Castle Principal / Co-founder Sandy Lish answers three questions on Public Affairs.
1. What is Public Affairs?
Public Affairs means different things to different people. For us, it’s advocacy for our clients, it’s advocacy for our clients’ clients and stakeholders. It’s helping them connect over the radar and under the radar. We are not lobbyists, but we are advocates. We figure out the ways, whether it’s grassroots, whether it’s through the media, whether it’s through coalition or consensus building, whether it’s through digital, or social, or in-person events, to help support and advocate for what our clients are trying to advocate for.
2. Why do you need a Public Affairs strategy?
In Boston in particular, we have a relatively new mayor. We have a brand new Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General, and there’s a lot of change. And of course, we all know the national political backdrop that we are living in.
It’s important to have your finger on the pulse of what is happening. Every business is affected by legislation. Every business is affected by regulation. Every business has messages that they need to get out there, and make sure are understood so that they can continue to run their businesses. And I don’t mean business necessarily just a corporation. I mean a nonprofit; I mean a coalition. It can be anything. It could be something else that’s in the public sector.
Understanding the context, and knowing how to be engaged in the context, is super important because we’re not all just in a bubble. There’s a context around each one of our businesses and organizations that we can leverage, or we can ignore, but ignore it at your risk.
3. What industries benefit from Public Affairs?
Any type of organization can benefit from public affairs. Some of the spaces where we’re working really deeply, and are very time sensitive, are energy, sustainability, healthcare, life sciences, development, real estate, and education.
At Castle, most folks know we are pretty industry agnostic. We focus on the mission and what needs to be done, and our ability to do that. Many of our industry sectors are targeting other industries, not just their own. This is a model that’s worked really well for us for 20+ years. These are sectors that are hot, that are important. Life science, energy, all of this is, it’s as it happens.
There are developments, there’s legislation, there’s regulation, there’s opposition, and of course, public affairs focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.