Last week, Cogent announced that top Democratic strategist Edda Collins Coleman joined the firm as a managing director specializing in communications and government relations. Edda comes to Cogent from the Executive Leadership Council and, in the lead-up to the November election, drove fundraising and voter turnout efforts through Women for Biden and Small Business for Biden.
Some members of the Cogent team recently grabbed a virtual coffee with Edda to welcome her aboard and find out what makes her tick. Here are the highlights from our conversation:
Cogent: Most important question – what are you binge-watching these days?
Coleman: Just finished Bridgerton. So good! I also love The Crown and Sylvie’s Love.
Cogent: You’re splitting your time between D.C. and California. Nationals or Giants?
Coleman: Neither. Golden State Warriors!
Cogent: Let’s change gears to professional questions then. So what would you say are your areas of expertise?
Coleman: Technology, health care, civic engagement, grassroots advocacy, policy and communications.
Cogent: As a fundraiser for the Biden campaign, what are you looking for in the first 100 days of the new administration?
Coleman: I’m watching for an integrated COVID/vaccine response strategy and related pandemic relief. I’m also curious to see how the administration is going to address issues of social and economic justice as well as foreign policy re-engagement.
Cogent: How do you think Biden and Harris will work together?
Coleman: There is a lengthy history between them of friendship, partnership and shared goals. Their common agenda includes an integrated COVID/vaccine response, reforming law enforcement and improving civil rights. Generally speaking, this administration will communicate more effectively and be more accessible to the public than what we have been accustomed to over the past four years.
Cogent: What’s your assessment of the opportunities and challenges for businesses and organizations in a Democrat controlled Washington?
Coleman: Lots of opportunities for everyone around jobs, small business relief, infrastructure, climate and coalition building on a number of issues affecting our local communities that are widely supported. The challenges will be issues surrounding tax regulation and inequities in health care.
Cogent: What’s your greatest professional accomplishment?
Coleman: That’s a tough one but three things seem to repeatedly top my list. Between 2005 and 2006, I managed advocacy communications for the coalition that ushered in reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). More recently, I designed a speaker series around civic engagement and technology for the All In Together Campaign – a non-profit I co-founded. To date, the series has touched 10K+ women at Facebook, Lyft, Uber and Yahoo, among other organizations. And last but certainly not least, I am proud to have served as a longtime supporter for those suffering from sickle cell disease. I have successfully advocated for sickle cell newborn screenings, proper medical therapy reimbursement and funding for community health centers via a bipartisan congressional coalition.
Cogent: Enough about work. Some “grand finale” questions, if you will. City or country?
Cogent: Beach or mountains?
Cogent: Book or Audible?
Cogent: Sweet or salty?
Cogent: Late night or early morning?
Coleman: Early Morning
Cogent: Online or in-store?
Coleman: In-store (pre-pandemic)
Coleman: Nothing tops the beautiful Amalfi Coast.
Cogent: Any quarantine reads or podcasts you would recommend?
Coleman: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson is hands-down my favorite book. As for podcasts, I rotate between four that I really enjoy: The Michelle Obama Podcast, In Pursuit from Glassdoor, Harvard Business Review’s Women at Work and Myleik Teele’s Podcast.
Cogent: Final thoughts about the 117th Congress or new administration?
Coleman: Let’s get to work!
For Edda Collins Coleman’s full bio, click here.