Student | University of Pennsylvania
AAPC caught up with new Student Member, Eli Adler
AAPC: Who do you look up to in the industry?
Eli: I’m very lucky to have had some incredible mentors, but of them, I most look up to Frank Luntz. While we may disagree politically on a number of issues, I don’t think there’s a lot of room for disagreement that Frank is amazing at what he does and how he does it. His ability to talk to anybody, at any time, and in any place is a skill I respect tremendously, and I don’t think I’ve met anybody more knowledgeable (not just about politics!) than Frank. Frank is not only incredibly successful at what he does, but arguably more importantly, he’s a great person. He’s been instrumental in showing me the ropes of the political world and has been by my side as I’ve navigated the political world. What makes me look up to him most of all is that even with his tremendous success, he still puts his head down and works harder than anybody I know.
AAPC: What do you love about politics?
Eli: In today’s political climate, politics can be a really hard thing to love. The bitterness and the divisiveness certainly make it easier to dislike politics than ever before. That being said, I still love the energy that politics inspires in an extremely diverse set of people. Politics today can often seem like a divider, but in my view, there are a lot of ways in which it brings people together. It puts us in the public sphere. It encourages debate, fosters an exchange of ideas, and broadens our world views. For better or for worse, there are few things that inspire so much passion in so many people, and politics is one of them. While the passion today may not always be directed to the right places, the fact remains that politics brings out enthusiasm in so many people, and that’s certainly rewarding to see.
AAPC: What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Eli: I’ve been given a lot of advice, but the line that always sticks with me is, “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” I often get caught up in my own thoughts and ideas, and I focus on being able to share them. However, I have found that I can learn so much more from listening more than I speak. It never fails to enrich me and open me up to ideas I hadn’t previously been considering. It not only helps me grow individually, but without fail, learning from other great people helps me improve upon and further develop any ideas I may have had. By listening to others, what I am doing is no longer just a product of my own mind and my own viewpoints — rather, it becomes a product of a number of different opinions, and this only can help.
AAPC: Where do you go when you need to be inspired?
Eli: More than anything, I go to other people. Every single day, I am inspired by the people in my life — friends, family, mentors, and professors, to name just a few. The work they are doing and the opportunities they are pursuing never cease to amaze me. I know that when I need inspiration, just listening to their sage advice and having them around me is enough,
AAPC: Why did you join AAPC?
Eli: I joined AAPC because of the network and the learning experiences that AAPC provides. As a young member who’s new to the industry, there is so much to learn, both from those in the industry and from AAPC’s resources. I can’t wait to take advantage of AAPC’s professional development opportunities (for example, webinars) and gain invaluable skills that will serve me well in the future. In addition, there are so many people I look up to in the industry that have done incredible things, and I joined AAPC to grow my network and learn from these industry titans. I look forward to being inspired by industry leaders, developing relationships with those in the industry, and growing as a professional.
AAPC: How do you manage high-stress situations?
Eli: As both a full-time university student and co-founder of a company, I’ve had my fair share of high-stress experiences. I best manage them by stepping back and taking a breather. I remind myself that everything’s going to be OK and that no decision I make is make-or-break. That’s all to say that I best manage these tough situations by putting them in context. I remind myself that no decision I make will ruin my educational or professional career, and by doing that, I’m able to destress.
AAPC: Why is being part of a bipartisan organization valuable to you?
Eli: It saddens me to see the hyper-partisanship that is so commonplace in our political climate. We’re sadly at a point where both sides are insulting not just the viewpoints of the other side, but the people themselves. We’re retreating even further into our political camps and just became even more polarized, and this is simply unproductive and unhelpful. I’m somebody who’s prided himself by engaging with both sides of the aisle. I know how much there is to gain from hearing people with whom we may disagree and by opening ourselves up to opinions and ideas that may make us uncomfortable, but that will ultimately be of benefit to us. By becoming increasingly polarized and increasingly refusing to engage with the other side, we are learning less, we are being less productive, and we are ignoring people from whom we can learn a lot. Neither party has better ideas or smarter people than the other, and as such, it’s essential that we engage with both parties and foster a collaborative political environment. We will all be so much better off.
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