Gamble Hayden's DEI Articles - State and Federal Communications

Gamble Hayden’s DEI Articles

January 2023

It’s All About Connections!

Happy New Year!

Here we are now in 2023, and one of the many things that I want to continue to focus on is building connections!

One of the things that I love about working at State and Federal Communications is the multitude of opportunities that I get to meet and interact with our clients!  Not only do I get to assist them with their lobbying compliance needs, but I also get a chance to see them oftentimes at various conferences and events – great ways to continue to get to know them and develop relationships!  It’s awesome when I finally get to meet our clients in person (“putting faces to names”) — the familiarity of the interactions begins to stick, and (hopefully) a camaraderie will begin to grow over the course of time…

I believe the same can also be said for just meeting people in general!  I attend a good number of conferences and events throughout the year, and my goal for 2023 will be to make at least one (hopefully more!) connection [particularly with someone who does not look like me] everywhere I show up!  This isn’t always the “comfortable” thing to do putting yourself out there, but the personal rewards obtained from developing meaningful connections far outweigh the fight for me to try and stay in my comfort zone!

What are your goals for 2023? Hopefully, they too will include making greater connections and forging stronger bonds? I will be sure to check in and let you know how it’s going!


February 2023

Embracing DEI!

A few weeks into the New Year, I participated as part of panel organized by the American University’s Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute (PAAI) on “Advancing DEI in Advocacy and Government Relations”. One of the key points highlighted during the discussion was the fact that when it comes to matters related to DEI, one must realize that the focus transcends beyond just race and gender. While these two factors are, of course, important to any DEI discussion, a host of other elements and identifiers also come into play: a person’s birthplace; political affiliation and ideology; military service; employment opportunities; schooling; family dynamics – all of these things (and so many more!) help to make up a person’s whole being, and affect how they interact day-to-day with other family members, friends, colleagues and those in their community.

One of the ways that someone can move towards understanding the factors that help to make a person whom they are involved a willingness to be open-minded to learning a person’s story, which in turn provides opportunities for greater understanding and connection. There will be situations where you may not agree with someone on a particular matter, but seizing opportunities to get to know them and to view them “in a different light” may provide you with a better understanding of their thought processes and reasoning. Furthermore, as we continue to strengthen connections with others, we, in turn, learn a little bit more each time about ourselves! We become human beings who are more empathetic, and who truly understand and embrace diversity, equity & inclusion.

So, beginning this month – the month focused on all matters of the heart – make a commitment to embrace someone’s new perspective, idea, recommendation, suggestion – you never know what great collaborations may come from it yet!


March 2023

It’s March – Let’s Celebrate Women’s History Month!

Every year around this time, I not only look forward to the coming of Spring and to another birthday, but I also look forward to honoring the outstanding achievements and contributions made by women both past and present!

Women’s History Month (designated as such in 1987 when Congress passed Public Law 100-9) is also a great time to reach out to (and re-connect with) the women in your network, and to let them know how absolutely fantastic they are! Let these great women know that they are truly special, and that there is nothing they cannot accomplish – especially when they have other great women (and men!) guiding, supporting, mentoring, and high-fiving them along the way!

During this month, I also encourage you to support the organizations that help to support the amazing women in your circle!  Join these organizations and provide not only your financial resources but also your time – a number of these organizations are volunteer-led and are always looking for ways for members and supporters to get involved!

It is said that Spring is a time for new beginnings… Begin today by committing to lifting up women, being an ally and serving as a resource – and don’t forget – their story is your story is our story – we’re in this together!


April 2023

Are Your Customers Your Priority?

In the spirit of my continuous learning about daily recognitions and observances, I recently stumbled upon information related to “Get To Know Your Customers Day”.  According to, the origin of the celebration is unknown, but the day is recognized each quarter on the third Thursday in the months of January, April, July, and October.  “Get to Know Your Customers Day” highlights the importance of customers to any business and serves as a reminder for businesses to engage with and re-connect to their essential base.  Customers can make or break the success of any business, and for this reason alone (along with many others), engaging and connecting is key!

For State and Federal Communications, our customers are our wonderful clients who entrust us with their state, federal, and international compliance needs, and so from our perspective, “Get To Know Your Customers Day” is observed every day!  In a world where productivity time is short (and attention spans even shorter), the State and Federal Communications staff will never get “too caught up” that we will sacrifice the responsiveness, personal touches (yes, we still pick up the phone and make those calls), and quality service that our clients have grown used to and consistently expect from us – for almost 30 years! 

This month, I invite you to take a moment to remind yourself of how crucial your customers (or clients) are to your business and to explore ways of taking your current customer service model to the next level!   To all of our fantastic clients, we say a big “Thank You!”, and you’ll no doubt be seeing or hearing from us soon!


May 2023

Embracing Uniqueness One Client at a Time!

Do you remember that old saying “April Showers Bring May Flowers?” Well, some of the most beautiful flowers that I’ve ever seen can be found blossoming in the month of May! Flowers are so extraordinary, each one with its own beauty and uniqueness — this is also how the staff here at State and Federal Communications feel about the clients that we work with each and every day!

We love and respect the fact that we have a variety of different clients that we serve – all different sizes, industries, focuses — made up of diverse groups of lobbyists and other government affairs professionals who trust us every day with their compliance needs. No two clients are alike, and we pride ourselves on making sure that here are State and Federal Communications, we are adaptable to each of our client’s needs. We ensure that we are responsive, knowledgeable, and thorough, all while not being afraid to offer some “tough love” in the name of keeping our clients fully abreast of continuous changes in the lobbying laws, and compliant with all of their registrations and filings!

We embrace uniqueness at State and Federal Communications, so to all of our wonderful clients, we say never stop being you – we love you for it!


June 2023

Professional Development – Ways to Further Enhance Your DEI Knowledge

As I was taking a review of my calendar for upcoming meetings, I realized that I’ll have the pleasure of immersing myself in all things DEI twice during this month – first, while attending the upcoming Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2023 Annual Conference and then later on in the month when I’ll be attending Women in Government Relations (WGR) 4th Annual DEI Summit!

I began attending SHRM’s Annual Conference last year, in an effort to “check-out” their DEI content track of which I had heard great things about – I was sold!  Lots of great sessions with engaging speakers on a number of DEI topics, in addition to the Conference Bookstore which housed a plethora of resources and swag!  As for WGR, well, let’s just say that I am all in for DEI, currently in my final month as the Chair of the DEI Committee – it’s been an awesome experience!  The DEI Summit is one of a kind, and I can say from being on this year’s planning committee that this is an event you won’t want to miss!

I mention both the SHRM Conference and the WGR DEI Summit as examples of ways that I am continuing my learning, growth, and engagement as I move along in my DEI journey.  Many have heard me proclaim that there are no “one and done efforts” when it comes to embracing DEI – this is lifelong!  Finding professional development opportunities that focus on DEI content is just one way that you can get out of your comfort zone and begin to think about things, view (and embrace people) through a DEI lens…

What professional development opportunities are on your radar for this month? Look for me out and about in Las Vegas at the SHRM Annual Conference and both virtually & in-person at the WGR DEI Summit here in Washington, DC! #StateandFedDEI


July 2023

Do You Really Belong at Your Organization?

At last month’s Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2023 Annual Conference, there were a number of great sessions focused on, among other topics, issues related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). As part of the conversation, a number of speakers acknowledged the expanded nature of DEI to include such aspects as accessibility, belonging, and justice. As a result, references to “DEI” are becoming increasingly more broadened to “DEIABJ” or some variations thereof. I would like to bring forth a highlight to the issue of Belonging.

According to, the definition of belonging is referred to simply as “something that belongs”. For purposes of this articles, I would like to focus on belonging as it relates to not something, but someone – as in, peoples’ desire to feel valued and respected within an organization, and confident that they are able to show up as their authentic selves, free from harassment or judgment. In other words, do individuals feel like they “belong” at their respective organizations, or do they feel like “imposters” of themselves – just “going through the motions” while secretly wishing that maybe the next day might bring different and better outcomes?

Fortunately, my tenure here at State and Federal Communications (eight years this past April) has provided me with opportunities for not only serving the best clients on issues related to Federal lobbying compliance, but also with opportunities for continued professional development – both invaluable to not only my professional career development, but also to my personal growth as well. I can truly say that I “Belong” here at State and Federal Communications!

As the company celebrates 30 years this month, I want to take this opportunity to say a big “THANK YOU” to President and CEO Elizabeth Bartz for not only giving me a great opportunity, but for also always pushing me to do and be better, and to not be afraid to “get out of my comfort zone” – looking forward to what’s on the horizon for the next 30!


August 2023

It’s Our Time to Shine!

Next month will mark the observance of National Women’s Equality Day. Recognized each year on August 26th (in the United States since 1971), National Women’s Equality Day, “…commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment…and calls attention to women’s continuing efforts towards full equality.” [National Women’s History Alliance]

As this day approaches, I think about all of the great women that exist in the world, striving and thriving every day to make even just a small difference – in their homes, their workplaces, and in their communities! I take a second pause to especially think about and honor the amazing group of women clients whom I have the privilege of assisting with their federal compliance needs. Whether lobbying on Capitol Hill or at one of Federal agencies, these women are “getting it done”, and it is a privilege to be able to have a little bit of “insight” into the amazing work that each is able to do on behalf of their clients and their own organizations!

This August (and year-round!), do recognize all of the amazing women at your organizations and within your networks — mentor them, advocate on their behalf, and help to sponsor their continuing professional growth and development. We all know that when women strive and thrive, so do their surroundings, and so I encourage you to lift up the women in your circles and “high five” them at every opportunity. Do reach out and let me know how is striving and thriving where you are!


September 2023

Lobbying and DEI go Hand in Hand

September is a great month to take a look at your current lobbying efforts as they relate to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), and to see where you might be able to make some adjustments moving into 2024.

Are there diverse Members of Congress or State Legislators whom you have been wanting to make contact with? What about diverse organizations that you have been wanting to reach out to, but just have not had the opportunity?  Take note of these opportunities and find time to reach out and make those connections!  While you are doing your assessment, also do not forget to take a look internally at your Government Affairs department and see where there may be some opportunities to increase the level of diversity amongst the in-house and contract lobbyists. As the future moves towards becoming more diverse (in all of its forms), it is imperative that organizations be able to adapt to change and be open to more diverse ways of thinking, executing, and relating!

I encourage you to begin thinking “outside of the box” when it comes to DEI and your lobbying efforts and to make note of both your challenges and successes as you continue onward.  Remember that there are no “one and done” efforts as they relate to DEI; this work is ongoing and ever evolving, so give yourself grace and guidance and be sure to check in and let me know how things are going!


October 2023

Make Your Case for DEI!

I have been reading a great deal lately about DEI practitioners being able to make the business case for why Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) should be part of the overall framework of any organization.

Businesses oftentimes tie success to a variety of factors — from rising profits to increased customer or client engagement — so is it any wonder why CEO’s would question how DEI initiatives stand to help their company’s bottom line? Rest assured – there are more than a few answers to this question…

An online article by Forbes that I discovered recently featured a number of its Business Development Council Members discussing why DEI is essential to business development success. From leveraging the best talents to fostering innovation and increasing better customer and client engagement, the benefits of DEI become increasingly clear.

Read the full Forbes article here:


November 2023

Connecting One Minute at a Time!

A few weeks ago, I read an article in the Sunday New York Times written by San Francisco Bay area artist, graphic journalist, and author Wendy MacNaughton entitled “The Importance of Looking at What (and Who) You Don’t See.”.

The premise of the article was about how MacNaughton set up “shop” one morning outside of a BART Station in downtown San Francisco, with a table and two chairs and a sign that read “Draw Together. It Just Takes One Minute.”  What MacNaughton was aiming for was to get total strangers to sit down opposite one another for one minute, and just draw what they see on the other’s face (not what they EXPECTED to see).  They were never to lift their pen from or look down at their paper; they were only to keep drawing, looking at the other person’s face THE WHOLE TIME!  MacNaughton noted that although most of her participants questioned their artistic ability at first approach, by the time the exercise was over, they were laughing at their drawings and amazed at how connected they felt to the other person… MacNaughton noted at the beginning of her article that “WE DON’T SEE ONE ANOTHER ANYMORE… Frustrated, Powerless, Sometimes Just Lost in Our Own Worlds, We Look Away…”

Reading MacNaughton’s article got me thinking about my own ways in how I connect with others, and was I, myself, guilty of seeing only what I expected to see in a person, instead of what was truly right there before me?  Do I really “see” people? See them for who they truly ARE, and not as I EXPECT or even WANT them to be?  There’s an old wise saying — “the eyes are the windows to the soul” – what if we spent more time making eye contact with one another, as opposed to ignoring, bypassing or just dismissing one another for whom we feel to be less than human in our eyes?

I encourage you to think about how you currently connect with others, and to note if there are new ways that you can make more meaningful connections?  Eager to try out the experiment documented by MacNaughton? Let me know how it goes – you may be surprised by the outcomes!


December 2023

Civil Discourse During the Holidays

The Season of Holidays are upon us now, and that means that many people are feeling anxiety about family gatherings where the conversations may easily turn to discussions surrounding the “P” word (politics).  The old adage of politics being one of the topics never to be brought up for discussion has all but vanished in today’s times, and so inevitably, you may find yourself at the dinner table in a heated exchange with another family member whose political thoughts, feelings and ideologies are vastly different than yours. I urge you, however, not to abandon the conversation and run for the nearest exit!

Make a commitment to yourself, instead, to further engage your fellow conversationalist by asking questions and participating in active listening; see if you can put yourself in the other person’s shoes and perhaps understand their point of view. To be clear, however, I am in no way advocating for you to subject yourself to someone whose rhetoric is either physically, mentally, or emotionally harmful (some people you will never agree with and that’s just the way it is!).  I am simply suggesting that just because someone’s point of view is different from yours, does not necessarily mean that there aren’t areas where you can empathize or maybe find some common ground.

Try this out during your dinner table conversations and make notes to yourself on the highlights, challenges, and opportunities for growth that you could leverage in preparation for future conversations. Feel free to drop me a line and let me know your thoughts!  I wish you a very happy, healthy, safe, productive, and unifying Holiday Season!