Behind-The-Scenes Policymaking Lessons from the White House and U.S. Congress with Jim Papa and Mark Bayer

This week’s special double episode features two interviews: my conversation with Jim Papa, who runs the Washington, D.C. office of Global Strategy Group (GSG), where he guides operations and strategy for GSG’s public affairs, communications, and research practices, and Jim’s interview of me for GSG’s podcast, STAFFER.

As Partner at GSG, Jim advises CEOs and other C-suite executives grappling with public affairs challenges and opportunities across multiple industries.

Prior to joining GSG, Jim was Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs in the Obama White House from 2009-2012, where played an important role in the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Affordable Care Act, and other landmark laws.

Former Chicago Mayor and current U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel had this to say about Jim: “Papa is someone you want in the trenches with you.”

Prior to serving in the White House, Jim earned a reputation as a top flight communications and political strategist on Capitol Hill. He served as a senior advisor to Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel and Chief of Staff to Rep. Rush Holt, one of only three scientists serving in Congress at that time, among other key senior roles.

Jim is an experienced spokesman and media trainer who has prepared clients for broadcast appearances ranging from “Meet the Press” to “60 Minutes”. He has guest lectured at Georgetown University, George Washington University, and American University.

Jim earned his J.D. from Georgetown Law and undergraduate degree from Cornell University.

Topics covered in the double episode include:

– Some of the common missteps Jim encounters as he guides and counsels clients and Members of Congress in effective communication and how he addresses and remedies them

– Lessons Jim learned from U.S. Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) when Jim served as Holt’s Chief of Staff, including the role of data and information as a persuasive lever in moving public policy forward

– The communication tools Jim brings to the table when advising clients or directly advocating, including those that Jim feels are often overlooked or underutilized

– Examples of particularly powerful communications that moved an audience or listeners when Jim was working at the White House

– What role – in terms of persuasive power or influence-building – does Jim think the delivery of the message plays in the ability to hit the mark as well as characteristics of the messenger

– A book Jim recommends to listeners interested in improving the way they communicate their research, priorities, or policy issues.

Resources mentioned in the podcast

STAFFER Show podcast

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt