Capitol Communicator is running a series of profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this “up close and personal” profile, we feature Malina Jacobowitz, manager of conference marketing for the Society for Human Resource Management. 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.
Malina, please provide us a short bio and your current title.
I’m manager of conference marketing at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). In the past, I’ve been a web designer, a developer and a print designer. I’ve lived in Washington for approximately a million years – or so it seems – and I went to the Evergreen State College in Olympia … and I have the tattoos to prove it!
Are you involved in any other organizations?
I’m currently helping a good friend get her non-profit off the ground. It’s been a very steep learning curve, but I’ve found it really rewarding. Once she’s ready to launch, I think she’s going to amazing things, life-changing things. And that’s awesome.
What are the things you are most proud of?
I’m legally and ethically obligated to say that I am most proud of my two daughters – and it’s true. They’re lovely and kind and funny and sassy and I’m in the beautiful period before they turn into the kind of mouthy, independent teenager I was.
But I’m also proud of my work – it took me a while, but I finally figured out a way to be as creative and stubborn as I feel the project warrants, while still being a good team player – it can be so easy to just roll your eyes. Learning to appreciate feedback took me longer than was probably necessary.
Who were your personal role models?
I get inspiration from people daily, all the time, and so I think it’d be challenging to narrow it down to a single role model. I’ve worked with some amazing bosses, and I’ve had co-workers that were breathtaking in their energy and spirit. So I try and take what I admire most about people and apply it to my own job and life.
What professional advice do you have for others?
I’m not much for giving advice, but I think it’s important for people to do work that’s personally or even, spiritually rewarding, even if that sounds cheesy. I’ve been in jobs that were financially rewarding, but I just couldn’t bear it at the end of the day because I wasn’t getting anything truly fulfilling out of the work. I know that sounds trite and can be nearly almost impossible to achieve, though, sometimes you have to work to work. So if I had to tell someone something, I’d say “Try to do what you love. If you can’t, it’s no big deal. Also, don’t roll your eyes. People hate that.”
What advice do you have on what’s appropriate attire for your organization?
We’re a business-casual organization so, at least for me, it can be awfully hard to not throw a pair of jeans on every day, especially in the winter. But it’s a nice gesture to make the effort to dress up, to look professional, to be your best-dressed self. I think people recognize and appreciate that, and that recognition, in turn, can help you feel more confident and capable. So it’s this great cycle – you look good, you feel good, other people validate all this goodness. It’s super. But define, for yourself, what feels and looks good – and then run with it. And have fun.
Where do you buy most of the clothes you wear to the office?
I’ll shop literally anywhere and everywhere. I have an almost dangerous obsession with plaid and stripes, and a shockingly carefree attitude about pairing them together in a single outfit. I love pairing super-expensive pieces with stuff I find at discount stores – though mostly because I can’t afford to wear super-expensive outfits every single day (if we’re being honest).
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I’m a huge fan of parentheses, and I love a good cardigan. I feel like I have an exceptionally good fake Scottish accent, which is super handy at parties (at least I think so); and I’ve recently become a gin expert, which I think is something the rest of the Capitol Communicator readers ought to try.