Will Brewster, Sean Higgins and Michaela Tummings, WSW’s Class of 2016
What have you learned about lobbying by working at WSW that has surprised you?
I think one of the bigger misconceptions that I’ve heard about lobbying is that firms are in the pockets of big money and will do anything to get what they want from Members of Congress. We don’t try to mislead anyone for our own benefit, we simply bring facts to the table and we work hard to share those facts. This type of honesty goes a long way to help us do our best work for our clients, but also to create and maintain good working relationships on the Hill because members of Congress know that we can be trusted.
There’s this perception about Washington that politicians are being fed false and/or biased information by lobbyists. In truth, the best lobbyists present both sides of an argument. It is impossible to maintain long-term relationships by trumpeting falsehoods; providing honest and accurate information to a politician is crucial.
What WSW values do you think most closely align with your own?
Each day we come in to the office and see honest and hardworking people getting here early and staying here late to do the best work possible for our clients.
Due diligence is a critically important value that we interns keep in mind throughout our day-to-day activities around the office and on the Hill. Providing thorough and accurate information to the partners and their clients is a task that we collectively take tremendous pride in doing well and doing right.
Trust is established when a group shares a common goal and every member feels that his voice will be heard, with comments constructively given. WSW excels at making all employees feel like they have an equal stake in the success of the group.
What has been your favorite experience thus far?
I was working on an assignment with Carl and felt that he gave me an important task relative to the project, rather than simply having me filing and scanning documents. I worked hard to come up with as much information and as many answers as possible and Carl appreciated the work that I did. Doing this type of work and research set the tone for my time here.
Capitol Hill provides an extremely different pace than the office, so the mixing of internship time on the Hill and then in the office differentiates the experience from a regular summer internship on Capitol Hill and also provides a well-rounded understanding of how Washington’s political sphere actually works.
What advice would you have for future WSW interns?
Come ready to learn. The bipartisan nature of this firm means that each day I’m not only listening to rhetoric that I already believe in, but I’m challenged to consider and comprehend the opinions or ideas that differ from mine. Through this conversation I am able to reexamine my own thoughts and beliefs and deepen my understanding of U.S. politics and government.
Come prepared. The staff at WSW have made a great effort to include the interns in many of their meetings, so familiarizing yourself in advance about WSW’s clients and their priorities is crucial in order to hit the ground running. And, ask questions. The staff at Winning Strategies are comfortable answering any and all questions you have.
Winning Strategies Washington does an awesome job exposing its interns to their immense network of clients, Hill members, or previous co-workers. I almost feel spoiled by the connections and opportunities WSW has given us a window to, so it’s definitely something worth taking advantage of, especially for those serious about getting a foot in the door for a career in politics.