“Communications [is] an intervention that can be used to bring about change, particularly in encouraging attitudes, behaviors and policies.” —Frank Karel
I’ve never met Frank, but he changed the course of my life. As a high school student with a growing interest in social justice, I volunteered at the frank gathering, a conference where communications professionals, researchers, nonprofit workers and more come together to challenge themselves and think deeply about the issues our world faces. The gathering focuses on public interest communications, which uses a combination of science and strategy to effect social change. I had always seen myself becoming involved in politics and realized that the style of communicating I was seeing at frank was becoming increasingly applicable to the political world. In being upfront and intentional in writing and sounding like your audience, they really hear you—and the groundwork needed for significant change is put in place. Once I saw that, I realized that I wanted to use my own skills in writing and communicating to help usher in social change.
Using communications to persuade people to see my point of view was something I’d already had experience with through competing in pageants. As a contestant, you develop your own personal “brand” that helps judges get to know who you are and what you value most. I would write talking points, calibrating them to persuade judges to favor me for the crown each time I competed. My messaging centered around the passionate individual that my experiences with the frank gathering had led me to become, discussing my future in politics and public interest communications in each of my pageant interviews. This experience in formulating messaging, combined with my passion for politics and the public good, led me to intern at Neimand Collaborative, which brings me to you.
Strategic communications have the opportunity to improve how things work in our world, and Neimand does this by providing clients with the support to do what they do best in the most impactful and efficient way. You’d be surprised by what a clearly defined goal and some well-thought-out strategy can do. Take a look at the work done with Guilford County Schools, where a message that books are a great way to have an adventure without even leaving home helped kids maintain the gains they’d made with reading during the school year.
As an intern at Neimand Collaborative, I have had the opportunity to sharpen my communications skills by tackling the many and very different tasks that go into putting out messaging. Whether it was writing memos on the philanthropic plans that Jeff Bezos is making with his Day One Fund to prepare clients for strategic opportunities, taking a stab at writing social media copy or proofreading anything and everything I could get my hands on to ensure a consistent message, I’ve been pretty busy the past three months. It has been so interesting to have an inside look at how intentional messaging and research methodology can combine to create impactful marketing strategies. I’ve learned that there is value in making your message clear and communicating in a way that your audience will listen to you, two things that have come in handy in College Writing 101.
The experiences that I had while interning have laid a solid foundation for my future endeavors. After a fall spent honing my communications skills at Neimand, I’ll be spending the spring focusing on politics. This January, you will find me on the Hill, giving constituents a tour of the Capitol building or writing policy memos as a Congressional Intern. You can be sure that I’ll keep exploring how I can meld the two to pursue social change. Who knows—maybe someday soon you’ll see me at frank.