M4 Spotlight: Young Elected Officials Network
1. What is the name of your organization?
Young Elected Officials Network
2. How would you describe your organization?
We are a program of People for the American Way Foundation. Going by our mission statement, we focus on young elected officials under the age of 35 from all around the country that are looking to bring the values of freedom, fairness and opportunity to their communities.
In my own words, I see YEO as a safe-haven for young elected leaders to share with each other, get policy support and receive the encouragement they need to go back to their communities to fight the good fight.
3. How many years has your organization been established?
We just had our 6th national convening and have 650 members. Our very first convening, when we were established, was in January 2005 with only 65 members.
4. Why did you choose to work for your organization?
I actually started at People for the American Way Foundation (PFAWF) itself. I was there for almost a year when I volunteered at the first Young Elected Officials (YEO) national convening. After that experience, I went to the then program director of PFAWF, Sharon Lettman, and the director of the YEO Network, Andrew Gillum, and asked what I could do to continue to volunteer for the program. I found the YEO’s to be very inspiring and I wanted to be a part of it. After a few months, I was hired. The young elected officials are extremely admirable and if I can help them, then it’s worth it.
5. Why did you use MediumFour?
For this year’s convening we wanted a new look, and we really needed something that was different than what was used to in the past because we were starting to look dated. It was a little too much “elected officials” and not enough “young”; we were forgetting the young part of Young Elected Officials. After seeing Michael’s work, I liked what he could do. While talking to him, he picked up on what we were looking for and the “freshness” we wanted to add. I knew we were trained by the same people, had the same work ethic and they [MediumFour] would get the work done well and wouldn’t stop until it was finished. We needed the image to be a mix, not catering entirely to an old-fashioned look, but also not too young looking because it is still representing elected officials. They knew how to do that, they figured it out and we couldn’t be happier with the final product.
6. In what ways has your organization changed?
The look Michael gave us for the Convening, with the use of fonts, gave us a lot of freedom to be more creative. I was able to use the elements he designed for us in other ways because they were so simple and clean. The clean, crisp look also helped energize our material and because we went with a different color scheme it was noticeable and it gave us a different liveliness. We were able to do things with our designs that we had never done before because Michael specifically changed the look for our entire conference. For the first time ever, we didn’t do the typical red, white and blue event; even the lighting for the evening reception was in purple!
7. How was MediumFour compatible with your needs?
They understood what we needed and were flexible enough to work with us because we have bizarre deadlines – fast turnarounds, last minute changes and odd requests. It’s not easy for designers to deal with people who think they are designers too, and they were patient with me. As an internal team, we brainstormed before even approaching MediumFour, coming up with color ideas, words, needs etc. Our goal was to help them and to convey our ideas so they wouldn’t start with a blank canvas. They were very patient with us and the feedback we gave them.
8. What four things stand out in your mind from working with MediumFour?
Professional, amazingly accurate on their deadlines, patient and willing to teach. Their willingness to teach was in and of itself the most valuable to me because they didn’t just design and say “take it or leave it”, they explained why they chose certain things and the decisions behind design choices. This helped me to better understand and then pitch it to the decision-makers accordingly. Personally, it was also a great learning experience for a design-geek like me.