Guest

Blake Zeff

"Political Communicator"

Dale Medearis

Washington, DC continues to beckon Blake Zeff-he worked on Capitol Hill for Senator Charles E. Schumer (New York) from 2003 to 2004, and returned again in 2007 to work for Hillary Clinton on her primary campaign. "DC is a very transient town," says Zeff, "so to stay there for a year or two is actually not that short a time, and I've done that twice now." His new position as a senior member of the strategic communications division for Berlin Rosen, a New York public affairs firm, has him continuing to develop Washington ties as he represents political candidates, unions, nonprofits, helping them get their message out.

Zeff's career in communications began with his double major at Brown University in political science and modern culture and media. "If you take those two majors, the work I do now is a pretty good marriage of those two interests. I certainly have a really strong passion in advocating for issues and the way in which government works, it's fascinating." As the New York communications director for Obama, Zeff interacted with international reporters covering the presidential race and with international volunteers. "We often had any number of reporters from all over the world asking for information, watching what we were doing. This was a wonderful opportunity and wonderful to see such interest in U.S. politics from our friends abroad. One of my beliefs has always been that we as Americans are better off when we have alliances and when we are respected and admired, but also liked by other countries. That was one of the privileges that I had working as the New York communications director for then Senator Obama, was being able to interact with the media and interested observers from across the world."

In Helsinki Zeff looks forward to sharing his experiences in US politics, and in this election in particular. "But equally, I look forward to learning about how politics in Finland plays out, the challenges candidates face communicating with constituents and voters, and what the advocacy community is like. "