Tuesday, October 11, 2011

NO LABELS: An interview with Sean McQueen

We start the internship interview series with a nonpartisan and unique (euphemism for coolest) internship. CMC junior Sean McQueen works as a graphic design intern at a non-profit 501(c)4, “No Labels.” With a purported purpose of pushing aside the petty political partisanship that has brought our nation to a standstill, No Labels aims to inspire a return politics that puts what is best for Americans first. Founded by veteran Democratic fundraiser Nancy Jacobson in 2010, the organizations mobilizes citizens to push for solutions to, rather than squabbles about, our nations toughest issues.

Can you tell me a little bit about No Labels and what you do as an intern?

Sure, No Labels is an advocacy group that started up in December of last year. We’re a little different from most advocacy groups because while most groups campaign for a specific policy issues, we are campaigning for a political process. We are against the aggressive partisanship that has basically made it so nothing gets done in Washington. The end goal of the organization is to support candidates who are willing to work across the aisle, and publically renounce those politicians who impede the legislative process through petty partisan games.

Our office is pretty small; we have about 12 staff members, which is really fun. It’s more of a small Silicon Valley office feel than a big D.C. office. I work with the digital media team and we manage the online public image of the organization. This means our website, facebook, twitter, email etc. We have 150,000 people who have signed up for our news updates, and over 50,000 facebook “likes.” Our media team consists of a team-leader, web developer, a content writer and me; I’m the graphic designer. I make graphics for all our online media.

What is the coolest project you’ve work on so far?

Hmmm, I have to think, there are a few. Every Friday I make a graphic that we post on our facebook page for the weekend because more people have time to be on facebook on the Saturday and Sunday. One the coolest thing I did was I made a graphic that got over 1000 likes on facebook, which was pretty awesome.

We also have these giant, informative documents that we give to potential financial backers. A cool thing I did was I edited this enormous document, formatted it and added in the images and graphics. Then I got to send it to all these huge donors. It’s nice working here though, because I do cool things everyday.

How did you discover No Labels?

Actually, Caroline Nyce (another CMC student) worked here over the summer. I spoke to her a bunch and she could not stop raving about the organization. So I asked if they were taking fall interns and applied.

Were all the internships you looked into graphic design based?

This was actually the only graphic design internship I applied for. I’m mostly an econ major, so I applied to the SEC, the Counsel of Economic Advisors, my senator and a few others. I heard back from other places, but I was most excited about No Labels. One reason was because it’s a smaller organization and I knew I’d get to do a lot.

What is it like to work for a nonpartisan organization in such a politically driven city?

Well, every one who I work with has a political opinion and no one is hiding their political beliefs. I consider myself a Democrat, two guys are work with are Democrats as well, but two other consider themselves Republicans. The whole organization is full of people from both sides, but we are against the “red verses blue game.” We aren’t against different political beliefs; however, we are against demonizing each other because of these beliefs and not getting anything done. We’re about not hating each other because we are Republicans and Democrats and not sabotaging each other. We’re about starting a political discourse based on facts and publically advocating for people who are willing to do this.

So, does your office really feel like it has “no label”?

Yes, it definitely does. But its not like we aren’t politically aware. We are constantly reading what is happening, and discussing what position we are going to take on things.

Where do you live, where do you work and how do you commute?

I live a mile and a half north of the Capitol, in Noma. I bike to work everyday; unless it’s raining, then I take the bus, which takes longer. I work in Georgetown on Wisconsin, which means four-mile bike ride to work everyday. It’s takes like 20-25 minutes.

Will you stop biking when the weather gets cold?

I don’t think so. I’ll probably just wear sweaters, and gloves and scarves. When it gets unbearable maybe I’ll take the bus.

Are there any good lunch places around your office?

Yeah, I’m on Wisconsin, so a lot of good places to eat. We have a Starbucks right next-door, pizza places and a ton of good sandwich shops.

To find out more about No Labels, and to checkout more of Sean’s work go to:




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