When to Choose a Passionate Spokesperson Over a Big Name
Every year the U.S Department of Health and Human Services kicks off National Women’s Health Week on Mother’s Day, to encourage women to improve their physical and mental well-being.
Similar to most awareness weeks, National Women’s Health Week provides a platform for politicians, women’s rights groups and others to target women’s health influencers and discuss relevant issues. While the initiative received attention from the highest levels of government, the passionate and knowledgeable voice that resonated above others was Marsha Henderson M.C.R.P., the FDA’s Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health.
Marsha’s insightful blog post highlighted the FDA’s role in advancing women’s health using stories to bring the FDA’s mission to life. She touched on how an FDA medical officer did not approve thalidomide, which helped American women avoid birth defects seen in many countries, to strategies undertaken to increase women’s participation in clinical trials.But what really set her apart was her passion and ability to clearly articulate the history of women’s health, while laying out a vision of the future.
It also served as a reminder about the criteria to keep in mind when deciding a spokesperson for your issue. The best spokespeople are often:
- Knowledgeable and passionate.
- It may not always be the most senior official in an organization. It’s more important that the spokesperson have a passion for and knowledge of the issue, as this will come through in media interviews, videos and other communication.
- Personable and approachable.
- It’s often one of the first descriptions of a politician. Are they approachable or aloof? Marsha Henderson is a great example of an approachable spokesperson — it feels like she is speaking to each individual reader.
- Adept at simplifying key points.
- The easiest way to breakdown a complicated issue is with stories and real-world examples. In her post, Marsha discussed the leading role the FDA plays in advancing women’s health and cited examples such as its Take Time to Care program.