October 22, 2019 News & Features » Cover Story

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Eric Steigleder, 31 

Marketing Director at the Valentine

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Scott Elmquist

Whether it’s a conversation about the role of Richmond’s monuments or a discussion series that touches on education and health, Eric Steigleder sees his mission at the Valentine as one of bringing people from around the city together to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly in Richmond.

“From a history perspective it can be difficult enough to talk about some of these complicated stories,” he says. “But it’s even more important to talk about them in a way that helps us address the issues of today.”

Steigleder grew up in Henrico and before the Valentine he spent three years working in Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration for the secretary of education. But he wanted to focus his work more on Richmond to help his hometown. Ultimately, he sees his job as sharing Richmond stories and unheard voices from the community.

Today Steigleder lives with his wife and child in Shockoe Bottom and is just getting started on the board for the Richmond LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, where he works to support LGBTQ-owned businesses. He also does outreach work for Metro Richmond Young Dems. “I grew up here and had great mentors. There are so many great people in Richmond, that’s why my wife and I didn’t leave,” he says.

Being an effective communicator is key to his PR job and he describes the most important skill as “being willing to admit you’re not sure, to ask questions, reach out to people you’ve haven’t spoken to before — and be willing to share their stories, even if it might make some people uncomfortable.”

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