Spotlight: AAPC Class of 2021 40 Under 40 Awardees

CAROLYN XU
Founding Partner, Media Fortitude Partners
Democratic

1. How did you first get involved in politics? By mistake…. I started in retail media buying and had an opportunity to learn about the political side of things. The position was supposed to last 7-10 months, enough time to get my feet wet and move on, but after 7 years in that position, I started Media Fortitude Partners and as they say, the rest is history!

2. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? To listen more and speak less. Particularly in our ever growing social media age, we’re so busy trying to have the last word that we often forget to listen.

3. What is your favorite campaign you have ever been involved in? I had the honor of leading the buying team for John Lewis on a GOTV campaign he was doing in 2018. The message he imparted was so powerful then and continues to remind me of how much more we have to go in making sure democracy is upheld at all levels.

4. What sparked your interest in political consulting? Seeing the lack of diversity and inclusion in our industry. I hope that we can all agree that representation matters, and I wanted to use my experience as a Chinese-American woman to best reach my community and other minority communities.

 

 

CHAD HEYWOOD
Founding Partner, Camelback Strategy Group
Republican

1. How did you first get involved in politics? When I was in college I was the early State Chair of Students for Mitt. I also interned for my Congressman and became a Precinct Committeeman in the Republican Party. The rest is history!

2. What is your favorite campaign you have ever been involved in? The first Mayoral race I ran for a community leader I had always looked up to. I was young and hungry to prove myself. Great candidate. Grassroots activities you could see right in front of you. Doors, yard signs, kickoff breakfasts, etc. It all sticks with me. It was new and felt like I was doing something I loved and believed in. Good memories.

3. What do you wish other people knew about political consulting? A lot of people think political consulting is all about playing on fears and divisions. But, to win a campaign it’s almost always necessary to meet voters where they are. That means leading with a message of unity and relatability is typically what we’re working on. I wish more people knew how earnestly we try to make our spaces and our nation better through creativity and skill you can only get working in politics.

4. What sparked your interest in political consulting? I like ideas and people. Wasn’t disciplined enough to be an academic although I love to read and learn. Did sales and marketing and was decent but not passionate about it. Political consulting was the perfect way to merge my interests.