TheBridge profile: Rob Grant

TheBridge profile: Rob Grant

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Name: Rob Grant

Current city: Pittsburgh, PA

Current job: Head of Government Relations at Aurora

Past job: Senior Director of Global Public Policy at Lyft

Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? Paul's Bakery across from the Archives

Q. Describe one way how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your new job. Going from one start up to another, I learned not only to be flexible and to expect the unexpected, but also to look beyond titles and just take on whatever work needs to be done - no matter how big or small the project. There are never enough people, specialists, or hours in the day at a startup, so having been through that experience once has been greatly beneficial as I take on that challenge again.

Q. Job advice in three words? Be yourself.

Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech? For me, bridging the gap between politics and tech requires a great deal of patience, education, and generosity. Patience is key because both industries work at different speeds and within their own bubbles at times. Education is a necessary part of bringing the two sides together, as the principals involved in each industry often have a genuine desire to better understand how the other operates. Finally, being generous in spirit helps me to diffuse many situations, as I encourage representatives in each realm to assume the best in each other.

Q: What can innovators teach regulators? One thing that successful innovators do really well is that they clearly articulate a vision of the future. An innovator’s vision gives their staff a sense of purpose and a guide as they work in the present. A clear vision inspires. Given their responsibilities, it is not a surprise that many regulators can become bogged down in the day to day details. I think regulators could extend their positive results by taking time to discuss and develop what their vision is. I think the two industries may, at times, find surprising overlaps in their visions.

Q: What can regulators teach innovators? Regulators often times bring a global perspective that innovators can benefit from. There are many whose voices and concerns are represented by regulators, and innovators who genuinely seek to engage regulators and take heed of those  voices and concerns will often be ahead of the game.

Q: What is your favorite app? Currently my favorite app is the Gif Keyboard I installed on my iphone. I spend way too much time looking for the perfect Gif to respond to every text!

Q: What is the most underrated virtue in an employee? The most underrated virtue in an employee is resiliency or grit. At a startup, things will go awry, being able to bounce back from set backs, to show mental toughness in times of high pressure are just as valuable as a fancy degree or great pedigree.

Q: How many hours of sleep do you get a night? I generally get about 5-6 hours of sleep a night. I have an active family of 4 boys, so my early evening are often filled with kid's sports and then, post bed time, I often work to midnight or just past.

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