Behind the Ticket 2014: The Campaign Managers

The various GUSA candidates are working hard, getting their names out there and making sure people are informed and ready to vote, but behind every ticket is a dedicated campaign manager. These people are on the front lines, door knocking and hanging up posters as well as keeping tabs on every section of the campaign staff and preparing the candidates for debates and interviews. The Hoya sat down with each campaign manager to talk to them a bit about their role, the platforms, their relationships with their respective candidates and the future.

Joanie Greve – Ben and Sam

Nancy Hinojos – Thomas and Jimmy

Katherine Key – Trevor and Omika

Megan Murday – Zach and Dan

The following interviews have been condensed.

Joanie Greve (COL ’15) – Ben and Sam

joanie

Joanie Greve is on the upper management team for Vital Vittles, formerly wrote for The Hoya as a staff writer, had an internship at ABC News, worked as an NSO captain and served on College Democrats.

Relationship with Ticket

Obviously Ben and Sam have been very involved in GUSA, between the two of them they have a collective six years of experience and many members of our team are also involved in GUSA as senators, or in some position in the exec. So I think when they were looking for a campaign manager, that’s one luxury they could afford was that they didn’t necessarily have the GUSA technicalities but that they thought could lead their team.

Role of Campaign Manager

Each campaign manager seems to suit it to what it is that they are really good at and what they can offer to a team. So for me, what I think I’ve really brought in my experience, especially in The Corp, is that I’ve just worked a lot with trying to lead a team. I have worked with three middle managers in Vittles. Each person has very distinct roles within it and I try to bring everything together and really be a morale booster. I’ve had my hand in everything from top to bottom and in between. I think my biggest job is making sure that, when election day comes on Thursday, I could not have done anything more and reminding people that that is the case.

To be honest, I didn’t expect to be come as invested in this campaign as I am. I think I have worked with someone on every ticket in some capacity before so that aspect of the campaign has been very interesting for me.

Cross Endorsement

I think that Trevor and Omika have a strong platform. Obviously Ben and Sam’s platform is really based around this idea that every student here has such great potential and their own vision for what they want to make their four years here, and that they should every capacity to do that, and Trevor and Omika’s campaign fits in well with our philosophy on that. Ben and Sam have worked very directly with Trevor in GUSA and they believe that he is the best alternative hands down, so I defend their endorsement.

On a more personal note, many issues that I care a lot about on campus are ones that they, Ben and Sam, obviously care about them a lot and have included them on their platform, but so have Trevor and Omika, namely on sexual assault reform. Trevor and Omika, I think, along with Ben and Sam have the two strongest platforms on that issue, and I think that also something both tickets are great at is they are excellent at bringing in outside opinions who are more experts on it, and really listening to them and appreciating them. I think that’s a number one priority that our executives should have.

Only one of the eight candidates is a woman, but all four of the four campaign managers are female:

I think it is super interesting. I think for my case, the reason that they chose me is that they both know me from outside capacities. I’ve known both of them since my freshman year and I’ve been good friends with both of them since freshman year. I think that it is an added bonus maybe to have an extra perspective that they didn’t have but I don’t think it was part of their choice, necessarily but it has been good to bring in other voices and make sure that we’re bringing in other stories since two people can’t tell every story.

Debate Prep

So both Ben and Sam met specifically with a couple members of our campaign team to prepare for it, in terms of the content of what they were going to say but also the manner in which they were. So they really worked closely with a couple members of our campaign team, such as Will Simons (COL ’16) about how best to tackle that, and also potential questions that could come up, especially platform points that were very specific to them, or possibly in contention with other platforms.

If your ticket doesn’t win, which part of your platform do you most hope the winner would carry forward?

Honestly, the overall philosophy is one that I really endorse, this idea that everyone should be able to make what they want of their four years here, and that hopefully the bureaucracy shouldn’t get in the way of that.  And in terms of more specific points, an issue that I care very much about due to my involvement with SAPE is the sexual assault platform in terms of adding another confidential resource to campus, just to name one.

Nancy Hinojos (SFS ’15) – Thomas and Jimmy

nancy

Nancy Hinojos is a member of Groove Theory, a Patrick Healy Fellow, a Management Leader of Tomorrow fellow, a former GOLD coordinator, the VP for GAMBLE, incoming director of the Black House and works at the MBA Office of Admissions.

Relationship with the Ticket

We go back to sophomore year and we were basically just talking about how much we love Georgetown but we also identified some serious problems Georgetown has. So, when they asked me to manage their campaign, they said if we win, then you would be our chief of staff. I will say that at first we don’t seem to be the conventional ticket and I think that’s what makes us so special. We’re bringing that student experience, we’ve been out and about with the students and we also have very unique personal stories. We want to leave this place better than we found it.

Running for GUSA

So one thing that Thomas and Jimmy really value is gender diversity so they did come to me and said “would you be interested in being on the ticket?” So there was a week or so or a couple days when it was Thomas and Nancy. But the thing is that I feel that my value, while I would love being in that position and I feel like I could say a lot in terms of diversity and women and race, that my impact can be in different ways. The dynamic is so great and I know that for me, if I worked at the ticket I would have to drop something and I wouldn’t want to drop any of my responsibilities. I would rather just bring that to the table as chief of staff and I think the chemistry between the three of us just really works.

Only one of the eight candidates is a woman, but all four of the four campaign managers are female:

I think that’s very interesting, I was thinking about that earlier. I just think in general the dynamic among the campaign managers is interesting in terms of talking about diversity etc.

I do think at least for me what really matters is what whoever wins can do for diversity, inclusion and pluralism issues on this campus. I do hope in the future Georgetown can encourage more students of color to run for the executive position.

Debate Prep

I think there are two big things: there’s the administrative and heavy coordination portion of it and there’s the cheerleader side of it. In terms of preparation it’s really reminding us, as a team, why we are doing this and looking at the essence and core of why we love Georgetown so much and what we can do about fixing it together and how are we going to express that.

It is essentially a competition and it is terrifying but you really have to keep that energy and that optimism.

Cross-Endorsements

I do think that with Zach and Dan, our visions do align and we stress the collaboration component. We empower the students and give the students the tools to do so because they’re the ones that are passionate about whatever advocacy issue. They’re the experts, not necessarily GUSA.  We’re supposed to be the facilitators of these conversations and make sure the students have the tools to be successful. I think that that’s such a big component, GUSA provides the tools, it’s not its own little separate entity.

If your ticket doesn’t win, which part of your platform do you most hope the winner would carry forward?

I would hope that whoever is in the executive encourages collaboration among student associations of color. I think another thing that’s really powerful about our platform is the sexual assault policy that we have and we really look at the reporting process and making sure that that we are taking care of the survivor.

For me one of my big things with Trevor and Omika’s multicultural council is that it’s great that we’re having a voice within GUSA for students of color but at the same time, I’m not sure if that’s that correct way to go about it. And when I looked at the leadership of the multicultural council it is their campaign staff that is going to be leading that and I didn’t really see ways they’re going to implement all the components of multiculturalism. I don’t know, I just feel like the way we’re approaching it is more “you have the tools, GUSAs not gonna do it and we should encourage more students of color to be in the positions, not just in the corner and saying “here this is your council this is for you”. They have good intentions, but I don’t know if its good to just add another layer of bureaucracy.

Katherine Key (SFS ’15) – Trevor and Omika

katherine

Katherine Key is an advocate with the Student Advocacy Office, the former treasurer of College Democrats, a member of the Campus Life Working Group, on the planning board for the the GU Women in Leadership summit, hosts a show on WGTB, worked as treasurer on Jack Appelbaum and Maggie Cleary’s campaign last year and served as SAC commissioner

Relationship with Ticket

Trevor and I have worked together ever since freshman year when we were canvassing for President Obama and we worked together on the executive board of College Dems for about a full year. I, along with other people, have been trying to push him to some type of leadership role since last year. He finally decided and he told me that he had this awesome person in mind, Omika. We knew each other but never really crossed paths and so I started having conversations with them. They know how passionate I am about the very like specific issue of access to benefits. They both were very dedicated to being a policy-focused campaign, not just rhetoric-focused. I was brought on pretty much from the beginning and from the beginning this has kind of been like a group effort of a core group of people who just really believe in both Trevor and Omika.

Role of Campaign Manager

I think that as a campaign manager I’ve gotten a really interesting view of kind of being tangential to the candidates, of getting to sit down hear all these conversations that they’re having. I think that that’s just such a great learning experience that no matter what happens I have been changed by this campaign just by like meeting so many other Hoyas and about their experiences so that was something I was not expecting.

Debate Prep

So the debates are always fun. We had some people go and look at old ones. It turns out for the vice president one, it was a lot more topical than it’s been in the past, much more about kind of what’s going on with us right now. I think that helped us, in preparing for the presidential. There are some questions that we know they’re going to ask, especially there are a lot of issues being brought up around gender diversity and racial diversity in  GUSA elections and things like that. Yes, it’s understood that we’re running with a ticket with the only female and one of the only two people of color in the group but at the same time that’s not been the focus of our platform, of our campaign. So it was important for us to kind work through that of as a group to think of what is our identity in this campaign and how do we want to present ourselves.

Only one of the eight candidates is a woman, but all four of the four campaign managers are female:

I think it says a lot about kind of the state of GUSA politics at this point. It just shows that there are a lot of women on campus who are passionate about these issues but are not willing to take that extra step. I don’t know if it’s that there’s not someone saying “hey you need to run,” in the way that I know that all of the current candidates were kind of at some point or another taken aside and told “hey, this is a good idea for you.”

I don’t know what the structural barriers are. When I was a freshman, Clara and Vail were elected and it was the height of female power in GUSA. I think I came from that mindset of like, “oh obviously the exec should have females on the ticket.” I think it’s really interesting and I think you can definitely see that with campaign managers because I think all three of the other campaign managers are all amazing people who’ve done great things for this campus and I don’t know why they’re not all running the school at this point.

Cross Endorsement

I actually think “cross endorsement” is a really harsh term or a misnomer, in fact, because I think it was asked in the debate who they would put second and that’s a very different question than cross-endorsing. Again, when we’ve looked at all these tickets, they’re great leaders on this campus and have contributed so much, in various aspects. It’s really hard to decide who would you prefer, because I just want my candidate to win.

So, at least with our ticket, we see kind of a big divide in how we approach GUSA because Trevor, having been in two execs, has seen kind of two ways that GUSA has been approached and so we’ve decided that with our extensive platform, if we want to get all this done, it makes sense for us to have an advocacy group that really is more decentralized than this more centralized like GUSA hub and so through my access to benefits reform, which I want to no matter who wins.

If your ticket doesn’t win, which part of your platform do you most hope the winner would carry forward?

I think that the access to benefits reform is really important for me because I think that also plays into funding reform. The barriers that are up for student groups to be able to flourish fully, I think, is a huge problem on campus. People just hate SAC and as a former member of SAC that hurts my heart, because they’re all such great people. Our multicultural council got a lot of attention at the debate and we got a lot of flack for it. We’ve sat down with these groups and we’ve heard about their thoughts on Georgetown, like how they feel Georgetown is and isn’t supporting them and it was one of the biggest eye-openers that I have ever sat through in my entire life. I would really love to see some type of initiative to make GUSA much more inclusive of these voices that are doing great things.

Megan Murday (SFS ’15) – Zach and Dan

meg

Megan Murday is the vice president of the SFS Academic Council, the treasurer for GU Women in Politics, a coordinator for What’s a Hoya, the co-chair for the Residential Life Working Group, a member on the academic programming sub-board for the International Relations Council and worked on an external sub-board for both Clara and Vail and Nate and Adam.

Relationship with Ticket

I’ve known Zach since freshman year and we’ve been friends for a really long time, and I helped him with the One Campus, One Georgetown campaign. And then I had worked extensively with Dan for What’s A Hoya because we’re both coordinators for that program. So they talked to me in probably November in fall semester, asking me to be a part of their team. After we had a team meeting, we followed up later and they asked me to run their campaign.

If the ticket were to win, what role would you assume?

I guess that’s a real big hypothetical. But hopefully I would become chief of staff afterwards and really retain the role of overseeing everything on our team. I love working with everyone on our team, and I think that would be a great way to still collaborate with each member.

Role of Campaign Manager

I see myself as orchestrating every aspect of the campaign, or at the very least knowing everything that’s going on, because everyone has their specific roles and their specific responsibilities. So I spend a lot of time on email—Dan jokes that that’s my spirit animal. So, really [I’m] a jack of all trades. The campaign itself cost $300, and that’s not something everyone could do—it’s a really commitment.

Debate Prep

In all honesty, I was in class when they were doing the debate prep for Dan’s, but Dan watched the YouTube version of the past debate from last year. Really looking at how each outlet had approached their selection of candidates in the past, what sort of things they were looking at and seeing how best our platform fits into those roles. Really just making sure that they knew the points the wanted to emphasize, having the opening statements prepared, talking about questions that maybe they weren’t as comfortable with or needed to work on an answer for because you don’t want to be put up in front of people and have to think of something off the cuff for important topics. Then I was the pep talker before the debates.

Cross Endorsements

We looked at all the different tickets that were running and we really saw in Thomas and Jimmy someone that we could really partner with. If either of us won we would really be supportive of the other team and would really like to work with them no matter what, and I see in both of our tickets a willingness to look at Georgetown and step outside of your own personal opinions and look at it from the lens of someone else. And I think Thomas and Jimmy have really been able to challenge Zach and Dan on how they see things and open our eyes to some issues we really wouldn’t have had perspective on beforehand. Really, they speak to our ideal of inclusiveness on campus and the ability to make this a more welcoming place for all students, and not just for students who have money to run or fit the right social groups, so they really embodied those ideals for us.

Only one of the eight candidates is a woman, but all four of the four campaign managers are female:

I am really glad that Omika is running because I think it’s extremely important for women to be running, and I would love to see a lot more women run next year. But I think that it’s really easy to say, “Oh, why are there no women in this race?” But as you pointed out, it’s not just the people out in front who are leaders. I think the fact that my counterparts on all of the other teams are incredible female leaders and I’m really honored to be in the same role as they are for Zach and Dan. I think that having a female campaign manager — and a female chief of staff, I’m not sure when the last one was — is something incredibly important just by how you can shape who comes into the cabinet and making sure that that diversity is there. But if we were to win, I would se a large part of my role being encouraging female inclusion and female participation in the GUSA executive and really pushing women to run next year.

If your ticket doesn’t win, which part of your platform do you most hope the winner would carry forward?

I would hope our leadership fund would continue because I think that’s very important and we’re running the community and diversity module right now for What’s A Hoya and that’s opened a lot of conversations about socioeconomic status. I think that after racial divides on campus, socioeconomic divisions are our next largest hurdle—and really giving students an equal footing that way.

I think from the start we’ve recognized that at surface level, diversity was not going to be our strong suit, and then they brought me along and I didn’t really change very much on that other than [the fact that] I’m a girl. So we’ve actively sought the opinions of other students that just know. I think that the willingness to own up when you know you aren’t an expert about something is very important. I think a really good example of that is Dan and I have spent at least a dozen hours in meetings with student leaders across campus who are leaders for YLEAD, who are in CMEA and SOCA, and talking about how best do we approach this module. We’ve met with Rosemary Kilkenny and with Cynthia Salazar, just knowing right up front that Dan and I are not in a position to design a diversity module just based on what the two of us think it should be. That’s just not something we can do. So the willingness to go out and reach out to these people, follow up with emails and sit down and talk to them — because of that we heard so much positive feedback form the sections that it really made it all worth it, and that’s something we would try to do if they were elected as well.

Lindsay Lee

Lindsay Lee

Lindsay Lee (COL '16) was an economics major with a Spanish minor. She served as the senior editor of 4E for Spring 2013 and Fall 2014 and was also the online editor for The Hoya.
Lindsay Lee

Latest posts by Lindsay Lee (see all)

One Reply to “Behind the Ticket 2014: The Campaign Managers”

  1. So I know nearly all of these women and I love and admire them. I am so glad that their passion and competence can be an example to underclassmen at Georgetown. However, I think the fact that there is only ONE woman running and FOUR women campaign managers speaks to the systemic problem of women being involved but not running for office themselves. Don’t be afraid to get on a ticket! You might lose once (hell, you might lose twice), but I promise it is worth it.

Leave a Reply