Mak Heddens serves as Senior Director, Special Projects at Strategic Elements, building out policies, processes, and procedures across departments to achieve growth objectives for the firm and its clients. She focuses on understanding internal and external needs to improve efficiency and enhance output. Before moving into Operations at the coast-to-coast firm, Mak worked as the Vice President for Client Relations, translating clients’ visions into actionable items while also ensuring key performance indicators were met on time. She developed materials to elevate issues and cultivate advocacy by influential voices to advance projects and policies at all levels of government for clients in renewable energy, healthcare, technology, agriculture, immigration, and economic development. Working with the American Clean Power Association, Mak managed public affairs fieldwork for 12 states, including coalition building, generating earned media, hosting events, and coordinating tours for public officials. She also served as the executive director and lobbyist for one of the association’s state initiatives, Power Up Iowa. Through Power Up Iowa, Mak coordinated client partnerships with major media outlets, such as POLITICO and National Geographic, as well as sponsorships for large-scale events, such as the Iowa State Fair and the 2020 Presidential Caucuses.
Before joining Strategic Elements, Mak wore many hats in the Office of the President at Iowa State University (ISU). Within Government Relations, Mak identified opportunities to increase ISU’s profile through strategic communications, political advocacy, and events highlighting ISU’s impact across that state while cultivating relationships with external stakeholders. She assisted in passing more than $100 million worth of capital project requests on behalf of the university. Mak worked for the Chief of Staff & Chief Financial Officer, carrying out special project implementation and communications plans pursuant to operational changes. She was also an event coordinator for the President’s hosting venues and oversaw facility renovations.
Previously, Mak worked in Washington, D.C., at The Washington Center, where she oversaw 250 college students’ fieldwork placements at the National Political Conventions. Before that, she worked at Voice of America in the Office of Special Events.
Mak has proven success in building relationships, fundraising, and project management, having co-chaired Leadership Ames’ town and gown service project, which raised $66,000 for local charities and an endowment for students with disabilities. She graduated from the Ames Citizen Policy Academy, sat on the Story County Crime Stoppers board, and participated in Leadership Palm Beach County upon relocating to Florida. Mak now volunteers in programmatic planning for the organization. Previously, she volunteered as the Foster Coordinator for the German Shepherd Dog Rescue of Iowa.
Mak attended Iowa State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications with an emphasis on public relations. She has also earned a master’s degree in business administration, achieving the Top Performing Professional MBA Team award.