Strategic Elements sat down with communications expert – and Baylor Bears fanatic – Hillary Maxwell Beightel, Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications. The former Capitol Hill staffer and corporate comms guru brings more than two decades of public affairs expertise, campaign management success, and deep-rooted political experience to our team.
Learn more about Hillary below:
What drew you to Strategic Elements?
The people and work quality. I’ve known SE for many years and worked with folks on the team at different times throughout my career. I was always impressed with the talent of the team and the high-quality work it produces. I also have tremendous respect for Chris Stineman (and John, too!), our founder, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her.
You started your career as a Page on Capitol Hill – of the skills you gained working as a Page, which have been the most valuable to your career?
Always do your best, no matter how trivial or unimportant the task may seem. Almost everyone you meet started their career answering phones, working in the mail room, or making clips (and some of us had to cut up the newspaper and make copies). Hard work and attention to detail get noticed, and I learned that during my Page days.
I can also navigate the tunnels under the Capitol in my sleep.
What was the best part about living in Washington, D.C.?
D.C. is an amazing city, with much to do and many places to explore. Since I was a little girl, I have been in awe of the Capitol building and the halls of Congress (that sounds cheesy). I loved being in a city where meaningful things were being done. But I also loved that D.C. has something for everyone – government, history, art, and even sports!
What would you consider your most prominent career “win” so far?
Oh wow – this is a hard one! I’ve been fortunate to work with great teams on exciting issues – so it’s difficult to pick just one. I always consider it a win when you can successfully help clients execute an advocacy campaign and highlight the real impact of public policies.
During my time at Dell, I was part of teams that coordinated and executed high-profile global events to empower and support women entrepreneurs around the world. It was rewarding to be a part of something that spotlighted how women entrepreneurs are making the world a better place but also helped these women find access to capital, talent, and technology – all things that are critical to growing and scaling a business.
But I consider my biggest “win” being asked to mentor a Baylor University student who was a part of the Baylor in Washington Program. I was honored to be able to pay it forward to a fellow Baylor Bear.
What inspires and motivates you each day?
My kids – my daughter is nine, and my son is seven. I say I’m lucky I get to be their mom, and it’s rewarding to watch them grow as people. They inspire me to work hard, and I love that I’m able to show them women can have families and careers at the same time.
How do you like to relax after a long week?
In an ideal world, I would watch true crime documentaries or Lifetime movies. In reality, I spend my time on the soccer fields watching second-grade boys and fourth-grade girls play soccer…
After 22 years in Washington, D.C., how has living in Savannah, Georgia opened opportunities for you?
Living in Savannah has expanded my network. Surprisingly, there are many folks here who did stints in D.C. and in politics. It has also provided opportunities to get involved in government and politics at the state and local levels – sometimes decisions that impact people the most happen at those levels.
Is there any advice you would offer young professionals trying to get involved in politics?
I’ve been fortunate to have a few great mentors, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I can’t take credit for all of these, but a few things I like to share with young professionals:
- “It’s not who you know; it’s who you get to know” – I borrowed that from Chris Matthews’s book Hardball. Networking and follow-up are key. Send thank you notes and emails, send holiday cards, and if you get invited – go!
- “Stalk and Hover” – my mentor used to say this all the time. Always follow up – no boss wants to hear, “Well, I emailed them and never heard back.” If you’re not getting something you need, don’t be afraid to ask for it!
- Pay it forward – the best way to repay someone who helped you is to help someone else.
What is one thing that you could talk about for hours?
While my husband would say I could talk for hours about absolutely nothing, my response would be Baylor University. I love my alma mater and think it is a special place. Sic ‘Em, Bears!