Jan. 17, 2017

Tiffany Cross : How to be Street Smart About Building Your Personal Brand in Washington, D.C.

Having spent significant time working in newsrooms, covering Capitol Hill, managing in-house corporate public affairs, working on campaigns, and navigating communities of color, she brings a unique set of skills that casts a wide net of influence....

Having spent significant time working in newsrooms, covering Capitol Hill, managing in-house corporate public affairs, working on campaigns, and navigating communities of color, she brings a unique set of skills that casts a wide net of influence. Understanding the intersection of press, partnerships, politics, and policy, Tiffany has a proven record of excellent relationships in the private and public sectors, media, the entertainment industry, and civic and social justice organizations. 

Most recently, Tiffany served as a Senior Advisor for the National Education Association (NEA)  and its three million members. In this capacity, she liaised with the public sector, traditional and niche media markets, constituency groups, and civic and social justice organizations. She worked with NEA leadership on branding and positioning and was responsible for forging strategic partnerships, internal and external messaging, conducting scans on grassroots and grasstop organizations, and engaging communities in bilateral conversations on education, labor, and civic and social justice issues. 

Before joining the NEA, Tiffany served as the Manager of News & Public Affairs and the Liaison to the Executive Branch for Black Entertainment Television (BET) Networks. Her work at BET included coordinating with the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention in 2008, executing the network’s participation in the 2008 Presidential election, brand enhancement for the network, and advising on BET’s political and social agenda. 

Tiffany’s broad experience includes guest booking for CNN’s Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz, covering Capitol Hill for Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, and working as an Associate Producer for Capital Gang. She was also a former Producer at America’s Most Wanted and Director of Communications for Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies where she worked on the Obama for America Presidential Campaign and secured high-level visibility for company president Cornell Belcher.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • how Tiffany's personal journey has informed her approach to creating value for her network.
  • Tiffany's key strategies and mindset hacks for building powerful professional relationships in Washington. 
  • how 'The Beat' is helping policy professionals in Washington stay on top of what's happening and find relevant networking opportunities.




The Beat (send news leads to: info@thebeatdc.com)

The Raben Group

Task Rabbit

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver



Donald Trump named former New York City Mayor and early Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani as an informal cybersecurity advisor. He'll head the President-elect's cybersecurity working group. Abby Phillip in the Washington Post writes that, since leaving the New York City Mayorship, Giuliani has started his own cybersecurity consulting firm-Giuliani Partners. Now a bunch of people are saying, "What the hell does Guiliani know about cybsecurity?" Well, Motherboard's Jason Koebler and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai looked into it and found some folks familiar with Giuliani and Partners' work ... It turns out their expertise is more along the lines of telling companies how to legally cover their asses if they're the victim of  cyberbreach, as opposed to advising on actual cybersecurity solutions. So it's looking like this job is more of a thank you for to Giuliani for his help during the campaign. It also turns out, as Rob Price at Business Insider found, that Giuliani's company website--giulianisecurity.com--is replete with vulnerabilities.


You've heard all about Trump's dossier--people calling him PEEOTUS and things like that on Twitter, so we won't go into all the details on that--especially since the dossier is still largely unsubstantiated. But Scott Shane put together a nice summary just in case you don't want to sit there all day trying to figure out what's going on with this.

Basically, this all started when the Republicans retained a company called Fusion GPS to look into Trump to figure out how to hurt him politically. Then, when it turned out he was going to be the Republican nominee, the Clinton campaign took over and retained Fusion to continue the investigation. The dossier has been floating around Washington for quite sometime, but the President and President-elect were briefed on it, and  that's when it made its way to the public via BuzzFeed and other sites. Mr. Trump says the entire dossier is a total fabrication. But if it's a total fabrication--it's pretty detailed, so someone must have had a lot of time on their hands.

In any case, the FBI is investigating the claims ... although no one knows if Trump will authorize that investigation to continue. Some are also wondering why FBI Director James Comey was so interested in Hillary Clinton's email but not this. So this issue isn't going away anytime soon, basically, is the takeaway here.


Matt Hamilton at the LA Times reports that BackPage--the classified ad website -- shut down its adult section last week after the U.S. Senate released a scathing report accusing the company of hiding targeted search terms related to prostitution and child abuse. BackPage Founders Michael Lacey and and James Larkin were scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland and Governmental Affairs' subcommittee on investigations. The committee's report alleges that its review of some 1.1 million documents revealed evidence that the company facilitated sex trafficking and child abuse. Testimony from a BackPage site moderator seems to show the company actively removed search terms so they wouldn't lose ad revenue, but still keep the ads posted without actively promoting crimes.

But BackPage says it adheres to the the Communications Decency Act which provides immunity to websites that host content by third parties. The company also claimed the government investigation was an violation of its First Amendment Rights

One children's advocate--Lois Lee--founder of Children of the Night--even said the site has actually helped law enforcement identify predators and locate missing children. But Senators Bob Portman--the Republican from Ohio and as Democratic Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill--both of who led the bi-partisan investigation-- say BackPages's decision to shut down the adult section shows how damning the evidence they uncovered was.



Congress has selected its leadership for its communications and tech-related committees. Senate Commerce Committee Chair John Tune announced that Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker will lead the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden announced Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn, who opposes net neutrality and prevented efforts to build municipal broadband networks, will lead the House Communications and Technology subcommittee. Jon Brodkin reports in Ars Technica.


Aaron Smith at Pew reports that a record number of Americans have smartphones and access to broadband at home. Seventy-seven percent of Americans have smartphones, with explosive growth among adults over age 50. Americans with access to broadband at home increased 6 points to 73%. Also, Seventy percent of Americans use social media and half own a tablet.


iPhone app purchasers may sue Apple for not allowing them to purchase apps outside of the Apple store, according to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, overturning the lower court's ruling. The decision doesn't affect the merits of the case brought against Apple, but if the plaintiff's win, it could open the door for more competition in the app market. Stephen Nells and Dan Levine have the story in Reuters.


The independent prosecutor in South Korea investigating the corruption scandal that has led to the suspension of the country's first female president -- Park Geun-hye -- has asked a local court to issue an arrest warrant for Lee Jae--yong--the head of Samsung. The prosecutors allege Lee used corporate money to bribe Park for favors. The court is expected to review the request on Wednesday. Anna Fifield has more at the Washington Post. 


Finally, The Email Privacy Act is alive again, after passing unanimously in the House and dying in the Senate last year. The bill would require authorities to get warrants for emails as well as social media data, including data older than 180 days. It would also allow providers to notify their customers that their information was requested. The bill was introduced by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.). John Eggerton has the story in Multichannel News.