TheBridge profile: Chandler Morse
Name: Chandler Morse
Current city: Washington, DC
Current job: Director of U.S. Public Policy at Workday
Past job: Chief of Staff for Senator Jeff Flake
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? Right around the corner at The Ministry, F Street and Northwest New Jersey Avenue. It’s a quiet spot with great coffee and the comfiest chairs.
Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job. Before standing up Workday’s D.C. office, I spent 13 years on Capitol Hill. To be successful as legislative staff in a congressional office, I had to learn how to manage competing priorities simultaneously. There are always votes on the floor, constituent correspondence to respond to, incoming bills and letters looking for support, hearings to prepare for, and legislative priorities to advance. That experience in genuine multitasking has served me well in my new role.
Q. Job advice in three words? Relationships are everything.
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech / innovation and regulation? We are working with other companies and organizations to advocate for policies that ensure our nation, our workforce, and our government is built for the future. For example, we’ve always believed that privacy is a fundamental value, and we recently co-founded the Enterprise Cloud Coalition. The ECC will advocate for strong privacy legislation and other cloud enterprise priorities. We also helped launch the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative earlier this year. The Initiative is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership that provides the training and experience recent graduates need to lead the nation’s cyber defense across the public and private sectors, while also providing student loan assistance. Workday was also pleased to join the Business Coalition for the Equality Act.
Q. What can innovators learn from policymakers? Patience. In the 115th Congress, more than 13,000 bills and resolutions were introduced and less than 10 percent were passed. Lawmaking is usually a drawn-out and challenging process that’s filled with hurdles. However, given the potential impact and despite frustrations on timing, the legislative process is better off when filled with opportunities for review, scrutiny, and careful consideration.
Q. What can policymakers learn from innovators? Creativity. The innovators I’ve met are constantly asking questions like: “Is this the best way to go about this?” “Even though it’s the way we’ve always done it, can we do this differently?” “Can we make this process easier, reduce friction, increase efficiency?” Applying that kind of thinking to policy matters can only yield dividends.
Q. Favorite book/podcast/long-form article you recommend? Check out Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, and Avi Goldfarb.
Q. Best advice you’ve received? Do what you say you are going to do.
Q. Embarrassing work moment? I was brand new to D.C. and working as a regulatory analyst for the National Association of Home Builders. Our lobbyist was invited to a coalition meeting on the Hill and asked me to join. It was my first Hill meeting ever – a big moment for me – I couldn’t have been more excited and nervous. I got there super early and killed some time getting a hot dog from a sidewalk cart. I grabbed an over-eager seat in the hearing room smack in the middle of the front row and was proud of my punctuality, attention to detail, and overall professionalism. As the meeting started, my colleague arrived. He sat down in the seat next to mine…took one look at me…and quietly leaned down and whispered that I had a foot-long line of bright yellow mustard down the side of my chin and onto my jacket lapel.
Q. Most underrated virtue in an employee? Sense of humor. Workday focuses on core values and culture during the recruitment process. As a result, fun – one of our core values – is also a prominent part of the Workday culture and work is just better when you laugh a lot. Also, doesn’t hurt in mustard-on-the-face situations.
Q. Last time you were completely unplugged? In the beginning of June, our family went camping in Shenandoah National Park and, gratefully, there was no cell coverage.
Q. How do you unwind after work? I go on adventures with my family, do some woodworking, take a fly-fishing trip…but mostly re-watch Star Wars movies.
Click below to join TheBridge community and, among other resources, receive our bi-weekly updates with featured profiles.