A Day in the Life of a Nonprofit Communicator – Tyler LePard
Here’s the latest installment in our series on the “Day in the Life” of nonprofit communicators, where we ask you to describe your day in your own words.
Tyler LePard is the Senior Digital Strategist for Catapult, a new crowdfunding platform to advance the lives of girls and women around the world. Tyler is an accomplished digital strategist and communications professional, with a decade of experience in writing, editing, advocacy, and training. She is passionate about advocating for women’s health, and fighting poverty and injustice. After launching the award-winning reproductive health online publication RH Reality Check, Tyler managed media for Population Action International. Before joining Catapult, Tyler spent several years with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — first in Global Health Policy & Advocacy, then in Communications on the Digital Team. She earned her BA in American Studies at Wesleyan University, and her Master of Public Policy at George Washington University.
Here is her typical day:
Before 8:00 am: I try not to check email when I first wake up, but I do look at my calendar to see when my meetings are. During breakfast sometimes I do a quick email scan to make sure there’s nothing urgent. Occasionally I need to join an early conference call.
8:00 am – 10:00 am: I start work at 8am, since I’m in Seattle and all of my colleagues are in NYC (though thankfully I don’t have to start earlier than that).
I usually start by checking social media and reading email for about 30 minutes each day, though I’d like to change this to starting with making a list of my priorities for the day.
I also usually have more meetings in the morning than the afternoon. Thursdays I have a conference call with our PR agency from 8:30-9:00, a check-in call with my boss from 9:00-9:30, a meeting to talk about social media posts for the weekend from 9:30-10:00.
10:00 am – 12:00 pm: This time period I’m often trying to get thing done — write a blog post, write/respond to emails, and go through my list of tasks for the day. Though some days I also have a meeting or two during this time; on Thursdays I have an 11:00-11:30 check-in with a partner organization.
I check social media again during this time period — both for my job and my personal pages.
I also often Skype-chat with colleagues during this time to check in with them, ask questions about shared projects, find out what’s happening in the office, etc.
Some days I go to boxing fitness class from 11:15-12:15 (on these days I eat lunch at my desk after class).
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm: I usually take lunch around 12:30 and try to eat away from my desk. Some days I take the dogs to the dog park and grab a quick lunch out. Other days I eat lunch on my back deck and read a novel for 30 minutes (I work from home). It’s nice to recharge away from my computer if there is time.
Sometimes I have meetings during this time too. After lunch, I return to my task list for the day: emails, writing/editing, posting on social networks, planning for events, managing a couple of direct reports, developing communications strategies…
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: This is my most productive time because the East Coast is winding down/getting quiet. I work on tasks that require longer periods of focus.
I take breaks by checking social media (occasionally I get lost down the rabbit hole of internet stories… ) or by walking my dogs.
Occasionally I have a coffee meeting with people in Seattle during this time period.
After 4:00 pm:I usually try to start wrapping up around 4pm. It depends on whether it’s a busy or quiet day… sometimes I can’t get away from the computer until 5 or later. But I turn off my work computer when I’m done and don’t typically work after that. It helps that I have a defined work space/an office at home — so I can leave that area and feel like I’m not at work.
Once or twice in the evening I may glance at my work email on my phone, but I usually don’t respond until the following morning.
And I never check email right before bed.
Want to be featured in this series? Tell us what you do in a typical day as a nonprofit communications pro.