Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic.  In this profile we feature Aimee Freund.  Photography for the series is by Cade Martinwardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire and Sybil Street for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson, Janice Kinigopoulos and Lori Pressman for THE Artist Agency.

Aimee, please provide us a short bio.

I recently started my own social impact branding agency, Mighty Good. I’ve spent nearly 20 years as a writer and strategist, helping mission-driven organizations and campaigns tell better stories. I have a non-traditional profile for someone who does creative work, but it strengthens my ability to work in the social impact space. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in policy-related subjects. I do both strategic positioning and creative development. And I often manage my own accounts. My brain just works better when I spend the day jumping from one side of it to the other. I think that’s why I’m so drawn to brand work — to do it well you have to wrestle with heady strategy, and then you need to translate all the complexity into something simple and emotional. Something that gives you goosebumps. That’s pure joy for me.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

I give to causes and advocate for the issues I care about. – particularly women’s rights, the environment and poverty alleviation. But I’m so not a joiner. Is there an organization for introverts?

What are the things you are most proud of?

I’m not afraid to take big risks. I’ve uprooted and rebooted my life many times, from deciding to go away for high school to moving with a three-month-old to Mozambique. In December, I left a pretty prestigious job to chase an entrepreneurial dream and start Mighty Good. And I feel great about it. Every “crazy” life choice I’ve ever made has turned out to be the right choice. It doesn’t hurt that I have the most supportive family ever. I’m pretty proud of them, too.

Who are your personal role models?

I named my first daughter after Harper Lee. First, because Harper Lee wrote an incredibly important novel. But, second, because I read her biography when I was pregnant and all of the stories about Truman Capote getting credit for her work resonated so strongly with me as a young female writer in the advertising industry. I decided before I even finished the book that I was going to name my daughter after Harper Lee. Thankfully, my husband liked the name. Or maybe he was just scared of me at that point because I was, like, five years pregnant and really cranky.

Who else played a major role in your life?

My parents taught me to set high expectations for myself. I do not compromise on quality in my work. If I’m not proud of it, I’m sure not going to try and sell it to a client.

What professional advice do you have for others?

So many younger people have come to me and asked for advice on what it takes to advance. I always tell them the same thing, “Be your smart self. Work hard. Choose kindness.” It’s not easy to do those things consistently, but it’s not magic either.

What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?

When I’m not listening to whale sounds – the only thing I can listen to while I write – I’m jamming to a weird mix: Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony, The Greatest Showman soundtrack (because my kids are obsessed), The Weeknd, The Clash, The Lumineers, Freshly Ground, Miley Cyrus… the list is basically endless.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

I definitely don’t have just one. But two of my best meals have been at The Test Kitchen in Cape Town and MiniBar here in DC. Also, I love McDonald’s on a road trip. Don’t judge!

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

I’m not generally a quiet person, but I often am in my work with clients. Good brand development is rooted in active listening, because the best brands are always authentic to the client. Sometimes organizations are living an exceptional brand internally that they just haven’t figured out how to express externally. If you listen and observe with intention, there’s often something really special hiding in the margins.

 

(Stay current on items of interest to communicators at Capitol Communicator, www.capitolcommunicator.com.)

 

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