TheBridge profile: Amy Widdowson Mains

TheBridge profile: Amy Widdowson Mains

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Name: Amy Widdowson Mains

Current city: Living in Oakland, Working in San Francisco

Current job: Vice President at Vrge Strategies

Past job: Marketing at various SF startups, travel blogger a lifetime ago.

Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? Grab a Havana latte at Coffee Bar and go for a walk! Take advantage of the mild San Francisco weather.

Q. Describe one skill you learned in a previous job that helped you in your new job. Fresh out of college, I did marketing and donor relations at DonorsChoose.org, where I saw just how important a personal connection to giving can be. Transparency and communication mean so much to every donor, whether they've given $5 or $5000, and that's a great lesson for every client you work with.

Q. Job advice in three words? Be the thermostat.* (*not the thermometer) Set and control the temperature in every room you walk into.

Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech? Translation and storytelling. Whether you spend your day immersed in code or poring over regulation, what may seem second nature to you can be isolating or threatening to someone else. At the end of the day, the changes we're spurring in technology and politics/policy have one big thing in common: they have a profound impact on real people that must be recognized and reckoned with.

Q. Morning routine? Wake up at 5:30, will myself to make coffee, do some yoga, and write for an hour for my personal newsletter (The Morning Missive.) Gets the brain moving and sets the tone for the day.

Q. Favorite app? Instapaper, I freaking love it. I've always loved longform journalism and non-fiction, so I use Instapaper as my personal reading list to bookmark those pieces I can't dig into during the day, and then use Instapaper to read them on my Kindle before I go to bed.

Q. What can DC teach Silicon Valley? The necessity and importance of "soft skills" in any organization. If more Silicon Valley companies had respected and encouraged communication, emotional intelligence and empathy across departments, we might not be seeing the international SNAFUs we are now.

Q. How often do you work from home? Not that often. I'm an extreme extrovert, so I need to be around people, hear voices around me, be able to have in-person conversations. And I've trained my brain to work AT work. Even if I have to pull out the laptop on the weekend I try to go in, because for me office time equals productivity.

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