2016 Graduate | Wholesale Sales Manager, PW Companies
Applying Political Strategy Across Different Fields
Keenan Nuehring’s passion for politics continues to drive his career in new directions – from campaign work in Washington, D.C., to his current job developing million-dollar sales strategies for companies throughout the Caribbean. It’s a path whose diversity he credits in part to the unique skill set he built while earning his Master’s in Political Management degree online from George Washington University.
This journey began after Keenan took a volunteer coordinator position for the campaign of Utah Rep. Mia Love. After proving himself by composing everything from branded emails to call center scripts, he was offered positions as communications director and eventually field director. The latter role allowed him to apply his natural ability to convey ideas through writing and speech to address policy-related questions from the media and help Love prepare for public debates.
“That whole experience was amazing,” he says. “I was really proud in the end because the other party we were running against was spending millions of dollars to beat my candidate, and it became a battle of communications. At one point we were losing by 6%, but because of the combined strategies of our campaign manager, our sales director and myself, we ended up winning by 13% within less than a year.”
While working in the role, Keenan decided to build upon his undergraduate studies in political science and government by pursuing a more specialized master’s program. His knowledge of the Washington, D.C., area led him to enroll in the online Master’s in Political Management program from George Washington University, with a focus in Legislative Affairs and Strategic Public Relations.
“It worked out perfectly because a lot of my classes paralleled the work I was doing in real life,” he says. “Every day I was reading something relevant and was able to immediately apply it. I attribute so much of my success in politics and beyond to the classes that I took.”
Following graduation and a successful campaign for Rep. Love, Keenan began exploring new outlets for his communication skills. This would eventually lead to his current role as wholesale sales manager for PW Companies in Salt Lake City, Utah. Working for the retail management firm, he travels throughout the Caribbean to help teach sales and customer experience skills to workers in St. Martin, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Key West, Grand Cayman and the Bahamas.
“Even though I’m stepping away from government for a little while, the communication strategies I learned are so useful to what I do now with negotiations and sales,” he says. “Things like public speaking and ethics have helped shape the way I design communications and strategy plans, and I’ve been able to keep going forward in this new industry with confidence.”
“I can’t express how amazing this degree has been for me. I think no matter what area you want to get into afterwards, this can help. The words ‘political management’ might make it seem like you have to stay in that field, but I learned so many applicable life lessons that will be useful in every type of job. If you want to be in politics, if you want to be at a nonprofit or in business leadership, this is 100% worth it.”
– Keenan Nuehring