static, so you need to have the ability to pivot and go in a different direction to respond to your consumers. At the end of the day, it’s all about customer focus.
· A strong work ethic: it goes without saying that you need to create value for your employer, but to do so you need to apply the judgement, responsibility, critical thinking skills and sense of urgency necessary to generate the greatest contributions, consistent with the organization’s objectives.
· Intellectual curiosity: you have to seek and use the best knowledge out there, and proactively share your knowledge.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give someone who’s looking to pursue this as a career?
It’s probably clichéd, but “your network is your power.” The fields of politics, policy, advocacy, and communication all rely on interpersonal relationships, and if it weren’t for reaching out to my contacts when I started the job search process three years ago, I would definitely not be where I am today. So make friends, and don’t be afraid to help or ask for help.
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