By Samia Mers
Nick Totin is Public Citizen’s digital director. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Emerging Media Journalism from Seton Hill University, he worked in the digital field for various political campaigns, nonprofit organizations, and state legislative affairs.
Q: You have an extensive background working in the digital and political spheres. What drew you to it?
My university had a program for new and emerging media journalism and that appealed to me. When I left school, I moved to Dallas, assuming that I would build a career in digital marketing, but I was pulled towards politics after the election of the 45th president, someone who I thought could not be worse for our country. I was very fortunate at the time to be working with an organization in Dallas called Black Tie Dinner, which hosts fundraising events for LGBTQ nonprofit organizations in North Texas. Through one of those events, I met now-representative Colin Allred, who was running for Congress in my district. My original intention was to just do my part for my local congressional race, but because of my extensive background in digital comms, the campaign asked me to join as digital director. There, I found that niche for myself of applying the expertise I have in digital to the space of creating positive change.
Q: What’s a highlight of your time at Public Citizen so far?
One of the most exciting core developments we’ve made is focusing a lot of attention on our TikTok, which has seen the fastest growth I’ve ever witnessed in a social media platform. It’s been exciting assisting Shauna Burton, our social media associate, in building that out. But on the other side of that coin, I’m equally excited about starting to introduce the organization to other paid marketing platforms. We are rerunning a campaign that we developed late last year called ToyotaYawn, a little play on words of Toyotathon, the company’s largest year-end sales event. We took that from zero to an incredibly successful ad campaign that garnered millions of impressions. I really feel that was a bright spot in building the digital advertising foundation for Public Citizen’s future.
Q: Do you have any tips for young professionals just starting out?
There’s a quote by a writer: “Writing is a lot like driving a car in the fog at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you will make the entire journey that way.” If I stuck to exactly what I thought I was going to be doing with my career when I graduated, it would not be as impactful, or frankly, as fun. My best advice is just focus on what’s in the headlights. It’s wonderful to have goals further down the road, but when it comes to making decisions, don’t try to look too far ahead.
Q: I noticed that you’re a yoga instructor – how do you balance your personal and work life?
While I was living in Dallas, I went through an entry-level yoga teaching certification. Someone whom I viewed as a yoga mentor approached me as a teaching candidate, and it was very touching to be seen in that way. After spending a year doing my own practice, I decided that it was time, and since then, I’ve loved it. We’re doing something with an in-your-own-body element to it, and the other part of that is just knowing how valuable it was to have teachers who consistently were able to monitor my practice and getting the chance to pay that forward.