Shawn Martin on Being a Relatable and Consistent Communicator - Chief Influencer - Episode # 053

Shawn Martin on Being a Relatable and Consistent Communicator - Chief Influencer - Episode # 053

Shawn Martin is the Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), a medical specialty organization representing 130,000 family physicians and medical students nationwide. In his role, Shawn provides strategic leadership to the AAFP and directs the mission-driven work of the nation's largest primary care organization. 

In this episode, Shawn shares his journey from being the son of a rural family physician to heading the AAFP, discusses the evolving role of leaders in the digital age, and explains his strategies for managing stakeholder dynamics and combating misinformation. 

Shawn also explains his innovative communication approaches, including using media ambassadors, and how he balances personal and professional branding on social media. Listen to gain insights into consistent and disciplined communication and the importance of being present and relevant as a leader in a digital world.

  • Cultivate and train members within your organization to become media ambassadors. This strengthens your message through authentic, expert voices, enhancing brand presence and credibility.
  • Establish a predictable communication rhythm with your team, board, and external stakeholders. This will build trust and ensure that your message is clear and cohesive across all channels.
  • Leaders should engage in social media to authentically represent their brand and connect with their audience on a personal level.
  • Promote and amplify expert voices within your field to position your organization as a reliable source of truth. This will counter misinformation and build public trust.
  • Regular media training for your spokespeople can vastly improve their effectiveness in representing your brand accurately and positively in public forums.
  • Whether it's celebrating new members or industry achievements, taking time to recognize and honor these moments fosters a positive organizational culture and strengthens community ties.
  • Stay true to yourself and your organizational values while remaining relevant and engaged in the current discourse. This will humanize your brand and strengthen connections with your audience.

Quote of the Show:
  • “Leaders have to be relatable in the modern social media era. People want to know that you're not always scripted, and you're out there, you have opinions, and you're willing to engage in this public discourse that's taking place.” - Shawn Martin


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Creators and Guests

Anthony Shop
Anthony Shop
Anthony Shop believes in the power of people-centered branding and marketing to create a bright future. He chairs the National Digital Roundtable, the premier convener of digital innovators, leaders and policy shapers. Anthony also is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Social Driver, a digital services firm that helps companies and non-profits establish winning strategies with social media, websites, creative, and advertising. An enthusiastic presenter and teacher, he has led executive-level training for Amazon, PepsiCo, NASA, The British Embassy and the Bipartisan Policy Center. He has been recognized as an “OUTstanding LGBT Role Model” by The Financial Times, “40 Under 40” by The Washington Business Journal, and Business Leader of the Year by the DC Chamber of Commerce. A former newspaper reporter, Anthony was the first new media professional elected to the National Press Club’s Board of Governors. He currently serves on the boards of Leadership Greater Washington and LearnServe International. He earned his MBA from The George Washington University School of Business, where he teaches as an adjunct lecturer.
Robert Krueger
Robert Krueger
Robert is an Executive Director for The Communications Board, an organization with the mission of providing high-quality professional development for every communicator in every location. He is also the Global Lead for Partnership Communications at Gensler, the world’s largest architecture and design firm. Prior to his current role, he performed executive and CEO communications for Gensler, and was the senior director of public relations and social media at the Urban Land Institute. He obtained an MA in Communications and an MA in History from George Mason University. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In addition, Robert has taught communications at universities including George Mason University, West Virginia University, and the University of Florida. Robert currently serves as Immediate-Past President for the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter (PRSA-NCC) -- the nonprofit’s largest chapter.