I help people improve public life.
I work with organizations to help them do their work better– advising on strategy and social media, and designing, executing, and telling the story of large civic projects. That’s where my expertise comes in. I understand how people interact with issues, how they talk to one another, how to hear what they are saying, and how to speak to them to be heard.
Here’s what I do:
- Advise organizations how to use social media and how to connect that with public benefit.
- Design civic projects. This isn’t “communications” or “marketing” — it’s engagement.
- Write reports that illuminate what happened and why it matters in civic projects.
- Help organizations map out their strategies — for a project or for the whole organization.
- Write discussion materials about issues. This is harder than you might think to do well.
My current credentials as an independent consultant: I have written numerous issue guides for public dialogue for the National Issues Forums Institute and the Kettering Foundation, Everyday Democracy, and others. I have advised on strategy and developed strategic plans for a number of community benefit organizations.
My daily blog on nonprofit leadership and technology is read by most key players in the civic engagement field. The local blog I founded, Rockville Central, is the second most-read local blog in Maryland. I am very active in social media and am an early adopter of all of its chief tools. I have been blogging since well before the term was invented.
Work history-wise: I was senior project manager and then director, external initiatives at The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and vice president for public policy at the Institute for Global Ethics. I was on the staffs of then-Controller of California Gray Davis and Congresswoman Jane Harman, and also as deputy California campaign manager for the National Health Care Campaign (yes, the first Hillary Care) and as state government relations representative for Northrop Grumman Corporation. I have been a lobbyist for alternative transportation, and I successfully helped change the state vehicle codes in all of the Pacific states to make the world safe for electric bicycles. You read that right.
I’ve spoken at the National Press Club, the Brookings Institution and the Chautauqua Institution. I’ve written and co-written lots of articles and op-ed pieces, which have been in places like The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Foundation News and Commentary, Campaigns & Elections, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And I contributed a chapter on the ethics of citizenship to a little book called Shades of Gray (Brookings Institution, 2002).
I got my B.A. in comparative literature from U.C. Berkeley. I am listed in Who’s Who in America.
I was born in Los Angeles, grew up in Detroit, went to school in Berkeley, met my wife in LA, moved to Maine, and now live in Rockville, Maryland with my incredible wife, Andrea Jarrell, and two children.