TheBridge profile: Audrey Henson
Name: Audrey Henson
Current city: Washington, DC
Current job: CEO and Founder of College to Congress
Past job: Hill intern turned Staffer, campaign junkie and a brief stint in the private sector at a tech company, Fiscal Note
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? Wydown at The Apollo. It's the most Instagram-worthy spot that’s close to our office.
Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job. Political campaigns are the ultimate start-up. Working on congressional campaigns taught me how to be an all-in and all-hands-on-deck person. Learning how to pivot on the drop of a dime taught me the skills to start my own non-profit.
Q. Job advice in three words? Push even harder.
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech / innovation and regulation? C2C is all about bridging the gap! I am a millennial founder who empowers Gen Zers and works with a baby-boomer filled Congress. We have to constantly listen, learn, and innovate - similar to tech. In fact, the tech leaders have been our earliest and strongest champions because they realized the vital role technology has in shaping the future of public policy. Likewise, we help companies like Facebook, Google, Lyft, Salesforce, and the Entertainment Software Association connect with the ever-evolving congressional staff.
Q. What can innovators learn from policymakers? Put the people first.
Q. What can policymakers learn from innovators? Test the product/program until it’s perfect.
Q. Favorite book/podcast/long-form article you recommend? My favorite podcast is NPR’s How I Built This. My favorite (current) book is You Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins.
Q. Living person you admire? Stitch-Fix CEO and founder, Katrina Lake. She is the youngest female in tech to take a company public and was named the richest self-made women by Forbes in 2017. Every year she reflects on the evolving needs of Stitch Fix to see if she is best for the job as CEO and essentially re-hires herself. She is actual goals.
Q. Most underrated virtue in an employee? Positivity and happiness regardless of adversity. I like coming into work and being surrounded by people who radiate joy and want to be there. Those are the people I can rely on to get things done.
Q. How often do you work from home? I block every Wednesday morning to myself and work from home. I take this as personal time to time to catch up on my inbox and refocus my priorities for the rest of the week. This also allows my COO to spend alone time with the team.
Q. Which Member of Congress/local lawmaker is most tech-savvy? I don’t know if he is the most tech-savvy, but Chris Papas has an awesome Twitter feed (@RepChrisPappas).
Q. How do you unwind after work? Sometimes it’s hard to escape the pressures of work and my ongoing to-do list, so if I really need a break I put on my record player and do something creative like a page out of a coloring book.
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