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Julie Hart
Owner and CEO, Shift Public Affairs

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“Offer that hand up the ladder, or better yet take someone with you no matter what the business find a way to take someone with you. - Julie Hart”

Julie Hart founded Shift Public Affairs after successfully leading a variety of fundraising, communication, and issue based campaigns in both the non-profit and political spheres.  The vision for Shift Public Affairs was to create a firm that allowed partners and clients to establish intimate working relationships ultimately leading to the realization of established collective outcomes benefiting both client and the community.Hart specializes in strategic planning, campaign management and public relations and is a graduate of Boise State University.  She lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband Will, and their two children, Ella (8) and Harrison (4).   In her spare time, she trains for marathons with her dad and volunteers for the Girl Scouts.  Julie is a member of Soroptimist International, Alumnus of Pi Kappa Delta, and Executive Committee Member for Go Lead Idaho.  Want to know more?  Check out my Vizify bio.

What inspires you? Running.  I have my most creative moments while running.  Whether it’s personal or professional, I try to process situations or obstacles from all angles to understand and consider all the pros and cons, and potential areas of impact.  While running, I get to solve problems without thinking.  The further the run, the better the idea.

Do you have a favorite quote? “You gain strength, courage & confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. Do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

What are the most pressing issues facing women today? I think the most pressing issue facing women to day is the dismissal of the wage gap and general lack of acknowledgement or action from decision makers.  In a world where money talks, influences, etc. we have less.Molly Messick, a talented reporter and analyst recently wrote on the subject on the NPR site State Impact story here:

What are the biggest keys to your success? Asking questions.  I’ve always asked a lot of questions.  Over time, the answers have turned into a large web of connected issues and people.  In public affairs and lobbying, making those connections and understanding their relationships makes a world of difference for your clients, and in the end the success of your business.

What are the biggest keys to the advancement or success of women?
I firmly believe that by offering our hands to one another we can become our greatest ally.  Women must be more willing to say, Hey, your interested in this, let me show what I know.  Offer that hand up the ladder, or better yet take someone with you no matter what the business find a way to take someone with you.

Where did the inspiration for your business come from? There are a lot of things that go into influencing decision makers.  I wanted to attempt a new approach at shaping the way decisions are made.  The idea for Shift Public Affairs came from many conversations with friends and former co-workers on the general feeling of the lobbying industry and the cutthroat nature, even from within firms.  After talking with several experts, I designed the pay structure and culture of my firm to be a dramatic shift from the status quo.  So far so good! Shift is a public affairs agency specializing in legislative advocacy, public affairs campaigns, nonprofit development, and strategic communication.   We only accept clients we believe we can successfully advocate for, and have regular face-to-face meetings to adjust strategy and foster the high-level client engagement we promise.

What advice do you have for a woman who is considering starting a business? Find a mentor, someone who will tell you it’s scary but worth it if you have the time and energy to put into developing your business idea.  It will be scary.  It will take a lot of time and patience.  The best thing you can do is to show up ready to work harder than the day before.Also, find a great business-consulting firm that can offer guidance along the way. Consillio Business Managers is an awesome resource, and woman-owned.

What are the biggest hurdles you’ve faced in starting or growing your business? How did you overcome these? One of the most difficult hurdles for in starting my business was in the struggle of wanting to be the parent who stays home with a sick child, but having little to no choice on when a client needs representation during the short legislative session in Idaho.  As a mother, I think it can be difficult to both care for our children and remain professional when these situations arise.  My husband and I are both lobbyists, which means sick kids January – March is a BIG DEAL.  We try to be aware of each other’s events, conferences, and travel schedules so when situations arise, no one has an opportunity to get defensive or argumentative.  We also have our consummate back up, Seeking Sitters Boise.  Jill Osbourne is the owner and we have her on speed dial.

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