Emily Parcell is Managing Director at Wildfire Contact. A native of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa and graduate of Wartburg College, where she started her career as a field intern on Al Gore’s Iowa Caucus campaign in 2000. Her resume includes field and fundraising roles on the 2002 re-elects of U.S. Senators Tom Harkin and Mary Landrieu, managing the Iowa Senate Caucus to a Democratic majority through the 2004 – 2006 cycles, and serving as President Obama’s Political Director on the 2008 Iowa Caucus and as State Director on the 2008 Indiana general election team. She was the National Political Director for President Obama’s first inaugural before moving into the world of political consulting. Working first at MSHC Partners, she helped start the Pivot Group where she was a Senior Vice President for two cycles before launching the direct mail division at Wildfire in 2015. She has worked across the country with races at all levels of the ballot from municipal to statewide campaigns. In 2016, she stepped back into the day-to-day on campaigns to serve as a Senior Advisor to the Clinton campaign in Iowa.
Emily lives in Des Moines with her husband and their two young sons.
AAPC: What does being a 2017 AAPC 40 Under 40 Award winner mean to you?
Emily: It’s an honor to be recognized by the industry, and a bonus to still be under the age of 40.
AAPC: What are you most looking forward to this year?
Emily: Working to provide smart strategy and professional communications product to candidates running at the local/municipal level in a way that is cost effective
AAPC: Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
Emily: Liz Chadderdon was one of my earliest mentors and also one of the first women I know of to go out on her own in the world of Democratic direct mail, doing it with confidence and her own brand of sass. Nothing and no one ever deters that woman!
AAPC: Tell us about something you’re most proud of accomplishing in your professional career.
Emily: Running a program that flipped control of the Iowa Senate to Democrats in 2006, creating a governmental sweep for Democrats in Iowa for the first time in decades which led to immediate increases in teacher pay and the state minimum wage, as well as safeguarding rights and protections for LGBTQ Iowans.
AAPC: To what do you credit your success at such a young age?
Emily: A strong work ethic and growing up with the kind of people who believed that a hard day’s work should lead to a lifestyle where you can pay your bills, own a house and raise your kids without having to worry about having enough left over at the end of the month or live paycheck-to-paycheck. That gets me out of bed every morning, even the morning of 11/9/16 (although it was very, very difficult).
AAPC: What advice would you give to a young professional who has their eye on being a future 40 Under 40 Award winner?
Emily: Work hard, keep your head down and do good work. All things start from there.