Q&A with Erin Monday, communications director at Research Triangle Park

Erin Monday is communications director at The Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. In this interview, conducted by email, she talks about her job and the future of RTP.

Q. Describe your job. What do you do on a typical day?

A. My job, really, is to uplift the people who live in North Carolina by helping to tell their stories — usually via social media.

My daily duties are something of a hodgepodge — sometimes I’m at events, live-Tweeting. Other times, I’m juggling reporters, developing assets, writing press releases or handling internal communications and general housekeeping.

At the end of the day, I get to help people – there’s nothing more fulfilling!

Q. Research Triangle Park is nearly 60 years old, created decades before the digital revolution, among other innovations. How is RTP changing to keep up with times, and how will your organization get that message to the public?

A. Well, they hired an intrapreneur, who doesn’t do things the “usual” way – that’s me.

When my position was open, the Research Triangle Park’s leadership looked at several other applicants, with very “traditional” communications backgrounds, and they wound up choosing a 29-year-old with a digital content background. There was probably no better way to “walk the walk!”

Q. You also organize the RTP 180 series. What is the objective of these monthly gatherings, and how do you determine their themes?

A. The Research Triangle Park actually has a 50-year-old mission — a sort of “pledge” to the entire state — to create jobs, to support education and to improve the quality of life.

We created the 180s as a way to bring North Carolinians together and to showcase the talents of our region (and others). When all of these community leaders, corporate employees and university researchers present at 180 they shine — and we can record them and share their stories on the net.

Q. So your job sounds pretty cool. What advice do you have for students setting off on a similar career path?

A. Evolve, evolve, evolve. In this field, you must never stay still. You must always try new things.

Social media is really only the current “medium phase” of the digital marketing revolution. Before, it used to be about SEM and SEO. It will change again, again and again.

UPDATE: In 2014, Monday left the RTP job and is now digital specialist at The Body Shop.