Posted by DemocracyKit on 03/29/2017

Patrick Whelan, Data Director | How I got started

Video TypeInterview
Campaign AreaExplore-Campaign Team,Volunteer Management,Data,

Patrick Whelan, Data Director, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


0:00 How did you get involved in politics?

I got involved in politics at the university level. So when I arrived at Western I quickly kind of got involved in our student government there, it's called the University Students Council. I had a habit of running for different offices that were a bit outside of my electoral possibilities and so I would lose and I'd have to run in by-elections and things but I ran for a number of different things at Western, really enjoyed getting involved and eventually was the President of the University Students Council and that was before that I'd never worked on any campaigns municipal, federal, provincial but having done it as a student and seeing the impact you can have when you're representing, umm, the people in your community I was compelled to really get involved in campaigns locally.

0:51 How did you get involved with the 2014 Matt Brown campaign?

I got involved on Matt Brown's campaign later. I had been working at the University beforehand and so the campaign again are away from about January on but I wasn't free until about June so I was a late addition to the team and I was uh, there's uh some internal shifting going around so I took over some of the data and digital work and we were really trying to build in a data infrastructure that was equivalent to that of like what a party would give to a candidate, so we were really trying to be pretty innovative in London and definitely the first time to do that in London.  And so that was my responsibility and so I saw the campaign through from June to the October election.

1:36 What were the skill sets of the people involved early on as the team was exploring a run?

A lot of the beginning of the campaign is about communicating your message why you are a candidate that is going to make the city a better place or you know my case make the university a better place, and so you need people who can really help you effectively communicate that. You know I was doing some of the data work on Mayor Matt Brown's campaign and we needed to collect donations and do all that sort of stuff but we really need strong communications on how to do that so we'd send emails out and things like that and we really relied on the brilliant people who were helping craft the message.

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