NAGC Communicator of the Year
Congratulations to the 2015 Communicator of the Year,
As digital media strategist for the General Services Administration, Jessica Milcetich developed and executed a marketing strategy for USA.gov. She managed a highly successful social media program that connected with the public 632,773,802 times, averaging about 7 percent growth every month. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, USA.gov’s social media community of followers grew to 839,426, a 39.6 percent increase from FY2013.
Jessica also had the idea for USA.gov’s first Google Hangout around Ask Marietta, the interactive consumer financial information blog. Jessica worked closely with the Gobierno team to help host the first Google Hangout in Spanish in partnership with the Small Business Administration. And she helped launch a Google+ pilot for all three websites (there are more than 64,000 followers across the three pages).
Jessica was specifically nominated for and named the NAGC Communicator of the Year for a special election day promotion she created. Every election year, USA.gov works to help make sure citizens are able to exercise their right to vote. Because mid-term elections generally don’t have a large turnout, the USA.gov team also wanted to recognize the people who took time to go vote.
In 2014, Jessica’s USA.gov social media team used real-time engagement and monitored trending election hashtags during the day (#GoVote2014 and #Elections2014) looking for questions people had about the elections. They were able to help people find and make it to polls. The team asked voters to share their“Election Selfies” by tweeting pictures of their “I Voted” stickers.
This not only showed people appreciation but also helped humanize the federal government. The reaction was hugely positive and showed the power and importance of real-time engagement with citizens. The USA.gov election day messages reached millions of people across various communication platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, e-mail).
Each year, NAGC awards a government communicator who has helped instill public trust by effectively presenting accurate, timely and meaningful information, sometimes under exceptional circumstances. The award is presented at the annual NAGC Communications School, which will take place this year in Memphis, Tennessee.
Each year, NAGC asks for nominations of outstanding individuals whom you believe to be the most effective in delivering a government organization’s message within the last year. The award recipient will join a long list of past honorees, including:
- Kerri Richardson, Director of Communications, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear's Office, for her ability to communicate Kentucky’s decision to expand Medicaid and launch their own, state-based ACA Health Benefits Exchange.
- Carl A. Fillichio, Senior Advisor for Communications and Public Affairs, for improving the security of the print media “lock up” at the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Judy Gish, California Department of Transportation, for the successful communication of the I-405 freeway closure in Los Angeles, averting “Carmaggedon.”
- U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen (Ret.), National Incident Commander during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Linda Wilson, I-64 Community Relations Manager, Missouri Department of Transportation, for handling the closing down of a major interstate highway to 2.5 million residents of a metropolitan region to replace 10 miles of Interstate 64 in St. Louis.
- David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States, for sounding the warning about government finances.
- Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.
Eligible nominees must have communicated the message for a government entity’s project/incident during the prevoius calendar year. Additional criteria include:
- The individual must have generated substantial media coverage for her/his government entity.
- The individual must have been in compliance with the NAGC Code of Ethics in performing government duties with truth, accuracy, fairness, responsibility and accountability to the public.
- The individual may be an NAGC member or non-member. (NAGC National Board members are ineligible.)
The National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) selected Kerri Richardson, director of communications at Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s Office, as its 2014 Communicator of the Year. The award will be presented on June 12 during the 2014 Awards Banquet at the National Press Club. The Awards Banquet is held in conjunction with the 2014 NAGC Communications School, June 12-13, 2014, being held in Washington, D.C.
Richardson was selected for the award by a NAGC panel of judges for her ability to communicate Kentucky’s decision to expand Medicaid and launch their own, state-based ACA Health Benefits Exchange – both highly complex and often contentious programs. The panel was impressed by Richardson’s ability to communicate the Kentucky experience across a broad spectrum of audiences – from local to national, including major media.