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Bonus Episode with Kathryn Hamm - Bonus Episode with Glenn Roush - - Wedding Business Solutions Podcast with Alan Berg CSPKathryn Hamm – So Many Pivots

When I first thought about bringing my friend Kathryn Hamm onto the podcast, it was because of her pivot from LGBTQ issues to DEI – Diversity, Equality and Inclusion topics. Well, before we could get to that, she pivoted again! Listen to this episode and hear how she pivoted into the wedding industry from education, to pivoting to DEI and now to being Co-owner of The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter (Kathyrn’s wife). Is your head spinning from the pivots yet? Kathryn is always a pleasure to talk with, and you’re going to pick up some ideas for your business on this episode.

About Kathryn Hamm

Kathryn Hamm is the Chief Operating Officer for The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, overseeing business operations, strategic partnerships, and sales development. She is the former Publisher of GayWeddings, and Diversity & Inclusion Specialist and Wedding Pro for WeddingWire and The Knot Worldwide. Her early professional experience includes nine years as a school counselor, coach and administrator; time as an account executive, specializing in corporate ticket sales for the WUSA’s Washington Freedom; and as a member of the ad sales and marketing team at Discovery Communications, Inc. She is the co-author of The New Art of Capturing Love (Amphoto Books, 2014).

Hailing from the Lone Star State, Kathryn has an M.S.W. from the Catholic University of America, and an A.B. in Psychology, with a certificate degree in Women’s Studies from Princeton University.

Their website is

You can see Kathryn’s wife Amy in action, just go to the PBS NewsHour, where you can watch her every Monday on Politics Monday.

Kathryn is also an educator for Wedding Pro:

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Below is a full transcript. If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at [email protected] or contact me via textuse the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362

Please be sure to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review (thanks, it really does make a difference). If you want to get notifications of new episodes and upcoming workshops and webinars, you can sign up at

– Okay. When I think about my series, “The Pivot,” I think about a few people specifically, and my next guest, a good friend, has pivoted so many times I’m getting dizzy, but you’re going to want to hear all about this. Welcome to another episode of “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast,” and my series on “The Pivot.” And I am so happy to see, although not in person, my good friend, Kathryn Hamm. Kathryn, welcome.

– Alan, hey. It’s so good to see you.

– It is so good to see you, and I can’t wait for us to be together again, maybe sharing a little bourbon, you know, might be doing that.

– Right, a little conversation, a meal, and a hug would be fantastic.

– Oh, it would be wonderful. So when I was thinking about you for “The Pivot,” I had something else in mind, and then all of a sudden, I get this news alert about a new pivot for you, one that I’m going to say it kind of came out of left field, but kind of not. And so you and I go back to our days when you were working with, not working with, you were President of and then became part of WeddingWire, and working our way through there, and you were talking about LGBTQ issues, and then you pivoted to diversity issues. And now you are a Chief Operating Officer and co-owner of “The Cook Political Report,” which is why my head is spinning here. So take us back, take everybody back to the days when we first met, LGBTQ issues and So how did that come about-

– Sure.

– because you had to pivot to that, right?

– Right. You know, first I would say that when I think about the pivot piece, I feel like I’m always constantly evolving as a businessperson. And, you know, before I ended up joining my mom in the business,, I was actually an educator, and I worked for the women’s professional soccer league, the WSA. So I had already, I felt like, had several sort of job hats, if you will. And each entrepreneurial inspiration, and opportunity would come along, and there was always a through line of work for me, and it was that I was doing things that I felt mattered, that I was passionate about, and that made a difference in the world. I am truly an educator at heart, and so when you and I met, I think about this all the time, actually, when I’m at the Kennedy Center, it was WeddingWire’s first in-person conference, and you and I were both speakers. It was really my first big stage debut. Your wife, Carole, was there, and we had a great opportunity connecting and talking and getting to know one another. Little did I know that this would actually lead to a connection of becoming much more active in the sort of speaking circuit, if you will, out in conferences, but also working with the WeddingWire team and feeling connected to the company’s mission, to the culture, and to being able to educate and lead. And so this is where you and I share a lot in common, and I know you understand this part of what excites me. So my specialty at the time was same-sex weddings, and it was a time, you know, let’s see, I joined my mom in the business in 2004, and Obergefell passed the Supreme Court and marriage was legalized nationwide in 2015. So there were a lot of years there where I was having conversations with folks trying to say, “Look, there is a market segment here that is having ceremonies, in some cases legal, and in some cases not, and they’re looking for your support. They need help figuring out what to do,” ’cause we didn’t have a roadmap for the LGBTQ community. And similarly, we had wedding professionals who needed to learn a little bit more. And as I was teaching and learning along the way in this, I realized, boy, especially in evolution with the LGBTQ community, is we had more work to do to broaden our understanding around how we talk about sexual orientation and gender identity, but it also became very clear to me who else was missed in the wedding market. And, you know, you’ve heard me on my soapbox that men are largely overlooked and ignored in the industry, and certainly people of color have been overlooked. And that’s not just in the magazines and basically through the advertising and marketing dialogue, if you will, but you know, the industry has been doing a lot of work lately in recognizing that there are so many incredibly talented vendors of color who aren’t at the tables, who don’t have the opportunity through referrals, through being business owners and decision makers. And so it was really continuing to ask some of the same questions of our industry, but to still say, who else isn’t at the table, how else can we do better at our job? So that’s the evolution there. I can pause or just keep going into how in the world did I go from weddings to politics, all of which I’d say are handy skills-

– Well, let’s get there.

– For a cocktail party, I’ll tell you.

– Especially in the Washington DC area, so it certainly helps there. All right, so let’s take a pause there ’cause there’s actually an article in “New York Times” just other day about-

– I saw it, yeah.

– And I’m not sure that I agreed with everything about the premise because there were a lot of people, it was talking about how people of color and minorities were excluded from vendor preferred lists. And I think there are a lot of people who don’t fall into those categories that would say they’re also excluded from those lists. So I think the article missed some pieces of that, which is, you know, how do you get on the list is not because you need to be white, right? There’s a lot of people that don’t go on those lists because they’re just not in those circles, they don’t want to pay to play, which was one of the things in the article and stuff like that. But the idea of, yeah, there’s a lot of people that just aren’t at a lot of tables, and some of them don’t know the tables exist, and some of them do and just can’t get in, they can’t get into the club, if you will. So going back to what you said about people not knowing what they don’t know. And I remember I was Vice President of Sales at The Knot in 2004 when Massachusets, you know, said same-sex marriage is legal. And again, we didn’t know, although The Knot had been talking about same-sex couples almost from the beginning. I remember there was a couple of the year one year with two women named Chrissy. You know, they were doing this long before 2004, but there was a language problem, right. We didn’t know how to talk about this. And even in those years from 2004 to 2015, and even to today, there are so many people that just don’t understand that some of the things they’re saying on their websites or saying in their marketing are being exclusive, not just to the LGBT community, but to everybody, with their photos. I did a presentation at a conference, and I put up a photo of a white couple, you know, a man in a black tuxedo and a woman in a white dress, and I said, “If this is what you’re showing on your website, that’s okay if all of your customers look like that, but your customers don’t necessarily look like that.” And I started showing different pictures, and I had mixed race couples, and I had same-sex couples, and I had people that were tall and short and thin and heavy, and, you know, they didn’t look like the models in the magazines. I said, “This is your customers, and if they see themselves, they’re going to feel more welcomed.” So again, I’m trying to get that message out there too in the wording, the pictures, and all those things. Okay, so-

– Well, and I would just say two things. The first is beyond just the marketing piece, right, is who’s on your team. You know, we know that when you have more voices at the table, there is a more rich conversation, more rich opportunity, and it shifts how your business in thinking and doing. And what I would say is I continue to see the blind spots, which is how do we check a box and consider that enough? The second thing I just want to say quickly about that “New York Times” piece that I just think to the extent that we can hold on to it, there’s value in holding on to the racialized lens around explaining this phenomenon because I understand that there are many folks that are excluded, and you know, I experienced the wedding industry as a little bit of a cool kids industry, and it often felt to me a little bit of like what I experienced in middle and high school. And I’ve had the opportunity to not be in a place where people were walking away from me because what I was talking about made them uncomfortable at the very beginning to having some sense of respect and appreciation because folks had gotten to know me and appreciated what I brought to the table. So while I take your point, I just would say, I think it’s really important that we center the space of what the experience has been like for the vendors of color and what that experience has been around trying to break in because even if there is more inclusion or other people don’t necessarily have the same access, there’s still a very different dynamic in play.

– Oh yeah, oh yeah. And you know, it’s something else, and this goes back to what you said about high school, people self-segregate, right. If you look at a segregated high school and go to the lunch room, and you’re going to find people self-segregating by whatever it is, right. It could be by color, it could be by religion, could be by whatever it is, but you see that they have the opportunity, right, they’re all in the same room, but they do that. I notice it in my neighborhood, right. We have a very diverse neighborhood. You know the neighborhood ’cause you went to Princeton. I only get to live near there. You got to go there. And I see my neighbors, a very diverse group, and they tend to be clustered by, you know, the South Asians are walking out together and then the Chinese are out walking together. And, you know, not that we don’t intermingle and talk to one another, but you see a lot of this self-segregation.

– Well, and I would say, I mean, I’m hearing you suggest that that’s on the individual to cross the bridge. I ask the question, so why do we do that, and how does that differ for groups who identify as a more minority population.

– Right. Right. And it’s up to, I think the other side, if you will, to invite them in and to see that they’re being excluded. I do this at speaker conferences. I never want to get assigned seating because they’re going to sit me with… Like, who do you want to sit with? I was like, whoever you put me with. I want to meet new people. I want to be put into that situation where I’m not in the clique because I know, like you said, we know what it’s like to be outside of the clique and be excluded. And I have some really good speaker friends that I probably never would have met if I only hung out with the people I already knew. And to me, again, I think that’s important. If you see somebody standing by themselves, it’s like, “Hey, come on. Come talk to us.” You and I have done that so many times when we’re together. It’s like, come here, come here. Come into the conversation.

– Yeah. I always go find the table in the farthest corner that has a few people sitting, and I will make friends with the stick. I’m happy to meet people. And same thing, I will go seek out the group where it seems to me folks are not sure who to talk to, and it’s not they’re actually working but they’re working, and those have actually been my most favorite conversations along the way.

– Right. Absolutely. So, all right, now let’s talk about “The Cook Political Report.”

– Sure.

– For some people looking at this, it’s like, whoa, there’s a shift, but let’s explain first your connection with “The Cook Political Report” because this goes back.

– Sure, right. It’s safe to say family businesses are my jam. So my wife is a political analyst, so this is her second tour at “Cook Political Report,” and she is now the publisher and editor in chief. And so her mentor and the longtime founder and owner of “The Cook Political Report,” Charlie Cook, approached us and asked us if we would be interested in basically taking over the business. As it turns out, Amy and I are suited to each other, as we’ve been laughing saying this marriage now goes to 11. You know, I do the business side of things. And so I’m running the business and bringing in a lot of the skills I learned as a small business owner, as an educator, and then building out the technology expression. “The Cook Political Report” is an independent, non-partisan, very tiny team of analysts who take special care in analyzing US elections and campaigns, so it’s a very niche publication. Many of your listeners may have encountered some of the analysts, Amy Walter, David Wasserman, Charlie Cook, for example, on any number of programs, political oriented programs, or seen them quoted in the papers. They are incredibly well-respected and well-liked in Washington, which probably goes without saying that that in itself is kind of a miracle. This is a town where it’s easy to make enemies, but they are trusted by everyone. And they are very thoughtful analysts in reading what is the outcome of this race going to be. So far, we just, it’s been a week, so this is brand new, sort of being public about it. And, you know, I was asking myself, how in the world do I possibly explain this pivot, especially when I think about my social media feed and the very more advocacy oriented work I’ve done. There’s a real consistent for me in the ethics and pride in what we do, and that is constantly be building bridges, constantly listening, constantly growing. And I’m really, especially in today’s climate. I feel very strongly that we continue to model and teach via “The Cook Political Report” what it means to be an independent thinker, for them to be non-partisan in this time, to earn trust, to offer reliable analysis because there is a voice opportunity that’s missing, I think, in the larger discourse. So the deck is stacked a little bit against us in that way because these guys would rather be long form thoughtful, often not very popular analysis because everyone is accustomed to a hot take. So folks that are interested in what I might mean by this, you can go to the website and there’s some articles for free, and you can sort of see that voice. But, you know, relative to my commitment around some of the diversity, equity, and inclusion work I’ve been doing, cause I’ve been doing that on… I was growing a corporate side business with that, moving outside of the wedding industry. But I thought, well, here’s an opportunity actually for me to take a little of my own medicine. If I am building a business, and we have a team, what does our team look like? What are our values? What is the equity issue here? What are the equality components? How do we want to approach who we have an opportunity to bring? And how do we think about all of their various voices and perspectives we need to inform really good analysis that speaks to all Americans, not just a larger subset who tends to kind of fuel the conversation?

– Right, and there’s one thing that I was always impressed with Amy, besides the fact that I really like her and I love hanging out with you guys, is that she would go on differing… She would go on Fox News. She would go on MSNBC. And they liked having her on both because she was non-partisan, because she was a, I’m not just going to say a voice of reason. She spoke facts without the partisan leaning, without bringing in, which so many other people, it was clear, that chip on their shoulder when they got in there. She was there because she knows what she’s talking about, and she able to speak the facts. And then she could go over to the other channel, which has a totally different audience and speak the same thing without that lean, which again, turned me off and I think so many people off to a lot of these channels is okay, just tell me what’s going on. I don’t need your twist on that. Let me interpret it my way.

– Yeah, yeah. Thank you. I am so proud of her. She is incredibly talented, and I think amongst the best out there. Her ability to, I sort of liken her to being a bit of an oyster, sort of filtering all this water to produce these beautiful pearls. And it is, to me, I mean, I’ve always been supporting her and everything she’s done in her career. To actually be able to participate in some of the ground game of that and to really support this is, it’s just such a privilege and joy. So I did not expect this, but I’m game. So here we go, you know.

– See, and that brings us back to the whole idea of the pivot. The pivot sometimes comes to us, and I’ve said this on other things. I think it was the Roman philosopher, Seneca, who said that, you know, luck comes when preparation meets opportunity. You know, you guys were ready for this moment, not necessarily looking for it, but ready for the moment, but it also shows what a good partnership is is, you know, Amy gets to do what Amy does without having to worry about the backend. If Amy had to start worrying about the back end, that takes her focus away from what she does so well, and probably doesn’t want to do this other stuff, you know. That was what Carole and I, when we were publishing wedding magazines, I’m out there making sales and with dealing with the sales team and all that, and she’s in the office ’cause that’s what she’s good at. And that’s what a good partnership, the right people in the right seats.

– And really working in concert too. I think one of the things I’ve learned over the years too, and this was one of things I really value about our marriage, and I think I see it already moving into the working together piece, which is we each know that we have our specialties, and I don’t even bother thinking about like testing a hypothesis on certain things I know nothing about. I now just I’m like, “Amy, what do you think?” Finally, I learned that. But I will say that there’s this really interesting gray area overlap area where each of us has had to learn from the other to take on some of those skills. So as an example, you know, I have no problem, as we’ve discussed, making friends, talking. I don’t mind selling things, selling a good idea, selling social justice, helping people understand opportunity. I’m not going to sell it if they don’t want it, but I have no problem making a case for it. Well, I can do that all day long. Amy has no interest in doing that. But part of this job as business owners is like our employees depend on us. It’s really important that together we are out there in our various ways really helping to sell, if you will, to use a little too broad a term, what we do and what it’s about. And so when we, I think, are at our strongest is when we are each learning to borrow from some of the skill sets from the other one and then applying it in the space. And for me, that is, I think, what’s most exciting about this ’cause Amy is as humble… You know her, she’s so humble. And I’m excited to watch her step into this incredible role as a leader, as a publisher and editor in chief, and all that that means for her, even if she’d rather just like, let me just sit here quietly and do really good analysis.

– Right. Well, I’m working with a client, and they have many, many venues, and they have regional managers, general managers, assistant managers, whatever. And what I’m going to be working with them on this month is leadership because a lot of people get themselves into a leadership role but don’t understand what it’s like to be a leader. You know, a leader is not necessarily a manager, right? Some leaders have to be managers, but it’s different things. And it’s, you know, leading is different. Leading is different. Allowing other people. I said this to a client recently. I said, “You know what? You gave your person responsibility, but you didn’t give them authority. And if you gave them the responsibility without authority, if they fail, you didn’t give them the authority to do what they want.”

– Right.

– “And failure just means they tried something and it didn’t work.”

– Right.

– “So applaud them for trying, and then what did we learn,

– Right.

– and let’s move on.”

– Right. = But leadership, and again, people that have moved, have pivoted themselves to a leadership role, you have to learn what that means. And a lot of times that means hands off, you have people. But if your people understand your why, and you didn’t say this specifically, but your team understands what “The Cook Political Report” is trying to do. What is our why? And I always tell companies, don’t write a mission statement and give it to your people because if they had no part in it, it’s not their mission.

– Yeah.

– It was your mission.

– Yeah.

– They have to understand like why do we do what we do? I’m very clear on why I do what I do. It is not for the money. It is not for fame. I get emails from people and say, “Alan, I’m going on vacation with the extra profit that you helped us make.” And you know, I get a little teary, and that’s my why. But that’s my why is I’m having an impact on people’s lives, people having more weddings and better weddings, and then those businesses are profiting more, and their families are better off. That’s my why Otherwise, I could do something else.

– Right, right,

– I can always do something else. And you’re very clear, you know, wherever you are, you are who you are. I love that you challenge people, and you’ve done this to me, not in a your wrong way, but like you did earlier, you know, about the article. That’s a non confrontational way of pointing out something I didn’t know. And that’s something I love about you is you’ll speak right up about that. And I’m like, “You’re right.” When I read your book, “The Art of Capturing Love,” the narrative that you wrote through there opened my eyes because I thought I was open to same-sex weddings, which I’m open to the concept, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I never thought about two people in a park and the photographer saying for their engagement shoot, kiss, and they’re like, “We don’t want a kiss here.”

– Yeah.

– I never had to think about that. I didn’t have to. And the narrative that you wrote was not, “Hey, you need to know this,” it was just there for me to discover.

– Right. You know, it’s interesting. First, thank you for those acknowledgements and that feedback. That means so much to me because it often feels scary to raise something that might hurt someone’s feelings or they may not be prepared for. And I’ve, over the years, been, you know, working on that art, if you will. And obviously, you and I have a long standing relationship, and I always feel sharpened in our conversations. And so when you find folks like that, you know, what a value, what a value. So I appreciate all of that. I would say to your reflection about leadership, you know, I was thinking this just as you started saying it, but this is one of the expressions of leadership I feel that I’ve come to is recognizing you are your own person, you don’t need me to tell you what to think or how to believe, but I can find a way to introduce something and trust you to engage with it as a thoughtful adult. And I, as a, you know, sort of, if you were to put me in a box that sort of goes way back, a bossy, older sister, you know, and a competitive athlete, I just am always high pressure toward here’s the directive. And especially the more I do this work, particularly in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion, the more I realize, and this is true in the political discourse, is we can have conversations where we take responsibility for our experiences, we have just a little bit of courage and willingness, and we find a way to introduce something that lets the other person engage with it, it would just make a world of difference. It’s the point that you said about give people the responsibility, but then also the authority to do something about that. And as I experienced the discourse of the last few years, we are enforcing responsibility on each other without giving each other the space to actually have some authority to make some adjustments.

– Yeah, I remember being in a job where I left because the boss didn’t like that I asked, why do we do this this way? You know, he didn’t want voices. It was just do this. And I can’t work in that environment.

– Yeah.

– I also realized one of the keys to Carole’s and my happy marriage is that you can’t change someone’s mind. It’s not yours to change. But like you just said, I can provide information that she or somebody didn’t have. They can go, “Huh, I didn’t know that, and now, because I know that, I might think differently about it. I might not, but I have the ability to think differently about it because I’m presented with that information.” And that’s, again, I joke but not joke that it’s part of our happy marriage is I can’t change your mind and I’ve stopped trying. A younger me,

– Yeah.

– I will say this. You know, a younger me, like you, you know, I’m a very take charge person. A younger me is okay, dah, dah, dah, dah, and you can railroad people, and people shut down, and people go away and stuff like that. And now it’s like, you know what? Hey, did you know this? Or did you happen to see this? I could probably name 10 things that happened this week, could be minor, but you know, you can’t do it this way. Oh, but did you see that? Oh, I didn’t know that.

– Yeah.

– And I think that’s the thing is you’re not trying to change someone else’s mind but have them go take off your blinders a little bit or widen your lens a little bit. It’s like, oh, look what’s over there. Look what’s over there.

– Yeah.

– And that’s important in life. It’s important in business. But again, the whole point of, if you have a team, and you want to not have your hair on fire, running around, putting out fires all the time, then let your people do their job. Train them well. If you didn’t train them… When I was VP of Sales at The Knot, if someone was underperforming, I never said, “Hey, you know your numbers suck,” because you knew, and I knew.

– Right.

– What I said was, “Hey, I know you’re capable of more than this. What am I not giving you? What do you need from me to help you perform at the level I know you can.?

– Right.

– And if we could come up with something great, more training, more tools, whatever it was. Some people, you know, there was a point where it wasn’t the right seat for them. And other people then started to go because there was something they needed, we just needed to talk about it. To me, that’s leadership.

– Yeah.

– So, yeah. So now I know this is only brand new for you. So for those people not familiar with “The Cook Political Report,” again, you can go look it up. I’ll put a link in the show notes so people can see it over there. We get all your notifications and stuff here, Carole and I. Won’t go into the political junky stuff over here. Do you see any little turns, any differences from what… Amy has been there, you said it’s her second term there. Any big changes, any looks to expansion or anything that we should be looking for?

– You know, one of the things that I really love about this company, and this is really true to the founder’s vision, is it is very much a family run business. And you know, I encountered businesses like this in the wedding industry, you know, groups that are, I would call like small but mighty, groups that are very clear on what they do. And, you know, I’m not interested in growing something to scale it and sell it which is sort of one version of… Some of that happens, particularly around some of these newsletter and digital products. What “The Cook Political Report” does is so specialized, and I would like to be part of a group that creates a really wonderful place to work and a place that’s very ethical, it’s very intentional, it’s very professional, but that we leave room for invention, for evolution in… I mean, there is so much happening in our political landscape in a way that is, you know, it’s just that the train is changing, and there need to be in my, this is just my opinion, really responsible, ethical parties helping with the narrative because we’re at a very, I don’t need to tell anyone, like an uncool time. There are people who’ve lost friendships and family members over disagreements. Everything feels very high stakes and very polarized. And to the point that if I say, “Hey, we’re a non-partisan independent publication,” folks are like, “Yeah, that doesn’t exist.” I’m like, “Well, actually it does, but I see why you say that.” So for me, the expanding work is to help people believe in that again and to understand that there are journalists who are doing really excellent work and take a lot of pride in it. But if we can also keep that piece of the analysts who work very hard in two year cycles to have a little bit of life. And for me to give to them part of what Charlie gave to us by giving us a safe space with a lot of independence and a lot of opportunity to grow, I just, I feel like I would look back on that and feel really good about it. And I think we have, in Washington, we have some great opportunity to bring some non-white voices into the conversation because Washington has been, you know, for most of its history, it’s mainly been white men who have just dominated the conversation, have been at all the tables, and so it’s really exciting. Particularly, we are a gay owned, female owned business, and we are one in an industry where that doesn’t really exist. I’m not sure of, I think there’s a website called The 19th that’s women owned and women run. I’m not sure if there are any other outlets like that. So from like a pioneer standpoint, that is a really neat challenge because I want other people to say like, “Oh, I can do that too.” It’s not that that’s impossible to get to, or that there’s no way I would know how to do it, or I can’t envision myself doing it. So, you know, but I’m going to be growing as a person. This is the first time I’ve had a payroll this big, and I am learning a lot on the back end of HR. And I’m learning more about a higher level of responsibility to a team, especially because this one is functioning at a very high stakes national level. And our team is so good, the things that they say can make a difference in what happens, and so we have a lot of responsibility on that very public platform to do a really good job. So that excites and scares me all at the same time.

– All right, so it brings me two thoughts. One is somebody sent me last Christmas, a bottle of bourbon from a woman owned women run distillery in Oregon, which was very good,

– Oh, that’s cool.

– in a very cool bottle. So I’ll make sure I save a little bit at least-

– Thank you.

– for when you come to Princeton.

– Sounds good.

– And the second is a question. You have a team doing nonpartisan reporting, but people are partisan. People come to the table, I’m sorry, they come to the door not the table. They come to the door, maybe the table, with their views,

– Yeah.

– and I’m sure, differing views. How does a reporter deliver truly nonpartisan information when human beings are partisan?

– Yeah. So that’s a great question. And how what the team at “The Cook Political Report” does is slightly different is that they aren’t journalists in the traditional way of, as you think of reporters, writing a story with quotes, getting people on record, and then, through their other conversations, presenting the piece. Even though those journalists, many of them, have been to school, and they’ve been to journalism school, and they are taught these skills much like people in the wedding industry go to conferences and learn some of these background skills that are important to helping them be effective and good, not just intuitive, but really good and intentional and professional in what they do. The thing that makes “Cook Political Report” different in this is that they have the trust of everyone, and they connect with sources, whether it’s people on the Hill, whether it’s members themselves, whether it is folks in advocacy groups or political action committees, whether it is, especially, pollsters, whether it is the Republican party or the Democrat party, they are connected and have what we would call background conversations constantly. And the journalists at “The Cook Political Report” aren’t ever interested in scoring a point by breaking news. They want to hear the truth to put it into the hopper of collecting facts from all of these places, and then the pure human art form as true analysts is to, basically to my oyster analogy earlier, filter all of it and then come up with that pearl, which is here’s what I think is going to happen. So these metrics have really changed. In the old days, they’re looking at how much money has a campaign brought in, what kind of candidate is this, what sort of district are they running in, and now with social media, with the kind of social media fundraising that can happen, the personal donor, the shift with Citizens United and the dark money that can be raised, the way that advertising has changed. There are all these new factors, again, at a very highly polarized time, and so our analysts are using their background sources and otherwise trying to anticipate a whole new media ecosystem as they try to make predictions on what will be happening in any given campaign or election.

– Okay, which is why we need you.

– So again, that’s not what I do.

– Right.

– But I work with people who do.

– And you know, I think that, but that’s always a great lesson is you need people who are really good at what they do, but don’t try to make them good at something else.

– That’s right.

– And something I work with a lot of my clients on is, you know, what do you enjoy? What brings you joy? I love doing what I do, and it doesn’t feel like work. I just finished writing my next book. Carole’s going to read it through and tell me what’s wrong with it now, but that’s her job.

– Yeah.

– And she knows my voice. If my voice isn’t there, she knows that kind of stuff there, but we need to know what we’re good at, and I’ve met so many really nice people along all the years I’ve been doing things, and they’re just not in the right role. They’re not happy doing what they’re doing. One of my sons was actually recently that, and he changed roles, and he’s very happy. And then family life is happier, right? Everything is happier.

– That’s right.

– You know, the money is a necessity because we live in a world where things cost, right. We have to have it, but the money doesn’t make the job better. The money doesn’t make you happier at work. The money doesn’t make you a nicer person. It doesn’t do that. So, oh, well, we could definitely talk forever. We do that, and we should. And it is so good to have you on and talk about this, and I want to have you on again later after you’ve been doing this for a while, let’s come and revisit this.

– That’s cool. Yeah, I’d love to.

– See how the whole family business thing is going ’cause that’s a big thing in the wedding and event industry is family businesses.

– Yeah. Yeah.

– So the website for “The Cook Political Report” is…


– I’ll put this all in the show notes, all the links, all the things there.

– Thank you,

– Kathryn, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us. So good to see you, and I hope to see you in person. Hugs and bourbon soon.

– Likewise., I know, Alan. Thank you for this opportunity. I have missed all my pals in the wedding industry. So for all of you out there listening, we’ve had the chance to speak at the conferences, I just want to say how much I appreciate and miss you in these COVID years and non-conference years have been a little sad and lonely, but I think of you often. So Alan, thank you for this platform, and I wish you the very best you.

– You too. Thanks.

I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is [email protected]. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks.

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