Bachelor of Arts in Political Science + Minor, Communications - University of Texas at San Antonio
Master of Arts in Applied Politics - University of Akron
On an average day, Jade Floyd is pitching story ideas to reporters on topics ranging from wine to philanthropy and innovative tech companies. Or she’s crafting messaging for venture capitalists and philanthropists. Perhaps she’s even hosting a fundraiser for one of the nonprofit boards she sits on, or even coordinating taking in another foster puppy from a local animal rescue.
Born and raised in Texas, Jade moved to D.C. 10 years ago after graduate school to begin her career in public affairs. Since then, she’s made her mark representing high-profile companies and serving as a champion for local nonprofits—all while writing a personal blog, DC This Week, about what food and cultural happenings in the city should be on your radar.
Ask Jade where to host a birthday dinner and she’ll rattle off no less than 10 hot restaurants. Ask her about wine and she’ll rave about Champagne (a throwback from a client she worked for), but convince you that Virginia has some of the best up-and-coming vineyards. If you're lucky enough to be her officemate (full disclosure: IWHJ writer Jenna Sauber once was), you'll get fresh pecans or brisket from her parents' farm in San Antonio, a hard-to-get invite to an exclusive event, or the name and number of basically anyone's services you might need in D.C. "I take a fearless approach to my life and work each day,” Jade says. “I'm not afraid to reach outside of my comfort zone to pitch a story, launch an idea, or make a connection that can help others."
Too often I hear friends and business associates complain about their work. My advice to them is, ‘Get out there and change that!’
How did you discover your current job?
After five years working at a fantastic public affairs firm—yes, Millennials can have longevity at companies—I was ready to take a leap in a new direction. Finding the perfect meld between philanthropy and business was hard, but I knew I wanted to use my communications expertise for social good. A friend sent me information about the position and encouraged me to apply. I jumped on the opportunity and haven’t looked back.
What responsibilities do you have in your role?
My day is spent managing media relations projects, writing, planning communications for our principals related to their speaking engagements and events, writing more, fielding inquiries from journalists, and pursuing proactive pitches to reporters across various beats, from technology to social innovation and philanthropy.
I particularly enjoy knowing the pulse of what’s going on in our industry. I read a lot. At any given moment, I may have 30+ tabs open in my browser, since I read articles throughout the day and share them with our teams in weekly digests.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
I wake up every day energized and ready to tackle work. It’s a rarity for someone to love what they do. Too often I hear friends and business associates complain about their work. My advice to them is, "Get out there and change that!”
What challenges keep you awake at night?
I have to admit, I sleep like a rock. Occasionally, I’ll have a nightmare about an event gone awry the day before, a reporter writing something awful after working tirelessly with them on a story, or I wake up long before my alarm clock, thinking I’ve overslept on a big day. Usually none of the above actually happens and it’s just my inner-self being overly cautious.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
As a younger PR professional, yes, but over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to keep the trains running and me sane.
I’m addicted to lists. Each week, I divide the projects and companies I’m working on and personal to-dos related to life and my charity work. I update and print the list every week and I strike off projects one by one. Then I keep the old lists for years, so I can go back to see what I have accomplished and reflect on previous projects.
I also use apps like Wunderlist to keep track of things like grocery lists, donations I make throughout the year to recall in tax season, vacation checklists, and more. By far, it’s my favorite app that syncs with the web and all of my iProducts.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
Wow. Several. And they mostly revolved around major media placements I garnered in top tier publications—from The Wall Street Journal to the Financial Times to CBS Sunday Morning. Honestly, I still jump for joy when I see our companies featured in print in a positive way. Knowing that I’ve helped place so many great stories over the years is rewarding.
Also, there were two times in my previous job that really took the cake:
The first was at a major wine festival. Wolfgang Puck walked up to our Champagne booth and squeezed around to the back of the table where my colleagues and I were pouring. I was speechless. He grabbed a bottle of Champagne from my hand and started to chat with guests about the region. A picture is worth a thousand words, but having your client thrilled that you had Wolfgang Puck representing your brand in a positive light was priceless.
The second instance was when I was trying to acquire signatures from world-famous chefs for a letter declaring their support for wine origins and name protection for the regions. I hit the ground running and reached out to hundreds of public relations contacts at various restaurants to ask their chefs and sommeliers for their support. We landed signatures from nearly 100 chefs – from Ferran Adrià to Joel Robuchon and Thomas Keller. It was then I learned the power of picking up the phone and just diving in head first—even without personal connections.
What are some of the rules you live by?
1 / Give back to others. I’ve been blessed in my career and my life, which enables me to give back to my community. I serve on two arts education boards—the D.C. Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative and Project Create—and I foster puppies through local D.C. animal shelters. Giving back uplifts your spirit and rewards your mind and others, so find a cause you can support with either your time or money.
2 / Be thankful. Always thank those who help you. Write a handwritten note, pick up the phone, or say it in person. Be appreciative for the people who have helped you succeed.
3 / No caffeine. I do not drink coffee and I never have. I also stopped drinking soda about 15 years ago. As a result, I tend not to crash in the afternoon or have a lull in the day because I don't juice up on caffeine.
4 / Dress the part. Growing up, my mother wouldn’t leave the house without jewelry, makeup, and a nice outfit. Even if you wear jeans to the office, dress it up with a jacket, heels, and nice jewelry.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
Be a relationship builder, be knowledgeable, be creative, and be a forward thinker.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
I would tell my younger self to know your worth and not settle. I’ve had some fantastic positions at top-notch companies over the years, but I was never afraid to go after a position that was appealing to me and, once there, thrive.
Who has inspired you in your career?
So many individuals over the years have been lifelong mentors. From my mother, who taught me how to be confident in any setting; to Senator Leticia Van de Putte, who taught me to treat everyone as if they are important and with respect; and Brian Berry, who taught me how to wow a client and be a tiny expert in a lot of things. These are qualities I hope to one day pass on to a person just starting their career. I appreciate the valuable lessons from each of these individuals.