Sheila Hayes

Creative Director, The Washington Post


What, if anything, are you doing differently?

Um. Everything. But as much as possible, like everyone, I’m trying to do a lot of things the same. Sticking to some kind of schedule, some kind of routine, makes me feel I have control over something, in a time of total disorder. I’m inspired by seeing the formation of new communities. As one of my yoga teachers said, community may look different right now. But we can still be community.

Are you staying creatively active?

I’d like to say yes. But the truth is it’s difficult to concentrate. I do find myself reaching for books I haven’t picked up in a while. Ogilvy on Advertising. Twenty Ads That Shook the World. Ramona the Pest.  

How are you sparking yourself creatively?

With Toni Morrison’s words. “This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” 

So…I do language.

When I answered these interview questions initially, I talked about the need to be fluent in a sort of universal language – one not based on demographics. That universal language is changing right now. And will need to change again on the other side of this thing. So I’m challenging myself to spend a little time every day thinking about the words I use not just in the midst of this crisis, but also about how our vocabulary will be forever altered on the other side of it.


View Sheila’s original Capitol Communicator profile here.