Meet Taylor Hodges, Project Communications and Outreach Specialist
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m originally from Bellingham, Washington, and now live in Broadview, a neighborhood in northwest Seattle.
What do you do at MFA?
My job title is Project Communications and Outreach Specialist. What I and others on my team do is difficult to sum up in a sentence or two, but I’ll try. The essence of our work is to develop and execute strategies that inform, involve, and foster dialogue among and between decisionmakers and the community members affected by the decisions. Exactly how that happens is what brings so much variety to the work! It can be through written pieces, facilitated meetings, online experiences, or just talking to people face-to-face about what they love about their community.
What’s rewarding about your job?
At a personal level, I find it gratifying to help people feel educated and empowered on the issues that have the potential to impact their lives. Here at MFA, I enjoy getting to work alongside folks from a wide array of disciplines. I feel that I’m always learning something new— about city planning, demographics, politics, earth sciences, and so much more. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to grow my skills on vastly different projects.
Why is what you do important?
People lead busy lives, and only a privileged few have the luxury of being able to dedicate time and energy to becoming actively involved in the projects and decisions that could impact their communities. That’s where we come in! We make it easy, accessible, and sometimes even fun for people to get the information they need so that they can have a voice in what happens. It’s the essence of democracy.
What’s your favorite restaurant/place to go in your area?
I’ve mostly been cooking at home these days (shout out to the NYT cooking app!)—but my neighborhood has some real gems in terms of parks and natural areas. I have a membership to Dunn Gardens (sort of like a private park) just a few blocks away. They have some magnificent trees, wildlife, and views of the Puget Sound. When you’re there you just have this peaceful sense of being so far from the city, although you’re only 15 minutes from downtown Seattle.
What skills do you bring to your work?
I think general creativity, problem solving, and big-picture thinking are some of my most used skills, as well as writing and project management/organization. I also enjoy photography and video production and like to bring those skills to projects whenever I can.
What do you like to do off the clock?
Admittedly, I’m a major gym rat. During the pandemic I actually converted my entire basement to a home gym. It’s great! It’s always open, never crowded, and I get to choose the music all the time. Besides that, I’m always trying to be out on the water. I go sailing just about every chance I get. I like to sail in the Puget Sound, on the Seattle area lakes, and around the San Juan Islands. I’ve had some incredible experiences sailing throughout Baja, the Caribbean, Canada, and the Mediterranean.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from a work colleague?
Have a plan but always keep the big goal top of mind. Don’t let opportunities slip by.
If you were not a Communications Specialist, what would you be?
An artist, captain, or travel blogger.
What’s on your bucket list?
Sail across the Pacific Ocean, visit over 100 countries (I’m almost halfway there), help as many people as I can.
What was your favorite childhood movie/TV show?
The Neverending Story. I always wanted to be able to fly around on a big fluffy dog.
Explore Our Work
Adaptive Re-Use Study: Northern State Hospital
Client: Port of Skagit
Communication and Government Relations
Client: Washington State Department of Transportation, Toll Division
Interbay Armory Relocation and Redevelopment Planning
Client: Washington State Department of Commerce