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Innovation & Job News

60 Seconds With... SpeakerBox Communications' Elizabeth Shea

In this week's 60 Seconds With… founder profile, we catch up with Elizabeth Shea, president and CEO of SpeakerBox Communications. Shea, 49, cofounded the firm in 1997 and has grown it to a veritable institution for #DCTech, helping startups get connected and get the word out about their businesses. Shea also chairs the board for the Technology Marketing Alliance and sits on the board for Mindshare
Elevation DC: What was your first job? 
Elizabeth Shea: Wearing a red and white candy-striped smock at Hasty Freeze--a knock off from Tasty Freeze I'm sure, and probably a trademark violation. I made ice cream cones, King burgers and tater tots. Oh! Do you mean my first professional job? That was actually just as cool – working for Apple in the days they were considered the underdog and set out to change the world. 
Best thing about your business right now? 
The people—both clients and the [Speakerbox] team. Why else would we be here? It's also exciting that our clients are experiencing some record years. Funding is flowing in the right direction, and we are seeing things happen. It's a great time to be in tech.
If you could change one thing about your business right now, what would it be? 
Honestly, I feel like we don't do enough to tout our own successes, and successes for [our] clients. It's an initiative I want to tackle this year. We are proud of the work we do for our clients, but don't shout it from the mountain tops enough. I think we are inherently shy as a company. We need to carry more of a bullhorn around town. 
Describe an “A-ha moment” (in business, or in life) that you’ve had. 
When I had to take medical leave for a couple of months a few years back, the business ran better than when I was there. It was my proudest moment. And it made me realize how important the entire team is to the success of the company, and the more the CEO realizes it, the stronger the company will be. 
What are you reading? Or, what have you read recently that has had an impact on you? Why has it been influential?  
The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. There is a big movement to translate agile development methodologies to communications and marketing strategies, and there are several books on the topic that are interesting reads. It's so logical, and we realize as an agency that we are actually living the methodology without even [being aware of] how important it is to PR and communication success. I've got about four books on the topic; this is the first one. 
Beverage of choice?  
I've really never met a beverage I didn't like, but if I had to choose, on the non-alcoholic side, dark, bold coffee, and many cups a day. When it's happy hour: Hendricks gin and tonic with a cucumber.
Guilty pleasure?  
Hiding away, watching on-demand TV shows back-to-back. As in, 6–7 episodes per sitting, sometimes, on a Sunday. I just finished Dexter, and now I'm onto season 2 of House of Cards
Last tweet you got that made you smile?
I can't remember who tweeted this, but I laughed:  "A fact of life, after Mon and Tues, even the calendar says WTF."
Most recent app purchase/download? Why?
Sing by Smule, a karaoke-type app because I really think I can sing, but I know I can't, so this way no one else can hear me but my iPhone. And she doesn't roll her eyes. 
What do you loathe about DC?  
This year – the SNOW!
What do you love about DC?  
Ironically, the seasons (including the snow) and the business and tech community we have here. I moved here from Silicon Valley many years ago, and never looked back. 
Nominate someone (or yourself!) for a 60 Seconds With…Q&A by emailing [email protected].

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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