Anthony Shop

Anthony Shop

Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring an in-depth look at communicators in the mid-Atlantic.  In this “Up Close and Personal” post, we feature Anthony Shop of Social Driver. Photography for the series is by Cade Martin; wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup was by Patti D Nelson and Janice Kinigopoulos for THE Artist Agency.

Anthony, tell us a bit about yourself.

I am co-founder and chief strategy officer of Social Driver, an award-winning digital innovation agency in Washington, D.C., that delivers creative solutions at the intersection of marketing and technology. The Agency 100 named Social Driver the seventh fastest-growing agency in the U.S. and “In The Capital” named us one of DC’s Coolest Companies.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

My main commitments outside of Social Driver are to the National Press Club and LearnServe International.

I was elected to the National Press Club’s Board of Governors last year as one of three non-journalists on the board, which was the first time a digital media professional was elected. As a former journalist myself, it’s thrilling to be part of this organization – it’s truly “where news happens,” as they say. I’m really passionate about social technology and how it can make the world a better place, so a few years back I started the National Press Club’s “Get It Online” digital media series, which has brought in leading experts from groups like NASA, USA Today, and Red Cross to share best practices with journalists and communicators.

I also chair the advisory board for LearnServe International – an amazing nonprofit organization that sparks high school students’ passion to make a difference, and equips them with the knowledge, tools, and relationships to effectively drive local solutions to pressing global challenges. These students create their own social ventures and pitch them – and I have to tell you, it’s one of the most inspiring things in the world to witness.

These two groups strike a great balance. Much of the news media tend to focus on the bad things happening around the world. LearnServe is about young people making the world better. It’s really the antidote for cable news.

What are the things you are most proud of?

I am proud of our team. I honestly believe there’s nothing they can’t accomplish. More and more, as we grow, I just sit back in awe and watch them take someone’s dream and turn it into a reality.  In terms of me, I guess I’m proud of myself when I take risks and get outside of my comfort zone, because I know that’s when I learn and grow the most. I also love it when I introduce two good people, and it turns into a job, or a contract, or a friendship – that’s the best!

Who are your personal role models?

I am inspired by people who write their own stories and create their own destinies, and fortunately for me, my family gives me much inspiration to draw from. My grandpa owned and operated a filling station, and I loved hearing stories about those days. It was clear that his customers and relationships with them were the most important thing to him, and that this kept people coming back and kept business going. I think about the challenges of starting a business today, when technology and communication have lowered barriers to entry, and I admire the grit it took to start a business in the 1940s! Grandpa was also an active volunteer in the community and starting in elementary school he brought me to a local soup kitchen that he volunteered at weekly. Finally, he was always smiling, always looking at the bright side, always telling jokes and laughing – I think this is why he made it to the ripe old age of 93, and was telling jokes until the very end.

Professionally, I’ve had many role models including Kay Barnes, the mayor of Kansas City whose congressional campaign I worked on. She taught me a lot by her example of valuing people and relationships, and always seeing the glass three-quarters full. She took a chance on hiring me, since I didn’t have any political experience and, through believing in me, helped me to grow.

Did your role models offer you professional advice that helped you in your career?

My grandpa was a man of few words. He often told me to choose my friends wisely, and that has been great advice. I work with and for people who I believe in, which makes work feel like fun 99 percent of the time. He also showed me the importance of being involved in the community and how even small efforts, like advocating for a sidewalk in Raytown, Missouri, can make a difference in people’s lives.

Kay was such a great leader – she could bring people who didn’t get along together, and get them to work toward a common goal. She also reminds me how important it is to keep learning. After a long and illustrious career, she’s earning her Ph.D. – especially in today’s world, we owe it to ourselves and our communities to keep learning.

What professional advice do you have for others?

Someone once told me to find where your greatest love meets the world’s greatest need. I believe that if you find meaningful ways to contribute to the world around you, success will follow. I would also say that when you find that, don’t let anyone tell you, “No.” Life is kind of like lunch – it’s meant to be enjoyed, and you should never be afraid to ask for something that’s not on the menu.

What advice do you have on what’s appropriate attire for your organization?

What you wear says something about who you are, but also about what you think of those around you. It’s important to walk the balance of representing who you are and your company’s culture, but also being respectful of others – especially when you’re in their office and at their events. Our team often adopts what we call “Social Driver casual” for meetings – which usually entails nice dark jeans, a Social Driver tee, and a jacket. But sometimes, you have to break out the suit or the tux – just have fun with it, no matter what you wear.

Where do you buy most of the clothes you wear to the office?

It’s funny, because most of the clothes I buy for the office meet me at the office – I order almost everything online, try it on at work, and ship returns back from there. I have a mix of things from Nordstrom, Bonobos, H&M, Banana Republic – and lots of New Balance shoes from Zappos!

In the wintertime, I often wear an old wool cap that was my grandpa’s. Some people say my fashion sense is a bit before my time.

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

Some people may not know that my husband Thomas and I started Social Driver together. Starting a business with the one you love is a lot of fun!  I also want people to know that I’m not a particularly photogenic person, so I can attest to how wonderful Cade Martin and his entire team are! The first – and possibly last – photo shoot I was invited to was a lot of fun.

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