Join Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes as we profile organizations, leaders, and individuals who lead by example. With acts of kindness and charitable giving that help countless lives daily, these organizations and leaders embody "Be the change you want to see in the world".
On Saturday, September 29, 2012, we will hear from Traci Otey Blunt, a veteran media, political and public affairs specialist. Traci, the Senior
Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at RLJ Companies,
is responsible for media strategy and communications, government
relations and public affairs activities on behalf of the company.
Traci, who recently served as a Deputy Communications Director for
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, has more
than 19 years of experience leading public relations and public affairs
efforts for corporate, local, state and federal governments, as well as
Listen to Traci share about her undergraduate years at Tennessee State University and her early experiences that prepared her for epic political campaigns. She will share about maintaining relationships from California to Tennessee to Texas to DC. Hear stories from Traci about working with First Lady Laura Bush, Presidential debate prep with then Senator Hilary Clinton, advising President Clinton, and how she landed her position with Bob Johnson, founder of BET . She will give a rare look into her personal life and talk about how family keeps her grounded and how she values her friendships from every chapter of her. Although Traci has been on the national scene for many years, she does not forget those who plowed the soil before her,locally and statewide. She also talk about the importance of giving back to "Big Blue" and her love of the Aristocrat of Bands.
Traci is a 1990 graduate of Tennessee State University where she
received her degree, cum laude, in Criminal Justice. Traci also attended law school at Texas Southern University. She currently
serves on several boards including the National Black Caucus of Local
Elected Officials (NBCLEO) Foundation, the College of Public Service
and Urban Affairs Board of Advisors at Tennessee State University, Color Comm.
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More About Traci Otey Blunt
Getting to Know Traci O.
What is the key to balancing your professional, philanthropic and social commitments?
I have been fortunate to maintain a fairly balanced life when it
comes to my professional, philanthropic and social commitments. In DC,
you find that all three of these sectors are often intricately linked
and it’s important that you define your own balance and determine what
the trade-offs are. I think I do a pretty decent job with it.
the biggest mistake young professionals make? Young professionals (and
seasoned ones too) often name drop, discuss internal office business, or
have negative conversations about people or matters in very public
settings (i.e. the Metro, events, restaurants & bars). This is a
networking town and if you choose to discuss these things in open forums
… be aware that people are listening in.
What advice would you give other young professionals who
desire to excel in their profession, specifically for other young women
My advice to other young women of color is to always remain true to
yourself and never lose focus of what you are trying to achieve. As you
grow professionally, you may have to take what seems like one or two
steps back to get three steps ahead; however, if you keep sight of your
goals, you will get there. All that you desire in your personal and
professional life may not come today or all at once, but I am a true
believer that perseverance and hard work will always pay off.
What’s been the best experience of your career thus far (or the most rewarding)?
This is a hard one. Each employment opportunity has advanced my
career. I have worked on local, state, and national political campaigns;
at every branch of government (local, state, federal); have worked at a
women’s issues focused political action committee; at a national legal
association; two of the world’s leading PR agencies and now in a
corporate office. I believe every job has been a stepping stone for me
and has allowed me to have and maintain a solid foundation for each new
experience. I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for each opportunity.
One of my most exciting career moves was being asked to serve as a
deputy communications director/director of African American media for
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign – that was an historic and
unforgettable experience and I’d do it all over again.
What’s next for you in your career? What should we look out for?
I enjoy working at The RLJ Companies (the holding company formed by
Bob Johnson after he sold BET) where I have been employed for almost
three years. As the principal who oversees corporate communications and
public affairs, my role encompasses every job I’ve ever had. I don’t
have any immediate career moves in the near future and see myself
working to promote and execute the RLJ brand and the innovative and
cutting edge work being conducted across the companies.
Lastly, give me three words to sum up Traci.
Loyal! Energetic! Real!
Above interview from Impact .
Photo Credits: AP, Genma Holmes, Lisa Otey-Spencer
Traci recently became proud new mom to a beautiful baby girl!