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Exploring Life & Business with Alissa Jean Schafer of Copper Stamp Strategy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alissa Jean Schafer.

Hi Alissa, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up telling stories. Writing them in notebooks, acting them out with neighborhood kids, and eventually crafting them into speeches and presentations in high school and college. I was always very idealistic and drawn to politics. From my young and conservative point of view, elected officials, laws, the whole system of government seemed like a practical way that I could get involved in making the world a better place. In a turn of events that should surprise nobody, all it took was one internship in the Michigan Capitol for the rose-colored glasses to come off. I learned hard truths about things like budgets and the often gaping hole that exists between campaign promises and the day-to-day work of a politician. I decided that politics was not for me, but I kept telling stories. I studied communications in undergrad and grad school. My professional career started in marketing and communications for building materials and industrial components, for everything from traffic lights to solar power transformers.

It was in these professional spaces that my own political ideology shifted to the other, liberal side of the aisle, and I was confronted with another hard truth: Those politics I had run away from still mattered, both from a business sense and for the future of our planet.

I still wanted to make the best use of my time, to be where the action was, so I got back involved in politics, this time in Florida. I worked on campaigns, big and small, spent time learning the landscape, the players, the issues. I was hooked. My storytelling had become strategic, driven by a purpose other than selling stuff. I finally started my own political consulting firm focused on strategic communications and research, leaned all the way in, and today, years later? I couldn’t be happier with that decision.

My younger-self’s idealistic goal of making the world a better place is still alive and well, at the core, even if it looks different than I thought it would 20 years ago. Those ideals are now just bolstered up by a hefty dose of reality, life experience, and the understanding of the blood, sweat, and tears it often takes to accomplish that mission.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Women working in politics face many of the same struggles that women in other industries face, many of which are rooted in old-school sexism. Just about any woman could rattle off a laundry list. Something specific to the political space that I have seen and experienced firsthand is the tension that can exist between doing something that is incredibly important to you and being paid your professional worth.

The amount of free labor that is expected from women is ridiculous. Yes, politics is my passion. I care deeply about getting the right people elected, holding the bad actors accountable, and making sure this world is around and liveable for generations to come. As a single mother, I also care deeply about being able to provide for my daughter and live a happy, balanced, healthy life.

This work is not a hobby to me, it’s a career built on two degrees and over 15 years of experience. Learning how to clearly communicate boundaries and professional expectations in a space full of amazing passion and incredibly important volunteer work has certainly been a vital process. Taking care of ourselves, each other, and paying folks their worth is a critical part of my personal values and our collective progressive values as we move forward. Yes, I also make time to volunteer and give back, but that is an important part of the equation, not the entire thing.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Copper Stamp Strategy is a strategic communications firm with a special focus on policy, political candidates, non-profits, and advocacy. We work with our clients to effectively tell the stories that need to be told in order to amplify important issues, ideas, and individuals in a way that mobilizes communities toward impactful change rooted in progressive and inclusive values.

Our all-women team brings over a decade of diverse experience to the table, ranging from day-to-day non-profit advocacy work to rapid-response crisis management, from city commission to presidential campaigns, from statewide ballot initiatives to targeted policy analysis. We understand the rapidly changing media and social media landscape and utilize long-standing relationships and adaptable strategies to secure wide audience engagement and valuable earned media, all with one goal in mind – positive progress.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
During COVID, most of us turned to tech and social media to stay connected, run our businesses, and do our political work. As we continue to navigate the ever-changing outlook of what “normal” looks like, the importance of using technology to effectively communicate is one thing that is not going away. The use and effectiveness of do-it-yourself video has exploded – and it’s critical for folks in politics to keep up. The “traditional” media landscape also continues to evolve, sometimes at a neck-breaking pace.

Something that I have focused on with my clients is giving them the tools and training they need to communicate and amplify their message as a way to be more impactful in their work, whether that means prepping for an important media interview or learning how to make a video on their cell phone explaining a new resource available for community members. Most people have never set foot inside their town hall, let alone are they aware of the potentially life-changing programs and policies that the city is working on.

The future of politics belongs to those who are able to bridge those gaps genuinely and consistently, and that’s going to mean learning new skills and new tech to effectively communicate with all stakeholders, not just the ones who happen to already be sitting in town hall. In other words, there are many more stories yet to be told as we work together toward progress.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Javier G. Herrera

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