Laura Packard - Communications & Digital Strategist for Non-Profits and Democratic Campaigns
Usually found via @lpackard
I'm a small business owner & digital/new media and communications strategist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
I'm a partner at PowerThru Consulting, a growing national progressive digital consulting shop. At PowerThru we help nonprofits and Democratic campaigns use technology to spread their message and organize and activate their supporters online, to create change offline. We have staff in several states, and work with non-profits of all kinds and on progressive state and federal issues, campaigns and elections of all kinds. We've won three Reed awards and three Pollies for our work to date (including Best Congressional Website in both).
I love my work at the intersection of technology and politics, and I also love to teach and help others use technology to effectively accomplish their organizational mission. I often share best practices at national and regional conferences such as CampaignTech, NTC, Netroots Nation, Organizing 2.0 and RootsCamp, webinars for Progressive Majority, Salsa Labs and others, in articles for Campaign & Elections magazine, ePolitics, and Huffington Post, and trainings in-person for small groups around the country including for Camp Wellstone and Democracy for America. I've worked with and trained at non-profits and campaigns in several states over the years, covering online strategy development, organizing and outreach, fundraising, messaging, advertising and social media.
I'm a veteran of many great campaigns and non-profit organizations over the past decade around the country. Initially caught the campaign bug while phone banking for Clinton in '92, but it took a decade (and the contentious 2000 election) to really set in. In 2004 I started off organizing my Ann Arbor precinct for the Democrats, then the 4th ward, and worked up to GOTV Election Day organizing across Washtenaw County. I then served as the Secretary for the Washtenaw County Democratic Party the following year as well as serving on the County Executive Committee and on the Michigan Democratic Party State Central Committee. I became a partner in MichiganLiberal.com, and helped run a major Michigan political blog and do Michigan blogger organizing for a couple years. In 2006 I moved to East Lansing to be Senator Stabenow's Internet Communications Director for her successful re-election campaign, which won statewide approval by nearly 16 points. In 2007-8 I started up my own consulting shop and was Internet Director for the Coalition for Progress 527 (the largest PAC in the history of Michigan, which helped take back and hold the House from '06-'10), as well as designing and setting up the 50 State Blog project for BlogPAC nationally and working with bloggers in startup mode around the country, and working with then-Congressman Mark Schauer's successful campaign and other congressional races.
In the latter half of 2008 I moved to Washington DC as the Interim Executive Director for the New Organizing Institute in Washington DC, the groundbreaking national new media training organization for the progressive movement. In 2009-10 the AFL-CIO sent me to the key state of Arkansas to fight for passage of health care reform and labor law reform through the U.S. Senate. In 2010 I was the New Media Director for the Bill Halter for U.S. Senate primary campaign in Arkansas, which used the Internet in innovative ways and raised over 3.5 million dollars online in 3 1/2 months to fight for progressive Democratic values. I then was Director of the Secretary of State Project national 527 in the remainder of the 2010 cycle, which worked on important Secretary of State races around the country to support candidates that would protect our right to vote.
In 2011 I joined forces with PowerThru and moved back home to Ann Arbor. In the 2012 cycle I worked with a variety of national non-profits, primarily USAction/TrueMajority - a multi-issue national online powerhouse with over 500K members, and also We Are Wisconsin during the critical 2011 elections, and African American Voter REP in the leadup to election day - the largest urban voter registration and participation project in the state of California. In the 2014 cycle I worked with several campaigns and PACs around the country again, rolling out websites and advising on strategy on federal and statewide races in states including Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, and California.
Many of my presentations and trainings can be seen in written form on the PowerThru blog. In 2012 I helped rewrite the Democracy for America training manual's online organizing chapter, including contributing two new sections on online advertising and fundraising. Both of those sections are cross-posted on our blog. I also rewrote and updated the online organizing training for Camp Wellstone, and Camp Wellstone's Advanced Campaign Management School at the end of 2013.
Growing up in California, England and Hong Kong, my family moved back to Michigan when I started high school. Michigan has always felt like home to me though, since my parents grew up here and we spent summer vacations visiting my grandparents here. I'm a Plymouth-Canton High School alum ('94), and University of Michigan alum, B.S. Computer Science, '97. I worked for several years in the tech industry in Ann Arbor prior to moving into the campaign world and on the road. I was a Michigan Political Leadership Program public policy fellow in '05, and also an alum of the inaugural New Organizing Institute bootcamp class in '06 and the Wellstone Advanced Campaign Management School in '07. I have a deep interest in elections and election-related issues, having served as an election inspector, precinct chairperson, on the absentee count board and performed other elections-related work for the City of Ann Arbor in the years since the gubernatorial election of 1998. I also served for several years as the Secretary of the Michigan Sailing Club, and on the board of the Women Business Owners of SE Michigan, and volunteered in the community for Michigan Theater and others.