NAME: William Berry
JOB TITLE: CEO, William Berry Campaigns
Capitol Weekly: How did you know that political campaigns would be your
William Berry: I got started working on political campaigns out of college
when I borrowed my parents’ one and only car and drove from Chico to Modesto
where I had gotten a job as a campaign organizer and worked on this huge
political campaign with some really talented people who took care of me for
a month. I was living in a condemned house–it was my first job out of
I loved the campaign part of it. That there was a beginning and an end, and
that there was always a winner and a loser. It was kind of like a
professional sport. And then from there, I guess someone saw something in me
and hired me to manage a campaign up in San Jose. From there, I spent 5 or 6
years traveling around the country managing campaigns.
CW: What is the mission of Bill Berry Campaigns?
WB: We come up with a message and strategy for the campaigns and then we
deliver that message. We try to have our political advertising remembered
and have it be different. I think when you look at our stuff, it doesn’t
look political. I try to aim what we do toward my parents which are kind of
like the average parents. And I am average too, I am not that smart–so when
you aren’t real smart you don’t get into a lot of trouble. Some people are
so smart that they think that everyone cares that much.
I am passionate about trying to win for a candidate or an issue that I am
passionate about. I have never worked a day in my life. You have to be able
to combine the joy of what you do with your beliefs in the causes. We’ve
gotten a lot of schools built and passed bonds, we’ve worked closely with
the environmental community. The reason why I got into this was for the
cause- and the cause is progressive politics.
I have always worked for myself. I chose a different path, and I have never
regretted it for a day. And I never had a resume till last week.
CW: Where is one of the most interesting places your work has taken you?
WB: I went to Ukraine and the wall had come down like two years before. They
were holding their first parliamentary elections in over a hundred years and
I traveled there with an organization that sent me to train political
candidates. And we went from town to town by train and trained candidates in
two-day time periods. I met this old guy who was running for office because
he wanted his grandkids to vote for him. He had never voted a day in his
life. With what little talent that I have–and that little talent is
political campaigns–I want to share it with people that for them it is not
just a political campaign, but sometimes life or death.
CW: Any interests outside of improving world politics?
WB: I read a lot. I am on the leadership council of the American Association
of Historians. I make wine. I make bad wine–but I make wine. I have a
three-year-old boy who I try to spend as much time with as possible. I read
a lot. I didn’t take my college education too seriously and I partied too
hard and now I regret what I don’t know. So, I have spent my time trying to
learn what I don’t know and I am passionate about that.