Jane Rayburn is a Vice President at EMC Research where she manages all aspects of research projects from designing the questionnaire to providing clients with actionable recommendations from the data. Jane works with a variety of clients including political campaigns, public interest groups, advocacy organizations, and private companies. Jane has committed her career to equitable representation; from electing women to office or to the re-enfranchisement of voters, a voice for everyone is at the heart of her work.
Jane took her first job in survey research in 2003 at the Government Performance Survey Research Center at Florida State University in her hometown of Tallahassee, Florida and worked with a local Boston pollster for four years. She joined EMC Research after serving as the Research Director and Managing Partner at Fako Research and Strategies, a national public opinion research firm in Chicago, IL.
Jane graduated from the University of Florida with a BA in Political Science and Classics and completed an MA in Classical Languages at the University of Georgia. She is a proud Emerge Massachusetts alumna, class of 2014. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, David.
AAPC: What does being a 2019 AAPC 40 Under 40 Award winner mean to you?
Jane: Being named a 40 Under 40 winner was such an honor; it’s hard to articulate! It means recognition for years of hard work and hustle, not just for me but for the dozens of people who I have the privilege of working with on our projects, for my mentors who have given generously of their time and knowledge, and for all the trailblazers who lit the path for me.
AAPC: What’s next for you this year?
Jane: Deep consideration for how to model the 2020 universe! In all seriousness, I’m currently focusing on our awesome clients who are running in 2019. All politics really is local and we’re working with some inspiring people running for office right now.
AAPC: Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
Jane: I’m so lucky to have lots of folks to look up to! I could name everyone I work with at EMC Research for their grit, smarts, and hustle, but I especially look up to our Exec Team – Ruth, Andrew, Molly, Sara, Tom, and Ian – for how they have built their lives and this company. Dave Beattie has been an amazing mentor to me and taught me that being a pollster is about so much more than just the numbers. I really look up to the way that he fosters talent and helps grow staff. And I look up to my dad, Jay Rayburn, also a survey research professional. He taught me everything I know about working hard, investing in yourself, and hustling in this industry. He’s not only a full-time college professor, but he also runs his own research company — and still tabs his own surveys to this day!
AAPC: Tell us about something you’re most proud of accomplishing in your professional career.
Jane: The passage of Amendment 4 in Florida, which restored the eligibility to vote back to 1.4 million people with felony convictions, was probably my proudest moment. Our team worked with the campaign for years to design messaging and strategy in a state that requires 60% to pass an amendment. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever worked on, but one of the more rewarding to see pass.
AAPC: To what do you credit your success at such a young age?
Jane: To all the women who opened the door before me in this industry, especially in polling. There are so many women who fought tooth and nail to allow my generation to be leaders that success would just not be possible without them because those opportunities would not exist.
AAPC: What advice would you give to a young professional who has their eye on being a future 40 Under 40 Award winner?
Jane: Focus on the work, not the award. Talk to everyone that will talk to you, and learn as much as you can. Be the first one in and the last one out!
AAPC: What’s the most positive development in political campaigns since you started your career?
Jane: More women running for office!