My first job out of law school (1990) was lobbying, although I knew zero about it and had neither learning resources nor teachers. But over six years, by chairing a nationwide state lobbying campaign, lobbying Congress, several US states, Canada for another two years, and OECD in Helsinki, Mexico, and Washington, D.C., I learned something.
And while corporate takeovers came and went, I kept my job – until I didn’t.
Unemployed, I resolved my new life goal was to teach lobbying because I wanted new lobbyists to learn advocacy faster and better than I did and I wanted to save them from needless, career-killing, principal-harming mistakes. It was to be a ministry of sorts.
And so I wrote my first lobbying manual (of nine), Guide to State Legislative Lobbying (1999). It led to being a Visiting Professor at Florida State University. Paul Hallman of MultiState Associates recommended me to the American College of Physician Executives which led to joining their faculty and lecturing for them at Harvard Medical School. In Lobby Schools, I have taught advocates from a Who’s Who of American organizations.
Today with senior lobbyists I write best practices lobbying manuals, teach quarterly lobbying skills workshops, and occasionally lecture at the university level. Colleagues and new students add to my own study thereby keeping my teaching current with state lobbying trends.
As when I started 20 years ago, I do what I do to jumpstart new lobbyists. I strive to make them better than I ever was and for them to master advocacy skills much faster than I took to learn them.
I tell every class, “If you practice what I give you in the lectures, handouts, and lobbying manuals, then you will be better lobbyists than 70% of the lobbyists in your state capitol.”
That is what I give them and that is why, in a ministry of sorts, I teach.