“What Are You Working On, Tara McLoughlin?”
Ever wonder what exciting new projects the many employees at NARA are working on? The “What are You Working On?” blog feature aims to introduce a variety of NARA employees and highlight some of the exciting projects we are working on around the agency. Check for this blog series on Wednesdays!
This week, we introduce Tara McLoughlin, Marketing and Communications Specialist for the Federal Records Centers.
What is your name and title?
Tara McLoughlin, Marketing and Communications Specialist for the Federal Records Centers
Where is your job located?
What is your job in a nutshell?
I do all kinds of marketing- and communications-related projects for the Federal Records Centers (FRCs). I write and edit promotional materials, conduct focus groups and other market research with our agency customers, write articles (like this one, for NARA’s Prologue magazine), attend trade shows, manage our brand, coordinate special events, write press releases, and manage our online presence.
I love what I do! I get to use both the right and left sides of my brain—the work is creative, yet needs to be produced within strict regulatory, budgeting, and scheduling constraints. I also love that I get to work directly with our energetic and knowledgeable staff in the FRCs around the country.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently on detail with NARA’s social media staff exploring how the National Archives employees might use a “social software” platform to collaborate more effectively and do our jobs better. I have been researching best practices from other Federal agencies that have successfully deployed similar networks (like NASA’s Spacebook, the Army’s milBook, and the State Department’s Corridor). It has been fascinating to learn how these networks have helped staff at other agencies work together better and to think about best applications for this kind of a network at NARA.
How long have you been at NARA?
What has changed since you started at NARA?
Not surprisingly, the most exciting changes for me have been NARA’s forays into the world of social media. It is great to see how these new tools are helping our small agency communicate with and get feedback from our varied constituencies in creative, new ways.
Do you have a favorite day at NARA, or a favorite discovery or accomplishment?
Hands down, my favorite day at NARA is the Fourth of July. There is *nothing* like celebrating the Fourth in the Rotunda of the National Archives–pomp and circumstance, visiting dignitaries, costumed re-enactors, the best seat in Washington for the parade, and the Charters of Freedom right there under glass.
What are your passions or interests outside of work?
Ever since I visited artist Howard Finster’s “Paradise Garden” back home in Georgia as a kid, I have had a passion for “outsider” art. I love going to exhibits, meeting the artists, and collecting the art (when it is in my price range).
I also run to stay fit. I can’t say that I am *passionate* about running, but I do like what it has done for my health and well-being.
What is the last book you read, or the last book you loved?
I have a four-year-old son, so I am all about finding fun, quirky children’s books these days (I’d welcome suggestions!) A recent favorite is Calef Brown’s beautifully illustrated collection of poems for kids–Polka Bats and Octopus Slacks.
Meet more NARA employees: http://www.archives.gov/careers/employees/