Emily Tisch Sussman has been at the forefront of the progressive movement in America for more than a decade and is a leading democratic political strategist with over 150 appearances on cable news networks like FOX News, CNN, HLN, and MSNBC and whose views are frequently featured in national news outlets.
Emily serves as a Senior Advisor to organizations committed to driving progressive change through legislation, advocacy, the electoral process, and policy development including Swing Left, The Baker Project, a special initiative of Eleanor’s Legacy; Funny or Die: Glam Up the Midterms; and Vote Vets. Previously, she held the role of Vice President of Campaigns at the Center for American Progress (CAP), the largest progressive think tank in Washington, DC. She shaped key strategies to resist the Trump Administration’s harmful policies and turned up the heat on the Repeal and Replace debate as Republicans worked to dismantle healthcare for millions of Americans. She also worked with CAP’s youth outreach arm to cultivate young activists through Generation Progress and helped establish a Gun Violence Prevention Network.
Emily is a staunch advocate of women’s rights and helped shape the leading principles for the inaugural Women’s March in January 2017 as well as communications consulting for female challenger candidates in New York State Senate races in 2018 through The Baker Project. She served as executive director of Young Democrats of America, and as founder of Think Blue, an organization to increase youth participation in the democratic electoral process. A member of the New York Bar, Emily is a New York Giants fan and life-long musical theater enthusiast. She resides in Washington D.C. with her husband and two children.
AAPC: What does being a 2019 AAPC 40 Under 40 Award winner mean to you?
Emily: It means the world to be honored by my peers. 2019 is the first year that I have gone out on my own as a consultant. Having always worked for bigger institutions, it left doubt in my mind that I could go out on my own and succeed.
I started my firm after having two kids in a year and a half, so my boundaries were tested, my time was tested, and my patience is definitely tested!
I have been so fortunate in this first year to work with passionate, dedicated clients on critical issues like gun control, supporting veterans, increasing civic engagement, and training women to run for office. Being a new mom forces me to take a new perspective to my work. For my peers to recognize that works means more than I could ever adequately express.
AAPC: What’s next for you this year?
Emily: Being an off-cycle election year is turning out to be exhilarating because it’s full of the “what if’s.” I can work with all sorts of clients and groups to figure out what could be possible for the future and we get to dream big – and that is exactly what we are already doing.
And look out for my podcast!
I will also continue touring the country with Manny Oliver, a father from Parkland who lost his son in the shooting, as he tells the story about his relationship with his son. Working with Manny and his wife, Patricia, continues to teach me so much about love and being a new parent.
AAPC: Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
Emily: Aubrey Sarvis, former executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and my boss at the organization when I worked there through the landmark repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Aubrey is brilliant and always handles himself with class. Even in the face of coalition politics, of which there is nothing worse, Aubrey was an amazing boss and a staunch advocate.
AAPC: Tell us about something you’re most proud of accomplishing in your professional career.
Emily: In the face of the efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, I had the opportunity to develop and execute a nationwide story bank where we collected more than 3,000 testimonials from people across the country who has benefited from having health insurance. This story bank showed lawmakers, journalists and the public the stories of real people in their communities.
AAPC: To what do you credit your success at such a young age?
Emily: Always trying to identify gaps in the work, and taking the initiative to solve the problem in front of us. If you see a problem, no matter the size, you can also be the solution.
AAPC: What advice would you give to a young professional who has their eye on being a future 40 Under 40 Award winner?
Emily: Follow your heart to work on the issues and campaigns that you truly believe in and the rest will follow suit and when things get difficult, as they inevitably will, believe in you and the work you are doing.