What does the workday of a “head of strategic communications” look like?
For Genius’ Nat Guevara, the day includes sweetened, Cuban-style java, collaboration with team members and the occasional cold email. She shared her insights from a career in communications in our latest installment in our Day in the Life series.
Here’s how she stays sharp, and whose opinion she has learned to trust:
- What time do you wake up?
If I’m being virtuous, I try to wake up at 6 a.m. so I can squeeze in a run at the park by my apartment, or even just quietly read a book for half an hour (so peaceful!). Honestly, though, most days it’s 7 a.m. Listening to a podcast while I get ready is my one consistent daily ritual. I’ve been obsessed with this limited audio series called, “The Ballad of Billy Balls.” A lot of twists and turns. I highly recommend it.
- How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?
One at my desk while I go through emails: hot coffee in a tall glass, half-and-half, and two sugars. I’m Cuban, and we love our coffee very sweet. There’s a joke that we take coffee with our sugar.
- Who is the most important person at work you talk to during your day?
The cool thing about communications at Genius is I get to interact with everyone across the company: artist relations and content, tech, community, brand partnerships and marketing, operations, experiential. That said, I most frequently check in with Ben Gross, our chief strategy officer, in order to get a read on what we’re focusing on this week, this month, this year. His rescue dog, Banjo, is also part of the process. Banjo’s counsel is very important.
- What’s one tool that you couldn’t live without?
Boomerang, a productivity tool that helps you schedule messages and stay on top of follow-ups. You truly never let an email fall through the cracks with this thing; I think it both astounds and intimidates people. Also, my calendar app. If it’s not on my calendar, it’s not happening (or at least I don’t know about it). This is a fixation that extends to my personal time, as well. My friends are conditioned to expect a calendar invite from me for every group hang. They make fun of me, but secretly they’re grateful. None of us have flaked on plans for years.
- What’s the last thing you do before finishing your workday?
I look at my calendar, organize my to-do list for the next morning, and see what video shoots and artist interviews we have going on for the rest of the week to brainstorm more out-of-the-box press opportunities.
- What keeps you up at night?
Lots of different things, the cheeriest of all being my interests. I can stay up until the wee hours going down several internet rabbit holes about things I’m passionate about, like New York City landmarks or some obscure disco song from 1975.
- What trend or change is the next big thing in communications and/or your industry?
In the music-tech space specifically, I’ve noticed an increased appreciation for multifaceted communications executives, some with more unconventional backgrounds—instead of experience in the traditional music industry, for instance, their expertise is in politics, law or otherwise fast-paced, campaign-oriented work. The music-tech landscape is like quicksilver. Professionals who are fluent in music culture, product and an ever-changing media scene possess a valuable perspective that’s uniquely suited to this moment in time.
- Anything else you want to share?
The best professional advice I’ve ever received is cold emailing works when you do it right. Nine times out of ten, when a cold email is thoughtful, brief and sincere, people will respond. So don’t be afraid to cold email with care—and be as generous as possible with the cold emails you receive, too.