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Member of Week – Meagen Ryan – Rock Creek Strat Marketing

I first got introduced to Rock Creek Strategic Marketing during Gov 2.0 Camp when I met a rad dude named Scott Johnson.

His team helped me out with a new slick GovLoop banner and generally awesomeness and also introduced me to some of his great staff like Meagen Ryan who we are featuring as GovLoop Member of Week. She’s a cool chick who gave the correct planted answer to favorite GovLooper – that being Steve Ressler (nope..actually he is not cool and wears lame t-shirts).

Anyways….here we go…

Meagen…So tell us your story….what do you do?

What do I do? For work, I’m a marketing strategist for Rock Creek Strategic Marketing, which means that I develop the plans that guide client’s communications, marketing, and branding projects. I tend to work on new media projects because my previous work experience was with a website development company. For work-that-feels-like-play I am out and about at various Gov 2.0/new media events both for Rock Creek and because I enjoy the people and enthusiasm. In my spare time, I chronicle my Metro commute via Facebook status posts. DC commuters are endlessly entertaining.

Tell us a little bit about Rock Creek Strategic Marketing. What type of stuff does Rock Creek do? What’s your role?
Rock Creek Strategic Marketing is a company full of talented, fun people who figure out creative communications, branding, and marketing solutions for our clients. Our government work lately has tended toward new media, including website design and development, new media strategy, video, and web app development. As a strategist my role is to ask the questions, do the research, and come up with the plan that will guide the project. I’m a planner by nature, so I love my work. I also love working with our creative and web teams as they execute the plan. I’m always amazed at their creativity, since I definitely don’t think like that.

What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on at Rock Creek?
I’m not good at picking favorites, but two projects I really enjoyed were websites we did recently with USDA. We did the architecture and design for two new sites—www.ruraltour.gov and www.usda.gov/knowyourfarmer. I enjoyed those project for two reasons. First, the timelines on the projects were incredibly short, which kept the energy and excitement high. Second, Amanda Eamich as USDA is great to work with. She understands both the possibility and practicality of new media—both what it can accomplish and what resources an agency needs to have to make it work. The sites we designed are part of a larger new media strategy that is working really well. It’s always exciting to see your work be part of something successful, and which has the potential to improve the lives of everyday Americans. Third, I love food. Ok, guess that was three reasons.


When did you hear about GovLoop? Why did you join?

I heard about GovLoop six months ago or so, because Scott Johnson, a principal at Rock Creek, was raving about it. I joined because I’m relatively new to the government industry and I saw GovLoop as a way to listen to and eventually participate in the government community.

What is your favorite thing about GovLoop? What keeps you coming back?
I love reading blog posts and discussions that talk about what’s working—or not working—in government. You can see a great recent example of this by checking out this discussion on “How to handle a lawsuit on Facebook page” https://www.govloop.com/forum/topics/how-to-handle-a-lawsuit-on?x=1&id=1154385%3ATopic%3A665794&page=1#comments posted by Angela Sanchez. Her question is very specific, and the answers she received are very thoughtful and helpful. I love content like this because it helps me provide solutions and case studies to my clients when they face similar questions.

You’ve done some research on GovLoop. What is your favorite fun finding on community building and GovLoop?
In looking at who uses GovLoop and who contributes the most, I was struck by the fact that some of the best contributors come from outside the beltway. That’s one of my favorite things about GovLoop—it gives us all a chance to hear from people we don’t see at every Gov 2.0 conference, happy hour, and meet-up. Additionally, my research into GovLoop has reaffirmed the old truism that nothing beats personal invitation and interaction. The best, most active groups on GovLoop are the ones moderated by engaged leaders. The most interesting blog posts are ones where the author replies to comments. GovLoop itself is so successful because Steve Ressler, GovLoop’s founder, engages people personally.

I see you a lot at “Gov 2.0” events. What do you see as the promise of Gov 2.0?

I think the promise is two-fold. First, I think Gov 2.0 will allow government, citizens, and industry solve real problems through the use of data that the government already collects. A great example of this is the Hospital Compare tool that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) developed. This tool allows anyone to compare hospitals in their area on the quality of care they provide, based on data that CMS collects. With that information, citizens can choose better hospitals, which will pressure under-performing hospitals to improve, thereby improving the quality of health care overall. All because CMS provides data in an objective, easy-to-use way.

Second, I hope Gov 2.0 puts citizens back in touch with the people who work in government. I am constantly inspired by the smart, dedicated people I work with in Government, and I wish everyone who ever made a joke about the work ethic of government employees had the opportunity to meet these people as well. On the flip side, I think putting government in touch with the people will lead to better solutions and happier public servants.

I know you are part of the Fiscal New Year Party planning team as a member of YAFCEA board. How long have you done that?
Yes! The Fiscal New Year Party is this Thursday and promises to be a blast. I’ve been on the YAFCEA Bethesda board formally for a month now, though I was on the planning committee for the Senior Government Executive dinner last year, too. Much like Young Government Leaders does for government people, YAFCEA helps mentor, connect and educate young leaders in government industry. It’s been hugely helpful for me as I learned the ropes over the last year.

Favorite GovLooper?
Again with the favorites. It would have to be Steve Ressler, of course, for so many reasons. In addition to being indisputably awesome, Steve is also genuine and humble. He is also a community-building savant. He understands how to bring people together, how to make sure they’re having fun when they’re there, and how to keep them coming back.

If there was a dance-off between you and Justin Timberlake…who would win?

Do I get to pick the dance style? My sixth grade music teacher thought I showed real promise in square dancing. I do a mean do-si-do.

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Profile Photo Angela Brown

Great interview! A former colleague of mine started over to Rock Creek over the summer and I’ve heard great things. This is also the inspiration I needed to be more active on GovLoop!

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Profile Photo Andrew Krzmarzick

It was great to get to know you through this post, Meagan. I just checked out “Know Your Farmer” and located the nearest Farmer’s Market to me in Durham. The search was really quick. Nice work!

What about a hockey face-off versus Justin Timberlake a la “Love Guru”?

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Profile Photo Alison Hoover

Hey Meagan – nice interview! I’m so bummed I”m going to miss fiscal new year tonight! I hope you’re enjoying YAFCEA – they are lucky to have you! -Alie

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