Photo by Todd Razor
Photo by Todd Razor

What does a senior digital strategist do?

First of all, I come in as part of a really talented team, already. But what I’m able to offer is a little bit more experience from the national perspective on social media. So social media and how all of the things that (Innova Ideas & Services) offers otherwise from a Web development perspective. It is sort of taking all of those things that are great services that you can provide to a client from a marketing perspective and tying it all together in a nice little bow from a social media perspective.

Tell me about the national perspective you bring to Innova.

Well, I got the great fortune to cut my teeth on a $58 million campaign with the Pickens Plan as the national social media director. That was happening at a time when the Obama campaign also was really tapping into social media in 2008. And ours was from an issue-advocacy perspective, so we were able to utilize social media in a way that had never really been done before. The way we did that is the way that Innova approaches things, which is why it was such a natural fit. It’s taking the marketing plan that you have offline and really utilizing social media and integrating that into the plan to use online.

What about Tribe Effect LLC?

Tribe Effect LLC still exists, so I’m sort of splitting my time between Innova Ideas & Services and Tribe Effect. I started Tribe Effect before I was actually finished with the Pickens Plan. It’s taking everything I’ve learned from years of experience in public affairs and public relations and utilizing the tools that social media brings to the table.

This is a new position for Innova. What drove the change?

As a full-service marketing and public relations firm, they were continuing to get more into this offering of social media and digital services, and they had been doing so for a number of years now. But the complexity and the sophistication that is coming from clients to the agencies now, and the requests they are getting for more complex and fully integrated plans for their social media and overall digital online presence, is becoming much more of a demand. My coming on is just part of helping to answer that demand.

What do you do offline, in your personal time?

I have two kids that keep us very active. And I love to spend time with my family. I do volunteer work. I serve on the board with the Westridge Elementary PTA. With Lutheran Church of Hope, my husband and I teach Sunday school to our kids. And I serve on the board of VSA Iowa – which is very special needs. I do a lot of volunteer work with Autism Speaks. I’m part of the (Rotary Club of Des Moines A.M.) and I’m incoming (public relations) chair for that, so I’m excited.

How did you get into music?

It was in high school and junior high that I really started to recognize I had this great talent that was given to me by God, and I tapped into it up until I was done with college. I haven’t actually done a lot with it since college, other than singing my kids to sleep. You know, your career path takes a different direction sometimes. For me, I was fortunate because I ended up in a career that allowed me to still tap into the creative side of me, but I’m not a singer by trade. I love experimenting in the kitchen. Our kids have many food allergies, so it pushes my creativity. I’ve been known to belt out a ditty or two while I’m creating in the kitchen with my kids.

How large of a role will social media play in the 2012 elections?

Huge. In 2008, I think there are some campaigns that did it really well. And clearly, Obama was the first and foremost among them. What happened for him was primarily organic. I think what we are going to see this year, way more than we even saw in 2010, is the campaigns tapping into it in a way that is meaningful for them and actually helps them organize. That’s at least what I hope to see from the campaigns.