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Meet Ashley Hayek of Golden State Consultants in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Hayek.

Ashley, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Having graduated from college a year early, I was eager to get started in my career. I took a position as the Policy Director for one of the largest pro-business Political Action Committees in San Diego County. The energy of the political world was extremely exciting. After a year and a half, I wanted to do more. There seemed to be a need for more political fundraisers.

At the age of 22, I launched my political and non-profit fundraising firm. I started with only a small handful of clients in the loft of my condo. With hustle, grit and drive I continued to grow my business and client load. My first office was in a hamburger chain’s corporate office storage closet in Banker’s Hill. While it was modest, it was the first significant stepping stone in launching Golden State Consultants.

Has it been a smooth road?
Running a small business is never easy – but throw politics in the mix and it complicates the dynamic significantly. One of my biggest obstacles starting out was being a young woman in a male-dominated field. When I called prospective political contributors for a contribution, I couldn’t get past a secretary 95% of the time. My solution? I had my boyfriend (now my husband) call for me. Once the donor was on the line, I could make my pitch and collect the contribution. This, of course, is just one example of being a female in the industry.

I also received no formal training in my line of work. I had never run a company before unless you count my mistletoe stand when I was nine and had to learn the ins and outs of running a business on my own. I handled accounting, payroll, contracts, as well as the ins and outs of how to actually do the job. The excitement of creating something from nothing was inspiring for me, but at times very overwhelming. I relied heavily on family and friends for feedback and advice.

The most significant challenge in this line of work, however, is losing. As a political fundraiser, my responsibility is to raise as much money for my clients as possible with the goal of fulfilling the budget. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean the client will be successful in his or her race. It’s incredibly disappointing to spend a significant amount of time working with someone and for someone that you truly believe can have a positive impact on our communities and not see them get elected to office.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Golden State Consultants story. Tell us more about the business.
Golden State Consultants is a California-based firm that provides individualized finance consulting to non-profit organizations and political candidates and organizations. We provide the highest level of service to meet the needs of our clients through innovative technology and strategic planning. We continually review data, strategy, and cutting-edge technology to maximize productivity and efficiency. Our firm equips clients with the necessary tools for financial success. In the past two cycles, we’ve raised nearly $15 million for our clients.

We are extremely proud of our company culture and the dynamic we have with our team and our clients. We elect to work with clients who have a vision for a better society. Our team is passionate about partnering with clients who venture to create positive changes in their neighborhoods, communities, and government agencies.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
There is a saying that money is the blood of politics. The industry will continue to thrive. The most significant change, however, will be seen across California state and local races. With the recent Supreme Court ruling of Janus vs AFSCME, public employees can no longer be forced to pay into a union. For years, unions have used members dues to fund political messages some members don’t necessarily agree upon.

Campaign finance data from the first six months of this year show about $7.1 million in public-sector union donation to the California Democratic Party. This doesn’t even account for what was spent on behalf of candidates. This ruling will level the playing field and could lead to more competitive races throughout the state.

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