Nathan MacDonald: CCI Alumnus and TedX Speaker

Nathan MacDonald graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with his M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communication. Since then, he has gone on to have an impressive career working in marketing, public relations, and other communication-related fields. MacDonald is currently living and working in Seattle as the Senior Public Relations Specialist for Seattle City Light, but his most impressive feat comes from his personal journey of weight loss that landed him the opportunity to speak at his very own TEDx Talk

Nathan’s TEDx Talk focuses on the idea of repetitive forward motion and how this mantra has helped shape his life over the years. 2010 marked the beginning of both his weight loss journey and graduate school career and it seemed as though there couldn’t have been a more busy time in his life to take on such a daunting task. “If I had waited for the right time, I would still be waiting,” he said.

Nathan created a blog documenting his experience called The Fotographing Fat Kid, the intended purpose to keep himself accountable as well as share his story with others in similar situations. His Talk emphasizes important steps like finding your ‘peeps’, making your goal part of your brand, and focusing on progress and not perfection. “Obstacles will happen in life,” MacDonald explains, “but give yourself grace and allow yourself to keep moving forward.”

A significant component to MacDonald’s weight loss journey revolved around sharing his experience on social media. “It’s no secret that the social media landscape has changed significantly since I started my career and weight loss journey in 2010,” MacDonald reflects. When asked how he’s been able to compensate for that in 2018 he answered, “The amount of trolling and threats we all deal with online continues to grow. Because of this, I have gone to go back to the original intent of social media and have made an effort to connect with my friends and family one-on-one through social media. I’m still active in groups and communities, but I have worked to build that balance within my social media consumption.”

Learn more about Nathan by reading our Q&A where he delves into his experience at Florida State, how he handles work-life balance, and his time spent in Tallahassee. If you haven’t seen Nathan’s TedX Talk, you can do so by clicking here.


Do you still have the selfie from your Ted Talk?

I do! I look at it from time to time to remember how special that experience was.

What advice would you give yourself in college?

Work hard but make time for yourself. Your time in college is formative in more ways than you could ever imagine. Don’t be afraid to take risks and be bold!

How did your education at Florida State prepare you for your career?

Florida State was my dream school since the first time I stepped on campus when I was in the seventh grade. We were on a road trip to Disney World from Texas, and I continuously asked my parents to stop. After I completed my bachelor’s degree at another institution, I wanted to dig deeper and learn more about my field. The world-renowned faculty in my department drew from their decades of experience in the communications and marketing industries. It helped me think more critically and intentionally about the campaigns and messaging I create.

How do you handle work-life balance?

Establishing a work-life balance takes time, especially in the first few years of your career. Make time for yourself throughout your even if it’s something as going outside to take a walk around the building. Then when you leave for the day, do something fun! Find a hobby like running or drawing. That way, you’re refreshed for the next day. Also, aim to never eat your lunch at your desk. That’s one of my personal rules.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I love to look at creative work and trends outside of my industry. It helps me to think about my work differently. It’s important always to be a perpetual student and to be hungry to learn more about your craft.

What do you miss most about Tallahassee or FSU?

I miss the numerous communities I was a part of both as a student and as a professional. I had amazing personal and professional relationships across campus from the College of Music to the Division of Student Affairs. Oh, and I miss Momo’s Pizza, too.