TheBridge profile: Ellen Satterwhite
Name: Ellen Satterwhite
Current city: Washington, DC
Current job: Vice President, Glen Echo Group
Past job: Director, Gig.U: The University Community Next Gen Network Initiative
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting: Bourbon Coffee on L Street; one Cuban Coffee and you're good for the rest of the day.
Q. Describe a skill you learned in a previous job that helped you in your current job. When I joined the FCC (and basically in every job since), I was often the only person in the room with no engineering background or just passing familiarity with the technology we were talking about. So I learned how to take good notes and then go back to my desk and Google the heck out of things. I bought a lot of people coffees and listened to everything I could. Research, reading, and asking a lot of questions are skills that make sense as a policy analyst, but they make even more sense working with clients and trying to craft thoughtful campaigns that will move the needle on tech issues.
Q. Job advice in three words? Do your homework
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech? I have the best job with the best people (sorry, but I said what I said!) At the Glen Echo Group we get to tell the stories of tech and people who use it, make it, depend on it to make their lives better. So we reflect those narratives back to policymakers and the press to make the case that a wonky policy issue or arcane technical matter has real impact on peoples' lives and America's future. And we get to go the other way, too: we often get to tell stories about how policymakers are working to make us more connected. That's good stuff.
Q: Favorite app? My Arlo Wi-Fi-enabled camera app; I have one on my front door and back door. It lets me be the Mrs. Kravitz of the neighborhood--and up on all the gossip with my retired neighbors--but still go to the office.
Q: How many hours of sleep do you get? I try for at least 7 and I'm an early riser. Bedtime happens pretty early at my house.
Q: What can DC teach Silicon Valley? I am always struck by peoples' desire to help others through government service; I was privileged to work for the federal government and work with such extremely smart, dedicated and thoughtful people. I know there are several companies with Silicon Valley roots that espouse those values, but I'm pleased that I learned it here in DC.
Q: Best advice you've received? You don't need to tell people how smart you think you are; if you're really that good, you can show them.
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