Michele L. Watley
The Griot Group
AAPC caught up with new member Michele L. Watley
AAPC: What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Michele: My first career was in construction, with the carpenters union. The journeyman I worked with shared the KISS principle after trying to explain, what seemed like at the time, a complex building project. Keep It Simple S(insert noun, adjective or expletive of your choice that begins with the letter “S”). It’s a principle that has also served me well in politics.
AAPC: What do you love about your current position?
Michele: I love working with people in the community through political outreach. I love crafting strategies (political and communications) and seeing those strategies make an impact. And I love being an entrepreneur.
AAPC: Why did you join AAPC?
Michele: I joined AAPC for access and opportunity. AAPC provides access to the top professionals in this field and the opportunity to connect with, learn from and work with the best.
AAPC: Where do you go when you need to be inspired?
Michele: When I need a boost of inspiration, I visit with family and mentors. They help me remember why I chose this path and that I have everything I need within to persist and succeed.
AAPC: What’s your biggest takeaway from the 2016 cycle?
Michele: There were a number of assumptions made about voters, campaign engagement and election outcomes; many of which were based on traditional political theory. Traditional political theory relies heavily on data and polling. How campaigns engage with voters is based on what the data tells us. But, there is a humanistic element based on personal experience and emotion that also drives voters to vote for a candidate. The same element that motivates a consumer to buy one cola brand over another. It’s an element that isn’t drawn from traditional political data. The 2016 cycle was a reminder that campaigns are multifaceted and require a comprehensive approach.
AAPC: What’s on the horizon for The Griot Group in 2017?
Michele: 2017 will be a year of continued growth and development. The 2016 elections shifted the political landscape and I am excited to see what new opportunities that shift will create. The Griot Group is well positioned to help campaigns, organizations and non-profits engage, connect, and share their story with audiences they have difficulty reaching. I will work in 2017 to further solidify the company’s position in this industry.