I am very pleased to announce that Emma White is joining our Eclectablog team and will be a regular contributor to the site. Emma is an Ann Arbor-based pollster, strategist, and is the owner of Emma White Research, LLC. Her background in the realm of communications will bring depth to our stable of writers and I’m thrilled to have her on board. She contributed a widely-read guest post here recently titled “What the Koch brothers’ debunked Boonstra ad has to teach us about communicating with facts”.
I got to know Emma through our mutual friends Rene and Matt Greff, owners of the Arbor Brewing Company, and through her wife, Stephanie White, political director for the Mark Schauer for Governor campaign. To avoid conflicts of interest, Emma will leave the writing about the Schauer campaign to the rest of us. Her focus will be primarily on effective communication — something we are pretty wonky about here at Eclectablog — and maybe some LGBT and other issues thrown in for good measure.
You can follow Emma on Twitter at @DC_Emma.
Please welcome Emma to Eclectablog. Her first post as a regular contributor will follow shortly. Here is a brief interview we did by way of introduction.
Tell us a little about yourself — where you grew up, where you’ve worked, what you’re doing now, your family, stuff like that.
I was born in Chicago, grew up in Ann Arbor, then went away to college. I spent a number of years living in Maryland and Washington, D.C. (with a brief break in Ann Arbor in the middle) and then moved back to Ann Arbor for good. My wife Stephanie is Mark Schauer’s political director, so I won’t be writing about that campaign. We have an almost-four-year old son Oliver who is obsessed with dinosaurs. Fun fact about me and Steph is that we met working on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in 2004. Professionally, from 2005 until January of this year, I worked for a small public opinion research firm, Belden Russonello Strategists (BRS), conducting message development research for progressive advocacy organizations. In February I started my own company, Emma White Research, LLC, a small but full-service research and message development firm.
In your communications work, what types of issues and issues groups have you worked with?
I have spent a lot of time on environmental issues and have done a lot of work on education. The ACLU is a client of BRS and that let me work on issues ranging from terrorism and national security to LGBT issues and criminal justice. Two of the things I am most proud of are helping a coalition of environmental groups secure funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and helping the National Immigration Law Center expand access to health care for immigrant kids.
In a sentence or two, what’s the biggest mistake people make when it comes to persuasive communication on a specific issue? Why do you say that?
One big mistake is playing defense instead of offense. I have a whole post to write about that soon, so I won’t scoop myself now!
As a self-described “lesbian mom”, why have you chosen to live in a state where the civil rights of LGBT folks are not protected and where you cannot legally marry your life partner?
Giving up Washington, D.C.’s protections was the hardest thing about moving back, I’ll be honest. D.C. may secretly be the most pro-LGBT place in the country. We moved back because both of us have family and friends here and we love Ann Arbor and our quality of life here. We are legally married in D.C., which I expect Michigan to have to recognize before too long, and more importantly, because of our time in D.C. we are both Oliver’s legal parents and Michigan can’t undo that.
What should Eclectablog readers know about you that you haven’t already mentioned?
I make a really good chocolate cake.