Conversation with Dan Duffy and Kathleen Anderson

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Conversation With GW Alum and a Current Student (Former Senator & USAF Superintendent)

To help you gain valuable insights into the Master’s in Political Management online program, we invite you to join our upcoming informational webinar lead by a current student and USAF Superintendent, Kathleen Anderson and GW alum and former state senator, Dan Duffy.

Speakers:
Dan Duffy, Former Illinois State Senator (2015 Grad)
Kathleen Anderson, USAF Superintendent (Current Student)

Transcript

Kira:

Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining today’s webinar. We’re also thrilled to be inviting back one of our graduates, Dan Duffy, and Kathleen Anderson, who is a current student of the Master’s in Political Management Online Program at GW. Kathleen and Dan are here to share insights about their GW experience and the impact the program has had on their long and successful careers.

They’ll also be available to take your questions during Q&A, so have them ready and I look forward to introducing them to you. And thanks everyone again for attending. Before I introduced you to our panelist, let’s go over some housekeeping items. Since this presentation is being recorded, your lines are muted to ensure sound quality, but anytime please forward your comments of questions to me via the Q&A window, it’s the purple icon on your menu. It should be at the bottom of your screen. Other functions to note on your menu are the resources’ icon in green where the links, our program, website and other valuables resources are provided.

Kira:

Next to that is the brace linking icon to book a telephone appointments with our enrollment advisors. And now I’d like to introduce you to our panelist. Kathleen Anderson is one of four group superintendents at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Kat is a senior enlisted advisor for over 150 officers enlisted and civilian personnel spending 16 different agencies on the installation including the finance office, chapel, safety office, inspector general, legal office and public affairs. Kat has three classes left on her graduate degree at GW and plans to retire from the Air Force in two years with hopes to transition into public service in the political arena. In the 19 years, Kat has served for in nine bases, deployed numerous times in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and the Horn of Africa and various other locations.

Kathleen has received numerous decorations to include the Bronze Star and many accolades within her career fields and throughout her education. She has two children, Vicky whose three and Wyatt, one, and has been married to her husband Bow for four years. When she’s not working or chasing after her two kids, she enjoys writing her blogs, reading and anything she can get her hands on and trying out new workouts. Also with us today is Dan Duffy who was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, the youngest of 11 children. He married his college sweetheart and they are proud parents of five children. In 1992 Dan started his first business, an e-commerce consulting company.

Over the next two decades he expanded the business into a multimillion dollar company before selling the organization in 2010. Dan’s passion for small business [I 00:02:58] has propelled him to run for the Illinois General Assembly. And in 2008, Dan ran for the Illinois state Senate in the 26th District. He won the election and was overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term in 2012. Senator Duffy honored his two terms self-imposed limit and did not run for the third term. And before leaving the Senate, Dan returned to school at night and received his Master’s Degree in Political Management from the George Washington University, where he graduated with high honors. In 2016, Dan accepted a position as president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America.

And in 2019, Dan expounded the Government Affairs & Management Consulting Services upon Duke Franklin Group, and it’s committed to helping clients navigate through complex governmental waters to achieve their objectives. Welcome, Kathleen and Dan. And now I’d like to invite Kathleen to speak a little bit about herself.

Kathleen Anderson:

Thank you very much. Your intro was so great. I don’t even know if you even left anything out. Whoever it is you were talking about sounds really impressive though. Yes. Good afternoon, everybody. My name’s Kat Anderson. Just as stated I am active duty military and I’m currently a student with the Political Management Program. Do have three classes left, so very excited about that. I just finished up 19 years and I’m actually planning to retire next December, a decision that we just recently made as a family. Very exciting and also a little intimidating to somebody that’s been in so long. Just as been stated, I’ve been all over the place. I’ve deployed numerous times and traveled everywhere. I’ve actually been on every continent except for one, never quite made it to Antarctica, not a huge drive to send military there. Maybe someday I’ll make it and I can check it off my bucket list.

I am married. My husband was active duty Air Force for 12 years and is now a reservist, both times active duty and reserve he was law enforcement and he’s also a civilian law enforcement. I am currently stationed out in Oklahoma in fabulous Altus Air Force Base, which I’m sure none of you have heard about. It’s about two and a half hours South of Oklahoma city, and I’m what they call a group superintendent. For those of you unfamiliar with military terms, in a company, your commander would be like a CEO and your superintendent would be the equivalent of a COO. But I’m essentially responsible for making sure that all of the military are ready to deploy at a moment’s notice and that they’re receiving the personal and professional education and care and feeding to become lethal military leaders later on to replace people like me.

Let’s see. I do have two kids, my daughter Vic, we call her Vic Vicious. Sometimes that’s her superhero name or her super villain name, depending on her attitude. She’ll be four in July. And I have a son. My son, Wyatt, who just turned one, who does a lot of sleeping. I’m very blessed there. And my family just recently moved from Virginia out to Oklahoma. This has been a very good assignment. I’ve been with George Washington University for a while now, and I really enjoy it. I have really enjoyed my experience with the master’s program and I’m very excited to answer any questions that any of you might have.

Kira:

Thanks, Kathleen. And now I’d like to invite Dan to speak.

Dan Duffy:

Well, hi, thank you very much. It’s very good to be here today. Thanks for having me. Just a little bit about my background is, when I graduated from college a long time ago, I graduated from school and I started an e-commerce company. Back before e-commerce was cool. I actually started that out of my apartment when my wife and I first got married. Eventually, it was a good time for that. That was during the times that we all call the tech boom, everything was taken off in technology. We really expanded fast, became a nationwide organization and really started having a big impact, I think across US with e-commerce and the fact that data and electronic data interchange.

Then I was participating in that, working in that, running that company and expanding that company. We had a couple locations in Illinois and then we had one location in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Working for all main clients like Miller Brewing Company, [Real Back 00:07:43], Briggs & Stratton, Kohler and Chicago Mercantile Exchange, companies like that were our clients. Handling all their EDI or Electronic Data Interchange needs, electronic funds transfers and things like that. But I saw that when I was running that business, that really, I learned that old phrase that if you run a business and you are not involved in politics, soon politics runs your business. I started reaching out to different organizations. I met an organization called the NFIB, the National Federation of Independent Business, which is the third largest advocacy group in the United States that lobbies and stands up for small businesses.

The majority of companies in the United States are small businesses. It’s really Main Street, not Wall Street that provides all the jobs and the lion’s share of the jobs. I eventually started really participate in a lot with the NFIB. Eventually I was put on the NFIB’s board of directors and I started traveling the state of Illinois, in all 102 counties speaking on behalf of small businesses. I had a very bipartisan message about just helping jobs thrive with less regulation and taxation and litigation to help small businesses do their thing. And people started saying, “Hey, maybe you should run for office.” And I thought, “No, I don’t want to do that. I have five kids.” I had five kids at the time, five in grade school then. And I had a lot going on, but eventually learned more and more about it and thought, “You know what, I will run for office. Illinois needs a lot of help in kind of a bad situation.”

I decided, “You know, what, I’ll run for office purely on behalf of small businesses.” Social issues and things like that was not something that I focused on. I focused on purely helping small businesses thrive, encouraging job growth and fighting corruption in the State of Illinois. And even though I never ran before and didn’t have any political experience, and at that time before I ran, wasn’t affiliated with any political party, I ended up winning. When I won, I said that I would only serve two terms. The Senate terms are four years each. I served eight years, did many different things, helped a lot of small business legislation pass. I was also the co-sponsor the Death Penalty Repeal Bill in Illinois. And it was a big driver in the DREAM Act in Illinois and things like that. I work with literally both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that I thought would really help the state of Illinois.

And then when I was getting ready to retire, an organization, Prevent Child Abuse America reached out to me. Prevent Child Abuse America has been around since 1972, nationwide organization. They have chapters in all 50 States and they said, “Hey.” They were having some difficult times, they needed to do a turnaround at the organization. They needed to raise revenue and raise their ratings and put in a new management team. They also needed somebody that knew how to work the political system and maneuver through that because about 60% of the funding for Prevention Child Abuse America comes from state legislatures for those programs. I accepted that position, went in to Prevent Child Abuse America. Long story short, turned the organization around, raised millions of dollars, traveled to over 40 state legislatures within three years, the past child wellbeing legislation to help promote our programs and help every child no matter what their zip code is, thrive in the future and live the American dream.

It was a lot of fun. Turned that organization around. It’s now rated one of the top two charities for children in the nation by Consumer Reports. And then started a consulting firm, the Duke Franklin Group and I help different companies and nonprofits, mission driven companies, and also private sector companies and IT companies maneuver through a lot of their political agendas to achieve their objectives. I appreciate it. And we’ll talk about this in a little bit, but getting my master’s degree from George Washington University literally started the whole next phase of my career after the State Senate because I started at different positions when I announced I was going to retire. And every position that I was looking for whether it was a CEO position or a C-suite level position, everything required a master’s degree in order to even apply for the position.

And the way it works nowadays due to AI or artificial intelligence and things like that, is that resumes don’t even filter through to the HR individuals if they don’t meet the basic criteria and having a master’s degree was one of the main criteria and that’s one of the reasons we’ll talk about soon, but why I looked at George Washington University. It really helped me more than anything that I could have done to propel me with my career. And I’m really grateful for that degree. Thank you.

Kira:

Thanks for sharing that, Dan. We’re going to talk a little bit more about what inspires you in your search process and how George Washington came up in your search. But right now I’d like to bring back Kathleen. And I recall from your bio Kathleen that you mentioned, you’re looking to retire from the US Air Force and that you’d want to pursue a career in politics. And it’s perfect that we have Dan who already has a career in politics. Perhaps the two of you can share with me. Kathleen, first of all, what inspires you to want to pursue politics? And perhaps Dan, if you can share how you got started.

Kathleen Anderson:

Yes, I’d love to. As I say, I’ve been in the military, it feels like forever. I joined straight out of high school. I ended up graduating high school early, so I could join the service. And I’d love to say, that I had this inner need to serve my country. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t that. I came from a good house, a good community, but we didn’t quite have the funds to send me to college. And I wasn’t bright enough to get the scholarships that would be needed. And so my folks had both served and I thought, “I’ll join the military and learn a trade and get out after my four years.” But I definitely re-enlisted because of a love of service. And here I am 19 years later, so service has been something I’ve adopted over the years after being in the military.

And I’ve been able to really see a tangible impact to my service, as I stated, I’ve deployed everywhere and not all my deployments were just to countries that [inaudible 00:14:28], although I’ve been to plenty of them. I was able to go to the Philippines for humanitarian deployment, in Kosovo with the United Nations and NATO. And so it’s important to me that I feel like I’m giving back in some way. And so once I finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, I sat and thought about it and went well, “What’s next? A master’s degree.” And just like what Mr. Duffy was saying, I was smart enough to know that a bachelor’s degree is great, but that a master’s degree will definitely help me whenever I do decide to retire.

When I was trying to figure out what to get my master’s degree in at first, and this was years ago, the concept of retirement was still pretty out there for me. I wasn’t quite sure what … Those of us in the military, we like to say, we’re not sure what we want to do when we grow up because we stay in so long. And so I thought, “Well, maybe I’ll get an education degree and be a teacher.” And I thought, “I don’t really have the personality for it. I don’t think.” And then I got to thinking about what I’m really passionate about and what I’ve always been passionate about, which is the United States. Even before I joined the service, I had a teacher in high school who just really like spoke to me. He was my history teacher, taught me about Congress and American history. And I just loved it. I can’t get enough of American history and government. And then obviously being in the service, I got more and more into it. And I thought, “I’d really like to continue to serve, but in a different capacity.”

And so I just started looking around and being in the military, I have to do online school because I move around so much and deploy so much. And it was hard to find a master’s program that I could do 100% online that would help me with that. And then it just like, basically fell into my lap. When I found George Washington, I was just Googling one day. I’d love to say it was something fancy, but I just Googled Master’s Degree in Political Studies and it came up. And so it’s been really exciting to go through the program. And that’s what I would say for me, that’s what inspires me to get into politics is I have been serving my country for so long. It’s not really my job. It’s who I am. I want to do it more when I get out and I definitely would like to do it in that arena. Hopefully that answers your question. Mr. Duffy, if you know of any jobs I’m available about December of next year.

Dan Duffy:

Yeah, you definitely qualify for all of them. That’s good. With me, when I started [crosstalk 00:17:20]. Sorry, go ahead.

Kira:

This is the one I’d like you to, I guess chime in terms of how you got started. And if you have any tips for Kathleen and others, I know that you know that a lot of our audience are aspiring if not already in the political arena and they want to make positive impact in their environment, local or national or in global. If you could share your pearls of wisdom.

Dan Duffy:

No, absolutely. In a lot with Kathleen just said about not knowing what she wanted to do when you grow up, that sounds like me. I still don’t know what I want to do. I’m still trying to figure it out. Kathleen has a very big obviously aspirations to serve, serving in the military and then wanting to serve in that in the public arena. That’s awesome. The way I got started into George Washington University, I guess and into politics is that like I said, I was running a company for years, almost a couple of decades, and I just started seeing how so many legislators and representatives were mandating and putting down laws on businesses. And a lot of them weren’t really that familiar with how to run a business or they didn’t run a business.

And so things like that, I kind of thought, “Hmm, we really need someone who’s actually run a business before to start making some of these regulations because sometimes I don’t think people are aware of some of the unintended consequences of what happens when they pass those bills.” That’s how I started getting active with the NFIB and being more involved with some of the legislation that was coming down. And I guess that’s what led me to think about running for office. I think I’m kind of a little bit backwards than a lot of other people because I think a lot of other people like Kathleen is exactly right, it’s a progression. You get your bachelor’s degree, you get your master’s degree, and then you go focus in that area, in the public arena or run for office.

I already ran for the State Senate. I already, I won two terms and I was in the State Senate, but then I saw that, I really kind of was just running it like a small business. And I really didn’t understand a lot of the processes and procedures I needed to really understand everything that I just went through. And again, to be brutally honest, I realized that in order to continue on, once I left and retire from the Senate to continue on with the roles that I wanted to be at the C-suite level, that there was definitely a glass ceiling in the way, if you did not have a master’s degree. Nowadays at pretty much almost, I haven’t seen in an organization that doesn’t have a requirement that once you get past the VP level to proceed any further, you have to have your master’s degree.

And so I started looking and thinking about that. I already sold my IT company, so I didn’t have that anymore. I started thinking, “Hey, it would be wise for me right now while I was in the Senate before I was done.” And I thought, I had a little bit of time on my hands to go back and get my master’s degree. Then it was just a matter of, where would I get my master’s degree and what would I get it in? And obviously I was in the Senate, I was politically passionate. Political management was something that I was really interested in, focused on, loved. It really isn’t like going to school for me, it was just extremely interesting and intriguing. It’s kind of like, I’m a history buff. I love reading about history.

I knew why I wanted to be political management. And then what I started researching the schools, it just became very obvious to me. I researched every school all around even Northwestern University, which is actually very close to me. And I was really kind of considering Northwestern. And then when I was looking at George Washington University, of course first off, it’s George Washington

University. That literally is George Washington, the founder of our country in his State the Union address in 1790, he first started talking about promoting the idea of a national university. And because of that idea and because of George Washington’s inspiration to form the university, Congress due to a chartered, due to a chartered university, George Washington University in 1821.

And they did that all based on George Washington who started the ball rolling. I’m sure, of course, that’s why they called it the George Washington University after he passed away. But the idea started with George Washington himself. And so I thought if you ever got to go to a school in political management, why not go with literally the founder of our country who started it all. And then when I contacted George Washington University and started talking to different people, people who ran the program like Dr. Laura Brown. Dr. Laura Brown is awesome and literally was answering all my questions, making it very easy for me to understand the process and what I would go through. And everyone that I was meeting, the teachers and professors that I researched and looked at, the teachers that teach in this program, they literally worked in the White House. They worked on presidential campaigns, they worked in Congress, their experience level and what they do because the George Washington University is right there in the middle of it all, right next to the white house.

The professors literally have that practical experience and the experience of hands-on that I think is so important. It’s one thing to teach a class by reading a book, but it’s another thing for people to be teaching a class that have actually done it in their life and have been through the good times and the bad times of political management. When I did all that, and then I learned that I was just coming down to convenience and I thought, “Well, Northwestern University, even though now it’s number two to George Washington University in my book compared to my analysis for this degree, I thought, well, Northwestern is closer.” I learned of course you could do it all online. Which for me, I didn’t realize you can do such comprehensive programs online like this. And once I found that out and talked to Dr. Laura Brown and all the rest of them there, that I could do it online, then it was just a no brainer. I wanted to get at GW and went and did that. And I’m very happy that I did. It was a wonderful experience.

Kira:

That’s incredible that you made the observation about the online not being a limitation. A question from a member of our audience actually has to do about that. So, the question is, “So much of our politics is about who you meet or know. With doing the program online, how do you network without physically being in DC or any of the state capitals?” Dan, I’d like you to start. And then after that, Kathleen.

Dan Duffy:

Okay. And remember I’m a recovering politician. Just tell me to be quiet, if I keep talking too long. That’s what I thought too, because I thought, how can you really be close with people in the class? And how can you network, even though GW is in the [inaudible 00:24:49] perfect ideal location, if you’re going to receive your master’s degree in political management because they’re at DC right in the middle of it all. I thought, “How can you network with people if you’re going to be working, doing it remotely?” Of course, I had to do it remotely because I was in the Illinois State Senate and I couldn’t be in DC. I had to be in office, but as I learned, there’s so many different techniques and tactics that they use in the program in order to have chats, to communicate literally daily through these bulletin board type systems.

And also they have a lot of events that you can go to DC with to meet the people. But just even like I said, the professors of the programs, they’re all people that have literally worked for past presidents and things like that. And they have the relationships and the network that you start communicating with them once you’re in class and email with them. And then those emails, just like

everything else comes into building relationships with people and becoming friends with the teachers and talking different about their past and who they know. And they set up different networking connections and different ways to reach out and meet with other people.

There’s all kinds of opportunities. I would say just as much as if you’re there live because, and sometimes maybe even more, I think. I actually think you have a better opportunity to network when you were remote because you put more of an effort into it. I would think that if I was at the school, I don’t know if I would have been putting such an effort into developing the relationships with my teachers and finding out about their past, that I did when I was remote because I wasn’t sitting in there in front of them. I was able to ask them questions directly and build those one-on-one relationships, which I think worked out really well and is a great, great tool for networking and building those relationships.

Kathleen Anderson:

Yeah. If I can chime in. I’m somebody who I’ve always had to do online learning because of my profession. And I was been really impressed with how much I’ve been able to actually connect through George Washington. In each class you have your typical where you have to kind of do introductions and I’m always intimidated by it because in this one, there’s always a lot of questions. Like, what is your background and political management? And obviously being a uniform member I’m allowed to vote. I’m generally one of the few that hasn’t volunteered for a campaign or been a part of anything other than my civic duty, but the instructors, the professors have been so wonderful. I want to say probably almost every single one of them when I have completed the course, has offered to myself and my other classmates to continue to connect via social media.

And so I think it’s probably almost easier to make those connections now because of social media. I know the other day I attended a minute mentoring session, that Dana Perino and Dagen McDowell do. I had asked a question because I’m transitioning, any advice for somebody without any actual political background on making it. And one of the things they mentioned was reaching out on social media because people are so accessible. I’ll say with George Washington University, that has definitely been the case. Almost all my professors found me on LinkedIn, which was really nice and have continued to mentor me and answer my questions, even when I’ve been done with the class and then a lot of my classmates as well because like I said, I’ve had classmates that have been assistants with campaigns, who have been active. And so I’ve reached out to them and linked up with them. To me, I think, it can seem like you’re not going to be able to make those connections, but I feel like not anymore. With online learning it’s so more advanced than it was when I was getting my bachelor’s. That it’s pretty incredible.

Kira:

Right. And another question for you, Kathleen, from our audience as well. I guess geared specifically for you because you’re a working mom and you’re in service. We’d like to know how you manage your work-life balance with school.

Kathleen Anderson:

My work-life balance. I actually get this question a lot from young female airmen when they’re first coming into the service. I’ll give an answer that I don’t think people like to hear, but it’s my honest answer. I think we try and define work-life balance poorly. I think when we hear it, we think that we should be able to provide equal amount of time to career, family and self. And maybe you can, and I just haven’t cracked that nut, but the biggest thing that I have found that’s helped me still be successful in

my career and I’ve got a good family life and I’ve done very well at the school, is knowing when I have to dial up or dial down aspects of my life. I’m very lucky.

I have a very supportive and understanding husband who knows that when I am in class, I’m not as available to the family. Being in the military, mission always comes first. In my service, one of our core values is service before self. I don’t ever get to say I can’t do my job. What I always tell people is it’s not service and no self. It’s just service before self. I’ve just learned to be creative, I would have to say. And I was lucky in that when I was a young airmen starting out in the military, I had a supervisor that made me go after my education young. I’ve learned to kind of train myself on how to balance work and school. And then I picked an excellent partner to help me basically balance work, school and family.

I don’t know if that’s really the answer you’re looking for, but that’s honestly what I do. I try and make sure I got to make time for my kiddos. Education to me helps me be a good mom. Sometimes I’m not able to do all of the things my daughter wants me to do, but I when I have to not do it to do my schoolwork I’m doing that for her, so that I can be a good example so that I can better provide. I think it’s just being realistic about what that balance means.

Kira:

That’s great. Dan, big family, five children. How do you manage it all?

Dan Duffy:

Yeah. It’s funny when I first started thinking about, I was in the state Senate, I had five children and I knew I wanted to get my master’s. It’s one of those things and I think everyone sees it in their life because if you start thinking about things almost too much about how’s this going to work out and try to plan every day and every month, it’s never going to work because it doesn’t seem like it’s going to work. We had different tests and different things due during veto session and all these times when I knew I was going to have to be on the Senate floor for hours at a time. I just thought, “Wow, that’s not going to work.” But you know what? I started it. I applied to the program, I started the program and then I just thought, “I’m just going to take this one month at a time and I’m not going to stop.”

I think this just like other things, it forces you to be organized. It forces you, I think that you have more quality time. It always amazes me how many hours that we have in the day. And you really don’t realize it when you’re not really organized down to the hour. I thought it really organized me well, and then I started moving forward with it. One of the things I didn’t want to do, I thought the secret was, is you always look at it and think like, “Well that’s too much going on. Come up a month from now, I should postpone this or put this on hold.” I made a pledge to myself that I was never going to pause or put it on hold that there would always be something and there’s always going to be something that’s going to come up.

I was just going to continue with the program no matter what, and just bare down and go ahead. The funny thing is just like with everything right it seems like once I started doing that, everything fell into place. Veto session would be canceled and all these things kind of happened. Everything fell into place. And really, I hardly had any obstacles at all, other than trying to stay organized. When a lot of legislators went out to dinner and things like that, I went back to my room and studied and did my homework and stuff like that. You just have to reprioritize a little bit of what to do, but it all works out. I couldn’t have planned it any better on how things just all fell into place at the right time. I was very happy about that.

Kira:

That’s great. Let’s talk about the curriculum a little bit. I’m sure when both of you researched the program, you looked at the curriculum. Did you also compare it to other comparable programs out there, for example, Master’s in Public Affairs or Public Policy or another political science degree? What made you hone in on the political management degree? And can you talk a little bit about the difference in the curriculum, how much impact it’s had on what you’re currently doing? Let’s start with Dan.

Dan Duffy:

Yeah, I definitely. I really did my homework and my research on different programs. Like I said earlier, for me the final two were Northwestern University and GW. And I think it’s just because of location at Northwestern. I looked at all the, and I think their degree is Public Policy. I think it’s called or so. I looked at the Public Policy and all the rest, other types of programs. And based on my research and what I saw, I thought GW has a lot more. Their curriculum is more practical. It can be used the next day. I literally have saved every paper and every assignment that I did for this program and I still use it now. And I use it for different things because even though it might not be the exact same subject when I’m doing different reports or things like that, I still use some of the same techniques and tactics that I learned in my management program, of course now in my everyday work experience.

And that’s why I liked the curriculum better because based on the classes and based on what you do, you can apply it literally the next day, and I did because I was in the set. It was very nice for me because I could one day work on these political strategies and things like that, and then use it the next day or use it in my next campaign or building grassroots teams and just everything that I used. Like I said, I still use a lot of it now and apply it to my different experiences. For instance, running Prevent Child Abuse America. There’s chapters in all 50 States. It really depends on the grassroots support for the organization and building teams of volunteers and all the other things and how to do that and the different types of social media sources and things like that, social media strategies and communication strategies.

And all the things that we developed in this master’s program I used at Prevent Child Abuse America and at these other organizations, I use the same formula, the same format and just tweak it a little bit based on our specific needs. But that’s one of the reasons why I picked it and why I liked the curriculum is because you can use that work the next day in your job or in a future job. And I just don’t think a lot of the other programs had more kind of like public policy theory and stuff that I didn’t really think I applied once I left the program and that’s not what I wanted. I wanted something that I can use.

Kira:

That’s great. Thank you, Dan.

Kathleen Anderson:

Yeah. When I [crosstalk 00:37:25]. Yeah. I was just going to chime in. When I was looking, there were two main reasons, I would say I was so attracted to this program versus others. One is obvious the fact that I could do it 100% online. A lot of the other programs I found, I could only do like half online. And that just wasn’t going to work for what I do. But the other reason was when I was looking into the Political Management Degree Program, was that there were different tracks you could take because there’s so many different things that you can do with politics. You can either try and actually be a politician, you could do legislative work, you could do policy, there’s all sorts. And so I really liked that I could steer my education towards a track.

And just like what Mr. Duffy was saying, my last class to kind of give it example, was state and local campaigns. And so we had to actually create a campaign plan. And what was fascinating about it is our professor had us do it exactly how you would do it. And so at the end, you have this template basically for a state or local campaign. And that was just an experience I wasn’t going to be able to get with any of the other programs I’ve looked at. And I’ve had that with a few of my other classes too. And just like what Mr. Duffy said, I’ve saved every single assignment, because even though in the military, I do use the curriculum probably in a different way though. I’ve used a lot of like communication strategies that I’ve learned.

I’m considered a senior strategic leader. And so part of my job is to also get the young airmen excited about things that might not be really all that exciting because it is the military and sometimes we have to do things that are super awesome. And so kind of understanding how to use communication strategy and get different types of demographics excited towards one goal, I have found that very helpful. Even, without being able to be in the political arena yet, I can tell that it’s not just the curriculum, but the actual assignments that I’ve had to do, I know I’ll be able to look back on and help me.

Dan Duffy:

Yeah. And let me just say that it’s not just that people plan on going in politics, because like I said, our assignments and what you learned at GW, everything from building your team, developing your message, branding, digital strategy, internal IT systems, fundraising plan, targeting plan, media plan, your grassroots plan, how to engage, motivate, inspire volunteers, all this is used in business every day. It’s the same type of strategy and it’s the same type of plans that you can apply to the companies that you’re working on. And I do that now with some of the same stuff. It’s good, whether you’re in politics or out of politics. It makes a lot of sense.

Kira:

That’s right. And it makes sense why Dr. Laura Brown, the director of GSPN compares our degree to an MBA for politics. It’s a practical degree in that sense. This next question is for Kathleen. You’re the only three courses away from graduation, the program still fresh in your mind. Can you speak about the level of interaction you have with your classmates and a support system from faculty and TAs et cetera?

Kathleen Anderson:

Oh yeah, definitely. It’s such a difference when you go from a bachelor’s to master’s degree. And I know that sounds like such an obvious statement, but the differences are, there are so much more vast than what you realize. When I did online learning for my bachelor’s, I interacted with my fellow students, but not really that much. You do your discussion posts and your two mandatory replies. And then you’re kind of focusing on all of the assignments, all of the tests. With this course, just about every single class I’ve had to take, I have been able to easily interact with my fellow students and it’s been encouraged. And just about every time you kind of have to, because everybody has different backgrounds and sees things with different lenses.

And so if you really want to suck the marrow out of every single class, you want to get to know everybody that’s taken that class. And the support that I have received has been amazing. Kind of give one really recent example. This last class that I took, the state and local campaign, started it right before COVID hit. And one of the things that you had with this was you had to pick something local to where you live, a local office that you would try and run for, and then use actual information about it. This is Altus, Oklahoma, very, very tiny town. I’m like, “Okay, I’ll do the mayor of Altus.”

I’m active duty military that lives on base. We’re the first installation that has a positive COVID case and we get locked down to the base, which means I’m not allowed to leave the installation.

And then I’m a strategic senior leader. I’m working 14-hour days at this point. I had to reach out to my instructor, my professor because Altus is a tiny town and none of their records are online. It’s not like I can just Google, the political background of the last few Mayor races. I can’t go into town to pull the actual records. I had to reach out to them and say, “I don’t know how I’m going to get some of this done. Can I get a little bit of wiggle room?” And he worked with me, no problem on it. He allowed me to use a city that was nearby that did have a pretty robust online presence to be able to use their data. It was amazing, the support that I got because I was really sweating it. I was like, “I have no way around this.”

And then with my student advisors and when it comes to the tuition and all of that, it’s been very, very helpful. Being military, I use tuition assistance, but I also have to use my GI Bill, which means I have to go through the VA office. As long as you have two eyes and two years, everybody pretty much knows that the VA office can move at a glacial pace. GW has such an amazing like veteran organization to help with that, that I have never ran into any issues with it. Even when the issue is with like the VA, George Washington University is always taken care of it for me and been available for me to communicate and say, “Hey, the VA, their system is down again. The paperwork is not going to get to you guys for another two weeks. It’s a little bit of issue.” I have found the support incredible with George Washington.

Kira:

Thanks so much, Kathleen. Next question is for Dan. I’m not sure if I’m interpreting this question correctly, but if not, the person who posed the question, please clarify for me. Dan, in your experience, when you were in the program or when you graduated, could you speak to how the program has helped you obtain empirical and professional stages in political parties and public offices? Does that make sense?

Speaker 4:

[inaudible 00:45:39]

Dan Duffy:

Yeah. Some [inaudible 00:45:43] want to clarify that. No. Yeah, I mean I guess-

Kira:

Oh, go ahead please.

Dan Duffy:

No. I was going to say, yeah, obviously I’m not sure exactly what the question’s referring to, but it definitely helped me in every professional stage of my political campaign. I don’t know about the stages in a political party. Well, I guess basically it’s in general course, it’s not aimed towards any specific party, one or another. It’s about working on campaigns and on political parties in general. As you know, there’s people from all walks of life and all political parties are in the program. I think that’s one of the things that makes it so strong and unique. Yeah, just all the information and what I’ve learned and all the stages that I already talked about, everyday from developing a message and branding, to digital media, to the media planet grassroots, it all just helped me in my public office the next day, which I really liked

a lot. Again, I’m not sure if that answers the question, but if they want to clarify, if it doesn’t, that would be great.

Kira:

Yeah. I’m sure it did, but if it didn’t, please reach back to us and we’ll certainly reach out. Actually we promised that this would be about 45 minutes and then if there are a lot of questions coming in, we’d go up to the hour. I hope a lot of questions have been answered. And I just want to invite Gillian, who is a member of our enrollment team to provide some background information about next steps, what programs is about [inaudible 00:47:32], et cetera. And then of course, we’re going to invite back our speakers for final statements before we close. Thank you.

Gillian Birminghan:

Okay. Thank you, Kira. Thank you everyone for taking the time out of your already busy schedule to attend our webinar today, it’s greatly appreciate it. For Superintendent Anderson, I really want to extend our appreciation for your service and the sacrifice you and your family has made over the years and former Senator Duffy, [inaudible 00:48:03] child abuse advocate and current consultant, thank you for spreading your wings across the political landscape too as well. It’s greatly appreciate it.

Many of our listeners here on the phone today may have already had contact or conversation with either myself or some of my colleagues. So, I strongly encourage you to continue connecting with them. Okay. We do understand that life is demanding more of us today. Sorry. We are here for you to guide you along the way, to help address any questions and basically assist you most importantly too with the application process and any type of questions you may have.

Then just basically going through that up until the time that you get accepted into the program. We definitely here for you. In terms of application requirements, the very simple process, what do you really need? A complete online application together with $80 nonrefundable application fee. Keep in mind that you don’t need to have everything at once to start that application. Second is, excuse me, your statement of purpose, between 250 and 500 words. You really want to be able to connect with the admissions’ committee. This is your story. So, why this particular program, why George Washington University, and why at this time in your life you believe that this is the right time for you to take that next step in your life, with your career professional life? That is the current resume. Most people already have this prepared.

It’s usually the first thing they would upload to the application process, to give you that sense that, okay, now I’m moving along and things are looking for me. Two letters of recommendation, and for applicants who have completed their bachelor’s degree within the last five years, one of those letters of recommendation must be academic. And when you think about an academic, not just a professor, but if you also work with a counselor as well, and they have some indication of how your academic life has run throughout your undergrad degree. And then the second one is a professional letter of recommendation. Excuse me. The next would be transcripts. We need transcripts from all colleges and universities you attended. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the application process, as long as your confirmed date and degree is stated.

A number of schools now are using the electronic transcript, especially because of the situation we are in right now with COVID, a lot of them are going to the online option. It makes it even more simpler for you to request that. If you do have copies and it shows the confirm date, then basically use that for the application. But once you get into the program, we will request an official copy from you. And last but not least, the great news is for applicants with a bachelor’s degree of a GPA of over 3.0, the

GRE is not required. Remember we’re here for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you everyone for taking the time to join us. Any questions from my side?

No. Okay, great. In terms of our upcoming application deadlines, we are still accepting applications for fall semester, which begins on August 31st with a deadline of July 15th. Now, because we do conduct rolling reviews, you don’t have to wait until that deadline to get everything together. And then you’re in a state of panic trying to get everything done, work with us. We’re here for you. Let’s work on the documents as you have them, upload them as you move forward and keep in mind that as we see everything coming along, it gives us a chance also connect with your recommenders, as long as you enter your information into the system, we can also help you at that end too as well. Okay. The application tech review takes, I would say a week or so to get everything organized.

Use that to your best ability, especially in light of the summer coming around. You want to make sure you can contact with your recommenders soon enough because they have a family life too as well. They want to be able to enjoy the summer as much as they can, with limited access to be able to go outside and be free. You want to make sure that you don’t put too much pressure on them at the last minute. We definitely encourage you to make that connection and have things done in an organized and timely manner. Thanks, Kira.

Kira:

Wonderful. Thank you so much, Gillian. I want to bring back the speakers, Dan Duffy, as well as Kathleen Anderson to provide the final statements. Basically, any advice that you have for someone who is considering George Washington and in particular, our program, a Master’s in Political Management. Any final words of advice for them?

Dan Duffy:

Do I go first, Kathleen?

Kathleen Anderson:

Oh, yes, yes. Go ahead.

Dan Duffy:

Okay. Yeah. I would just say that, you know what, I did so much research. I probably researched the master’s program and which master’s program would be best, for about six months. After I did all the research and everything was in, GW stood out by far. Their Political Management Program and what I went through and what I use to this day, far exceeded my expectations and it still does. And not only was GW there for me every step of the way going through the political management program, Dr. Laura Brown and her entire staff, but they’re still there for me, which is why I’m still participating and still engaged with the school today because their network, their connections is still helping and with me today. I literally, I think it’s obvious I could not be any happier with my choice.

I know people have a lot of questions, and of course you can kind of contact Kira and the information on this screen to contact GW. You know what, if anyone ever wanted to contact me with any questions about the program they can feel free to do. My email address is senatorduffy@gmail.com. Feel free to contact me, I’ll answer any questions that you have. I know that you’ll always be happy with the decision. Thank you.

Kira:

Kathleen.

Kathleen Anderson:

Yes. Yeah. To echo what Mr. Duffy says, this has been such an amazing experience getting my education through George Washington. I don’t regret it at all. I remember when I first was looking into it and I kind of was having a conversation with myself, wondering like, “Could I tell you even really do this?” I’m so glad that I went ahead and did it. I was really lucky to have some great mentors that pushed me to do it as well that said that I can. Back to kind of that work-life balance, if you want something, there’s always a way to make it happen. And this program has been so great and this school has been so professional and so helpful. I could say being in the service my schedule can be hectic sometimes.

Sometimes I’ve had to do a couple of my classes in the middle of nowhere in Afghanistan. And I have never had a problem getting ahold of anybody at the school and getting assistance when I need it. And then even, obviously I’m still taking my classes and I’m still in the military, but I have people tell me all the time that, “Going to this school, it means something. It’ll mean something to have this master’s degree from this school.” And even in the service it’s on my record in the military. People, I’m enlisted, I’m not a commissioned officer, but it hasn’t hurt, I can tell you to have it in my record that I go to such a prestigious school. And like I said, this degree it’s been so much fun. Really, I wish everybody good luck. And I really hope that you guys do it. It’s been a great experience.

Kira:

Thank you so much, Kathleen. To our audience, I just want to reiterate how much we appreciate having you join us for the hour. And I know that there’s some questions that we’re not able to get through within the hour. We’ll definitely reach back to you. You’d be certainly hearing from a member of our admissions team. As well, this event is being recorded and you’ll certainly get a copy to the link for the replay. And again, to our speakers; US Air Force Superintendent, Kathleen Anderson, and former Illinois Senator, Dan Duffy, thank you so much for your time and sharing your insights. It’s been tremendous. We’ve learned so much and I hope our audience has also found it to be beneficial as you’re considering your next steps in your educational journey. Good luck with everything. Please stay safe and thank you so much. I hope that you’ll be able to join our programs in the fall. Okay, everyone.