Obama Campaign Manager and White House Senior Advisor, Author, Non-Profit and Tech Executive
David Plouffe delivers unprecedented insights on disruptive innovation, from the front lines of momentous shifts in both politics and business.
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A pioneering force of innovation in politics, technology, and grassroots leadership, David Plouffe has distinguished himself as a proven field general and idea generator.
As Senior Advisor to President Obama, he stood at the center of the debate on key issues now facing our country – from tax and entitlement reform to immigration reform and foreign policy challenges. Combined with his pathbreaking work at Uber, and policy and advocacy efforts at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, he is a transcending force at the intersection of politics, policy, and business.
Plouffe began his career working on a Senate primary campaign for a Delaware democrat. In the years since, he’s become a veteran of congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential campaigns.
Over his extensive career, Plouffe developed proven strategies to rally people around common causes. So, when Senator Barack Obama asked him to run his 2008 presidential campaign, he recognized his chance to create the kind of campaign he idealized. The resulting efforts forever changed the face of politics.
Of that campaign, Plouffe says it was like “creating a start-up organization at warp speed.” He honed in on grassroots movements – refocusing on involving people at the local level and reenergizing the core of the country. He drove people to organize by emphasizing the fundamentals of America, and what it means to be a democracy by the people, for the people.
His unprecedented approach to reach voters by leveraging technology and big data resulted in the election of America’s first African-American president. By harnessing the power of the Internet to spark a grassroots movement, he changed the landscape of campaigns to come.
When reflecting on his time with Obama, Plouffe says, “In signing up to work for this political long shot from Chicago, we had gained a unique perch from which to watch American history unfold.”
Plouffe’s experience running a well-oiled campaign machine makes him an undeniable authority on organizational structure. By setting up a clear chain of command, and a framework that empowers individuals, it assured the campaign ran seamlessly and smoothly. His playbook for success is revealed in his book The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory, a New York Times bestseller. In his podcast, “Campaign HQ,” Plouffe speaks with campaign managers, the state directors, the field organizers on the ground — the people living and breathing the 2020 presidential campaign — to dig into the methods of our current candidates. Together, they uncover the successes and failures of these leaders in their pathway to securing the ultimate prize: the American presidency.
Following his campaign work, Plouffe was called into the business world to share his unique approach and expertise. In 2014, Uber brought him in to manage all global policy and political activities, communications, and branding. The company’s leaders looked to him as a strategic partner on all matters, as the ride-sharing giant grew its presence around the world. Under his leadership, the first ridesharing regulations in the world were established, leading to over 200 different cities enacting ride-sharing friendly regulations during his tenure. Plouffe also led the effort to reframe how policymakers and the public understood Uber’s drivers and the debate around them. He oversaw a first-of-its-kind academic study that created headlines around the world, capturing that the vast majority of Uber’s drivers were driving under 10 hours a week, using the platform to top up income.
Later, in 2017, Plouffe was asked to join the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s mission to advance human potential and promote equal opportunity – utilizing great storytelling, smart policy engagement, and mobilization and innovation as key tools. He continues his work there today where he serves as a strategist in residence, seeking to break through systemic barriers and solve real-world challenges – in areas like criminal justice, immigration, and housing.
No matter the role, Plouffe is known for thinking beyond the conventional. With his tenacious, methodical, and proven methods, he knows the essential ingredients to crafting a team built for success.
“As a leader, the thing I’m most interested in is making decision-making uneventful,” he says.
By this, Plouffe means that every decision should be an easy yes or no. And, according to him, it starts with organizations educating their people on what the clear path to success looks like. When this approach is activated, actions and decisions either support a business’s strategy and message, or they don’t – making the clear choice feel obvious. Even if people ultimately disagree with the decision, Plouffe says, they understand that the answer isn’t based on subjectivity.
Plouffe’s array of accomplishments demonstrate his profound ability to bridge the gap between dreaming and achieving. He shows others how doing what you believe in, taking a chance, betting on the right people, and having high ideals can produce a winning combination.
With his unassuming style, Plouffe communicates motivated and innovative solutions pertinent to any organization seeking to be at the forefront of change in their industry. Drawing people in with rapid-fire, detail-oriented, and visceral stories from the ground, he shares his playbook for success when facing overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable odds.
2008 Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe addresses the McKell Institute
David Plouffe – What’s at Stake Here
David Plouffe’s Speech Topics
West Wing to the C-Suite – What Makes a Great Leader
From Congress and presidential campaign trail to the White House, corporate America and the philanthropic world, David Plouffe has had a front row seat to some of the more challenging moments in recent times. He has served as the right hand and consigliere to presidents, senators, and CEOs, and has led large organizations himself. He shares observations, lessons and engaging stories about what makes a strong and durable leader, and how best to manage crisis situations. He offers guidance about how to give yourself an opportunity to recover, and leverage moments of strength that are applicable to any sector.
How to Motivate People to Take Action
Whether it’s grassroots-fueled political campaigns, leading the efforts to organize employees and customers in regulatory fights, or working with organizations to change our criminal justice system, David Plouffe has unique insights and victories to share about when, how, and why to ask employees, voters, customers, or citizens to raise their voice to help deliver their desired outcome.
In today’s world, the most effective marketing efforts create brand loyalty by marrying smart creative strategy with grassroots activity, both on and off-line. Successful efforts must start with timely, well-written internal communications, something that often gets under-resourced in organizations. Based on both personal history and historical study, Plouffe provides a tutorial on what is, and isn’t, possible when it comes to motivating people to act.
How to Communicate and Win in a Rapidly Changing Digital Age
The pace of change is accelerating every year, bringing changes in technology, and subsequently consumer and voter behavior. Despite the plethora of avenues to reach people, delivering a consistent message to your target audience is harder than ever.
David Plouffe reveals how presidential campaigns, and the White House, combatted this by leveraging each medium to maximum effect. Additionally, Plouffe forecasts how the media landscape is likely to further change in the months and years ahead and what organizations can do to stay ahead of the curve.