At the start of every year, I take time to reflect on the past year’s wins and challenges and to set strategic goals and plans for the upcoming year. The start of this year sent shockwaves through our country and our world. As someone who has spent countless hours on Capitol Hill and holds the utmost respect for our Senators and Congressional Members I felt the weight and significance of it in a personal way. But the shockwaves of the last year didn’t start on January 6th, 2021. They started 10 months prior when we learned that non-essential personnel were no longer allowed within the capitol buildings and like the rest of the world- we went home due to Covid-19.
As I’ve reflected, one of the most interesting things of the last 18 months is that we have all been affected by the coronavirus in one way or another. Whether professionally from losing jobs or working remotely in a tiny corner of your bedroom with rambunctious children, to personally getting sick or losing a loved one we have all felt the realities of the last year.
The challenges facing the lobbying world in the past year and half have been great. It is an industry that relies on face-to-face interaction and relationships. Meetings, lunches, quick conversations in hallways, there really is no replacement for spending time in person with key stakeholders. Not to mention, the uncharted territory of navigating the various covid relief packages and making sure our clients have all of the information they need to make important and informed decisions.
As the realities of the pandemic settled in- I developed new routines and reinvigorated existing practices to help keep me focused on my priority of being the best political affairs advocate that I could be for my clients. Now that we have opened back up, things are changing again.
After more than a year of virtual-only advocacy, “vaccinated lobbying” reemerged for in-person meetings on the Hill, as well as lunches and meetings to reconnect with colleagues and clients. Virtual meetings are expected to continue, as we try to balance the grind of them with the irreplaceable value of in person meetings.
Despite the chaos of the last year, there have been exciting wins and announcements not only for Missy Edwards Strategies but for my clients as well. We were able to work with our clients to offer solutions for hybrid events for their annual meetings to achieve maximum engagement with Congress.
Associations such as the Real Estate Roundtable and the Truckload Carriers Association both pivoted seamlessly to virtual hill days and annual conferences.
I was thrilled to start advocating on behalf of two new clients, General Motors and the American Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).
General Motors’ vision to lead in the midst of a transportation revolution is ambitious and exciting. Working with them as a part of their pioneering strategy to be leaders in a world with zero emissions and to become the market leader in electric vehicles (EVs) has been a tremendous challenge. I really have enjoyed working to help their team solve the complex transportation challenges of today and the future.
AHRI’s 300+ member companies manufacture quality, efficient, and innovative residential and commercial air conditioning, space heating, water heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment and components for sale in North America and around the world. Advocating on their behalf on a multitude of issues that helps them with legislative and regulatory predictability is imperative as it is an important aspect of their decision-making as it relates to their manufacturing process.
No one could have predicted what the last 18 months would look like and a lot still feels uncertain. One thing that is true however, is that everyday, Americans are working hard at their jobs, in their homes and in their communities to keep us moving forward. It is a privilege to be able to support American companies working to provide opportunities for these employees all over the country and I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside you to deliver outcomes that help support the recovery and progress of America.