National Capital Chapter

Meet Joseph: TikTok Fan and Diversity and Inclusion Champion

Meet Joseph Dawson, a North Carolina native working at Freddie Mac and enjoying his life in Arlington with his husband, dog, and cat. Joseph co-chairs the PRSA-NCC Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) committee and is a champion for D&I in and outside of work. Read on to learn about the best pieces of advice Joseph has ever received, his favorite spot in D.C., and more!

Q: Joseph, tell me a little bit about yourself. What’s your story?

“Chatterbox” would be the title of my story as that’s what my mom called me. She said I could talk to anyone, including a brick wall. I grew up in rural North Carolina as traveled to more places and throughout my life, I found myself talking to people, learning more about their cultures and diverse perspectives. I get to talk to people through my career in communications; I may not be physically talking but I get to share a message, whether it’s my message or an organization’s message.

Currently, I support Freddie Mac’s mission of making homeownership possible as a Director of Strategic Communication within Human Resources, focusing on HR, inclusion, and diversity messaging. I enjoy the people and culture there as Freddie Mac is a majority-minority company and women make up nearly half of the workforce.  You get to meet so many different people who all have something innovative to contribute to the conversation, which means I always get to learn something new.

Q: What made you decide to move to D.C.? How long have you been here?

I went to undergrad and grad school in North Carolina. As I was finishing my PhD, I decided to go into corporate communications rather than academia. My career started in economic development, then to a Fortune 500 company in Roanoke, Virginia. I had a manager there who told me if I really wanted to grow my communications career, I needed to diversify my communications experience. When I had an opportunity to join a Fortune 500 energy company in D.C., I jumped on the opportunity. I’ve been here for six years now.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in D.C.?

I enjoy all of the different people I meet and the varied experiences this area affords me and my husband.  Given our current social distancing guidelines, I like to go to outdoor parks like Dangerfield Island on the Potomac.

Q: What made you decide to join PRSA-NCC?

That’s an easy answer! I respect and value being around individuals who are working to advance the discipline and profession of communicators. Last year, I had the opportunity to volunteer on the D&I committee and helped develop the D&I statement which was meaningful to me. When you join PRSA, you’re doing your part to progress our profession.

Q: What’s your proudest professional achievement?

All of my proudest moments are attached to some of my biggest professional failures. Learning from those failures are my proudest moments because I grew from them.

Q: What’s the best piece of career advice you have ever received?

There are two.  A former manager told me that, “no matter how smart or talented you think you are, there’s always someone else who can teach you something.” The second one is career advice I received from a senior leader later in my career. Her advice: “Always throw out your biggest and best ideas. It’s easier to scale back when you have dreams that reach the stars. But if you never left the ground, there’s nothing to scale back to.”

Q: What do you do during your free time? What are your hobbies?

It’s a delicate balance between eating enough good food that I’m required to then go to the gym the next day.

Q: What are you passionate about beyond communications?

I am most passionate about my family to include my husband, senior dog and cat. Communication is a close second though.

Q: Can you recommend a movie/show or book you are currently excited about?

I actually don’t have a TV show or book to recommend because I’m really obsessed with social media videos. Even when Vine first came out, I was addicted to it. I am watching a lot of TikToks. These videos are a great way to pass time during the quarantine.

Q: And what have you been doing to pass time during COVID-19?

Quarantine Crafting: Painting canvas bags, trying new recipes, finishing up those pesky projects around the home.

Q: If you’re comfortable, could you share how you are dealing with the stress of COVID-19?

Mental health should be on the forefront of everyone’s mind. So, for me personally I don’t know that I have good advice here but I do recognize how important it is that we take care of our well-being during this time.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the interviewed members. “Meet the Members” is a PRSA-NCC initiative whose goal is to spotlight our members, their thoughts and ambitions by connecting and introducing them to more members of the PRSA-NCC community.

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