Lessons in GSG HERstory: Angela Kuefler
Professional Life and Accomplishments
In 100 words or less, tell us about your career path.
I tried for 10 minutes to get this under 100 words. I am happy to talk career paths with anyone who is interested.
The ending line, though, is always the same: I met Jef Pollock at a retreat, told him a story about Bowser from Sha Na Na, (and probably said something smart about guns at some point,) and now here we are.
Who are your female mentors, role models, favorite trail blazers, or heroes?
My mom, Jane Goodall, and Hilary Clinton. All women who, in their own way, rejected how things had always been done.
What accomplishment are you most proud of OR what has been your biggest success to date?
It’s not the biggest success per se, and not professional at all, but I am proud of it: Last summer at 36-nearly-37 years old I ran a mile in 6:39. I couldn’t even do that during my high school sports years. And then promptly got tendonitis in my foot and hamstring (see: age), that it’s likely not ever happening again.
What is the best piece of advice you would give (or have already given) to women starting out in our industry?
My mom taught me, very inadvertently, that the rules were made to protect the status quo; they were created to benefit the people in power (no matter how nice individually they are). You can choose to follow them to the letter and be good, and therefore be well-liked and unobjectionable. But it doesn’t mean you’ll be respected or elevated. Doing that often means challenging power structures, knowing your worth and the value you provide, and insisting on credit. That doesn’t mean being a jerk; but it may mean being a truth-teller (which, for those whose power has rarely been questioned, can be interpreted as “difficult”).
Also, collaboration and teamwork are great things! But, be mindful that everyone in the “team” benefits fairly.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
I have heard some version of this advice from every older woman in Dem consulting: this industry is inherently built on societal structures subject to gender and race inequity and assumptions. You will feel it daily—especially as you get older–and it will make you crazy and mad. Sometimes, because you are human, you will express disgust and question this unfairness. But you can’t do it all day every day; you will exhaust yourself and people will stop listening. Do whatever self-care you need to manage this dissonance. Find the people who will hear you and help you so it’s not always on you to say the uncomfortable thing—those people do exist.
If money/client were no object, what is your dream campaign?
Honestly, considering the amount of time I spend working with women candidates and for gun violence prevention causes, I work on my dream campaigns every day. (see: photo)
More about Angie
If you could learn to do one thing, what would it be?
Sew. Or be much, much better at the piano.
What is your favorite TED talk, podcast, or book?
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. I usually more strongly suggest extroverts read it. It’s also a TED talk.
ALSO, black-ish Season 6: Episode 3, “Feminisn’t”, is some of the most brilliant TV crammed into 22 minutes. Still rather surface, but helpful.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
To be clear: I wanted to BE Jane Goodall. And then I realized that would mean a lot of time outdoors in the wilderness, which I’m not generally a fan of.
*Editor’s note: Nowadays, Jane spends her time talking to anyone who will listen and drinking Irish whisky. Sounds good to me!