Mark Kennedy
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Pitchforks Into Profits

Political actors have a strategy for your business. Do you have one for them?


Business success requires effectively engaging what Kennedy defined as shapeholders — the political, regulatory, media, and activist actors that shape a firm's opportunities and risks. See Mark's Seven Steps for Shapeholder Success.

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Kennedy’s 360° Insights

 Globally engaged business executive, Congressman, Professor


 Kennedy is a thought leader on engaging to win, whether businesses engaging society, officials seeking to govern, advocates pressing to achieve or avert action, or countries marshaling support for global action.

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Bring Kennedy's ideas to your organization

Kennedy speaks and leads executive education programs around the world on Business in a Political Age, politics, trade, and world affairs.

Contact to confirm availability and honorarium.

Sign up for Kennedy's insights on public affairs or trade.

Kennedy in the news.

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WA Guide for D.C.'s Soul Survivors

Panel with Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Torie Clarke

Washington, DC

January 27, 2015

"You should be willing to share informed insight," said Graduate School of Political Management Director Mark Kennedy, who served three terms in Congress. "The really good leaders want to hear people that can add to their knowledge and give them new views. If you have somebody who punishes you for expressing something that's not in-line with their thinking, you are working for the wrong person."

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Risky Business - Economic Impact of Climate Change

Event with Secretary Hank Paulson


January 23, 2015

The Economic Club of Minnesota of Minnesota ( that I founded and chair hosted former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and the Chairman of Cargill, Greg Page, to discuss the release of a new report on the economic impact of climate change in the Midwest  by the Risky Business initiative. The focus of the discussion, moderated by ECOM President and former CEO of General Mills Steve Sanger, focused not on controversial political disputes, but the practical responses demanded of businesses and local government officials to address the impact of climate changes.

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The Big Ask and a Hand Across the Aisle: How Obama's SOTU Speech Helped Bring The U.S. Closer to a Trade Deal Breakthrough

Foreign Policy Opinion Piece

January 23, 2015

"A central truth in trade legislation is that nothing happens without a strong push by the president. There are few more contentious issues you face as a member of Congress. I know, having been one of the deciding votes the last time Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the so-called "Fast Track," passed both chambers.

The chances for TPA are still far from certain. Yet the prospects for completing major trade initiatives in both Asia and Europe that have vital geopolitical implications for America depends on its passage. Those chances were improved by President Obama's strong endorsement in the State of the Union."

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State of the Union Enhanced by Better Business-Government Relations

Huffington Blog Post

January 21, 2015

"In last night's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama was triumphant in taking credit for a growing economy, being "as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years," and noting that Russia's economy was "in tatters." What the President failed to acknowledge was that entrepreneurs largely drove these results.

Political, regulatory, media, and activist actors, what I call shapeholders, at times encouraged and at other times discouraged the risk taking that generated these public goods. Better relations between business and shapeholders offers great potential to improve the state of the union."

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SState of the Union Address

Article - U.S. News & World Report

TV - Washington DC's News Channel 8

Photo (© Kennedy) - listening to SOTU in U.S. House of Representatives Chamber

January 20, 2015

Given the President's approach to focus more on championing a progressive agenda than reach accommodation with Congress, regrettably "Whatever he says is less likely to be a reality, therefore [viewers] don't need to listen." That said, there is still hope for collaborative action hopefully on trade, tax reform and infrastructure investment. 

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