Wondering about who serves on the Annette Strauss Institute Advisory Council? Learn more about two of our members, Pasha Moore and Dave Shaw, through a recent interview.
ASI: What is your profession and why do you do what you do?
Pasha Moore: I am a public affairs and fundraising consultant. I’ve been on this path for 20 years, and it’s still fun. I get to make a difference while I have a good time, as well as solve various problems for clients.
Dave Shaw: I’m founder and president of Arrow, an Austin-based communications firm with services including branding, public relations, digital media and design. We’ve committed our firm to serving mission-driven organizations, and we specialize in working with consumer brands and nonprofits. Our clients often have needs that include message development, brand strategy and multi-channel campaigns. Our purpose is to help the good guys tell their story so they can serve their customers and strengthen their communities. What we do and why is summed up in our tagline and it's a simple idea: We build your brand. For good.
ASI: What is your earliest civic memory?
Pasha: In 1988, Arkansas (where I grew up) was still a presidential swing state. Michael Dukakis was on a Whistle Stop tour, and then-Governor Clinton had him stop in my hometown and host a rally. My aunt was very involved with County Democratic party and had a role in the rally, and I wanted to go so badly (I’m pretty sure my 7 year-old self just really wanted the boater hats they were giving away). My parents wouldn’t let me attend and I was so disappointed, as it made me believe all political activity was a party and super fun. (I won’t tell the story as to how I discovered my parents were Republicans in a family full of Democrats, as my mother would kill me.)
Dave: It gives away my age but I have a very distinct first civic memory, and it’s a fond one. I was barely out of kindergarten and my dad took me with him when he went to vote in the 1976 presidential election. I remember it like it was yesterday. That one day made a strong impression on me and I have never missed casting a ballot since I became old enough to vote. I’ve continued the tradition, and now whenever I go to the polls, I always bring my two young sons with me. Like my dad taught me, I hope I’m teaching them the importance of showing up for democracy.
ASI: Why are you involved with the Annette Strauss Institute?
Pasha: I first taught Campaign Bootcamp back in 2011, and the level of engagement from not just UT but multiple other schools was impressive. The Bootcamp was a true showcase of the talent ASI has on staff, their statewide reach, and the community engagement ASI inspires. Between the hands-on programs and research, ASI is training next-generation community leaders and inspiring confidence in the civic system while never resting on its laurels. With the support of UT, ASI will always lead when it comes to civic engagement and education.
Dave: I’m passionate about civic participation because our democracy is stronger when everyone has a voice and the ability to debate and disagree without being disagreeable. Democracy can be a messy business, but it works. Unfortunately, our electorate and leaders are tribal and polarized, effective governance often takes a back seat to performative politics, and civics are barely taught in school anymore. All of it makes the work of the Annette Strauss Institute more important than ever.
ASI: What advice would you have for someone wanting to get more involved with civic and political affairs?
Pasha: Read multiple sources of news and ask questions. Do your homework and form your own opinions of what is happening locally, statewide, and nationally. Get involved in local politics and civic organizations to get a front row seat to the issues your neighbors are facing. If you decide to make a career of politics, always remember that the people you meet on your way to the top, you will inevitably meet on your way back down, so treat everyone with respect.
Dave: Know who you are. Stand up for what you believe in. Listen with empathy to those you disagree with.