TheBridge profile: Nicole Tisdale
Name: Nicole Tisdale
Current city: Washington, DC
Current job: Founder & Principal, Advocacy Blueprints
Past job: Staff Director and Counsel, Intelligence & Counterterrorism Subcommittee; US House Homeland Security Committee
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? Slipstream, Navy Yard DC location
Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job. Working on the Hill for ten years and being in the DC world of politics since 2005, taught me to value institutional knowledge. As an (elder) millennial, I came to DC with a lot of ideas and goals, but I knew it was important to learn and listen to those that had traveled the path before me. My expansive circle of mentors and teachers helped guide me and show me where all the landmines and treasures were on Capitol Hill. Now, I use and grow that knowledge by teaching others. It's a circle of education that never ends.
Q. Job advice in three words? Build coalitions everywhere
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech / innovation and regulation? Most people, including professionals in the tech industry, are never taught how to advocate. Advocacy Blueprints provides "the bridge" to connect tech to policy, through advocacy education and training. Our consultations and workshops are designed to empower the tech industry with knowledge about congressional process, policy, and politics. We provide advocacy expertise based on recent congressional service—so our techniques, contacts, and information will always be current, personalized, and innovative. Whether an organization has a fully stacked government affairs team or is just starting out, we believe that advocacy education benefits each employee and organization, while creating mutual benefits for innovation through policy. I also recently wrote a book, Right to Petition: A Practical Guide to Creating Change in Government with Political Advocacy Tools and Tips. Check it out!
Q. What can innovators learn from policymakers? Deliberate strategy. Congress is an ongoing, 230-year chess match. Similar to chess, there are small moves that need to be made and decided early on to achieve the ultimate goal later. From the outside looking in, it may seem that nothing is happening in Congress, but that is never the case. The best policymakers can teach innovators to create a deliberate strategy and build coalitions as they execute.
Q. What can policymakers learn from innovators? Don't wait until it breaks to fix it. The best innovators make something out of nothing and can see the potential for greatness from things that are already good. Too often policymakers are retroactively addressing issues through policy, rather than proactively encouraging solutions through future innovation. The best innovators will teach policymakers to see beyond today and balance innovation for the future.
Q. Favorite book/podcast/long-form article you recommend? My favorite podcast is Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. I originally started listening because I didn't know how to meditate, and it was suggested to help center me and calm my brain, which is always racing with new ideas. Now, I understand and look forward to the podcast every week because it helps me focus and concentrate on my life purpose: helping others through education. Every week there is at least one nugget that reaffirms that purpose and my path. It's kinda crazy how timely and validating those podcasts are sometimes.
Q. Why are you part of TheBridge community? Why do you think it's important this community exists for tech, policy, and political professionals? I love the goal and mission of TheBridge, and it syncs perfectly with my company's mission and motto: Impactful Advocacy. Powered by experience. Driven by mission. I get it: Congress can be confusing, and it seems like it's a wild house of power-hungry policymakers and their staffers. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Everyone comes to Congress for the same reason: to be a changemaker. That is a similar reason why people start a business, design a patent, or join an organization as an employee. The gap between tech, policy, and political professionals isn't as wide as we think. We need organizations like TheBridge to put us together so we can learn and grow together.
Q. Favorite under the radar company? Upwork. I love that company, and I'm mildly concerned when I suggest it to people, and they've never heard of it. I used Upwork freelancers to help design my company and personal website, edit my book, sort through the Congressional Record, and help me write my company pitch. I love that they are giving freelancers access to stable work with verified funds and startups like me access to professionals based on my needs and budget. I'm one of their best unpaid and unknown ambassadors in DC.
Q. Favorite app? Reddit. Hands down my most visited and used app every week. I've been in love with curated message boards since the early 2000s. Before Reddit, I was all over the internet on different boards, but now all of my communities are in the same place. I'm in several subreddits for everything: startups, curly hair, keto, tiny houses, vitamins, and of course politics. I get to the end of the internet every night, and Reddit makes that easier.
Q. How do you unwind after work? I love talking to people. I've never met a stranger. DC is so diverse that it's like my little candy store of people from all over the world. I like to meet people, strike up a conversation, and learn about them, their interests, and ideas. It's fun, and I've met great people doing it.
Q. If you had to live in another city, which would it be? Outside of Nettleton, MS, somewhere in California. The goal would be to find the best weather with the most friendly people. I'm open to suggestions.
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