TheBridge profile: Jesse Barba
Name: Jesse Barba
Current city: Washington, DC
Current job: Vice President of Government Relations, Cassidy & Associates
Past job: Legislative Assistant - Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (OH-11)
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting: Compass Coffee
Q. Describe one way how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your new job: The importance of coalition building cannot be understated. This is a basic skill that is often done wrong or overlooked, yet can be the lynchpin of a successful campaign. When organizations or Members of Congress are pulled together, you build expertise, power, resources and credibility. One of the things I am most passionate about is finding where common ground exists and bringing varied stakeholders together to push an issue. Having the ability to listen intently for the common thread running between all parties is critical.
Q. Job advice in three words: Stay the course.
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech? As a lobbying firm, our company represents some of the leading companies in technology and telecommunications, from Silicon Valley to Mississippi to New England. We work in two ways to bridge the digital divide. First, we help our clients recognize how the policies and regulations being developed in Washington will impact their business. Secondly, we educate lawmakers and their staffs about the newest trends in the developing digital economy, ensuring that policies aren't enacted that have unintended consequences or stifle innovation.
Recognizing the collective power millennials, I've also helped cultivate a network of young industry leaders who provide rising Members of Congress with financial, policy and deployment resources to succeed. Part of this includes working with lawmakers to participate in a 50 city listening tour to understand where opportunities exist and how technology and digital industries can lift communities.
Q: What can Silicon Valley teach DC? Be prepared for disruption...and be okay with it. Silicon Valley is known for its risk takers. Washington lawmakers could learn a few things about exploring new developments in technology to streamline efficiency and work. Washington should not be afraid of change.
Q: What can DC teach Silicon Valley? Diversity. Washington has set an ambitious goal to be the number one city for inclusive innovation. We are focused on removing barriers of entry for underrepresented communities to join the tech movement, and are a leading hub for women.
Q: What is your morning routine? Every morning I typically give myself an hour to read through the news headlines and media trends. I generally start by making my way through half a dozen newsletters and newspapers. Several of my favorites are Mike Allen's Morning Axios - reporting on tech, politics, and the future of work; Morning Politico - reporting on tech, education, and energy; and the New York Times. I'll also spend a good part of my morning sifting through articles posted to LinkedIn, and political blog sites.
Q: Which Member of Congress is most tech savvy? Recognized as the Snapchat king of Congress, Congressman Swalwell is not only one of the youngest Members of Congress, he is also one of the most tech savvy. As chair of the FutureForum and co-chair of the Sharing Economy Caucus, Congressman Swalwell engages constituents on all social platforms in a direct and casual way.
Q: Most underrated virtue in an employee? Creativity! Being able to think creatively and outside the box are crucial to servicing clients and approaching policy. Not to mention it is a useful tool to avoid group-think and confirmation bias.