Derek Humphrey is the co-founder of Overland Strategies – a direct mail and general consulting firm based in Southern California. In 2015-16 his firm helped elect or re-elect over 40 candidates to various offices including Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, CA State Senator Josh Newman, CA State Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes, and CT State Representative Kelly Luxenberg. Newman and Cervantes captured seats never before held by Democrats and gave their party a super-majority in both legislative chambers.
As a staffer or consultant, Derek worked on the past five Congressional Special Elections in Southern California, including serving as campaign manager for former Congresswoman Laura Richardson’s upset victory in 2007. In 2010 he was campaign manager for Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. Prior to founding his firm, Derek worked as a mail consultant at Shallman Communications.
Derek and his partner, Anna Sowle, live in San Dimas, CA, where he roots for the Angels and collects political direct mail.
AAPC: What does being a 2017 AAPC 40 Under 40 Award winner mean to you?
Derek: It actually means a great deal to me. It’s the first trophy or award of any kind that I have received since my 8th grade flag football championship. I have been working on political campaigns for about 15 years, and I have been a business owner for the past few years. Sometimes I question my sanity, but I love what I do, and it was nice to get a pat on the back. Plus, it pops up when you google me.
AAPC: What are you most looking forward to this year?
Derek: I am looking forward to taking some time off after the May/June elections and not responding to emails for at least a week or two. I am going to watch a lot of baseball and try to organize all of the mail samples in my garage.
AAPC: Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
Derek: As it relates to the AAPC, I really look up to Rose Kapolczynski because of her work to get more California consultants engaged with the organization. I am 36 years old, and I have never had a job that wasn’t on a political campaign, so it’s doubtful that I could find employment in the real world. The AAPC serves as an important advocate for our industry and a needed source of institutional knowledge and best practices for firms of all sizes. California is a really big state, and I think the regional conferences that Rose has helped to organize here over the past few years have really helped build comradery among our political consultants. She also got Barbara Boxer elected to the US Senate, which is awesome.
AAPC: To what do you credit your success at such a young age?
Derek: Sugar-free Red Bull.
AAPC: What advice would you give to a young professional who has their eye on being a future 40 Under 40 Award winner?
Derek: I always tell people to worry about their resume, not how much money they make, until they are at least 30 years old. Taking on races or projects where you learn new things and expand your network is worth more than your paycheck. It will help you figure out what you want to do down the road. I also encourage people to work on as many special elections or odd-year races as they can. I think you learn a lot more in the odd-year when the races are isolated.