Executive Profile: Kelsey Hulse of Strategies 360

by Natasha Ashenhurst

If asked, Kelsey Hulse would tell you her success, personally and professionally, is because of two character traits. “Relentless persistence and optimism,” she said.

Hulse, a government affairs specialist, studied philosophy in college. She says it was a helpful starting point for a vibrant and varied career. Straight out of school, she went to work in marketing and business development. She moved to Olympia when she decided to shift and work in fund development for nonprofits.
She started at the Thurston County Food Bank and then The Evergreen State College.

It was after a run for political office in 2016 that Hulse made a more significant transition.
“I shifted to government affairs work because of its impact on people and their quality of life. That’s when I started working as a government affairs representative,” she said. She spent five years working at Puget Sound Energy helping advance clean energy at municipal and state levels, as well as with tribal governments.

In October 2022, Hulse made another change and started a new chapter at Strategies 360. Strategies 360 is one of the country’s leading strategic positioning firms. With offices in 13 western states, Washington, DC and Vancouver, B.C. they are experts in public relations, strategic communications, polling and research, government relations, marketing, and advertising. They work across every industry and issue area. Headquartered in Seattle, Strategies 360 (S360) has an Olympia office with three full-time employees and one intern.

At S360’s Olympia practice, Hulse continues her work in government affairs. Because the Washington State Legislature is in session, her days start early and run late. “Our primary focus for the next 99 days is serving our lobbying clients,” she said. She loves that no two days are the same. “I love creative problem-solving and staying in touch with clients,” she said. “Every day, new bills are introduced, and new things are coming into play. The ever-changing news cycle can cause everything to change. You have to be nimble.”

The 2023 session is in-person after two years of virtual sessions due to COVID. Hulse sees lasting changes brought by the pandemic, and many are positive. “One of the things that has changed is accessibility. Before COVID, we’d see folks drive over from Eastern Washington and may only have 30 seconds to address a committee. Now there is a remote testimony option. Also, you can sign in pro or con on a bill and make your voice heard. We see this at the city and county levels as well. It makes the whole process a lot more accessible,” she said.

Hulse also sees the COVID silver lining around what she calls the ‘artifice in the corporate environment.’ She explains, “We’ve seen inside each other’s homes. We see each other’s pets and kids. I hope it helps us connect differently and not take ourselves too seriously. It injected real life into the work we do every day.”

Changing perceptions is a large part of what Hulse enjoys doing. “No matter if you are working in public affairs, strategic communications or need to fund a capital campaign, the big picture work is the same—create a plan, craft a message and connect it with the people who need to hear it. I enjoy being a lobbyist. I see myself as an educator,” she said. “We tend to assume everyone thinks how we do, but the reality is that the legislator you may be addressing may not know your barriers, ideas or situation. They won’t know unless you tell them.”

And when she’s not reading bills and meeting with legislators? “My hobbies are all related to food. I love to cook, pickle and ferment. My partner, Paul, is the Head Brewer at Well 80. When we travel, we seek out great restaurants or breweries,” she said. “We’re lucky to live in Thurston County where we have local makers and producers, farmers markets and a food hub.”

When asked for advice to share with others who want to be change-makers, she said to just keep going. Spend time reaching out to elected officials. Talk to them about what’s going on. “Relentless persistence is my greatest tool. Folks are busy trying to work on a lot of issues. Keep checking in. Make the information you are sharing easy to digest. You also need to be optimistic. It is easy to fall victim to cynicism. But just because something hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t. Optimism is the key to success.”

Categories: ,

Other News

Upcoming Events

Picture your ad here!

Picture your ad here

Both rectangle and banner ad spaces are available for members. Download our sizes and pricing sheet for more information by clicking the button below.