What do you do for Barbaricum?
I’m the DoD OIG Social Media Manager. Follow us @DoDIG !
What is your career background?
I have a background in public relations and public policy. Since grad school, I have developed an interest in military and veterans’ issues. Prior to signing on with Barbaricum, I worked three years for a medical trade association on K Street, where I assisted advocacy efforts to increase federal funding for medical research and education.
What do you do outside of working for Barbaricum?
I enjoy running and I got into kayaking over the summer. I enjoy baking. (Karin Drinkhall is dubious of this, though, because I have never baked her anything.) I also love tacos. I am always on the lookout for tacos that can rival those from Austin, TX (the search continues). I love reading anything about history, politics, or urban planning. Currently, I am finishing White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg.
I also serve in the U.S. Army Reserve, which tends to eat up a lot of my time.
What does your role in the Reserves entail?
I am currently serving as a public affairs officer in a mobile public affairs detachment. As the executive officer of my unit, I assist with training plans and ensuring the unit’s readiness. In a combat environment, an MPAD will produce print and broadcast stories. We also would provide media relations assistance for a division or corps headquarters. This means we must ensure our public affairs and traditional Soldier skills stay sharp. Most of my soldiers do not do public affairs as part of their full-time jobs. I am fortunate, however, because I have the ability to do my military function every day with my position on the DoD OIG contract.
You recently returned from a multinational exercise. What did you learn while you were in Poland?
One of benefits of being a public affairs officer is our ability to view a military operation from many perspectives, from the commanding general all the way to the lowest private. Often, staff officers are stuck in some battalion or brigade headquarters. During Exercise Anakonda 2016, I was essentially given an all-access pass to every aspect of the 10-day exercise. This experience allowed me to see how various echelons and job specialties work together to accomplish the mission in a real-world environment.
One day, I supported a press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda and U.S. Army Europe Commanding General Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges. The next day, I was in the drop zone directing U.S. Army photographers and broadcast journalists as Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division completed a jump. At the completion of the exercise, I walked away with a greater appreciation for the dedication and professionalism of the U.S. Army.
Also, Polish pirogies are amazing! They serve them with bacon! Everything is better with bacon.
Any parting thoughts or comments?