Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile we feature Henri Makembe. Photography for the series is by 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.
Henri, please provide us a short bio.
My background as a web developer mixed with my passion for politics set the foundation for my career in digital public affairs. After working with some notable non-profit organizations and public affairs firms, I joined Beekeeper Group as a Partner in 2011. Beekeeper Group helps a wide array of nonprofits, trade associations and corporations with their communications and advocacy strategies. Leveraging my technology background, I play an active role in all our web projects, however, my favorite part of my job is helping our clients create innovative campaigns to reach their goals.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
Currently, I’m an elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, which is a volunteer elected position in my DC neighborhood. Fundamentally, I believe in the basic goodness and utility of government in people’s lives. This is how I implement my belief and give back to my community.
My family and I also regularly volunteer for the Greater DC Diaper Bank. I love to teach my kids about the importance of community philanthropy and it is extremely rewarding to help our neighbors who are going through tough times.
What are the things you are most proud of?
On a professional level, our Beekeeper Group staff. I’m always impressed by their eagerness to dive in, learn, and deliver for our clients. When they leave the Hive, they continue to blossom as professionals who go on to do important work around the country. That’s been great to watch over the years.
On a personal level, my kids. Being with them helps put everything in perspective and makes a bad day not so bad after all.
Who are your personal role models?
My uncles and my dad. My uncles because they taught me to stay humble through success and care for and help those in a less fortunate position. My dad because he took a big risk immigrating to this country when he had a family, didn’t speak the language and didn’t have many contacts. Having a family of my own now and looking back — it’s pretty incredible to think about how much he sacrificed for my siblings and me.
Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career and, if so, what was the advice?
What I learned from them was the value of hard work, believing in yourself, having a plan, and executing on that plan. Those are all things that have served me well thus far in my career.
What professional advice do you have for others?
Stay curious and always keep learning. Our field changes so much that you really have to be on top of the latest updates, changes and trends.
What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?
Jay-Z, Damien Rice, Hamilton Mixtape, Moana and Frozen soundtracks
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Primrose is in my neighborhood, the food is fantastic, the cocktail and wine selection are top notch, and the owner and staff are friendly. For a business lunch, nothing beats Woodward Table.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
When I am not in front of a computer, you’ll find me playing, coaching or watching soccer. Go ManU!