Spotlight: AAPC Class of 2021 40 Under 40 Awardees
CEO, Parabellum Public Affairs
1. How did you first get involved in politics? I graduated from Cal Berkeley undergrad in 2007 and thought: what’s recession proof? Politics.
2. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? “Treat me good and I’ll treat you better. Treat me bad and I’ll treat you worse.” – Sonny Barger, Hells Angels
3. What was your first impression of the industry? What is your impression now? Not enough folks want to collaborate and improve their chances of winning. Not much has changed.
4. What do you wish other people knew about political consulting? I don’t care what you are hiring for, if you see political campaign experience on a resume, you should know that person has had a baptism by fire in: fundraising, interpersonal dynamics, messaging, strategy, writing, sales, civics, public speaking, media relations, public policy, managing teams, managing expectations, statistics, psychology and working very long hours.
Founder & CEO, Top Drawer Strategies
1. How did you first get involved in politics? My first political activity was viewing a Clinton Gore rally from the shoulders of my grandfather on a cold November night in Ohio. Up past my bedtime, waiting long into the night I couldn’t understand why we were standing around. But, when they came on stage, with Fleetwood Mac blaring, six year old me was officially hooked for life.
2. What is your favorite campaign you have ever been involved in? My favorite campaign was “Yes on 2” to end the use of non-unanimous juries via constitutional amendment. Donors and activists from the extreme fringes banded together to change one of the most racist laws on the books. I doubt I’ll ever get to manage a campaign that involves people with such diverse views on the same side of a very good fight.
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.