On the latest episode of HPS Insights, HPS Partner Christina Pearson, Senior Director Jesse Coster, and Director Julia Decerega join HPS Partner Bryan DeAngelis, to discuss all things environmental, social and governance (ESG).
Bryan, Christina, Jesse and Julia break down the meaning of ESG and explore its evolution from corporate social responsibility (CSR). The group chats about how global events, including the impacts of the climate crisis, the pandemic, and social unrest in 2020, have increased calls for company action on ESG issues. They also discuss the growing importance of ESG to companies amid the backdrop of stakeholder capitalism, underscoring how companies are increasingly leaning into ESG work as they strive to create value for all stakeholders–across investors, customers, employees, and regulators.
Drawing from their experience working with clients across industries, the group explores the current ESG landscape and how companies are embracing this concept. Specifically, Bryan, Christina, Jesse, and Julia discuss how companies are at different points in their ESG journeys– and businesses face different challenges and opportunities to set ESG commitments and report on progress across industries. The group also talks about changing regulatory frameworks, including the potential implications of the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) current rulemaking to standardize climate disclosures. Additionally, the group discusses how businesses are integrating ESG into their business models, as well as best practices for companies entering the space.
In this episode of HPS Insights, Meghan Pennington interviews HPS’ JinAh Kim, Lizzie Johnson, and Jack Martin about the latest iteration of their Capital Chatter: A Quarterly Analysis of Congressional Tweets project. In the second quarter of 2022, Congressional Twitter accounts posted 131,311 tweets—a 3% decrease from the first quarter. With the November elections fast approaching, the economy is top of mind for everyone, including members of Congress. In today’s episode, supply chain shortages, inflation, crypto, and the distinct messaging around all these topics from Democrats and Republicans take the center stage. Tune in to learn all about their insights.
In this week’s episode of HPS Insights, Alberto Lopez Valenzuela, Founder and CEO of the reputation intelligence, analysis, and media monitoring company alva, joins HPS Partners Bryan DeAngelis and Matt McDonald for a conversation on alva’s technology, the importance of business leaders having access to quality data, and reputation management more broadly. The group chats about how the markets and the current political landscape increasingly require companies to consider the factors that impact their reputations, including social media and the growing lack of trust in institutions.
Drawing from his background in intelligence, Alberto notes that there is a significant demand for quantification of intelligence for businesses. alva’s stakeholder intelligence tools, currently five offerings that allow alva to understand, predict, and mediate reputational challenges, emerged from that thesis. alva’s tools serve clients by monitoring and analyzing data from all media types to help them better understand and respond to reputational issues. Specifically, alva’s approach can help the leadership of a business understand how their company is being portrayed by key stakeholders in order to determine if changes need to be made.
The group also talks about how ESG issues have become key for business leaders as businesses and investors have increasingly embraced stakeholder capitalism. alva has developed new models to analyze ESG and is, among other things, looking into how much policymakers and other key stakeholders care about ESG issues. Alberto argues that whether or not ESG is a company’s top priority, it should be transparent about its aims, its goals, and what it wants its impact to be.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS) announced today that Michael LaRosa and Brendan Conley have joined the firm as managing director and director, respectively.
“I’m very excited to welcome Michael and Brendan to our team,” said Christina Pearson, a partner at HPS. “Their wealth of experience from the White House, Capitol Hill, and the campaign trail will be extremely valuable as we advise clients who are navigating complex and high-stakes communications challenges. We’re looking forward to the contributions they will make from day one.”
LaRosa joins HPS from the White House, where he served as press secretary to the first lady and special assistant to the president. Prior to the White House, Michael was chief spokesperson to Dr. Jill Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign; communications director for the House Democratic Policy Communications Committee in the Office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi; communications director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; and a producer for Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to work alongside so many of the talented communicators here at HPS,” said LaRosa. “I’m looking forward to working with our clients to identify solutions to the complex public affairs problems they face each day.”
Conley joins HPS from Senator Joni Ernst’s (R–IA) office on Capitol Hill where he served as communications director for Iowa. Conley also served on Sen. Ernst’s 2020 reelection campaign as her communications director. Prior to joining Sen. Ernst’s team, Conley worked in the office of Representative Bruce Poliquin (R–ME), first as a legislative correspondent, and then as his press secretary and communications director. Conley also worked on Bruce Poliquin’s 2018 campaign as his communications director.
“HPS has a stellar reputation for providing exceptional insight and services and for taking on some of the most pressing issues of the day,” said Conley. “I’m thrilled to be a part of this uniquely talented, experienced, and dynamic team.”
Welcome back to Capitol Chatter: A Quarterly Analysis Of Congressional Tweets, where we help you keep track of what Congress is tweeting.
In the second quarter of 2022, Congressional Twitter accounts posted 131,311 tweets—a 3% decrease from the first quarter. Discussion of social issues rose 175% from Q1, driven by an increase in tweets containing terms related to abortion and gun issues. Meanwhile, foreign affairs and defense remained the most tweeted-about topic despite a 32% decrease from Q1 to Q2, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continued to be a focal point of conversation.
As the midterms approach, differences between Republicans’ and Democrats’ tweets about the economy indicate how each party is approaching its messaging—and its stance on the question of whether or not the U.S. is currently in a recession. Republicans continue to highlight concerns about the economy, mentioning “inflation” and “recession” more than six times as often as their Democrat counterparts. Meanwhile, Democrats focused on “jobs” and “unemployment”—two metrics that paint a rosier picture—mentioning the terms nearly 4 times as frequently as their Republican counterparts.
As the economic ripple effects of COVID-19 continue to put a strain on global supply chains, the U.S. was hit with shortages in consumer goods in Q2, exacerbating inflation concerns. An unprecedented baby formula shortage drove not just headlines, but Congressional activity both online and on Capitol Hill: members went from tweeting about goods shortages a few times a day to tweeting about shortages more than 100 times a day at the topic’s peak popularity as they called for a solution, resulting in the passage of the Access to Baby Formula Act.
Meanwhile, shortages of other goods, including food, cars, and gas, received much less attention. At the beginning of 2022, labor shortages were more discussed on Twitter than goods scarcity, but in Q2 both took a back seat to baby formula.
In addition to supply chain constraints and accompanying increases in consumer prices, this summer was also marked by turbulence in the cryptocurrency market following the collapse of the Terra and Luna coins. The collapse helped spark Congressional Twitter discussion of cryptocurrencies as the industry lost $2 trillion in value following years of explosive growth.
Both parties focused on the broader industry rather than specific cryptocurrencies: the world’s largest currency, Bitcoin, was only mentioned 36 times, while Ethereum was not mentioned at all.
However, Republican and Democrat members of Congress discussed the industry differently; Republicans were often more favorable to crypto, focusing on its benefits of “digital assets” and emphasizing the need to ensure regulation does not jeopardize the U.S.’ leadership position in the industry.
Meanwhile, Democrats called for regulation that mitigates the volatility often associated with Crypto, citing the collapse of Terra and the broader bear market that followed.
There was some bipartisan support for the industry, as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, which would create a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency and digital assets.
HPS conducted text analysis on tweets and retweets from members of Congress and Congressional committee accounts that were posted between April 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022. In total, we searched for more than 150 keywords in each of the 131,311 tweets to determine which topics were discussed in each. In this analysis, independent Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Angus King (I-Maine), who caucus with the Democratic Party, were treated as Democrats. Charts and numbers may vary slightly from quarter to quarter given methodology adjustments.
For the shortage chart, HPS identified members of Congress tweets that discussed supply chain breakdowns, shortages, or scarcities, and searched for mentions of labor, workforce, and various consumer goods.
On this episode of HPS Insights, Emily David Hershman, Director of Engagement and Special Projects in the Office of Delaware Governor John Carney joins HPS Partner Bryan DeAngelis to discuss the role of a communications team at the state government level and the unique challenges of the job.
In the episode, Emily dives into how her team managed the COVID-19 crisis over what has now been over two years, outlining Delaware’s response to the pandemic and the ways in which her office worked to confront misinformation, build wide-reaching trust, and develop local relationships.
Emily notes the importance of being nimble in public-facing communications and honest in disclosing the limitations of available information. “The message we’re saying today is accurate today,” she said. “But we have to all understand that just like this virus is changing—it’s getting new variants, etc.—so is our messaging.” She also provides insights into how Delaware and other states have been creative in the distribution of key messaging to reach new, younger audiences. Emily speaks to the importance of compassion and working with other states—from Massachusetts to Connecticut and Rhode Island—to learn how to better reach their citizens where they are. Listen to the full conversation here and check out the show notes below!
Starting your first job out of college is a stressful and often daunting experience, one made even more so by COVID-related remote work. On this episode of HPS Insights, guest host and HPS associate Jack Eichner sits down with fellow associates Matisse Rogers and Will Newell to talk about how the workforce’s newest generation is handling office life, adjusting to new roles, and building relationships in the workplace.
The group discusses how they navigated the steep learning curve of your first six months in a new job, emphasizing the need to absorb as much as possible and take ownership of your progress. They talk about the importance of asking for help, learning how to work with different types of people, and more.
Matisse, Will, and Jack also touch on to their differing experiences with remote work through joining HPS at different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The group focuses on the importance of in-person collaboration and friendships to their professional and personal lives and shares advice for making the most out of your first few years in the workforce.
On the latest episode of Crypto Convos, Nicole Valentine, FinTech Director of the Center for Financial Markets at the Milken Institute, joins HPS’ Bryan DeAngelis and Jonathan Graffeo to discuss the recent crypto meltdown, its impact on legislative and regulatory efforts, and how despite this hit to the industry, “DeFi may be down, but its not out.”
The group provides context to the meltdown, with Nicole noting that this is the “perfect economic storm” and indicative of overall market volatility seen across industries, not just an isolated crisis in the crypto industry. They also discuss how this crisis compares to others, particularly the 2009 financial crisis, with Bryan and Jonathan noting that market events such as these tend to drive strong policymaker action due to the impacts felt by consumers.
Nicole goes on to discuss the risks this crisis poses to consumer protections, as well as emphasizing the overall value of crypto to consumers, a big focus of her work at the Milken Institute. She discusses how her interest in this was partially driven by her experience living across the globe, and how she has seen first-hand the positive impact crypto has on cross-border payments. In this conversation, Bryan agrees that cross-border payments in particular are an area of traditional finance that is ready for disruption, recounting a story from a previous guest that bringing “$9,999.99 dollars on a plane would be faster, cheaper, and more efficient than wiring this money today,” showcasing the value of using blockchain to move money.
Nicole also shares her thoughts on the role of think tanks in the ongoing crypto conversation. She notes the importance of think tanks’ convening power and research to educate diverse stakeholders, and ultimately, move the needle on policy and innovation. The group concludes with their projections on what the midterm elections could mean for the fate of crypto legislation. Give it a listen and check out the show notes below!
A little over two years after the start of the COVID-induced recession, the U.S. is on track to full job recovery, with the economy on pace to recover all jobs lost in the next couple of months. So how did we get to this point? Early in the pandemic, a consensus emerged: the main barrier to economic recovery and a reactivation of the labor market was getting the virus under control. Once vaccines became available, this principle took shape in the form of vaccination campaigns. And this wasn’t just a goal driven by politicians, many economists also took this posture, agreeing that vaccinating the general public would “promote a faster and stronger economic recovery.”
In the spring of 2021, states and local governments rolled out a bevy of incentives to encourage folks to get vaccinated. These programs crossed traditional political lines, as we saw everything from cash and microbrews in blue states to trucks and guns in red states.
But, while the overall economic health of the country—at least as measured by job creation—has improved in parallel with vaccinations, is it true that high vaccine rate states experienced higher job recovery rates than states with lower vaccination rates?
To determine whether there is a link between vaccination and job recovery, we looked at the vaccine and job recovery rates across all 50 states. For this analysis, states were plotted by the percentage of jobs recovered against their vaccination rate, using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ total nonfarm employment data and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID data tracker. We calculated job recovery as a percentage, by comparing a state’s employment numbers prior to the outset of the pandemic in February 2020 to its numbers in February 2022. The vaccine rate was determined by looking at the percentage of the adult (age 18+) population in each state that was fully vaccinated by the end of our analysis period (February 2022).
Through the lens of job recovery, we did not find evidence that vaccination rates alone explained job recovery rates. It is reasonable to assume vaccination rates played a role in the broader economic recovery, but our analysis implies that a combination of factors beyond just vaccinations drove regional job recoveries.
Take Arkansas, for example. The state had the fourth-lowest full vaccination rate (63.2%) and still ranked in the top five states with the highest percentage of job recovery (123.11%). Other states that stood apart from the group include Hawaii and New York, which, despite having high vaccination rates (86.7% and 85.6% respectively) saw relatively low job recovery rates (60.58% and 74.8% respectively). Although it is worth noting that both of these states had unique considerations in the pandemic, with Hawaii’s tourism-fueled economy hard-hit and the economic consequences of a high COVID-19 death rate felt early in the pandemic in New York.
As shown by the graph below, even with these unique cases above considered, the bigger picture is still the same. None of the top five states with the highest vaccination rate were among the top five states with the most jobs recovered. Out of those five best vaccination performing states, Maine (87% vaccination rate) ranked the highest on the job recovery list, coming in only 16th place with 97.28% of jobs recovered.
The best performing states for job recovery include Idaho, Utah, Montana, Arkansas, and Arizona, while the states with the best vaccination rates were Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, and Hawaii.
Overall, only 10 states’ vaccine rates outpaced their job recovery, while the majority (40) of states had more impressive job recovery numbers when compared to their vaccination rate. This is in turn due to a number of states (12) outpacing their February 2020 job numbers (>100% recovered) well ahead of the rest of the country. On average, most states had recovered at least over 90% of jobs lost by February 28, 2022, with a few outliers well over 100% or at around 70%.
At a baseline, our analysis tells us a story that we have learned many times over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic: policy choices and outcomes are complicated and can rarely be explained by a slogan that fits in a bumper sticker. There are many factors beyond vaccines that played and continue to play important roles in a state’s job recovery, making it difficult to measure the impact of vaccination rates on jobs alone.
In this special edition of the Macrocast, Tony and John welcome Megan Greene, Harvard Kennedy School Senior Fellow and Kroll Institute Global Chief Economist, to the show. Megan expands on her recent column in the Financial Times, where she makes an important point few pundits have acknowledged: There’s not much policymakers outside the Federal Reserve can do about inflation. The group walks through various policy responses to inflation and the supply- and demand-driven forces behind rising prices. Plus, the group discusses energy prices, the methodology for measuring inflation, and more.