Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring an in-depth look at communicators in the mid-Atlantic.  In this “Up Close and Personal” profile, we feature Franklin Parrish. 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.

Franklin, please provide us a short bio and your current title.

I’m Senior Director of Creative + Editorial Services for Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic. I’ve been in this role for just over two years, and worked in various creative roles in the marketing and advertising field for almost 20 years. I also teach a Master’s level Content Strategy course at Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

Not at the moment, but I’m always looking for opportunities to serve. One of the great things about Kaiser Permanente is that as a non-profit health care organization, we do amazing work in vulnerable communities. I’m gratified for the opportunity to support that work.

What are the things you are most proud of?

This will sound corny, but I’m really proud of my team. We’re a well-oiled machine, and despite our different backgrounds, we’re a close-knit group and genuinely care for each other. That kind of affection is uncommon and really counts when things get tough—and in my estimation, even contributes to the quality of the work we produce. We hang together and support each other. I am so lucky.

Who are your personal role models?

Quentin Lawson. He was the Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation when I worked there—as a matter of fact, he hired me. He had an office full of ticking clocks—must have been forty of them. He taught me how to discern others’ motivations as a way to better understand and help them, and the value of silence and maintaining composure in tense situations.

There are a few others I can call out that are perhaps more germane to the creative field. Anna Wintour, for instance. People have questioned her methods, but no one doubts her drive and will to be singularly good at what she does. Mickey Drexler, who turned Banana Republic from a safari outfitter to a near-luxury brand. Whatever problems they’re having now, that initial shift took guts, vision, and a hell of a pitch.

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

Other than “shut up and listen,” here’s what I’ve taken from their lives: You can’t be an expert if you don’t love what you’re doing.

What professional advice do you have for others?

Know your product. Whether it’s you, your team, your project, your brand. Knowing it makes you confident. Confidence makes you powerful.

What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?

Towa Tei, Ella Fitzgerald, The Foreign Exchange, Beach Fossils, Seven Davis, Jr., Jill Scott, Tom Wax, Kendrick Lamar, The Avalanches

What’s your favorite restaurant?

There are two: Piccolo Toscana in Wilmington, DE. Chef Dan Butler introduced me to Beef Carpaccio 15 years ago and I’ve judged every carpaccio I’ve ever had since against it. None have lived up to his, even the one I had in Italy. Second is the Cultured Pearl in Rehoboth Beach, DE. I waited tables there—amazing food, great people, never a dull moment. I had my first rockfish at that restaurant—love at first bite.

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

I read marketing books for pleasure. This is my third career, and I wake up every day trying to figure out how I can be better at what I do than people who’ve been doing it their whole lives. I can also draw any state in the Union freehand. Yes, even that one. And I have a comically large wardrobe.

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