Trudi Benford

Senior Vice President, Director of Creative Services, GMMB


What, if anything, are you doing differently?

Before school was shut down and we began working from home, my family was definitely in a rut with food. We had a few menus in rotation, virtually the same grocery list every week and relied on restaurant food for a good portion of our meals. My teen daughter has been the main chef in our house for years (thank you, Audrey!); we are now both cooking since I have more time. Suddenly, there’s a ton of color, creativity and variety in what we’re eating on a daily basis. We’ve moved on from “rush hour tacos” to try new things: a citrus-spinach salad with roasted squash, pantry dishes featuring beans, jarred veggies and rice, antipasto-style meals where we eat up what’s left but try to blend it all together thematically, even an old-fashioned springform pan cheesecake garnished with fruit. We have much less food waste and it’s actually been enjoyable to try to figure out how best to use what we have on hand.


Are you staying creatively active?

GMMB has been actively involved in crisis communications nationwide during the pandemic, so continuing to work with and motivate teams within our Creative Group has been a good challenge. It’s been interesting to try to think of ways to continue to be creative with no in-person contact. As someone who likes to motivate and inspire artists, one personal COVID-19 endeavor that makes me proud is “The Bach Project” that I put together for my son Harrison’s piano studio. His teacher, Nancy Breth, maintains a small group of motivated students; the lessons have moved to Zoom and there’s an unavoidable feeling of distance and separation. As a surprise for the teacher and to get students feeling engaged and creative, I secretly invited everyone to choose and teach themselves a new piece by Bach. When their videos were ready, I assembled all of them into a gallery and surprised their teacher on Easter. All of the students felt artistic pride in the outcome and it helped everyone feel part of a cohesive group. It was a small project, but a good example of how we can make a difference within our circles and keep people creating.


How are you sparking yourself creatively?

When we last spoke, I was writing and publishing a lot of poetry. This past year, I’ve been wanting to move into longer forms and thinking seriously about writing a novel or a collection of short stories (I know, I know…a girl’s gotta dream, right?!) I’ve been stalled on getting started until now. Staying at home with no commute and few evening or weekend plans has given me consistent time to read a lot of fiction, which in turn is revving me up to begin this daunting project. My kids have a time-consuming online Scrabble tournament coming up this weekend, and I hope to use the time to get started. Wish me luck!

View Trudi’s original Capitol Communicator profile here.