Values-Centric Work: How to be politically and socially active as a professional

by Crystal Paradis-Catanzaro

“If we leave all the activism to people who do it as a full-time job, we’ll never make the collective impact we need.”

In early 2017, I gave a Pecha Kucha talk. The Pecha Kucha format is a classic win-win for both speakers and audience. The slides advance on a timer (every 20 seconds), totally out of the speaker’s control: if someone plans their talk really well, the timing is impressive; if they’re woefully unprepared, it’s hilarious!

And so, a few months into my recovery from the 2016 election (I worked as a campaign organizer in New Hampshire for the final 6 months of the campaign), I said yes when asked to give a Pecha Kucha Talk. Worst case scenario, it would be at least be hilarious, right?

But the topic I chose was one I took very seriously, because it was something that had been on my mind throughout the election and even more so in the weeks and months that followed, as I searched for my next path. Before joining the campaign, I’d quit my job as Director of Communications at a fast-growing digital marketing agency, for reasons that included a vastly different set of values from my employer. And no matter how physically and mentally grueling the job of a campaign organizer was, I was never more fulfilled in my entire life than those months I spent working 16+ hour days to elect Hillary Clinton and Democrats all the way down the ticket in what I believed was the most monumental election of my lifetime. One of the silver linings of that job, including never worrying about if I could have done more (I pushed myself past 110% effort in every way, every day), was the realization that there are indeed options for people of strong convictions to make a living — without compromising their values.

So I wanted to talk about finding the right way to speak up while being a professional, about bringing your values into your work. In the few months since my campaign job had ended, I’d already witnessed the benefits of being vocal about my beliefs. My dream clients were showing up, knowing already that I’d be the best advocate for our shared values.

And I was on a mission to give those who saw my talk permission to be politically and socially engaged, to whatever degree they were comfortable.

You can watch my talk here:

This talk was given at Pecha Kucha Night (PKN) Portsmouth #28, at 3S Artspace.

The full lineup of the evening:

  • Crystal Paradis, Writer & Organizer in Portsmouth, NH
  • Heidi Bellamente, Leadership Coach, SRA International in Portsmouth
  • Steve De Neef, Photographer, Steve De Neef Photography in South Berwick
  • Bridget Sprague, in Alfred
  • Kyle Jacoby, Program Director , On-Belay Inc. in Portsmouth, NH
  • Jordan Salvatoriello, Producer & Digital Storyteller in Portsmouth
  • Lisa DeStefano, in Portsmouth
  • Nick Girard, Founder/Director, Fortland Productions in Portsmouth, NH
  • Sarah Haskell, in York
  • Rebecca Emerson, mom, gardener, artist and farmer in Portsmouth, NH
  • Jane Kelly, Bird of Prey Educator and Rehabilitator in Portsmouth, NH


VENUE: 3S Artspace, 319 Vaughan Street, Portsmouth NH 03801

DATE: February 23, 2017   7:00pm – 9:00pm