Thanks to Justin Owen at Beacon Center, I had the unexpected opportunity last week to attend the State Policy Network’s Annual Conference held at Gaylord Opryland Hotel in my beloved Nashville, TN. I got so much more from the conference than I expected.
This was my first politically focused conference, and after attending, I’m sad that I haven’t attended a conference like it before. It was well worth the 4 days I spent attending. If you are a conservative, you should learn more about politics even if you aren’t involved directly in politics. Go to observe. Go to learn. The conservative movement needs your help if we are going to protect our freedoms, our people and our country.
So why am I so excited about the SPN conference? I know I sound a bit like a commercial, but there was so much energy it was contagious. So many people fighting for our country and beliefs.
Although I’ve had an interest in politics for several years, I’m new to working in the political scene. This conference was perfect for me to attend. Much of the political hinges on fundraising. If you are working for candidates, campaign funding is critical. If you are working to get policies promoted and approved, funding of your programs is critical. Coming from the “for profit” sector, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of my experience in business crosses over into the political world. Although the terminologies are different, the strategies are very similar. For instance, in the business world you are developing, promoting and selling “products”. In the policy world, you are developing, promoting and fund raising “programs”. Prospects are key in both arenas. It may sound elementary to some, but business discipline around products, etc. are much more developed in the business world. Leveraging business tactics and strategies should help with any policy work.
I spent the bulk of my time networking and attending fund raising sessions from some of the best minds in the country on political fund raising. I consider myself very fortunate to get this level of training so early in beginning my efforts in the political space. 10 years of knowledge in 1 week…now its time to execute. Sessions including speakers like Terry Storksbary (Murdoch Trust), Jess Yescallis (Yescalis Campaign Strategies), Ann Fitzgerald (A.C. Fitzgerald & Associates), Laura McCombs (The Osborne Group), Shana Davidson (ClearWord Communications Group, Inc.), Jeff Cain (American Philanthropic), and Melanie Hildreth (Institute for Justice).
A few of the other amazing contributors included Kevan Kjar (Arrowhead3 Consulting), Daniel Erspamer (State Policy Network), Jim Walker (Mackinac Center for Public Policy), and Jeffrey Zysik (DonorsTrust).
Overall it was a fantastic conference and I learned more than I could have hoped. I look forward to attending the 2017 Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Attending the SPN was a huge plus to help with our efforts on A Better America.