Organizer Spotlight: Alex Goldman
Talking on the phone with Alex Goldman immediately reminds you of how fun organizing can be. It can be easy to focus on the day-to-day tasks, the skill building that will make you more successful, and the meaningful inspiring moments; but when you hear Alex talk about his work, you think only of how much fun this 21-year-old temporary college dropout (he’s going back!) is having, working nonstop for a candidate he believes in.
Passionate, energetic, and full of infectious joy, Alex explodes with excitement when he talks about his experience organizing for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, first in New Hampshire and Nevada, next in Idaho, and finally in Minnesota. He’s worked in pretty much every kind of turf—some with hundreds of eager volunteers, others with basically no prospects (or people)—and experienced many of the highs and lows that can come with a year and half of electoral organizing. What’s special about Alex though is the joy he finds in the lows.
He talks about organizing in Idaho for the caucus—a state they lost, a state they knew they would lose—with as much affection as he talks about organizing in Nevada—a state they won by five points. If he mentions an organizer he’s worked with mid-story, he can’t help but sidetrack to talk about how amazing that organizer is, how integral that organizer’s support of him is to his own success. He mentions, occasionally, that the work is hard and sometimes exhausting, but mostly he exudes gratefulness that he’s had this opportunity, “the single greatest experience of [his] life.”
Alex began organizing for Hillary almost immediately after she announced, taking a leave of absence from McGill University to become a fellow in New Hampshire. He started to make the decision as soon as she announced her candidacy for president, having learned how much he loved being a part of something bigger than himself during his previous congressional internships. His mind was made up, however, when he saw on her website that one of her most important policies was universally funded early childhood education in all 50 states.
Born with serious ADHD, Alex was lucky enough to live in Potomac, Maryland, one of the wealthiest counties in the United States that has high federal income taxes going straight to an incredible early childhood education program. This early childhood education took an insurmountable challenge and made it surmountable. Alex recognizes how lucky he is to have been born in that zip code—being born 30 minutes away would have given him vastly different opportunities.
“When I realized there were so many children like me who felt like they could do something but were completely beholden to their own disability and had no resources from the government simply because of where they were born—a choice that they did not make—I became really passionate about trying to change that.”
Seeing a candidate he believed in who supported a cause so close to his heart, Alex took what was supposed to be one semester off of college to become a fellow in New Hampshire. That semester soon turned into a year and a half and Alex is loving every minute of it.
As a deputy regional organizing director, Alex spends his time managing volunteer teams, fellows, and even organizers—working both to organize his own turf and to support and manage other organizers. Working in a pretty expansive role with a lot of turf, he doesn’t actually spend his time worrying about goals. Instead, he sees his job as doing maintenance on the structures he’s created—making sure everything is operating smoothly and all of his volunteers have the tools to succeed.
This approach, to focus on structure building instead of goals, pays off; he hits his goals by Thursday almost every week.
He has two main pieces of advice for his fellow organizers. First, to remember every lesson you learn and every best practice you hear across your time as an organizer. Even if it doesn’t apply at the moment, he guarantees you will end up using it in the future.
And second, to remember that your fellow organizers are your family:
“Whether you like it or not, [your fellow organizers] are your family. Really leaning on each other and depending on each other and talking to each other and being open with each other is the most important thing you can do.”
Alex clearly follows his own advice because when chatting about his time as an organizer, he insisted on dedicating some of his own spotlight to thanking those who have helped him along the way: his New Hampshire Fellows Crew, Manny Espitia, Christie Gidumal, Daniel Ki, Chelsie Ouellette, Kim Kargman, Matt Beltrami, Meagan Gardner, Joel Wanger, Emmy Ruiz, Jorge Neri, Amanda Clarke, Rachel Niemerski, Emma Laurent, James Sonneman, Eleanor Wood, and Anatole Jenkins.
Alex will leave this organizing experience in just a few months, but he will always have the collection of new best friends he’s met on the campaign. He can’t wait to see what they all do with their lives, but I know I’m not the only one that can’t wait to see what he does with his. Keep up the great work, Alex! And thanks for all that you do.