This sprawling narrative summarizes the most significant accomplishments of my career, from most to least recent.
2020 included my first 8 months as an employee of the University of Wisconsin–Madison (and as a Madisonian again, for the first time in nearly 20 years). As a Strategic Communications Specialist within University Communications, I began working on behalf of the strategic partnerships and industry engagement offices within University Relations (State Relations, Federal Relations, Tribal Relations, Community Relations, and the Office of Business Engagement).
I finished my time at PFT on March 17, 2020. Before leaving, I completed another issue of the Forest Life newsletter, which included the 2019 annual report.
I have worked to increase PFT’s use of email-based legislative advocacy, building an audience of consistent action-takers that is focused primarily on passing effective climate legislation in Oregon. For the second year in a row, I had significant responsibility for the annual gala, held April 10, including the production of all printed materials and most online promotion. The annual report dropped in early June; another issue of our print newsletter is my next big project.
I managed the production of a video and all other materials for PFT’s 25th anniversary Forest Fete, an annual report, and an issue of PFT’s annual Forest Life print newsletter. I wrote the bulk of both print publications.
I increased the frequency and reach of PFT’s email communications to an unprecedented level. I managed an email acquisition with Care2, facilitated in part through a successful transition to The Action Network from Constant Contact. I helped onboard new staff in our combined Development and Communications department, training them to use The Action Network and WordPress and passing on best practices in social media and database management. To increase reach on social media without a great deal of additional effort, I prioritized the use of hashtags and mentions and live-tweeted events. I managed our annual appeal for a second year; it performed better than the prior year’s version, and I learned some lessons along the way.
I began as Communications Manager at Pacific Forest Trust (PFT) on August 22, 2017. Soon afterwards, I managed the annual year-end fundraising appeal both on- and offline while also sharing responsibility for managing the next annual gala: PFT’s Forest Fete, to be held in April 2018. I also began creating a comprehensive plan for the organization’s communications functions in 2018.
In January 2017, I overhauled the design and information architecture of The Next Generation’s website.
I began as New Media Director at The Next Generation (TNG) on August 8, 2016. During the three months prior to Election Day, I built websites, wrote emails, and ran online advertising campaigns on Google and Facebook for ten clients, including candidates for local and regional offices, ballot measure campaigns, and one non-profit organization.
Between August 8th and November 8th, I rapidly designed and launched the web presence of several campaigns (including email blasts, CRM, and donation services, using NationBuilder and Democracy Engine). I also wrote fundraising emails for a number of clients that raised tens of thousands of dollars, on very small campaign lists (averaging about 500 subscribers). I designed the visual identity for CalWild’s 40th anniversary event, including a “Save the Date” postcard and a special edition newsletter that was designed to faithfully reproduce the newsletters of decades past. In October, I conceptualized, designed, and executed online ad campaigns for eight of TNG’s clients: text ads on Google Adwords, banner ads on Google Display Network, and ads on Facebook (generally taking the form of sponsored posts).
In the spring of 2016, while at CLCV, I redesigned CLCV’s printed Scorecard to emphasize accountability above all. For both Sacramento insiders and the average CLCV member, the way CLCV closely tracks and publishes individual votes gives visible credibility to CLCV’s accountability promises.
In addition, in my last month at CLCV, I worked to successfully launch their text messaging capabilities using Mobile Commons. After first making the case internally to add text messaging to CLCV’s toolbox, I worked with the vendor to link their system with CLCV’s existing online eCRM, Luminate Online, through APIs, data syncs, and the like.
A restructuring of CLCV’s staff removed its capacity to call members to update their credit cards, which can result in a significant loss of revenue. In response, I designed an email fundraising program to replace CLCV’s sustainer recovery calls. The email & donation page templates I designed were subsequently applied to a membership renewal email program, which has also been successful. Those two email programs raised more than $76,000 — from just 25,000 individual email messages — between November 23, 2015 and July 28, 2016. And they resulted in exactly 80 unsubscribes.
2013-14 Web platform upgrade
In September 2013, CLCV made the decision to switch from using Salsa Labs to using Blackbaud’s Luminate Online (formerly Convio) for email, donations, and advocacy actions. I worked closely with CLCV’s Data Services Manager and other communications staff to migrate our systems, and we launched Luminate on December 13, 2013. There were many technical and design tasks inherent in launching a new platform. I was instrumental in providing base code to our integration partner, Causeway Interactive, and after the project was launched I took the lead role in refining the templates for web pages and email messages. My objective was to make it entirely transparent to the user whether they were on our Drupal site or our Luminate site on our subdomain. In addition, I took initiative to find ways to maximize the benefits of Luminate’s features. One way was through using conditional content, which allows sophisticated personalization of email messages, action alert pages, and even donation pages for each individual subscriber and leads to better outcomes and more successful campaigns.
In the spring of 2014, I undertook a major retheming of CLCV’s Drupal site in order to optimize the site for mobile traffic. There was a huge uptick in mobile use of the web just after CLCV launched a new website in 2010. I successfully adapted the Drupal site theme to be fully responsive to web browsers at any width and on any device. I also updated the Luminate templates to be responsive. This effort resulted in significant increases in engagement and fundraising on mobile devices.
From 2012 to 2014, I worked closely with CLCV’s Data Services Manager to implement changes that were made necessary when the state redrew its district boundaries. This was the first time organizations had had to deal with redistricting after having established digital programs; I feel very prepared for 2022-2024.
In 2011 I designed a WordPress theme for the CLCV Education Fund (CLCVEF), CLCV’s sister organization, that was based on CLCV’s site that launched in 2010.
After CLCV hired a new CEO (its first) at the end of 2008, CLCV made a major investment in a web redesign process led by Fenton Communications and built by Jackson River. In the process, I led the content migration and provided detailed specifications for the site. My role was instrumental in ensuring that Fenton and Jackson River delivered a website that contained a fully interactive Scorecard that showed each legislator’s votes on their own page, which was able to be updated internally. The organization’s main site launched in September 2010 (after a site that centered around the upcoming gubernatorial election launched in November 2009).
Every year between 2010 and 2015, I took the lead on gathering the vast quantity of data that comprise the Scorecard. During the span of 2003 to July 2016, I had primary responsibility for keeping CLCV’s websites up to date and creating and adapting a variety of online graphics and copy for social media, web pages, and email.
In 2009-10, I took a lead role in setting up CLCV’s new web platform for email, advocacy, and donations: Salsa. I created templates for pages and email messages and helped establish the practices that allowed data to be moved between The Raisers’ Edge and Salsa, among other things.
Early work at CLCV, 2004-2007
In 2007, I launched CLCV’s first blog using WordPress; it was CLCV’s first database-driven website. In 2004, I built a new CLCV website that replaced a temporary site and I moved CLCV from accepting online donations only through a staffer’s PayPal account to having a bona fide donation page (and email list) via Groundspring.org, a project of the Tides Foundation (and worth every cent of its $25 monthly fee).
Over the years, I have designed a number of print pieces, microsites, limited-term email and page templates, signs, and on-screen graphics for events (using PowerPoint, Prezi, and Adobe Flash). For several years, I shot and edited video of CLCV’s awards events. I used that video to produce DVDs that we distributed to event honorees; I also posted it on CLCV’s YouTube channel.
My first job at CLCV starting in October 2002 was to recruit new members over the phone cold-calling Voterfile; in 2004 or 2005 that program ended and I moved to the renewal canvass (all while working on web updates, email newsletters, and writing action alerts and pledge letters).
While at CLCV, I was also partner in the Brainwash Movie Festival in Oakland, volunteering for it in increasingly responsible roles from 2004 to 2011. I’ve also done a couple freelance web projects, mostly for friends.
Prior to working at CLCV, I was web designer for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources from 2000 to 2002. I was hired as part of a new “web team” along with a content specialist and a web developer, and our mandate was to redesign the MNDNR website (which served a dizzying array of departments, from hunting and fishing licenses, to state park reservations, to ecological services). After consulting with a wide range of stakeholders both internal and external, we launched a completely rebuilt and redesigned website in the spring of 2002 that was used for six years.
I began developing my skills in web design while still a student at UW-Madison. My first professional web design and production experience was at HBG New Media in Madison, Wisconsin, where I worked on websites for customers such as McGraw Hill, Penton Media, and Tiger Toys. My favorite day at HBG was the morning my co-workers came in to find me still at work, having pulled an all-nighter to launch the new version of the FurbyTM website.
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