Bring Your Parent to Work

 

[dropcap style=”color: #9b9b9b;”]I [/dropcap] took my mother to work with me earlier this week. She commuted with me via car, Metro subway, and taxi, got to sit in my office, shake hands with my supervisor, chit-chat with my coworkers, and take in the view of the Capitol Building from the top floor. She also met up with one of her childhood friends from her small Texas hometown. They first met in first grade and stayed classmates all through high school. Now, her friend works just two blocks away from my office, one of the folks responsible for the Capitol Dome restoration.

Small world, right?

Frankly, I think there should be a National Take Your Parent to Work day, just like the day for children, but for the ones who raised you. (After I typed that, I googled it. It’s an actual thing for millenials.) I think my mother got a kick out of seeing what it is I do, where I spend my hours, how frenetic the pace here is in Washington DC.

I made plans with her to do it again with my new job in Germany. 🙂

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My mother and I were going through my closet, and as she pulls out one of my print shirts, I said, “I bought that before realizing it’s a little too old-lady for me.”

And she goes, “Sweetie, you’re over 30 now. I think it’s just fine.”

Purse Presents

Someone left a gift in my purse. Or he is just REALLY good at hiding from his person.

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Took a quick break to visit the new memorial just outside my office building.

Metro Ad

A photo I took last week during my commute. This was the first time I saw an ad on the Metro ceiling. (Photo from Sept. 4, 2014)

Storm Photo

I was in my building all day last Tuesday, and didn’t realize a huge storm rolled over us. So I was a little stunned by how dark, eerie, and quiet, and drenched everything was outside when I left my office. This is the photo I took that day. That storm cloud over the Capitol was constantly lighting up, too. Very cool.

Social This, Social That

 

[dropcap style=”color: #9b9b9b;”]I[/dropcap] bumped into Paul — a good friend and former colleague of mine — while attending a social media summit at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House earlier today.

Paul and I worked together for a few years at the Pentagon, when I was still active duty in the Air Force and he was a contractor. After my deployment, and after senior leadership realized that an Airman *could* blog about her deployment and not ruin the military, I was put on the team (which included Paul and my girl Moe, and JV, and others) that ultimately wrote the first policy on social media for the Department of Defense.

These days, the both of us work for the same department (but different agencies), so it’s not too unusual to cross paths. This time, it was at an event with a bunch of other federal workers from across the government, all who specialize in the communications, data, and information career fields.

It wasn’t very different than other workshops I’ve attended before (or participated in, like this one HERE, or HERE, or most recently, HERE).

There were three panels of speakers, all professional communicators, who shared some success stories and lessons learned from their sites and organizations. It was a great opportunity to meet others in the field and put some faces with the names I see in emails and various correspondence across the Internets.

My dad has said more than once that he always hesitates before telling people what it is that I do. Of course, he hesitated over the past year when my department was in the news all the time for a certain website and all that jazz.

“Why can’t you work at NASA?” he’s asked. “People know what happens at NASA. I wouldn’t have to explain.”

But he also admits he isn’t really sure how to explain what I do because public affairs specialist can mean a lot of things.

Each time he says that, I remind him he wouldn’t be wrong to just call me a professional communicator. I take official information and I relay it to the public in a variety of ways.

There’s a little bit of marketing. A little bit of PR. A lot of program management. A lot of writing. A lot of multimedia. Sometimes traditional media. And as the summit summarized today, social media and data, too.

All for the government.

And always for the people.

And most of the time, I work with some really awesome people like Paul.

And sometimes I get to take pictures like this one …

 

 

Crime-Fighting

You may have seen the headlines and grainy video footage, but here’s the truth: I’ve been crime-fighting with these two all weekend all over DC.

It’s been exhausting.

But the world is a safer place now.

Capturing Your Own Future American President

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Photographer Matthew Jordan Smith showing us a preview of his work during our photo shoot with him in Washington DC in August 2013. Photo used with permission.

[dropcap style=”color: #9b9b9b;”]F[/dropcap]or the last two years, photographer Matthew Jordan Smith traveled to every state in America to photograph children from 100 families to create his book, Future American President: 50 States – 100 Families – Infinite Dreams.

The book is a visual story of the dreams of children across the United States, and a reminder that anyone can aspire to and ultimately achieve greatness. By featuring children from diverse backgrounds and every state, the hope is that children will see themselves in the hopes of their peers while informing them about individual state facts and past American Presidents.

Martin, the kids, and I are so honored to be a part of the book. While the Boys and Girls Club of America helped Matthew find a lot of his families, Matthew actually found us through this blog in the course of his research (when Parents Magazine readers named us “Best All-Around Mom Blog“, and of course, we agreed to participate. The book’s theme and intent are right in the step with the things Martin and I believe for our own kids.

And also? I couldn’t help, but be amazed by Matthew’s body of work and experience. Not only has he been featured on America’s Next Top Model, the View, and other television shows, he regularly photographs the likes of Oprah, Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry, Taye Diggs, Vanessa Williams, and countless images you’ve certainly seen in magazines, billboards, and publications. He’s also been recognized for using and sharing his talents to raise awareness for various social issues, such as his first book entitled Lost and Found, which focused on missing and exploited children and was endorsed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Was I initially nervous and slightly intimidated by his biography and the fact that he regularly works with the world’s most gorgeous and famous individuals?

Yes.

But as soon as we connected, I was  immediately disarmed and won over by his gentle nature and down-to-earth personality. Once we worked out all the details, he flew here to Washington D.C. to photograph us in front of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and beautiful Tidal Basin. Not only was it thrilling to be the subject of a legit photo shoot in such an iconic setting, but the children really enjoyed watching Matthew and his assistant as they worked. And as a father himself, he knew just what to say to engage the children, and took the time to patiently explain his cameras, how the lights worked, and even handed over his camera for Lola to use as she snapped some images herself. (I don’t think I took a single breath during those moments!)

We’ve seen some of the outtakes from that session, and we can’t wait to see the completed book when it publishes later this year, especially since Matthew is inviting others — including YOU — to put their own future President on the book cover itself.

It’s a limited-time opportunity that’s available now for those who would like to personalize their book.

He put together a short video explaining how to photograph your own Future American President and submit it to the publishers, which you can see below. You can also read about the submission process HERE.

Oh, and did I mention you can actually talk with Matthew and me about the book, the personalized cover, AND ask Matthew anything you want to know about photography and working in Hollywood?

Oh, yes.

That is happening.

On Monday, July 28, Matthew and I are going to hold a Twitter chat.

Beginning at 5:30 pm East Coast Time/2:30 pm Pacific Coast Time, we’re going to take to our Twitter handles and have a conversation using the hashtag #FPChat2014.

If you are on Twitter, you can follow me HERE. You can follow Matthew HERE.

Once you are logged into Twitter using your own Twitter name, you can tweet at us with any comments or questions you have. Be sure to use the hashtag #FPChat2014 so we can see what you have to say and include you in our responses!

We hope you join us!