Managing Partner- Strategic Partners & Media
Managing Partner Ashley O’Connor handles the oversight of everything that happens at Strategic Partners & Media from crafting strategic planning and advertising, making sure everything is on time and on budget, to charting the growth and direction of the firm. Although Ashley entered her liberal arts college as a pre-med major, she left college living and breathing political advertising, and has ever since. Her dexterity in alternating from the left side of the brain to the right side allows her to perfectly balance the many hats she wears at SPM.
Ashley began her career over 25 years ago as a media producer. Today, she has led SPM through some of the toughest campaign cycles, always preserving an impressive win record, and is often advocating for extensive qualitative research for a deep understanding of one the most important voting blocks, women voters. Since launching her career, she has founded Red October Productions, founded Burning Glass Consulting with two other Republican women, served as a partner at The Stevens & Schriefer Group, and led advertising for two presidential campaigns.
Ashley has advised campaigns and produced ads for some of the most highly contested races across the country. A few of the clients include Governor Larry Hogan, Governor Chris Christie, Governor Paul LePage, Senator Susan Collins, Senator Roy Blunt, and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. In 2014 Ashley steered the firm to a 100% win record – landing her on the Campaign & Elections magazine’s “The Influencers 50” list. She is particularly proud to have helped Elise Stefanik that year, who was at the time the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. But her breadth of advertising isn’t limited to political campaigns. She’s won some of the toughest union battles for Fortune 500 companies and crafted independent expenditure campaigns for top associations in Washington, D.C.
Ashley’s experience also extends into a few presidential campaigns. In 2012, Ashley took her family to Boston, where she was the Director of Advertising and Strategic Advisor for Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. There, she conceived, hired, and ran the campaign’s in-house advertising and production team, developed a geo-targeted strategy, and offered unparalleled quality control and speed. In this position, she used her insight from her first presidential campaign experience as Director of Production for President Bush in 2004, where she led a team of nine political media consulting firms as the youngest media team member. In this position she produced award-winning political spots, including “Windsurfing” and “I Voted for the 87 Billion Before I Voted Against It”. Adding to her resume, Ashley has produced many award-winning spots during her career. Most notably, she produced the 2004 Republican National Convention keynote video “The Pitch” that introduced President Bush. Years later, she was a producer in a documentary “The Surge: The Untold Story,” which went on to win the 2010 Military Channel Award at the GI Film Festival.
As an expert on messaging to women, Ashley is a frequent speaker and presenter at conferences, and has lectured on politics and advertising at Harvard’s Kennedy School, the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, Yale, and, her alma mater, Mount Holyoke College.
After completing three marathons and several half marathons, she hung up her running shoes when her son was born. She currently resides in Annapolis with her husband, Ted, their son, and their Bernese Mountain Dog. You might run into Ted out in the field, as he flawlessly executes most of SPM’s shoots.