As the calendar flips over to a new year; what better time to welcome a new team member? We’re happy to introduce Sam Zender, the most recent addition to Bellmont Partners’ Professional Services and Public Affairs team.
Sam has put his wealth of expertise in everything from PR to corporate communications to state government affairs to work from the moment he joined Bellmont Partners in October. Most recently, he spent nearly two years at a large PR agency where he worked with clients in healthcare (including a large health plan), financial services, consumer goods, and travel/entertainment. He also brings deep government experience, including developing legislative policy and media relations strategies for state officials.
We sat down with Sam to talk about the intersection of public relations and public affairs, his love for digging into complex topics, and why Bellmont Partners seems like a perfect fit.
You’ve held multiple roles in both state government and communications agencies. How do those two areas fit together?
I believe both state government and communication agencies are multifaceted and solution oriented. In state government, the focus is on addressing community issues and assisting individuals who approach officials with concerns affecting their lives. Similarly, communication agencies work with clients seeking solutions for their marketing and communication strategies. Both fields require quick learning in diverse industries and the ability to gather information to formulate effective policy or communication strategies.
What is it about agency life that resonates with you?
I prioritize being a generalist, consistently cultivating a well-rounded mindset throughout my academic and professional journey. Working in an agency allows me to engage with diverse industries and clients, contributing to ongoing personal and professional development.
What drew you to Bellmont Partners?
Throughout the interview process and now working alongside my talented colleagues, I continue to experience the excitement and collaborative spirit within the agency. I feel a strong sense of belonging and appreciate our team-oriented approach in collaborating with clients and partners.
What are your initial impressions now that you’re digging in?
Beginning to work at a new agency with new clients, there’s always a learning curve. Yet already, there are tasks and operations that I’ve never worked on before, like podcasts and developing strategy for innovative companies seeking to be trend-setters in their industries. I’ve embraced the new processes and have continued my ambition to being a life-long learner as a person.
You have a lot of experience across a number of communications disciplines, including public affairs. Which areas are you most excited about?
I’ve always enjoyed public affairs. My first degree was in political science, and I took pleasure in developing legislative policy in my past career, primarily in transportation policy. Since working at a public relations agency, I’ve loved learning about the complex subject of healthcare. It’s a complicated industry to understand, but taking my experience of focusing on either the human or operational element of the trade has helped me organize the sometimes niche areas that healthcare can involve.
What can clients and colleagues expect when they work with you?
Since grade school, I’m a researcher first. I seek to read and absorb topics to develop an understanding of the complex. From there, I can utilize my varying experiences and interests to help solve problems that can sometimes be out of the box. I feel the generalist approach to my work can be more agile, efficient and escalates the ability to make connections.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
Every day I exercise and read. My workouts are always planned a week ahead of time and my reading list is long and covers a wealth of different subjects. Outside of day-to-day life, I love to travel and seek out new experiences. I’ve been privileged to have lived in Washington, DC; Seattle, WA; and Greenville, SC; and continue that quest of adventure after settling back in Minnesota. Mainly now, I travel to visit my family who live in South Carolina. I’ll road trip down (17ish hours) and spend multiple days traveling around the southeast region of the country, going to the beach and mountains, sporting events and concerts. I’m constantly seeking out new experiences.