I have a passion for fixing systemic problems, leveraging creativity and determination to achieve significant results and impact. I am the Founder and CEO of IssueVoter, a non-partisan platform with a mission to give everyone a voice in our democracy by making civic engagement accessible, efficient, and impactful. IssueVoter helps you make your voice heard in Washington with just one click, and tracks how often your elected officials vote your way – holding politicians accountable. The time between elections is when the work that impacts our lives gets done - and you can have a say year-round. Our Democracy is at risk because voices aren’t being heard, and I dream of changing that.
How did your past experiences (school, work, childhood, family etc.) help you get to where you are today?
Growing up, I didn’t consider careers in politics, but from a young age, voting was always emphasized by both of my parents. I remember mock voting in second grade and saw it as one’s personal responsibility. In college, at LeaderShape, my vision was for 100% voter participation. It’s been sad seeing voter turnout go the other way instead, with the 2014 election at just 36% - the lowest in over 70 years, since WWII.
Also while in college, I had first-hand experience with our State reps. I was part of a small group of students who lobbied the Texas Legislature to introduce and pass a bill creating the first student seat on the University of Texas System’s Board of Regents. I also served as an intern at the Capital, where I saw first-hand that Representatives really do track every constituent contact, yet such a small percentage of us actually reach out. 10 years ago, I entered a campaign training program in Washington, DC and was sent to one of the most targeted races in Iowa: an open seat in a swing district that many hoped would turn the “25D-25R” even split in the State Senate. And that’s where the idea for IssueVoter began. I remember sitting in the office on my laptop and thinking, “There’s so much focus on elections, but there should be an easy way to track what our reps are doing throughout the year." And also thinking, “Someday technology will get there. Someone will create this and I will be able to use it!” I didn’t expect that someone to be me. Nearly 10 years later, the idea was still stuck with me, and both astonished and frustrated that something still didn’t exist, I decided to create it.
Is entrepreneurship something that anyone can tackle? What is the most important thing to consider?
You have to be incredibly self-motivated, and willing to do a wide variety of work, including some things you may not like.
I’d offer this advice:
1. Ask yourself, “Would I regret not doing this?” If the answer is “yes,” then you owe it to yourself to do it.
2. Remember, you can control your inputs/actions but not the outcome – do your best.
3. Listen to and trust your gut.
And think #1 is the best and most straightforward way to make the decision – the most important thing to consider.
What part of your personality helped you the most with your entrepreneurial journey?
I’m determined. I am also creative, extraverted, intuitive, and a fast learner who gets things done. But without determination, I may have already moved on to another passion, career, or project.
Is it important to dream big? What is the big dream for your business?
Absolutely! I hope to build a product that people didn’t even realize they needed before they had it. Before Facebook, we weren’t sitting around thinking: "I need a profile of myself online so that I can connect with friends." We want people to think, “Wow, I had no idea my elected officials were passing so many laws every week that affect my life. I can’t imagine what I’d do without IssueVoter and year-round civic engagement!” To me, it’s motivating to be fixing a problem in the world that’s so big, it almost seems unsolvable. That can also get overwhelming, so maintaining both perspective and focus are essential.