Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile we feature Tetiana Dao. 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.
Tetiana, please provide us a short bio.
I grew up in Kyiv, Ukraine, went to school studying Film and TV production and launched my career in a production company specializing in TV commercial work. I’ve worked on many high profile campaigns with BBDO Ukraine, D’Arcy, Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy along with other local clients. I had an opportunity to collaborate with insanely talented directors and directors of photography from all over Europe.
After moving to US and briefly changing my career path, I once again realized my calling is in the creative content creation. I’m now Producer of Creative Services, Corporate Communications & Marketing at Freddie Mac.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
I support Comfort Cases, an organization that helps provide kids in foster care with their own duffel bag of essentials, as opposed to them carrying a few belongings they have in a garbage bag. I met its founder Rob Scheer when he recorded his book at our studio and heard his story firsthand. He’s an amazing human and father that makes difference every single day.
What are the things you are most proud of?
Professionally, I’m very proud of not giving up on my dreams and persistently building a career in a business known for being hard to break into twice, on two different continents.
On a personal level, I’m incredibly proud of my family. We are such a tight unit that continues to grow stronger together. We have fun, we face challenges together, we call each other out on any nonsense and we support each other. My husband is my rock, we work really well as partners balancing busy work and kids schedules. He challenges me and always has an interesting perspective that helps me make better decisions.
Who are your personal role models?
First and foremost, my mother. She may not realize – and I don’t tell her enough – just how much she influences me. She led by example of tireless persistence, fearlessness, not shying away from challenges and putting in the work needed to be successful. She is a helpless altruist and has the biggest heart, yet biggest skeptic I’ve ever met. She gave me freedom to pursue career path she didn’t fully approved of, which challenged me to prove myself and become who I am today.
From the day of my first internship through today, I was lucky to work with many smart and passionate people. I strive to take away from every interaction and learn from my bosses, peers, clients and production partners every step of the way. It would be unfair to single out just a few names here.
Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?
Really try to find what you love and are passionate about. When you do, have pride in what you do every single day.
What professional advice do you have for others?
Your attitude can elevate the process and experience for everyone involved. So stay positive and help people around you find the bright side even in difficult situations.
Take risks and challenge yourself, embrace changes. This is the only way to grow.
What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?
Despite the attempts of my pre-teen and toddler to take over my Spotify, I still have some of my all-time favorites at the top: The Cure, Massive Attack, New Order, Tricky, David Bowie, Nick Cave, UNKLE, The Temper Trap, PJ Harvey, Seal. Great deal of 80s Rock and 80s Alternative.
Lately the phase of re-listening dance hits of the 90s and 2000s have been going strong too!
What’s your favorite restaurant?
We really are spoiled with diverse cuisines and top-notch restaurants available in the area. My latest obsession is Poca Madre by Victor Albisu. Some of my other favorites are Doi Moi, Mari Vanna, Bistro Du Coin, and a family pleaser we’ve been to about 200 times is Pi Pizza on F Street!
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I’m obsessed with with hockey and huge fan of the Washington Capitals. We love going to the games. Our kids are super into it too, must have something to do with watching Zambonis and being loud! One of my son’s first words was “hockey” and he actually “watched” his first game in the hospital when he was just a few hours old.