Twitter Communications Team Featured at New York Diverse Voices Book Launch
Brenden Lee shared advice with D S Simon Media’s CEO, Doug Simon
Brenden Lee, from the communications team at Twitter, is one of 40 extraordinary communicators featured in the new book Diverse Voices. He spoke with Doug Simon, CEO at D S Simon Media, about achieving career success while bringing diversity to an organization. The interview took place during the New York book launch of Diverse Voices which was held at Twitter. The new book from the PRSA Foundation is designed to help communications leaders and professionals better understand the challenges faced by emerging majorities in the field. Brenden is among the youngest to be featured. To purchase Diverse Voices, visit www.diverseleadership.net.
Mike Fernandez, LLORENTE Y CUENCA
Nyree Wright, Porter Novelli
Lisa Ross, Edelman
Emile Lee, Dun & Bradstreet
Torod Neptune, Lenovo
Michael Sneed, Johnson & Johnson
Yanique Woodall, The Home Depot
Manuel Goncalves, KPMG
DOUG: Hi I’m Doug Simon, CEO at D S Simon media. My guest is Brenden Lee, the Communications Department of Twitter. Thanks so much for being with us.
BRENDEN: Thanks for having me.
DOUG: Now Brenden’s got a number of distinctions in his successful career. One of them is being among the youngest people to be profiled in the new book Diverse Voices, and we’re here at Twitter at the New York book launch. First congratulations.
BRENDEN: Thank you so much.
DOUG: Great. So, given your relative youth compared to some of the seasoned veterans who were featured in the book, from reading their accounts what have you sort of gleaned from that that might be different or similar to what you’ve experienced?
BRENDEN: I think all of the chapters have a bit of a theme to them, but ultimately everybody has their unique journey. And you know, as you mentioned I was one of the youngest in the book and all I can do is thank the people who have come before me and set that path and allowed me to be in the position I am now.
DOUG: Now you’ve mentioned in your write up that you’ve experienced– maybe differently from some of the others who just had just outright racism directed at them– it’s been more in the micro aggression space. How do you handle that as a person of color who’s bringing diversity to a workplace?
BRENDEN: Sure. That old saying, “kill them with kindness.” You know, put a smile on. Go to work every day and do the best you can do and show them that what they think isn’t truly what is. If there’s a stereotype or if there’s some sort of unconscious bias, you know, proving that wrong but doing it with action not necessarily words all the time.
DOUG: And your career, you started with the Philadelphia Eagles, then moved to the NFL. Both on their communications teams, and now with Twitter. What were some of your interesting takeaways from some of the dynamics while you were with the Eagles and working for the NFL?
BRENDEN: Sure, I think one of the most prevalent things was being in a locker room at the Philadelphia Eagles and having the players perspective on things whether it’s everyday life, or how they go about their business in the locker room, or on the football field. It’s very different sometimes from what the executives at Park Avenue and the NFL are thinking, and sometimes there is not that meshing. And I think when the players and the owners and the execs can get together and really talk out their issues, that’s when we really see the great game on the field that we do.
DOUG: And interesting obviously, from sports to Twitter which is– from an outsider perspective– viewed as a more progressive organization that definitely has a strong emphasis on diversity, but sort of any organization that someone at a junior level is joining: advice for them to advance their career? I mean many times diversity is seen as a plus with an understanding, how can you sort of leverage that to advance your career?
BRENDEN: I think being the person that knows those weird tasks or knowing that extra skill that nobody else knows, particularly those same folks at your level, find something that they don’t know and master it. Because then the senior executive will say “oh that guy that gal she knows this skill that I need.” And you’ll be the go-to every time.
DOUG: Well congratulations on your success. I’m sure people want to pick up the book to read your chapter, as well as the thirty nine other participants. It’s really a phenomenal thing.
BRENDEN: Thank you, very humbling to be a part of it.
DOUG: Great. And thanks for hosting this important event as well.
BRENDEN: Thank you.
D S Simon Media is proud to donate its services in support of the Diverse Voices Initiative.