Lessons I Learned in Politics: The Power of a Mentor

By Nick Hensley

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“You’re so ignorant, you don’t know what you don’t know,” she chirped as she checked her makeup in the mirror, and pursed her lips. Then she popped her mouth and smiled.

I had gotten used to the verbal abuse, for with her it was ubiquitous. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but her teaching style was full of tongue thrashings, curse words and old southern slang. Looking back, if I was getting paid, I could have sued for a hostile working environment, but I was a volunteer and could leave at any time.

She was right. I was green. I was eighteen years old. I had no real world experiences, and it was my first campaign season.

Before I founded Lason Media, I worked in politics. It’s an industry that some people are not cut out for. To do well in the industry, you have to have a thick skin, manage stress well, and make tactical decisions that are completely separate from human emotion. It is for the later reason that I am not a full time politician. I value my scruples.

Early in my political career I worked with the Democrats.  My first mentor was a pint size blonde that appeared more like a preteen then a grown woman of twenty eight. I recall teasing her for shopping in the children’s section of the clothing store, and having her businesses clothes custom tailored to fit her petite frame.

Despite her child like appearance, she was feisty, tactical and aggressive. She was skilled at crisis management, media relations, consulting, fundraising, and campaigning. Her risk assessments were always the best. Due to her boldness she could walk up to a rival candidate, announce herself and make her rival twitch with nervousness.

She taught me how to work the media, manage a crisis and build a press kit. She taught me how to use social media to gain support and spread information. She showed me how to advertise by using the media or distributing materials. She taught me most of what I know.

I owe all my operational talents to her. To this day she still influences me, and sometimes as I am working I can hear her voice in my ear.

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