Welcome to the “The Ask,” a content series that gets up close and personal with the people of Weber Shandwick Seattle. This month, we spent some time getting to know Erin Kelly and learning more about her work with the Gates Foundation. Here’s how it went:
Tell me a bit about what you do at Weber.
I work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help them with their Gender Equality and their Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WSH) work. I lead a team of amazing writers, media experts, planners, and creative geniuses who help me look good every day by delivering amazing work that meets the clients’ needs, whether it’s a blog post or a year-long communications strategy.
I stalked you a bit on LinkedIn and noticed this is your first agency gig. How does working at an agency compare to being at a nonprofit?
I’m just here for the free soda and snacks! Just kidding. I love working on the social impact team at Weber because it’s like working for a mini nonprofit within a big agency. Everyone is passionate about mission-driven work, super knowledgeable about their areas, and really fun to be around. On top of that, I’m surrounded by creative, outside-the-box thinkers who deliver cool, top-notch work for our clients.
I also noticed that you’re kind of a big deal in the gender equality community. Do you have any advice for aspiring gender-equality activists?
If you want to do this work, I’d say use your voice actively and often. Do that and… voila! You’re no longer aspiring — you’re an activist. Don’t worry about rocking the boat or saying something someone may not agree with. Be articulate, be passionate, and don’t waver when people disagree with you or aren’t particularly nice. You’re on the right side of history and your voice matters.
You’re new to the Seattle area. What’s your favorite thing about Seattle so far?
That there is water everywhere. I love hiking with the pup and husband on sunny days, either driving an hour or two for amazing views, or heading to Seward Park or Alki Beach. I also love that it rains a lot so I don’t have to feel guilty about putting on my flannel PJs and straight chillin’.
Have you ever thought about what your dog, Diego, thinks about your work?
He definitely doesn’t think I’m a big deal.
What is your, “I know it sounds weird, but just try it” thing?
Jalapeño pepper jelly and cream cheese on an everything bagel. #delicious
Do you have a favorite project or campaign that you’ve worked on at Weber so far?
I loved helping the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Gender Equality team announce their investment in women’s movements, which have been historically underfunded and undervalued. These grassroots movements play an important role in tackling issues affecting women and girls like child marriage, gender-based violence, and lack of access to property and resources. As part of the announcement, we created GIFs that highlighted powerful images and quotes by local women leaders
What are you most looking forward to in 2018?
Smashing the patriarchy.