Summit Speaker Q&A: Jonathan Gallegos, ExxonMobil
Meet Jonathan Gallegos, Public & Government Affairs at ExxonMobil and one of the fantastic speakers that will be taking the stage at Zignal Summit 2019 on April 25th.
Ahead of the event, we spoke with Jonathan to learn a little more about his background, his thoughts on the communications industry and why he’s excited for Zignal Summit 2019:
Q: What was your first job?
A: My very first job was working as a tennis pro assistant at a country club. My duties included picking up tennis balls, refilling water jugs and manning the margarita station for the 50+ crowd on Doubles Night. In a small town out in west Texas, laws around alcohol were more suggestions than anything else. I eventually went on to play varsity tennis in high school.
Q: How did you get into the communications industry?
A: Communicating has always been an integral part of my life, but it wasn’t until I was well into my first career as an accountant that I realized I wanted to be in communications.
Being an accountant requires very little communication. In fact, the more you’re communicating, the less you’re cranking out tax returns – and tax returns are how you get paid. I was miserable. A friend of mine took notice of the misery and said, “Hey, why don’t you apply for a job in DC?” Call it luck or providence, but I took a leap of faith and landed a great job in communications in the House of Representatives. For me, it was a new lease on my professional life.
Q: How has the industry changed since you first started?
A: The line between social and traditional media is getting more blurred by the day. Pitching stories and breaking news no longer always means going to the largest outlet or publication first, but rather to influencers and accelerators.
Q: How has that change challenged or impacted your work?
A: The old hierarchy has flipped. Individuals now have the power to create news, rather than simply consume news. While this change has created immense problems related to authenticity and reliability, the democratization of news (with moderation) is ultimately a good thing
Q: What are you most excited for as the industry continues to evolve?
A: I’m excited to see where the era of citizen journalism takes us. The proliferation of media only does as much good as we allow it to, so I hope, as a society, we focus on the development of personal integrity and balancing screen time. Without these two things, social media is just a race to the moral bottom. We’ve often heard, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” With the advent of new technologies, the power resides within us all.
Q: What advice do you have for other communications professionals?
A: Champion kindness, both in your personal and professional life. Nobody has ever been harassed, embarrassed, put down or bullied into changing their mind.
Q: What are you most excited about for Zignal Summit 2019?
A: Meeting others in this exciting space!
Excited to hear from Jonathan? Register for Zignal Summit 2019 here.