Some may assume that if you’re interested in politics, your best career option is to run for office or become a Campaign Manager. Ashley O’Rourke is living proof that you can build a successful career on a different political path – data analytics.
Ashley O’Rourke, who is currently the Director of Analytics and Audience Insights at Majority Strategies, was recently named one of AAPC’s “40 Under 40.” She earned this recognition by being an outstanding political advisor and helping a variety of companies and organizations leverage data and maximize the impact of their targeting initiatives.
Ashley did not achieve this success and recognition just by getting lucky. Ashley has been interested in politics for as long as she can remember and as the daughter of a math teacher, she always loved solving puzzles and analyzing numbers. She soon realized she could tap into these two passions and combine them to fuel her career.
Along the way, Ashley met some inspiring people who guided her in the right direction. While interning at the Republican Party of Wisconsin in 2010, she met an incredible data genius named Brian Kind (who she considers a true Jedi Master of Political Data). Brian opened her eyes to the type of political data in the field and how it can be leveraged to help secure wins for candidates down the ballot. This internship not only allowed her to meet some great people, but it ultimately led her to graduating early and landing her first political job as the Data Director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin in 2011.
Even though Ashley loves her job, she admits that it’s not always a walk in the park. On average, there is anywhere from 3,000-5,000 data points on a single voter. We can all agree that there is A LOT of data to analyze. It’s part of Ashley’s job to synthesize the available data assets and identify which key data points on an individual should be utilized to determine their advertising treatment. If that all sounds confusing…don’t worry. Ashley is an expert who knows exactly what she’s doing.
The big question is, what’s the secret to success in this field and how do you find it at such a young age? Ashley says that if you want to work in politics, working at least one cycle in the field is a must before you move to DC for a job. She also believes asking questions and admitting you might not have all of the answers right off the bat is crucial.
While being a Data Director has its challenges, it’s all worth it when Ashley helps her clients solve their problems. She finds it very rewarding when she helps a campaign, marketing push, or advocacy issue go full circle and land a victory. It also helps that she greatly appreciates and respects her team at Majority Strategies, a full-service data, digital, and print firm with over 125 years of collective experience solving problems and influencing public opinion and behavior to create a desired action and outcome.
Want to start a career in data like Ashley? Head to our job board to get started or reach out to one of our team members. If you want some tips and tricks from Ashley herself, head over to MajorityStrategies.com/blog.