HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.
This week, meet Latara Rouse with James City County.
What is your job title and description?
Communications Manager; I lead the team responsible for directing public information and marketing strategies for James City County, and I manage internal communications within the organization.
Who do you interact/work with on a regular basis?
On any given day, I get to interact with staff members from every department in the county, as well as citizens. It’s my favorite part of the job.
How do you/your organization interact with the local community?
Our work involves a lot of information sharing through news releases, social media posts, content on our website, TV channel, print publications, podcast and more. We also host community meetings, which give us an opportunity to talk face-to-face with citizens and learn more about their needs and concerns. We are also happy to attend community events and meetings, such as homeowners association meetings, to share information, listen to feedback and answer questions about the county.
What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?
A big part of my job is building positive relationships with people who work in other county departments as well as citizens in our community. Those strong relationships build trust so that my team and I can better support our colleagues within the organization, and it helps us partner with citizens to share important information and receive feedback.
How do you define success?
Success, to me, is when citizens in the county can easily access information that is accurate and timely, whether it is through our website, at a community meeting, by calling our offices or whatever method they prefer.
What is your most successful accomplishment to date?
We hosted a series of public meetings called Community Conversations, where we invited the community to come talk with a county staff member about a topic of their choosing. It was a great opportunity to make local government more accessible to citizens and talk through community concerns in an informal setting.
How long have you worked in the Historic Triangle?
What is your favorite part of working here?
I love being able to help people by providing the answer or advice they are requesting. I especially love it when I can connect people to others who can help them find information or resolve an issue. That is the benefit of being able to work with so many different people from within county government and across the community.
What do you do for downtime/to relax?
I am a huge fan of podcasts. Storytelling podcasts are my favorite, and I love comparing notes with other podcast fans. I also love baking, although I wish I had more downtime to perfect my craft. For now, I can say with confidence that I make some pretty awesome chocolate chip cookies.
What is the next step in your journey?
I think we are about to go through some exciting times in James City County. The pandemic began shortly after I took on my current role, and it restricted us in so many ways. I am looking forward to taking on some new projects and strategies now that the pandemic is not consuming so much of our focus.
Do you want to learn more about your community and the people that live and work in the Historic Triangle? We are looking for people with interesting jobs, super volunteers, or community leaders to showcase. Reach out to let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to be considered for Ten Questions.