Ann Marie Habershaw ’84: Looking beyond the heated rhetoric of the presidential campaign
“The voters of this country want our leaders to come together and address the challenges we face,” says Ann Marie Habershaw ’84, CPA, MBA. Habershaw is chief operating officer of Bully Pulpit Interactive, the renowned marketing firm specializing in public affairs, corporate reputation, social impact, and political campaigns. Her resume also includes Chief of Staff and Director of External Affairs for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
"I hope the tone of this election has not turned people off from running for office or working to elect others."
“The tone of this election has been the worst I have seen in my life and I worry about what we will do on November 9,” she says. “One way or another we will have a new President. We have to decide how we come together and be one again.”
Habershaw notes that history was made in July when Hillary Clinton became the first woman nominee of a major party. The nomination "has created an opportunity for a lot of discussions (and arguments) about how differently men and women, particularly in leadership roles, are often treated and looked upon. Women voters are paying attention to the coverage of this campaign, even those who are not supporters of Hillary Clinton. Women have been reminded of the time when they were told to smile more, not speak so loudly, not be so ambitious. I will be interested to dig in more to how women impacted the vote."
Will the heated rhetoric that characterized this campaign season take a lasting toll, especially on young men and women? Habershaw asks. “I worry that young people will be discouraged from running for office, from working on campaigns, or in the halls of Congress. I have had the most incredible experiences in politics, working to elect people I believed in, working for something so very important with amazing and passionate people. Wanting to serve is honorable and I hope the tone of this election has not turned people off to running for office or working to elect others.”