Q&A with New CEO Nicole Cornish

Subject Matter is a creative advocacy firm, what does that mean to you?

It’s both a nod to our DNA as practitioners and what differentiates us from the competition. It’s equally about my Subject Matter colleagues as creative thinkers – finding new ways to problem-solve for our clients – as it is about our ability to produce top-notch creative content, from interactive visuals to the written word, that makes our clients’ issues stand out and stakeholders ready to engage.

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing integrated communications firms today?

The growing competition. We’re not the only ones out there trying to help clients better connect the dots and maximize how they communicate. But having worked in the agency environment for the last two decades, I know we’ve unlocked the potential. The successful merger of the government relations business with strategic communications and the creative content and advertising offerings has opened up so much opportunity for the way we counsel our clients. We’re leveraging the best thinking across all disciplines and specialties without letting structural silos of the business get in the way of collaboration.

What advice do you have for someone starting a career in creative advocacy?

There’s no such thing as too many mentors! The benefit of our business is being exposed to so many different professional disciplines – earned media specialists, video producers, art directors, web developers, etc. Don’t assume the best advice or inspiration can only come from those who do exactly what you do day-to-day.

As we look forward to returning to the office – at some point – what’s the thing you most look forward to?

Aside from the obvious friendly faces and in-person collaboration – my local lunch routine is something I’m looking forward to resuming. I’m a creature of habit and I’ve got my list of in-walking-distance, local go-to foods that I miss terribly.

  • American Son – crab and avocado toast (plus my kids love the fortune-teller fish that comes with the bill)
  • Atrium Café – cheesesteak sandwich
  • Sushi AOI – sakura dumplings
  • Lincoln – chicken pot pie (a little out of the way from our current 12th & New York Ave location, but well worth it!)
  • The Mezzanine Café at the National Museum of Women in the Arts – it’s a quiet hidden gem where you can get a great soup, salad or sandwich and hear yourself think. (hat tip to a dear friend in the neighborhood who let me in on the secret)

Read more about Nicole’s announcement here.