It has been an emotional rollercoaster since we launched earlier last week, and we wanted to take a moment to share the good, the not-so-good, and a deep loss.
In a highly competitive industry (consulting), contained within an ultra-competitive environment (political campaigns), the outpouring of support for the CXC launch from our colleagues, clients, and competitors has been amazing. a direct competitor, Josh Grossfeld (Wildfire Contact) took the time to write our managing director, Joe Lestingi, supporting and welcoming us to the industry. It was an honor to be covered in our industry’s leading publication Campaigns and Elections.
On Tuesday, Virginia’s primaries came to a close, and nominees emerged to fight in November. Congratulations are in order for Alyia Gaskins who finished second in a top-6 election for Alexandria City Council. She is going to be an amazing addition to the Council, and her political future is just starting.
Tuesday also brought some tough setbacks for really great people. Julie Copeland, our Director of Client Services is proud to have trained both Gaskins and Andria McClellan through Emerge Virginia in 2018 and 2014. Unfortunately, Andria came up short in her bid for Lt. Governor. Andria is a public servant to her core and ran on equitable access to opportunity for Virginia families. This speedbump doesn’t stop her resolve to continue the fight for that access. Her work on the Norfolk City Council will continue to lift families, and we are very proud to have been a part of her team.
Julie met our client Megan Zwishon at the first Engage Norfolk event Andria organized to connect organizations with volunteers in 2017. Megan fell short in her efforts to become Norfolk’s Commonwealth Attorney. She was inspired to public service at a young age when she saw that staying over at her best friend’s house protected her friend from her stepfather’s abuse. She will continue to fight for what is right, and that will make all the difference in the end.
A Loss For Us All
Tuesday also brought news of a different kind of heartbreak to our firm, our clients, and our industry. Andrew Myers was an amazing personality and one of the top pollsters in our industry. Liz Chadderdon, our majority partner at Chadderdon Lestingi Creative Strategies, would regale us with Andrew stories involving Superbad, stripper poles, Jerry Garcia, and road trips across Iowa. She and Andrew were close and respected each other very, very much. Andrew passed away on Tuesday at the young age of 51, after a two-year battle with cancer.
Our Managing Director Joe Lestingi wanted to share a few words with you about Andrew:
“My relationship with Andrew was much different than Liz’s. They came through the industry together, and I met him early in my career and later in his. As my career grew, our relationship grew into something similar to what Liz had with him.
I got to have shared experiences: a road trip through Arizona to a baseball game he definitely didn’t want to go to, a tour of his Vodou Flag collection (the second-largest private collection in the country – or so he said… I was too busy learning what the hell a Vodou flag was), his cars… Jesus the cars. Once we sat at a bar and he played pokemon-go the whole time. He was very proud of it.
We lost shared clients at different times and never hesitated to share with each other how we felt about it. He was the first pollster I shared my research with and he immediately encouraged me to pursue it and offered to work on it with me. He was always a pleasure to work with and his smile could light up a room. While, in recent years, the projects we worked on together dwindled, during a call with him in December of 2020, we mapped out a retreat at his home on the beach for 2-3 days–tackling polling, mail tactics, and even the words we would use in communications. Then the COVID-19 surges happened, and he had a rough radiation treatment a couple of days before I was to drive down.
We vowed to reschedule. It never happened. I will miss him.”
If you have made it this far through this email, thank you for allowing us to share the ups and downs of our first few weeks.
The Campaign X Co. Leadership Team
Joe Lestingi – Managing Director
Julie S. Copeland – Director, Client Services
Bakari Kamau – Director, Art and Internal Production
Locke White – Asst. Director, External Production
Alexandra Smith – Manager, Finance
And the rest of the CXC Team