If you drink yerba mate at work, you know its productive magic. Alex Lawson is definitely no stranger to its energy; he has two jobs and a can of Enlighten Mint always ready.
“I blame 20% of my effectiveness on my mate consumption,” he says as he juggles phone calls, sets up meetings and goes through the motions of a Washington lobbyist’s typical day.
Alex is Executive Director at Social Security Works, where he connects people with press to tell stories of Social Security helping those in need. From his office on K Street, he spends the day piling over spreadsheets of data and working with his team on strategies to get information to the public.
More than spending his time calculating, Alex strives to bring facts and figures to life. “We just bring real people into Washington, DC, and we walk them around, and we have them meet their members of Congress, and make it real apparent to everyone that behind these numbers are real people.”
When not here, he’s producing shows and running tape at We Act Radio, his talk station, or addressing the media on TV or at a press conference.
Days can begin at 7 a.m. and end late at night when a story is being prepared. “You have to go to studio either obscenely early in the morning or after a full day, regardless if it’s 104 out, and then if you have to be super energetic and peppy and likable and strong at the same time,” he says.
“I have always found that, it’s almost like cheating,” he explains, “but you have some mate before you go onstage, before you have to do any presentation — anything where you have to really make sure that you’re focused, projecting, positive, and you have to connect with an audience — it’s really incredibly useful.”
Alex’s mother hails from Brazil, and he has always been a mate fan. Falling into a decision to switch off of coffee for good, he and and his wife Laila, a staff attorney at Legal Aid Maryland domestic violence, both turn to its energy in their work. While they both drink loose leaf at home, Alex prefers Enlighten Mint cans. “In our schedules, being able to actually very expeditiously drink one of these in the morning is very useful,” he says. “And as you know,
the weather here is TERRIBLE in the summer. And then you have to wear suits.”
Whether toggling the mic or sorting through paperwork, you can feel Alex’s passion for bringing deep, inspiring stories to the ears, eyes and hearts of Washington.
“In Washington, DC, you’re fighting against the fact that it’s not the majority of people that have their voices heard,” he says. “But organized people can beat organized money. It just takes a lot of effort.”
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