The Strategic Elements team is sitting down with public affairs specialist Kyle Jones, Senior Communications Associate. The former PLUS Communications Manager brings more than a half-decade of strategic messaging development, grasstops campaign management, and social listening analytics expertise to our team. Read our conversation below:
What inspires you to work in public affairs and communications?
The approaches employed in this industry fascinate me. The intersections between creativity and nuance, strategy and execution, and ideation and results encourage me to always put my best foot forward in everything I do at Strategic Elements. There’s an underscoring motivation for me in public affairs: there are hundreds of proven tactics to use in any campaign. However, there are still some nobody has thought of yet. There is always room for innovative ideas, fresh perspectives, and creative approaches.
What are your favorite hobbies and why?
Playing music with my friends and cooking are my top two. I suppose I’m a fool for things greater than the sum of their parts. I attribute my love of making music to my father, who always kept instruments around the house, and my passion for cooking to my mother, who raised me in the kitchen.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your professional career?
Making mistakes can be your greatest ally, but only if you learn from each one in as many ways as possible. I always find myself returning to the famous Thomas Edison quote discussing his tenacity in his pursuit of creating the first commercially viable lightbulb: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Learning new skills and expanding my repertoire remain at the forefront of my career. Strategic Elements embraces this focus for all its team members, regardless of their experience or title. We continually aim to sharpen our talents daily to provide greater impacts for our clients.
How did you get into playing music?
I took piano lessons throughout my childhood, but my love for music didn’t take root until I joined my first garage band in the 8th grade. In all likelihood, we sounded outright terrible; but during our deafening jams, I immediately understood the unique nature of music as a language to communicate with others. Many years later, I actively seek as many opportunities as possible to play with different musicians for the same reason. There’s a level of human connection between those playing that you can’t replicate by any other means. It makes sense that I work in communications.
What professional skills do you think everyone should learn?
One of the best things anyone can do to enhance their professional career is to learn a difficult extracurricular skill like an instrument, a language, or how to juggle, to name a few. The specific skill doesn’t matter much as what you’ll learn while learning. Firstly, it will teach you that everyone is terrible at everything when they start and how to be comfortable and motivated in this stage. It will demonstrate the stark difference between making mistakes and failing. Secondly, it will teach you determination because the only way to progress is to do it every day, getting better each day. Lastly, it orients your sense of reward by delaying gratification achieved from incremental success until after you’ve already put in the time, effort, and grit.
What is essential to your work-from-home setup?
Pets. Anything that stops by your desk occasionally to check in on you.