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Get to Know Emily Leach

Public Citizen News / March-April 2024

By Hayden Imgrund

Meet Emily Leach, Public Citizen’s deputy director of communications. Born and raised in California, Emily got her start in the communications world working at a tech PR firm, LaunchSquad, in San Francisco. 

Realizing that she wanted to work on projects and issues that more closely aligned with her values, particularly given her fervent opposition to the harmful policies and rhetoric being advanced by the Trump administration, she moved to Washington, D.C., to work in communications at the Center for American Progress on their youth political engagement team. Since then, Emily has led communications strategy on a variety of issues including economic inequity, democracy protection, and voter engagement. Outside of her professional life, Emily can be found exploring Eastern Market in D.C., reading for her book club, and hanging out with friends in Lincoln Park or a D.C. beer garden. 

Q: What brought you to D.C.?

A: The main reason I wanted to come to D.C. was the city’s connection to the work that I wanted to do. I knew after a few years of doing PR and comms in San Francisco that I wanted to do something that aligned more with my values and what I care about. Every time that I thought about what that might look like or what jobs I would be interested in doing, all roads led to D.C. So many decisions get made here that impact people all over the country, and the world. I love getting to play a small part in shaping those decisions and working alongside people who also want to make the country a better place. I think I was surprised when I got here to realize how much I like D.C. as a city even outside of politics. I love the cool neighborhoods, how walkable much of the city is, and how accessible public transit is. 

Q: Walk us through your work day. 

A: My day typically starts with going through emails; between newsletters, interview requests from reporters, responses from coalition partners or PC advocates, and progress updates on key issues, there are always a lot! I try to work my way through as many of the newsletters I’m subscribed to as possible to get a sense of what the day and week will look like on our issues. Right now, I pay closest attention to Punchbowl, Politico’s Huddle, and Politico Morning Tech. 

Once I’m at my desk, my top priority is checking in with reporters and making sure they have all of the information and connections to PC experts that they might need. I’m also pitching reporters on story ideas that we’ve come up with tied to news of the day, PC reports or campaigns, or other interesting narratives we think deserve more attention.

Another main function of comms is communicating with folks internally, so every day I’ll have different meetings to check in with other teams, policy experts, advocates, and other comms team members to discuss what they’re working on and how we can help get more eyes on it, whether that’s in the press or on our digital channels.

Q: What advice would you give to someone just starting in communications?

A: I would tell them to push themselves to try new things. The best comms people I know are people that are adaptable, quick-thinking, and able to think outside the box — which are all skills that come with challenging your brain to learn new things and think differently. Whether that’s working on a new issue area, organizing a different type of event, or pitching a newer form of media, comms is something I firmly believe you learn by doing.  The more that you can find ways to change things up, develop new skills, or push yourself in a different direction, the more well-rounded, creative, and flexible strategist you’ll become.