Capitol Communicator is running a series of profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this “up close and personal” profile, we feature Jack Spaulding . Photography for this series is by Cade Martin; wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson and Janice Kinigopoulos for THE Artist Agency.
Jack, please provide us a short bio.
I’m the Executive Director of Strategic Planning for Planit, a Baltimore-based agency. At various times in my career, I’ve been a writer, an Account Guy, a purveyor of spices, a Project Manager, a screenplay analyst for Steven Spielberg, an editor of instructional CD-ROMs, Michael Stipe’s worst intern ever, and a client. This has all been part of an elaborate master plan.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
I coach kids soccer and have deadly accuracy on the stopwatch as a timer for summer swim meets. Go Makos.
What are the things you are most proud of?
I’m super proud of my two kids, who are 8 and 10. They’ve now been around “the industry” as long as I have and are still the best creatives I’ve seen. I smile much more because of them.
Who are your personal role models?
I have so many, but it starts with my parents. They taught me honesty, humor and hard work. My dad plays harmonica and guitar at the same time, defended several Guantanamo detainees, and taught me to surf. I’ll never be as cool as him. My grandmother was a widowed mother of seven kids who started painting landscapes, reading Irish poetry and traveling the earth late in life — what an amazing woman. My wife is my muse, no doubt about it.
Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?
My 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Lindstrom, told me to be a digester of knowledge and not just a chewer or a regurgitator. Probably the single best, and grossest, professional advice I ever got. In building a strategic focus for Planit, my aim is to find meaning beneath our communications – to create ideas that connect more substantively because they’re provocative in some way. I’m still working on going deep and not settling for the surface, so in a sense I haven’t progressed much beyond 6th grade.
What professional advice do you have for others?
Take chances, be bold, have courage. Don’t take yourself or your job too seriously. Unless you’re operating on me in the ER, and then please do.
What advice do you have on what’s appropriate attire for your organization?
Almost anything goes, although there are times when a little old-fashioned professionalism goes a long way. Sometimes I play a role with clients where I decide I need to be “the suit” in the room because I know the other clowns I’m presenting with are going to show up in a t-shirt, flip flops and ripped jeans. A sportcoat can make all the difference in the world.
Where do you buy most of the clothes you wear to the office?
I like Jackthreads.com and H&M for super cheap gear. But let’s be serious: I’ve been wearing some of the same clothes for decades.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I’m kind of interested in what humans are going to evolve into next, and when, just so I can be prepared. I think I’m a pretty optimistic guy, so I’m just choosing to ignore the fact that we’re in the middle of a mass extinction event. Chew on that. Or digest it.