Hilltop On The Hill – Day 2

Today was definitely a very busy day. We had so many places to visit and so many people to meet but yet it was very exciting. Our first stop was Google. Though it wasn’t the main office or headquarters of Google it was still very exciting to visit. We received a tour of the office from Frannie Wellings who is now the Federal Policy Outreach Manager for Google. She mostly works on consumer protection and technical issues. The Google office was small yet it had so many things going on. Frannie showed us Google’s up and coming product which is Google TV. It’s a product that basically lets you surf the web while watching TV. She also showed us a set us Google Earth in 360 degrees. This is was very interesting. We were able to see the homes of individuals from a bird eye’s view in large screens that formed a half circle. In the Q&A session with Frannie she taught us more about Google. I learned that Google is a very fast moving company, that Google offers many products/services and how Google faces many problems such as net neutrality and privacy protection issues.

Our next stop was the Glover Park Group. Before this trip I had never heard of the Glover Pack Group but now I know all about it. This company is actually a company I can see myself working for and if the opportunity comes I would love to have an internship there. During my visit to the Glover Pack Group I was able to learn from several people about their job and what they do. Joe Lockhart was our fist speaker. He taught me about journalism and how it’s changing. Lockhart emphasized on the importance of individual content and the importance of having a voice. He also talked about new political strategies that they have come to realize. The old and traditional way of doing things in political campaigns just don’t work anymore and politicians need to learn that especially because they are late to the game when realizing things like that. He also offered advice when working with clients. It’s important to be honest and to offer the best advice whether bad or good even if the client doesn’t want to hear it. We must think of politicians as a product and sell them to the consumer. Another tip of advice that is very important was that Lockhart thinks it’s important to try anything, to learn and to find your own voice and interest. The next speaker was Carley Corda who has worked with The Glover Park Group for numerous years. She basically has worked from the bottom up in this company and has had a lot of success doing so. She went from an assistant of someone to a project manager in the advertising/production department. Corda mentioned that it is a fast pace job and she enjoys it very much. Kristine Fitton was our third speaker and she taught us about her non-traditional work in politics. She works with trying to get people active in political issues which is complicated to do Fitton also mentioned that she often has to work with a client who has a limited budget and how that affects her work. During all the presentations we had a surprise guest speaker who was Mike Feldman. I have to say that he was my favorite and most interesting person out of all the speakers. Feldman works with politics and government through various aspects on the entertainment industry. Some of his projects were “The Hurt Locker” and “Waiting for Superman” which are both great movies. Feldman’s main job is working with policy issues that are in a movie which involves promoting and managing the issue. I personally thought his job was very interesting and one that I hadn’t ever heard of before. The last speaker at The Glover Park Group was Amy Phee who despite her current position in this company has a passion for early childhood development. Phee’s main job is to market companies/groups and to help them reach success. She taught me about the four questions you have to answer and analyze in order to become successful. I thought this was very interesting yet very true.

The next stop on our agenda was a visit to ITIF which stands for Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. ITIF is a think tank founded by Rob Atkins. This was the first time I had heard the term “think tank” and was interested to see what it was all about. Atkins taught me about think tanks and what they do. He said they develop ideas and convey them to politicians. Atkins also mentioned the challenges they face with privacy, approval, funding and other important topics. This was very interesting considering there is so much that goes on to help keep a company to do their job.

Our next stop was a trip to Free Press. There we were able to speak to Joel Kelsey who works there. Free Press is a non-partisan political advisor company with over 500,000 activists. They face various issues that they try to work with such as net neutrality, affordable access to broadband and such. It was very interesting to hear what Kelsey had to say about several of these issues which got me thinking about the internet in a completely different way. The next stop on the trip was a visit to Senator Klobuchar’s office where we had the opportunity to interact with the staff. I learned about several of the issues that the senator and the staff have to deal with and learn about. Some of those issues were healthcare, the economy, and education. Senator Klobuchar’s staff was young and enthusiastic about what they do. They find that they all contribute something to their line of work and take so much away from it.The next stop was to a very exciting place. I had the opportunity to visit the officers of the National Public Radio (NPR) which was very exciting. NPR is the largest content producer in radio and bundles its programming for member and non-member stations. 93% of the U.S. population is reached by a public radio station. 34 million people listen each week and the number of audience has grown. Many of the programs include journalism, music, and even talk shows whether local or regional. The tour of NPR was great. I was able to see many of the rooms where content was being produced and aired over the radio. This was such a great visit and I truly enjoyed it.

We finished off the day by going to a wonderful restaurant named Zaytinta. There I was able to meet and chat with SMU alumni. I had the honor to meet both Steven Chlapecka and Stacia Deshishku. Both of these SMU alumni are amazing people. Chlapecka graduated from SMU not too long ago has been very successful in his career here on the hill. He is a great person to look up to. Deshishku is an amazing woman. I could relate to her in a lot of various aspects as she shared her life story. It amazes me how much she has done and the level of success she has reached in CNN. Overall today was a great day. I learned so much and more importantly met a lot of very influential and important people that I hope to meet again.

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