Jeff "JJ" Martin

Cues and Views

Communications executive Jeff "JJ" Martin, in brief.

Jeff "JJ" Martin

Home: Silver Spring, MD.  Age: Physically: 62.  Mentally: ??  Birthplace: Elizabeth, NJ.  Profession: Communications.  Organization: American Anthropological Association.  Title: Director, Communications & Public Affairs.  Preferred pronouns: I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.  Alma mater: Arizona State University.  Languages spoken: English.

Current project: Selling my first book “Feeding The Kids To The Sharks,” regarding  my attempt to be a stay-at-island dad raising two daughters in Micronesia.  I blame biological evolution.  My wife points to me losing the kids in a jungle on the side of a mountain.  Recent recognition: My mom thought the book was “eh, ok”  but then she always liked my brother best.  Latest accomplishment: Not feeding the kids to the sharks.  Latest contribution to others: Weekly volunteer at Shepard’s Table feeding the homeless.  Hobbies: Playing guitar.  The more you drink, the better I sound.  Recent travel or adventure: Lived two and a half years in Micronesia, then six in St. Lucia.  Last book read: The Underground Railroad, by Colson  Whitehead.  Recently viewed and recommended: NOVA Universe Revealed: Black Holes.  A fascinating look at how they reshape entire galaxies, warp space and time, and the possibility of portals to other universes.  Recent unique acquisition: Party With Mitch Miller album.

Personality profile: Gregarious, warm, welcoming, inquisitive; laughing at almost everything.  What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Genuine.  Moral compass: Keep having to tap it, as I’m sure it’s not right.  How do you define a perfect friendship? Sharing, forgiving and LOTS of laughter.  What is your greatest joy? My two daughters who, again, were not fed to the  sharks.  What is your greatest fear? Dying on a pond in a horrific two-seater paddle boat collision.  Oh, and snakes.  Snakes paddling the other two-seater boat would be the worst.  What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Anything in the field of serving others (e.g. CARE, Red Cross, UNICEF).  What is your go-to workout? Hiking/swimming.  How do you relieve stress? A box of Fiddle Faddle.

What book have you repeatedly read? Wolves in the Walls, by Neil Gaiman.  Read out loud to my kids when they were little.  They still have nightmares.  What’s featured prominently on your office wall? A poster I created with Marvel Comics depicting Captain America, the Hulk, and the rest of the Avengers.  The tagline reads, “Be a  superhero, join the Peace Corps!”  What movie(s) have you repeatedly watched? Saving Private Ryan, The Deer Hunter, The Other Guys.  Who has had the greatest influence on your life? My family growing up, transitioning to the family I created, and yes, that includes my ex (we’re still friends).  What is the best advice you received growing up? #1: Don’t sweat the small stuff.  #2: It’s all small stuff.  Also, if you can’t fight or flee … float.  What is the best advice you received in your career? “Never give up. Never, never, never!” (Winston Churchill).  What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? The cell phone and the upside down ketchup bottle.  What is your favorite app? If I say “none of them” will I sound like an ornery old man?  What is your go-to source of news and information? The Washington Post, the physical  newspaper version (ok, now I do sound like an old man).

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? Working with anthropologists to help them communicate so that the general public can understand them and their important contributions to the community.  What change would you like to see in the world? Greater empathy for what others are going through.  What mega-trend most concerns you? Misinformation/disinformation = the  devaluation of trust.  What widely held belief do you reject? The ends justify the means.  What message do you want to send out into the world? Treat others as you would treat yourself.  How in the world have we strayed from that?  

What title would you choose for the movie about your life? I’m Not In Right Now.  What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Owen Wilson.  Who would you like to spend an evening with, in Heaven? My dad, my brother and Billy Crystal … wait, he’s not  dead yet.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A police officer, then a lawyer, then public relations.  I sometimes get the feeling I just went lower and lower and…  What object would you save first from your burning home? The usual: photos, passport, the rum.  How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? Get my family and friends together for a giant bonfire on a beach with guitars and songs (thanks, Frank).  What day in your life would you like to re-live? Any snow day, at home with the kids.  What period in your life would you do differently if you could? Regrets?  Unlike Sinatra, I’ve had  more than a few, but I wouldn’t change any particular period.

Personal mission: To get the filled ice tray from the sink to the freezer without spilling.  Favorite quote: “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls” (Anais Nin).  Desired epitaph: Done traveling.

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