A Day in the Life: Matt Cunningham
We asked Matt Cunningham, a Senior Vice President in our DC office, to give us an inside look at what his job is really like – from how he gets to work in the morning, to the social platforms he uses most often, and the most unique thing about his team.
Tell us about your job.
This is oversimplifying, but I help businesses, NGOs, and associations identify ways to leverage data and insights to inform and measure their communications plans designed to promote, protect, and/or evolve their reputation. Another big part of what I do is champion research and analytics throughout the network by helping colleagues better understand the cool types of methodologies we can bring to the table to best serve our clients.
How do you commute to work in the morning?
I have a long commute as I live closer to Baltimore than D.C. It’s about 90 minutes door-to-door and involves a car, train, and metro. The majority of my commute is on a quiet train, so my workday starts and ends there.
What is your beverage of choice when you get to the office? Coffee or tea?
I get very excited about my coffee in the morning, particularly this time of year when it’s cold. Given my long commute, I typically walk into the office with my second cup of the day. It’s often not my last, although I do try to cut off the caffeine by 3pm so that I’m not up all night!
What might you find yourself doing around 10 a.m. on a regular work day?
Most likely in a client meeting but otherwise clearing out my inbox.
What are your top two sources of news and how often do you check them?
My go-to sources for news are the Axios A.M. and The New York Times Morning Briefing newsletters which I read every morning.
Which social platforms do you use most often? What do you like about them? Are they relevant to your work or is their purpose solely leisure?
I use several platforms for different purposes. I use Twitter to keep up to date on a whole host of different topics (general news, business news, tech industry news, global affairs, and sports). I love Reddit for entertainment and information on specific things I care about. Lastly, Instagram and Facebook help me stay connected with my family and friends who are scattered all around the country and the world.
How do you think the research and analytics trends in your region differ from other regions?
Being in Washington D.C., means our work is frequently centered around helping clients navigate complex policy-related challenges. The audiences for our research are rarely “gen pop” and we work with clients to help them understand who is influencing the conversation and decisions related to issues important to them, which messages will best resonate with those target stakeholders, and how to best deliver those messages.
What is the most unique thing about your office team?
As of this year, my “office team” is now a “cross-office team” with New York and Washington D.C. working together as one integrated East Coast team. This enables us to share resources, learn from each other, and collectively work to build new, stronger relationships.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since graduating college — about the workplace or the communications world in general?
For me, it has been absolutely critical to listen, absorb, and constantly work on growing both professionally and personally. I’m 20 years into my career and still constantly inspired by my colleagues and clients. I am always looking for ways to do things better, smarter, and more collaboratively while having fun doing it!
If you told yourself ten years ago what you would be doing today, what would have your response been then?
Phenomenal, keep it up!
Which “Be” do you most closely associate with? Why?
For me, it’s Be Curious. My constant curiosity is what lead me into a career in research. It helps that I’m good at deciphering data, but it all started with the curiosity and desire to identify what’s causing an issue or holding something back. That mindset helps fuel my work for clients and for supporting the growth of my teams and colleagues.
What are you doing when you’re not at work?
I spend as much time as possible with my family when not at work. My wife and two young girls love playing games together, traveling, and having fun. My girls are six and eight years old now and the time is flying so I try to remind myself constantly to cherish every moment with them as they are at a really fun age.
What is your favorite restaurant in your city?
This is closer to my house than the office, but my family has found a local pizza place we love, Pizano’s. The pizza is as close to real New York-style as we have found in the area (though still not perfect). I met my wife in NYC and we still struggle with the sub-par pizza outside the city.
What motto do you live by?
Remain positive. There is someone else overcoming a much greater challenge that what you are currently facing.