Socializing with your Strategist

A couple of fast-paced months ago, Socially Inspired Owner and Chief Strategist Jennifer Radke shared my introduction with our Socially Inspired community.  Jennifer and I have been colleagues for several years now, and I’m delighted to join her consulting agency as a Social Media Strategist, Consultant, & Trainer.

A read of my professional overview (please visit: provides you with a solid background on my career background and experience, so I look forward using this blog to share more about who I am personally.  Like most, I find it difficult to talk (well, in this case, write) about myself.  After some careful thinking, I came up with a list of five items that highlight my personality traits and demonstrate how some of my life experience and personal beliefs relate to my consulting and training philosophy and practice.

  • I possess a keen ability to view things (projects, challenges, policies, situations) from a wide range of perspectives.

 Over the years, I received numerous compliments on my objectivity and diplomatic nature.  It took me some time to identify and appreciate the true value of this quality, but its realization is profound.  I’m able to look at tasks, conflicts, arguments, and positions from multiple sides, which translates to examining complicated issues from all angles and developing a true understanding before attempting a solution, approach, or resolution.

So, what does this mean as a Strategist?  I’m able to look at a client’s project or goals and provide a variety of creative and innovative approaches and solutions able to meet the needs and desires of multiple target audience segments.

  • Working in certain industries during times of digital and cultural change has taught me to be strong in character, resilient in spirit, and creative at heart.

Determined, strong, independent… these are all words that have been used to describe me. In many ways these traits are inherent, yet the reality is that my career journey has magnified them.  My career began back in 2002 as a radio station intern for what is now iHeart Media (formerly Clear Channel Radio) as the analog-to-digital conversion was underway the industry.  I sat front row during the transition from live and local DJs at each individual station to the model of nationally syndicated radio.  In 2007, I moved into academia and quickly discovered the reality of the adjunct crisis of higher education; an era of over-reliance on temporary, part-time, or contingent faculty.  The overwhelming competition for coveted tenure-track positions and the frequent rejection on the job market and in academic publishing present their own challenges that build character.

What does this mean for me as a Strategist?  I’m agile, yet unwavering.  I embrace challenges as opportunities for growth.  I don’t get discouraged easily.  I constantly seek creative and collaborative solutions.  I’m always willing to learn and adapt accordingly.  In the ever-changing universe of social media, these traits are essential.

  • I’m a “Jersey girl” so I’m not afraid to be bold and assertive.

 Us Jersey girls are a tough breed, and are certainly a lot to handle at times.  We are loud, vibrant, passionate, and self-assured.  We are confident, tenacious, and loyal. We say exactly what’s on our mind, but just because we are fierce doesn’t necessarily mean we have an attitude (at least not in a bad way). I am proud to be a true Jersey girl and embody the many positive attributes, and certainly the energy and assertiveness that I’ve gained from being a native of the Garden State.

  • A city soul, but the beach has my heart.

 I grew up less than 20 miles from the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, New York City.  I also grew up less than an hour (on the Garden State Parkway, of course) from the infamous Jersey Shore (prior to its notoriety from MTV).  As a result, I absolutely love the city life. Energy, nightlife, cuisine, craft cocktails, art, and music exhilarate me. Even so, there has always been something very, very special to me about the beach.  As a child, I have fond memories of going to Bradley Beach, New Jersey for day trips with my family.  We’ve also been vacationing in New Smyrna Beach, Florida for decades.  The beach is where I feel most relaxed and at peace.

I’m sure you’re wondering, what does being from New Jersey and loving the city and the beach have anything to do with being a Strategist?  These life experiences make me versatile and resourceful.  For my clients, it means that I’m adaptable; I can operate with city urgency or on beach time.  I’m capable of a balance between bold assertiveness and patient responsiveness.  Everyone needs to move at their own pace and speed with social media, and I am prepared to move in stride with you.

  • I believe that everything happens for a reason.

Several years ago, I was living in Pennsylvania finishing graduate school. Uncertain about where I would land a permanent academic job, my future sister-in-law asked me where I would prefer to live if given open choice without consideration for schools or programs.  After a quick pondering, my response was “In a perfect world, I would be living in a city by beach.”  As luck (and a LOT of hard work) would have it, I’ve arrived exactly where I was meant to be.  Discovering this gem of Jacksonville, FL and taking the enormous risk to move over 900 miles away from my family and loved ones was a huge decision, but is only one of many examples throughout my life of why I’ve come to believe that everything happens for a reason.

So, what does my belief in this mean for being a Strategist?  I’m instinctual and visionary.  I am self-aware and willing to take informed risks. I recognize mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow.  I know that social media is a dynamic and, at times, challenging space to have presence.  Social media are vulnerable and raw; they are also informative and empowering.  Social media can be undeniably embracing, or scathing and relentless.  I’m mindful of these forces at work with each training that I develop, with every strategic solution that I present, the techniques that I design or employ, and in essentially all decisions that I make as a consultant and strategist.

 I hope in sharing these five “fun facts” that you have enjoyed learning more about me and perhaps recognize some common ground.  I am looking forward to working with new and existing clients at Socially Inspired, to engaging actively with our growing community, and to sharing ideas and content to empower and inspire others.  Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me.  Stay tuned for more to come!

About the author:

Margaret C. Stewart, SMS, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of North Florida (UNF) where she teaches courses in communication theory, professional public speaking, mediated communication, and strategic social media in the School of Communication.  She is also a certified Social Media Strategist (SMS) and trainer through the National Institute for Social Media (NISM) and a consultant for Socially Inspired, LLC.  She offers training and coaching on social listening, social media for crisis management, public speaking, interview training, and communication in leadership. Margaret is passionate about sharing her knowledge with students, practitioners, and fellow educators, and is committed to providing training that is engaging, valuable, and empowering.  Contact:  [email protected]