Amanda Langan, Safe Communities Madison-Dane County

IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Amanda Langan, communications director for Safe Communities Madison-Dane County.

1. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job?

It’s most challenging to work on a smaller scale in a nonprofit, especially coming from a corporate background. I think that’s mostly because it can sometimes take longer to see projects to completion, and there are many hats to wear in terms of communications: I have to be the marketing manager, the communications manager, the social media manager, etc. Where some companies might have teams of people doing these things, we don’t have that luxury.

However, these same challenges also make my work more rewarding because I think more strategically about how to use the resources we have in the best possible way and work smarter to achieve our goals.

The most rewarding aspect is knowing that what I do helps get the word out about how people in Dane County can live safer, healthier lives. If someone tells me they’ve learned about our drug poisoning-prevention initiatives from a media campaign that I’m working on, that’s when I know I’ve done my job well.

2. Who do you look up to or admire in business?

I admire Tara Ingalls, owner of Tingalls Dzyn in Madison. She is extremely intelligent, creative, motivated, and has a strong vision for her goals, both personally and professionally. In addition to owning her business, she is very involved with the community and is a positive role model for entrepreneurial women. She also truly wants her employees to be creative and do well and is a true champion for their development. That’s such a refreshing quality to see.

3. Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Above all, be patient. Don’t be afraid to fail; you will. Just learn from it and move on. Embrace every step of the way, both good and bad. Wisdom and knowledge come with time and life experience. Don’t compare yourself or your situation to anyone else’s. This is your journey.

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4. What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?

When I first moved to Madison, someone said, “It’s the biggest small town you’ll ever live or work in,” and that is so true. When I moved to Madison in 2007, I think I knew about two people and needed a map to find my way out of my neighborhood and around town. Now I’m amazed at the network I’ve built and those with whom I’ve made connections; somehow there is always a crossover.

I enjoy the fact that so many Dane County businesses are so interconnected and that you also see the same thing within communities, neighborhoods, and social groups. Although I don’t live in Dane County any longer, I feel very fortunate that I’m able to keep the connection to Madison through work. I’m very familiar with how to get around town. No more maps needed these days!

5. Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

I absolutely love to cook and entertain for parties at our home. My parties are usually very well planned. I am big on presentation as well as taste, and I love to put a new twist on small plates and appetizers. Guests usually ask who caters my events, and the answer is always the same: me!

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