Behind the Image of Mock Con As director of communications for Mock Con 2020, Annie Lentz '20 applies her love of mass communications and politics to promote and protect a 112-year-old legacy.
Hometown: Easton, Maryland
Minor: Mass Communications
“My team and I curate the image of Mock Con and protect the legacy by putting our best foot forward and ensuring that the incredible work that the Mock Con team is doing is recognized and contributes to the conversation.”
~ Annie Lentz ’20
Q: Why did you get involved in Mock Con 2020?
I applied for Mock Convention because of what the organization stands for, and the opportunity to make a difference. My role, director of communications, is this crazy mix of political and communications work. Sophomore year, when I was hired, I hadn’t declared my major yet or fully decided my academic course, but I knew that I was ardent about politics and communications and wanted to explore that interest as part of something that is bigger than me. Mock Con was the perfect blend of the two and has led me to a deep appreciation and dedication to both fields by contributing to an organization that stands for such optimism and inspires passion.
Q: What does your role in Mock Con entail?
As director of communications, I am responsible for leading the team behind the image of Mock Con. That includes the organization website, social media, press outreach, on-campus presence and national advertisements. If you see it, we made it. If you read it, we produced it. In that way, my job is one of the most fun in the organization. My team and I curate the image of Mock Con and protect the legacy by putting our best foot forward and ensuring that the incredible work that the Mock Con team is doing is recognized and contributes to the conversation.
One of the key tenets of Mock Convention is the inspiration of political conversation. Part of our role as the Communications Department is to source that conversation and promote it within the W&L community and beyond.
What my role really comes down to is innovative thinking. My team is constantly faced with challenges of how to promote what, and how to best share the work that we do. This has led to the creation of MockCast, the Mock Con podcast; Convention Chronicles, a student account of the inner workings of Mock Con; the Political Hub, a center of political analysis straight from our team; and the Convention App, featuring everything about Mock Con and bringing it to your phone. Each of these projects was created and designed as a means of extending the Mock Con brand, making our content more accessible, and ensuring that the public knows that we are the real deal.
Q: How do you ensure that Mock Con presents a very professional, organized image?
A lot of review and a lot of planning. We decided early on that we wanted our approach to represent the students who make up the organization. Professional always, but never stodgy. Mock Convention is a student-run organization, and our messaging must reflect both our age and our acumen. As such, we approach our communications as professionals. We do not limit ourselves to any one market or tone, but exist in the political and student realms, and all the ones in between.
Q: How have you balanced your Mock Con duties with the rest of your W&L obligations?
Mock Convention takes up a lot of time. We liken it to a four-year startup run by a bunch of 21-year olds. But, at the end of the day, you make time for your passions and for what matters to you. And in that regard, Mock Con has taught me how to manage time and responsibilities to achieve a goal.
In terms of hard examples, I set recurring meetings, carve out time for studying and paper writing, and am an active user of the Outlook Calendar feature. I am a busy person—there is no disputing that. And Mock Con has required sacrifices, but it is so worth it—so much so that I don’t just manage the heavy-duty balancing act, I love it.
Q: How have your studies at W&L helped you in this role?
Every day, I learn something that is applicable to Mock Con, regardless of discipline or field of study. Everything from my chemistry class to my American politics class has added to my ability to perform as director of communications.
As students, it is easy to take learning for granted. But Mock Con teaches its members through experience that value and importance of continued learning in your career.
Q: What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far as the communications director?
Your people are your biggest resources. There is no product without your team, and in Mock Con 2020 we have an incredible team. We wouldn’t be able to accomplish half of what we do or nearly at the level that we do without the team we have behind us. And this is true throughout the organization and throughout departments. We are propelled forward by the students we work with, and we’re able to aim for and achieve that much more because of them.
Q: How do you think the continued evolution of media, particularly social media, has made your job different from directors of communications at Mock Cons in the past?
The communications field is constantly changing. Be it regulations on advertising on social media or advancement of website development tools, media requires you to think on your feet and have an open mind. I think that for Mock Con 2020 we have used this changing environment to our advantage. We have met our audience where they are and tried our best to keep up with the trends to ensure we stay engaged. We produce more content than any convention before us, and that speaks to both the new media market and the skill of the student body. In this way, the communications outreach is completely different between every cycle and that is part of the fun of it, paving your own way forward.
Q: What have been the most thrilling and challenging moments in this adventure so far?
Seeing what was once a small idea come to fruition is the most exciting achievement, especially for someone in communications. The narrative from start to finish is what development is all about; growing your brand, growing your reach, growing your ability. Cultivating and developing proposals from the ground up has been exhausting, testing and beyond fulfilling. We have faced challenges—tough weeks, rejections, disagreements—but each has made our team better because of it. What is so great about Mock Con is that it is all of these things at once: thrilling, challenging and an adventure.
To learn more about Mock Convention 2020, visit its official website.