Tell us a bit about Profectus Social Innovation Strategies.
Profectus Social Innovation Strategies is a socio-political consulting firm. It got its start by running field, communications, volunteer operations and fundraising for several progressive clients during the 2016 election cycle, but its goals and intentions reach far wider than that.
The very name “Profectus” is Latin for “to step forth” or to make “progress.” While getting progressive officials elected is an integral and vital job, in this political climate moreso than ever, helping society to move forward can only be done by influencing many aspects of society as possible, not only the political sphere.
We have the goal to bring the skill sets required to run effective electoral campaigns to other social justice intiatives and progressive issue campaigns nationally, and, hopefully, in the future, worldwide.
What gave you the idea for your business and how did it start?
The 4 original founding partners all had extensive political campaign experience as well as social activism credentials. Along with having worked careers in finance, communications, public relations and social work, the partners had all been hired to work together on a congressional race for the 2016 election.
Having been experienced enough to see how many consulting firms exploit labor for their clients’ money, the partners decided to incorporate and be able to pay anyone employed on the campaign a fair and living wage, as well as run extensive training programs for new recruits along with young interns and volunteers. The 2016 election cycle proved to be chaotic and emotional, but very successful for Profectus Social Innovation Strategies itself.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing about the job, by far, is being able to give high school and college students the opportunity to work on really important, sometimes historic, political campaigns. To be able to activate and motivate young people to effect good, ethical decent change in the world is invaluable. Perhaps not all of them will choose a long term career in politics, but they get to hone many skills under my tutelage that they can use forever. I love making them feel that, for as overwhelming as politics may seem, they do have the power to make a difference, either through making this their career, or at least knowing how important their vote, voice and activism is.
What are your keys to making yourself productive?
Always remembering the phenomenal power that elected positions wield over the citizenry is a wonderful way to stay motivated to make sure the most qualified and ethical people get elected.
Tell us one long-term goal in your career.
I would like to reach a point where instead of working based on which clients I have during any given electrical cycle, Profectus becomes a stand-alone progressive issues-based incubator of talent in the art of community organizing. It would be wonderful to be able to recruit, train, activate and teach young people interested in politics and social change throughout the whole year independent of whether or not we have a contract with a specific candidate or issue campaign. That way, we would be sought out for our team of at-the-ready, expertly trained, organizing operatives who are paid well regardless of whether the company provides external revenue, and actually want to work with specific clients doing exactly what they’re hired to do.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?
That, unfortunately, the public is woefully misinformed about the most important issues in their own lives. Second most valuable lesson learned is that hypocrisy, exploitation, corruption and indecency run amok on both sides of the political aisle. The way most campaigns and consultancies are run play right into the messy state of affairs we see carrying out before us now.
What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?
I would, with all my might, explain to young up and comers that there is truly wonderful success to be had without mistreating your labor, your colleagues, your competitors or even your opponents. Machiavellian games and devious strategies can, of course, garner a lot of immediate gains, but the cost to other people is too grave to be worth it.
I’d also make sure they know not to trust people too quickly just because they vote ethically or virtue signal allegiance to certain morals. There are wolves wearing activists’ clothing.
What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
I’m a writer, mostly, both for pleasure and, ideally, as another aspect of my career. But one can’t be a good writer without a voracious appetite for reading. I read about 2 books a week.
I also love cooking, dancing, painting and drawing, and the therapeutic and transformative powers of make-up. I travel several times a year as well.
Name a few influential books you’ve read and/or websites you keep up with that you’d recommend to readers.
As far as websites go, I try to follow as many political/current events sites as I can: Politico, HuffPo, City&State, The Atlantic, The Observer, The Economist all come to mind. I follow as Many women’s interests sites as possible because it’s important to never lose sight of how difficult things still are for women, or of how many great strides we make each day.
Every good book I’ve ever read influences my mind and spirit. But “The Art of War” and “The Prince” are very important educational tools for anyone that wants to understand the petty and impotent, desperate need most people have for “power” and how to circumvent their unethical ambitions.