Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile we feature Ben Moldave. Photography for the series is by award-winning Cade Martin, wardrobe 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.

Ben, please provide us a short bio.

Sure! I have been working in the D.C. design scene for the last 15 years.  I started right out of college doing web production and design work at HZDG. I was then at a 2-3 person agency called xeroproject for a bit and for the last 8 ½ years I was at Wunderman DC – previously known as RTC. At Wunderman I started as an interactive designer and worked my way up to ACD/Associate Director of Interactive Design.

I’m currently a Lead Technologist/Senior Visual Designer at Booz Allen. I spent the earlier part of my career doing visual design and art direction in more of a digital marketing context. Recently, when the time came to look for a new job, I decided to focus more on designing and problem solving geared more towards digital product development. Looking to the future, I’m most excited about creating innovative digital solutions to real problems that profoundly affect people’s lives.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

My husband and I are volunteer kitten fosters for a local animal rescue, Homeward Trails – it’s the best!  The rescue pulls cats and dogs out of rural high-kill shelters in surrounding states and places them with local fosters until they get adopted out.  We’re literally saving their lives and it’s super rewarding. Plus we get a never-ending supply of kittens. Nothing is more therapeutic at the end of the day than to play with them and watch them frolic.

What are the things you are most proud of?

Professionally, I’m always proud of whatever work I’m doing at the time.  If it’s not something you’re proud of, then why do it at all? The work that stays with me in the end is the work that I believe has genuinely helped people and made their lives better.  That’s worth more than any award in my book.

Who are your role models?

I’ve tried to learn whatever I can from everyone I’ve worked with, so no single person jumps to mind. I’ve been really lucky in that I’ve been surrounded with some amazing people throughout my career, so I’ve always had people to learn from.  And from the folks who have been less than amazing, I’ve still learned how NOT to do things!

Did anyone offer you advice that helped you in your career?

A lot of what I’ve picked up has been from watching people I respect and figuring out what has made them so successful.  Sometimes it’s their technical skills and processes, a lot of the time it’s been how they have handled challenges and adversity, both in terms of the work itself and when dealing with interpersonal relationships.  

What professional advice do you have for others?

Don’t be a jerk. Seriously, it’s that easy.  You could be the best creative in the world but if everyone hates working with you, you probably won’t get far.  Conversely, even if you need a lot of help and guidance to make top-notch work, everyone will be so much more likely to want to invest in you if you have a good personal relationship.  The best people to work with are the ones who get that we’re all on the same team, we all have the same goal, and what’s good for one of us is good for all of us.  

What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?

I don’t have either one! But the albums I’ve been listening to the most recently are The Struts, Cold War Kids, Florence and the Machine, and Mumford and Sons.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

I like a lot of those annoying ones where you have to wait in line at 5:30 in the afternoon.  Rose’s Luxury is definitely one of the best in D.C. I also love Sushi Taro Happy Hour in D.C. and I went to Himitsu and Bad Saint and they were great. If we’re going a little less bougie, there’s an amazing Indian place in downtown Silver Spring, MD, called Ghar-e-kabob and they deliver to my house.  Their butter chicken is to die for.

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

I’m an early bird. By the time the sun goes down I’m usually running on fumes.  If I have a ton of work to get done, you’ll more likely see me hammering away at 6 in the morning than 11 at night. 

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