While She Slept

The Washington Post Magazine’s Laura Wexler has written an excellent profile of Jody Arlington, an accomplished DC career woman whose childhood trauma, under her birth name Jody Gilley, is being laid bare to the public as a result of Kathryn Harrison’s new book WHILE THEY SLEPT: AN INQUIRY INTO THE MURDER OF A FAMILY:

Arlington is a communications strategist specializing in festival

and entertainment public relations. She managed publicity for the

Sundance Institute in 2006 and 2007 and has been Silverdocs’ public

relations manager since 2004. Her contacts in the documentary film

world run deep. She types an e-mail on her BlackBerry and hits send.

Problem solved.

Leaving the theater after the meeting, Arlington

sets a pace so rapid that it borders on a run. “I feel like if I slow

down, I’ll lose my balance,” she says. It’s an observation that also

applies to the way she’s lived since she ended one self and

determinedly set out to create another.

Her re-creation has been

successful. She has been a manager at public affairs firm

Burson-Marsteller and a vice president at communications firm

Fleishman-Hillard, as well as chief of staff of President Bill

Clinton’s National Campaign Against Youth Violence. She is now building

a thriving entertainment division at communications firm Weber Merritt

and is one of the founders, and the director, of the Impact Film

Festival, which will, for the first time, present films dealing with

key social issues to lawmakers, candidates and delegates at the

Democratic and Republican national conventions this summer.


has also created a satisfying personal life in Washington. She is

married to Franck Cordes, director of marketing and administration for

the Foundation for the National Archives, and has a circle of loyal and

loving friends who make up what she calls her “found family.” On

weekends, she wears her auburn hair in pigtails and knocks around

Georgetown. She drinks Starbucks lattes, reads trashy novels as well as

serious literature, watches movies in bed on a jumbo-size, flat-screen

TV. She is both ambitious and goofy. She laughs often. She is, as she

says, “shockingly normal.”

The odyssey of Harrison’s book began when Jody wanted to write of her survival after the murders, and it’s something she still hopes to write. “Even if she risks fracturing her carefully constructed life,” Wexler writes, “Jody Arlington may still, one day, give voice to her own story.” And if she does, I want to read it. (via)