11 Questions for SpeakerBox Communications CEO Elizabeth Shea

Shea explains how she goes from a 5:30 a.m. coffee in the morning to running Speakerbox Communications.

Morning routine
I brew a strong cup of coffee at 5:30 a.m.. Then, I get my dog out of bed; he’d sleep until noon if I let him. I hit the gym, then fire up the computer to catch up on the news, email, and get ready for the day. I have a daily huddle every morning at 8:30 with my direct reports. 

First app checked each morning
The weather. Then I check Waze to see which route of three options I’ll take to the office. 

Most distinct aspect of your personal office

A big SpeakerBox sign that has signatures of people that attended our 10th anniversary party. This year, we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary, so we’ll add a new sign to the collection. 

Daily required reading

Washington Post, Morning Consult, Axios, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal. Oh, and Facebook. 

One thing most people don’t realize about running an agency
I thought starting a company would give me greater flexibility and independence while I made a lot of money. Wow, was I wrong! I have realized you have to love what you do or it’ll never work. 

What I’d be doing if not working in communications
I’d be like Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give, writing every day after waking up on the beach. Who knows? It may still happen! 

Explain your job in layman’s terms
We help businesses grow and be successful by using marketing and communications to help them raise money, recruit top talent, drive revenue, or become thought leaders. 

Silicon Valley or Washington, DC?
Washington! I loved living in Silicon Valley, and I recognize my love for technology started there in the ‘80s, but DC is home. I love its diversity, culture, pace, and opportunities. 

Why don’t more people have Silicon Valley and Washington experience?

When I came to DC, my friends and colleagues said, "Huh, most people move to California from DC. Especially in tech." But most people don’t realize the vibrant technology community in DC and that opportunities are sometimes even better here. It’s been amazing over the past 25 years to see how much the industries here have grown. Many people still unknowingly think DC is a "government town" and not look under the covers. 

Mentor
Craig Abod, CEO of Carahsoft, was one of the first people to help me start my business. He rented office space to us for $1 and showed me how important it is to inspire a team, provide opportunities, and work hard at what you love. Many of the things we do in our agency are a reflection of him. 

Guilty TV pleasure

Lately I’ve been into House of Cards and Scandal, but I’ll binge-watch anything.

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