Agenda at a Glance

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

10:00 am-7:00 pm REGISTRATION

Persuasive, impactful, and, now more than ever, credible – these are the attributes campaigns want voters to use when describing campaign communications. The United States Postal Service recently commissioned a survey on voters’ opinions on political advertising and released a report on voters and mail. Join this session to hear about the findings from these two studies and discuss where you see new avenues for political mail – and most importantly, be direct with the Postal Service on what it can do to help campaigns this cycle.

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Woolworth’s on 5th

The #MeToo Movement and other recent developments have had a tremendous impact on our industry, including the safety and security of the professionals within it, press scrutiny and public perception of sexual harassment, and discrimination issues. These concerns affect our own employees, candidates and operatives in the campaigns we serve, and voters, as well as informing the type of advice we provide. Seyfarth Shaw Partner, Jeffrey Wortman, and Katherine Anthony, Esq., from Seyfarth Shaw at Work (SSAW) will provide a high-level and interactive overview of the current harassment and discrimination landscape and what recent headlines mean in terms of emerging top-down best practices at political consultancies. The briefing includes an eye-opening overview of the latest “numbers” behind harassment, discrimination and compliance in 2018 (including relevant steps under consideration by legislative task forces), and how such data points impact our employees, our clients, and our work.

The program will offer practical guidance and critical risk prevention strategies to protect your employees and clients, as well as cover organizational liability issues. From a practical standpoint, the session is designed to offer insight into building a participant consensus around realistic, achievable steps that can buttress respect and facilitate best practices.
Katherine Anthony, Esq., Seyfarth Shaw at Work 

Jeffrey Wortman, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Renaissance Hotel

China Dickerson, Young Democrats of America Women’s Caucus
Are you ready to engage the emerging electorate?
We can’t ignore our diversifying population. The same tried and true approach that cuts through in one voter bloc will likely not resonate with the next. While the demographics of this country are changing, the way we appeal to voters should follow suit. Join China Dickerson, Chair of the Young Democrats of America Women’s Caucus, as she discusses the importance of persuading diverse coalitions to your cause.

Frieda Edgette, Novos Consulting
How can political professionals show up as their best selves in service to society?
Can transforming political life into a more humane existence lead to better outcomes? Former lobbyist turned certified executive coach Frieda K. Edgette thinks that brief moments of pause within the whirlwind intensities and circus oddities of political life holds the answer. In this critical talk for critical times, she blends neuroscience, authentic leadership, political intelligence and elite athletics into 60 second “reset” practices for politicos that reduce stress, focus vision, improve decision-making, cultivate connection and build resiliency – even under intense pressure. Sharing strategies from real-world examples, she asks our political leaders to take a sec and reset: for themselves, for our communities, and for the country.

Nick Garramone, NCC Media
The future of cross-platform TV viewing and what opportunities will exist to target viewers in this new world?
Every cycle, cross device viewership continues to grow as more programming options become available. Is television still remaining the best way to reach voters? How has the disruption of new Over-The-Top (OTT) options or cord cutting effected viewing? What type of mix is needed to be effective to reach a persuadable voter? What can we expect viewing consumption to look like for the next Presidential elections? What data and technologies are being developed to better target voters across platforms? These topics will be explored by Nick Garramone, SVP, eBusiness, Operations & Research from NCC Media, an industry leader, representing every multi-channel cable, telco and satellite program provider.

Michael Long, Georgetown University
The Molecule of More
The liberal brain is different from the conservative brain — it’s biological and it’s explained in new neuroscience research about dopamine. Think of it this way: the left wants to *make* people happier; the right wants to *let* people be happy. That’s because people on the left tend to have higher levels of dopamine, which in turn drives them to seek change and progress instead of simply indulging the pleasures of what they already possess. Knowing the details of this dopamine-driven phenomenon transforms political persuasion. Learn more about these fascinating new findings.

Thomas Peters, uCampaign
From Shock Trauma to Successful Startup

On July 13, 2013, seven weeks after getting married, Thomas suffered a nearly fatal diving accident that left him in a wheelchair. A year later, instead of returning to his cubicle job, he chose to found a startup that went on to build the official smartphone apps of Ted Cruz for President, UK Vote Leave, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, the RNC, NRA and Donald Trump for President. Hear Thomas’ inspiring behind-the-scenes story of what can be gained when you think all may be lost.

Kathryn Poindexter, Campaign Greenhouse
Can we win big by learning to lose?
What if our focus on winning elections is bad for business and bad for democracy? Spend a few minutes thinking about what would happen on our ballots and our balance sheets if political consultants learned to love losing campaigns.

Jayson Sime, Right to Shine LLC
Taking care of your badass self. The next political movement.
Have you ever felt like Humpty Dumpty after an election, falling apart and needing to put yourself back together again? Hear from veteran political operative Jayson Sime about why the most effective tool for the 2018 campaigns is taking care of your badass self.

M.A. Taylor, filmmaker and political consultant
Is it Art? Who Cares?
What does conceptual art have to do with politics and entertainment and why does it matter anyway? M.A. Taylor, an artist/filmmaker and political consultant, has a few words on the the bridge between aesthetics and audience interaction from the perspective of the art coefficient. Taylor’s known as a “constructive critic” of much of the process that leads to the content we generate and distribute in our political campaigns. He’s blunt and funny and you’ll leave a conversation with him seeing the world differently.

Elisa Totaro, E70
Standing Up to Goliath: Political Communication and Creativity in the midst of the Venezuelan dictatorship
Believe it or not it is possible to come up with relevant, effective and creative political content and communications in a country full of censorship, political persecution, Human Rights violations and Government’s control of the media. It is not only possible, it is necessary. From creating a webpage to help protesters guard themselves from the government´s brutal repression, to campaigning for a candidate with very limited resources and the whole power of a regime against him, Elisa will put in to sharp relief how creativity can be used to overcome enormous obstacles.


Eric Winston, a 12-year NFL veteran and the current President of the NFL Players Association, is an outspoken advocate for his fellow players who will not back down to controversy. During this AAPC session, Eric will discuss some of the most controversial issues facing the NFL and its players, including national anthem protests, the possible strike or lockout once the current collective bargaining agreement expires in 2020, and the ultimate ownership and confidentiality of each player’s health and performance data that each NFL team is accumulating and can use against their own players.

6:30 pm-8:00 pm 40 UNDER 40 AWARDS & RECEPTION
Renaissance Hotel

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Renaissance Hotel

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Courtesy of:

7:30 am-8:30 am YOGA
Start your day with a Sattva Yoga class created to help you evolve and bring abundance into your life. Whether you’ve never practiced yoga or practice every day, this class is for you. Mats available. 

Instructor: Kelley Moran, Moran & Associates

9:00 am-10:00 am GENERAL SESSION

What happened in 2017? Earthquake or Snowflake?
Listen as renowned political strategists survey the 2017 special elections in Montana, Georgia 6, Virginia Governor and Alabama Senate. How did the Democrats sweep Virginia? How did the GOP hold on to Georgia 6 and what was Alabama all about? Hear from former Howard Dean Presidential Advisor Joe Trippi, top GOP Strategist Ward Baker and the Pollster who helped flip 15 seats for the democratic Virginia House Caucus on the key insights from 2017—and what it means for midterms. 

Elena Schneider, Campaign Pro Reporter, Politico

Speakers Include:
Ward Baker, Founder & President, Baker Group Strategies
Joe Trippi, Founder & President, Joe Trippi & Associates
Joshua Ulibarri, Lake Research Partners

10:00 am-10:15 am BREAK
10:15 am-11:15 am BREAKOUTS

1. Scaling Your Political Business – Part 1
“Revenue is vanity. Profit is sanity. Cash is king.” Come hear from Greg Crabtree—a speaker, entrepreneur, financial expert, and author of Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profit—as he shares his core principles for scaling your business without running out of cash and turning it into a wealth-building machine. This panel will be followed by a workshop with Greg, so consider bringing your P&Ls and Balance Sheet to take advantage of his hands-on mentoring.

Greg Crabtree, Author of Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profit

2. Winning Local/Low Budget Campaigns
For all the money and fame of US Senate races, most of American elections are very small local affairs with budgets less than the cost of a car. What do you focus on in the torrent of campaign tactics to win? This session will provide concrete advice on local races for council, school board, county offices and smaller state legislative races. Come away with invaluable tips on everything from grassroots organizing, volunteers, coalitions to how to sort through polling, mail, digital, cable, radio and yard sign spending decisions.

Dan Hazelwood, Founder, Targeted Creative Communications

Speakers include:
Domonique James, Founder, Politics with Purpose
Moises Merino, Merino, Barajas & Allen
Jacqueline Hixon, Senior Account Executive, Chadderdon Lestingi Creative Strategies

3. “Television is Dead”
“Television is Dead” headlines have been in the news since 2010, and yet TV still demands the majority of most campaign budgets. The TV industry is rapidly evolving, with buzzwords like “programmatic” and “addressable” filling conference panels while set-top box data, smart TV data and custom ratings are bringing TV targeting to the forefront of campaign strategy. But what impact are these new tools and approaches actually having on the nuts and bolts of locally bought political advertising? This panel will bring together major players in the space to figure out what’s real, what’s not and how advances in TV can help you win campaigns in 2018.

David Seawright, Deep Root Analytics

Speakers include:
Angela McCann, CEO, Mentzer Media
Steve Lanzano, President, TVB
Brad Smith, Senior Vice President, Revenue and Operations, Videa
Gerardo Guzman, Vice President – Product Leadership, Audience Measurement, ‎Nielsen

4. ***SPECIAL INTEREST: FOR ADVERTISERS***: 2018 Campaign Spending and Political Outlook
How much will campaigns and committees spend in 2018?  With record retirements and record fundraising find out how political professionals will spend advertising dollars to influence the electorate to win elections.  Hear from CNN Commentator and GOP Strategist Mike Shields and Smart Media CEO Kyle Roberts on the 2018 political outlook and campaign spending.

Speakers include:
Rebecca Pearcey, Director, Independent Expenditures, DLCC
Mike Shields, CNN Commentator and GOP Strategist
Kyle Roberts, CEO, Smart Media

11:30 am – 12:30 pm BREAKOUTS

AAPC’s Caucus sessions are a “one-of-a-kind partisan political briefing” on what the political environment means to your business going forward. Separated into Dem-only or GOP-only caucuses, get the ultimate insiders’ view from key party committee representatives.

1. Democratic Caucus:

Speakers include:
Devan Barber, Political Director, DSCC
Trey Nix, Campaign Director, Democratic Governors Association

John Bivona, Deputy National Political Director, DCCC

2. Republican Caucus:

Speakers include:
Betsy Ankney, Campaign Manager, Re-Elect Governor Rauner

Sarah Morgan, Political Director, NRSC
John Rogers, Executive Director, NRCC

3. Scaling Your Political Business – Hands on Workshop
Bring your P&Ls and Balance Sheet to take advantage of hands-on mentoring.

Michelle Coyle
Greg Crabtree
Chris Gober 


Shark Tank!

AAPC’s version of “Shark Tank” provides a unique opportunity for campaign professionals to learn about a range of campaign technology, solutions and success stores in a fast-paced, informative session. A diverse panel of campaign software and advertising solutions providers will conform to the principles of Pecha Kucha, a presentation format designed to keep discussions concise and entertaining. Presenters have only 3 minutes and 15 slides max to tell their story! Then a panel of seasoned campaign pros will “kick the tires” through a series of pointed questions. The audience will then vote for the most innovative solution.

Come to be entertained. Come away informed about the cutting edge in campaigns!

Self Made Insights Company
This will be SMI’s first-ever unveiling of it’s new software platform: The Insights Suite. This platform brings reason to research and empowers political consultants to re-think polling and make more insights-driven decisions.
Presenter: David Burrell, SMI

SABIO – The smarter Mobile advertising solution
Sabio is the smarter mobile advertising solution. Our App Science® technology uses machine learning to collect and analyze the most valuable data from more than 250 Million mobile devices, like a voter’s favorite apps and locations, to better understand their interests and passions and deliver your campaign’s ads at the ideal time and place on their smartphones and tablets. With your campaign’s brand and a person’s privacy being paramount, our platform delivers your customized video, rich media, and banner ads on premium Validated Publishers™, our proprietary publisher validation process, in a non-intrusive, privacy compliant, and cost efficient manner. By combining technology with creativity, we deliver beautiful, targeted ads to your current and future supporters.
Presenter: Joe Camacho, SABIO Mobile

MarketPredict™ is a data analysis service that offers live, predictive modeling to help campaigns and agencies deliver smart media campaigns and convert voters. Learn about a state-of-the-art way to optimize your media by modeling the factors that can influence a voter. MarketPredict™ provides omnichannel and custom recommendations through data that is easy to consume and simple to put to work. See why MarketPredict™ has been successful in 14 races in 2016 and 2017.
Presenter: Michelle Campbell

Advertising Analytics – AdMo
AdMo is the only tool in politics to track political creative in real-time.  Know exactly what ads your opponents and super pacs are airing, by market and Congressional District.  AdMo will send you an alert within hours of a new ad airing and track the number of airings over time in every media market in the country.  It’s a real-time ad tracking system built for politics and built to win!
Presenter: Kyle Roberts

Targeting & Turnout: What’s New for 2018
With new tools for voter engagement constantly being introduced but data sources are remaining fairly stagnant, campaigns and organizations are left trying to sift through what is truly innovative and what is a new look on top of old-school tactics. This panel will look at how political targeting has evolved over the past few election cycles, and how new data sources and machine learning are impacting practitioners’ ability to innovate in this space. Additionally, we will be analyzing the latest innovations in voter targeting and turnout approaches and discussing how these innovations can be implemented on campaigns of all sizes.

David Seawright, Deep Root Analytics

Speakers include:
Bryan Gernet, CEO, Resonate
Ellen Bredenkoetter, Chief Data Officer, RNC
Genny Mayhew, Ph.D., Senior Campaigns and Elections Specialist for Data Analytics, National Education Association

Luke Thompson, Ph.D., Vice President of Politics and Advocacy, Applecart
Amit Mistry, Data and Analytics Director, NextGen America

2:30 pm-4:30 pm CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE!
Specially curated experiences for full conference attendees only. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

a) Belle Meade Plantation: Food & Wine Tour
Enjoy the exclusive wines of Belle Meade Plantation paired with a variety of Southern delicacies…from Hand Made Pimento Cheese Balls rolled in Scallions and Bacon to Nashville Hot Chicken served on Mini Waffles, this Southern Food and Wine Paring will be the highlight of your group experience while in Nashville. The unforgettable venue for this outing will be the Plantation’s authentic 1800’s Stable House where extraordinary memories will surely be made. Distance from hotel: 18 Minutes (8.8 miles)

b)  Historic RCA Studio B Tour and Recording Session
Take an insiders tour of Nashville’s very own Studio B—the historic recording studio of popular titans such as Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, and the Everly Brothers. Learn the history of this magical recording home and its place in the evolution of Nashville as the ‘Music City’ of America and enjoy the chance to cut your very own record!America and enjoy the chance to cut your very own record!Distance from hotel: 8 minutes (1.5 miles)

c) Johnny Cash Museum
 Delve into the life of Johnny Cash as you and other fans check out the museum that features the largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world. Found in the heart of Nashville, The Johnny Cash Museum will take you on an in-depth journey through the Man In Black’s amazing life. Distance from hotel: 9 minutes (0.4 miles)

d) Ryman Auditorium
If you’ve ever tapped your toes, appreciated a great story or hummed along with a favorite tune, you owe it to yourself to tour Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The Ryman is where bluegrass was born, where Johnny Cash met June Carter and where countless careers took off as deals were signed on napkins backstage. Known as the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium is one of American music’s most treasured landmarks for a reason: visitors say they can feel the musical magic and the deep history before the tour even begins.

e) Jackalope Brewing Company Brewery Tour
Visit a local downtown staple in the craft beer business – Jackalope Brewing Company. Founded in Nashville in 2009, Jackalope is home to Thunder Ann Pale Ale, Rompo Red Rye Ale, Fennario IPA and more! Don’t miss this chance to sample brews you’ll only find in Tennessee in your own pint glass souvenir during this brewery tour. Plus, we’ll get you there the Nashville way via Joyride carts – the offspring of a golf cart and ATV. There’ll even be a monster truck available to take you back to the Renaissance on the return trip. Participants must be 21 years of age or older and must bring a valid form of government ID with them.

5:15 pm-6:30 pm DAME IT ALL – POLLIES STYLE

Enjoy refreshing conversation & happy hour refreshments at this special edition of “Dame It All” at the Pollies!

Republican consultant, Tracy Dietz, and Democratic consultant, Kelly Gibson, have spent the last six months tackling some of the big issues facing women in our country on their podcast, Dame it All to Hell. Specifically, they have spent a lot of time talking about what it is like to be a woman in politics. Sometimes it seems partisanship matters, but mostly not. They talk facts, reactions, hopes and plans for change. Now they are bringing that frank conversation to the American Association of Political Consultants, Pollie Conference. Join Kelly and Tracy as they talk about bringing women along in the political consulting job jungle. Reflecting on how more women at the table, means better decisions. And exploring where men and women can come together to help our industry do better.

7:00 pm-10:00 pm
Country Music Hall of Fame

Friday, April 13, 2018

8:30 am-6:00 pm

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7:30 am-8:30 am
Start your day with a Sattva Yoga class created to help you evolve and bring abundance into your life. Whether you’ve never practiced yoga or practice every day, this class is for you. Mats available. 

Instructor: Kelley Moran, Moran & Associates

8:00 am-9:00 am
9:00 am-10:15 am

May the Best Brand Win!

Branding Masterclass, Uncensored. With Deb Gabor, Author of Branding is Sex and CEO of Sol Marketing.

Branding matters. That’s one of the great lessons from 2016. Yet how many political campaigns harness the power of branding to build the deep emotional bonds with voters that create conditions of inexplicable and irrational loyalty?

A brand is more than just a slogan, a symbol or a messaging platform. A brand is a magnet designed to attract people that share values and beliefs similar to those held by the people and the organization behind it. Your campaign and candidate have a brand whether you know it or not. Owning and managing that brand gives your campaign momentum.

In this fast-paced, workshop-style keynote, bestselling author and branding thought leader Deb Gabor leads you through the steps to develop a set of values, principles and guidelines that align your campaign and keep your candidate focused through the distractions.

Attendees will learn how to:
1. Leverage the “Ideal Customer” archetype to know their audience
2. Hack Maslow’s Hierarchy to identify how their candidate can elevate voters to become “heroes”
3. Identify and articulate what’s singular about their candidates
4. Create strategies and messages that help voters “get it”
5. Build a campaign “Brand Bible,” that serves as a toolkit for informing difficult strategic, creative and tactical choices that threaten campaign alignment

Deb Gabor, Founder, Sol Marketing

10:30 am-11:30 am

Democrats: Messages of the Future
The Democrats have some work to do, and it starts with what we are saying. We need to continue to trust our research but it’s more than that, we need to make people feel heard and engaged. Join us for a panel of experts crafting our message for 2018.

Speakers include:
Charles Kelly, Executive Director, House Majority PAC
Tiffany Muller, President & Executive Director, End Citizens United
Melissa Williams, Director, WOMEN VOTE! Independent Expenditure, EMILY’s List
Justin Myers, CEO, For Our Future

Republicans: Messaging Trends, Tools & Tactics
Get the latest inside scoop on messaging and branding trends that will help Republican campaigns win in 2018.

Speakers include:
Ward Baker, Founder & President, Baker Group Strategies
Bonnie F. Siegel, CMP, Founder, PoliticalBranding Associates

Beverly Hallberg, President, District Media Group

11:45 am-12:45 pm

1. Is Big Better than Boutique?
We’ve all heard the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none.” But does that old adage apply in the political consulting business? Come hear from industry leaders, who will share their own experiences and debate whether it’s better to be a full-service, one-stop-shop or a specialized boutique that does one thing and tries to does it well. 

Speakers include:
Fred Davis, Founder, Strategic Perception
Chris Massicotte, Partner & Chief Operating Officer, DSPolitical
Rob Phillips, Chief Operating Officer, Axiom Strategies
Kara Turrentine, Founder & CEO, Turrency Political

2. Every vote matters, but does every voter?
In the age of modern campaigning, the power of digital technology and the expanding electorate, does our political polling keep up? Since the 2016 election, a large amount of potential new voters have emerged out of a highly energized political climate. Whether you are enthusiastically in support of, or vehemently against our administration, people have been moved to engage in American politics like never before, and are we asking them their opinions?  Are their needs and thoughts driving campaign messages?  Whether it’s DREAMERS, millennials, women of color, rural residents or first generation Americans, the game is going to change for political consultants in 2018, so what are the pollsters doing to make every voter matter?

David Plazas, Opinion Engagement Editor, The Tennessean

Speakers include:
Becky Kramer, Research Director, Public Opinion Strategies
Ashlee Rich Stephenson, Chief Strategy Officer, WPA Intelligence
Donna Victoria, Founder, Victoria Research

John Hagner, Partner, Clarity Campaign Labs

3. Do You Know What Voters You Are Truly Reaching?
Thousands of media dollars will be spent in the upcoming political season in an effort to reach influential voter segments before they cast their votes at the polls. Campaigns look to audience estimates to help guide them to the most effective and efficient media choices. Gerardo Guzman of Nielsen will explain why true market representation in audience measurement matters and what is behind the rating point you are buying. He will share how Nielsen is combining high quality panels and surveys with big data to deliver deeper voter media insights, bringing the confidence required that you are reaching the voters that matter the most.

Speakers include:
Gerardo Guzman, Vice President – Product Leadership, Audience Measurement, ‎Nielsen

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1:00 pm-2:15 pm

Crystal Ball 2018
As we come to the close of this year’s Pollie conference we have the perfect panel to send everyone off to the midterms, only 7 months away! It’s time for our Crystal Ball session, where a diverse group of smart political operatives will come together to talk and make predictions about the midterm elections and how campaigns will be waged and won. This is a group of no-holds-barred political experts—things will get real. You won’t want to miss it.  

Jamal Simmons, Political Contributor for The Hill

Speakers include:
Edith Jorge, RNC Director of Strategic Initiatives
Tara McGowan, Founder & CEO, Lockwood Strategy

Jess McIntosh, Executive Editor, Shareblue Media
David Watts, Founder, Double Eagle Strategies

2:30 pm-4:00 pm

Three hit songwriters will perform in-the-round style and share their approaches to the creative process, including the challenges of their trade, from the changing dynamics with music consumption and royalties, to the difficulties of writing during politically charged times.

Speakers include:



6:30 pm
Transfers to Wildhorse Saloon
7:00 pm-10:00 pm
Wildhorse Saloon

Agenda is subject to change