Nexight Group is happy to welcome Annie Best to the team as our new Visual Communications Specialist. Annie comes to us from a program position at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, where she combined her design, writing, and project management expertise to craft the look and feel of the non-profit’s communications materials while directing two key programs promoting transatlantic learning and cooperation around emerging metropolitan issues. We sat down with Annie to ask her a few questions about herself, her views, and her new role at Nexight.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I’ve been working in government and the non-profit sector since earning my BA at the New School in 2003. After getting my Masters in Urban Design at Carnegie Mellon, my focus lasered in on urban and regional planning/policy – a great field to get into if you love learning a lot about diverse subjects ranging from the federal transit program to innovative workforce development initiatives. In my free time, I’m an avid reader and writer, and enjoy trying new recipes.
Q: Why did you decide to join Nexight Group?
A: What I’ve enjoyed the most throughout my career has been the opportunity to develop thoughtfully designed visuals that communicate complex ideas with depth and clarity. At Nexight, I’m able to use these skills full-time in an environment of people passionate about their work. I really appreciate Nexight’s ability to bring together disparate groups of stakeholders in our work moving important technologies and policies forward.
Q: You have a background in urban planning. What is a skill from that training do you find most useful in your current work as a visual communicator?
A: In urban planning, new ideas are most effectively communicated visually. People understand cities and towns three-dimensionally. Because of this, it’s been essential throughout my career to be able to develop visuals that clearly communicate concepts like transit policy, development impacts or housing plans. In addition, the diversity of topics that impact cities have made me a quick study in new issue areas, so I can get my hands around a topic and develop a visual strategy efficiently.
Q: You’re coming to Nexight from the non-profit sector. In your opinion, what is one of the most pressing challenges the sector faces today?
A: In today’s fiscally constrained world, all levels of government aren’t able to provide the full breadth of services and investments that they’d like to. Non-profits and NGOs, ranging from large-scale funders like the Rockefeller Foundation to smaller groups like Detroit Future City are stepping in to fill that gap through programming, investment, and capacity-building. I believe the biggest challenge will be figuring out what that robust level of engagement and cross-sector cooperation looks like in the long-term.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about your new position
A: I’m excited to use my skills in visual strategy development to support the incredibly talented team at Nexight, and to be able to grow my abilities, particularly in data visualization, while working on projects that will have critical real-world impacts.