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Business in a Political Age

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 7A Framework.

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Winning Politically

Opposing forces have multiplied.  Winning requires force multipliers.

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Winning Geopolitically

A flatter world requires wider vision, narrower focus, closer friends

Winning Thru Trade

Unleashing trade's power to ignite growth and reduce friction

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Kennedy’s 360° Insights

 Globally engaged business executive, Congressman, Professor


 Kennedy is a thought leader on engaging to win, whether organizations engaging governments and societies globally, advocates seeking to achieve or avert action, or countries marshaling support for collective 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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IMG 1340How 'Top Gun' Explains the TPA Trade Bill

Foreign Policy Opinion Piece

May 13, 2015

"I admit freely that I have an unusual way of winding down at night. Often I do so by watching either the first or last 10 minutes of the film Top Gun. As a firm advocate of trade with a keen understanding of how it underpins America's global standing, Senate Democrats' defeat of President Barack Obama's effort to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) was an evening that required serious wind-down time.

Tuesday I chose the last ten minutes of the film. The pilot protagonist, "Maverick," had experienced serious loss. His radar intercept officer "Goose" had perished in a training mission. As fellow pilot "Iceman" faces six Soviet MiGs and is in serious trouble as he tries to protect a wounded U.S. Navy ship, he calls Maverick in to help. As he sits above of the mad scramble of jets below, Maverick hesitates. The anxiety over the loss of Goose makes him pause. His new partner "Merlin" implores him to maneuver their plane into the fight. He still wavers, but in the end moves past his loss, engages, and does what needs to be done to protect America's ship.

That is the perfect metaphor for what happened on Tuesday. Many in America are anxious over the economic losses we have experienced as technology has automated many tasks and increased global competition has lowered prices. Both of these trends have put pressure on wages, particularly for those jobs requiring less technical skills. We are indeed in a mad scramble with many other nations to determine who will fulfill the wants and desires of emerging markets' growing middle classes."

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HatchetGSPM director hopes to turn free online course into marketing tool for enrollment boost

GW Hatchet Article

May 11, 2105

by Ryan Lasker | Assistant News Editor - GW Hatchet

"Mark Kennedy, director of GSPM, said in an interview last month that enrollment had hit nearly 700 users for his course "Business in a Political Age" — a major milestone for a school whose most popular degree had fewer than 200 students last year. He said the goal of the course is to bring more students into the school, which offers both online and on-campus classes, by highlighting its strengths in politics and business.

"The idea is to let people have a taste of it," Kennedy said. "If they like it and they want more, the goal would be that some slice of these people coming in through the MOOC is going to say, 'Maybe I ought to get my degree from GW. Maybe I ought to get my degree from GSPM.'"

The course outlines seven ways for businesses to engage with the what Kennedy calls "shapeholders," or outside companies and organizations that can impact business activity. The most successful businesses can anticipate other organizations' decisions and accurately size up situations before taking action, he said."

Media Credit: Anna McGarrigle | Senior Designer - GW Hatchet


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BidartThe Rocky Road to Passing Trade Promotion Authority

Foreign Policy Opinion Piece

Photo (© Kennedy) - Bidart, France

May 8, 2015

"The bipartisan push for passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is akin to epic dramas where competing leaders set aside their quarrels to join forces when the fate of the realm is in the balance. President Barack Obama and Republicans have locked arms to break down barriers that threaten our economic vitality and global leadership. Both the president and congressional leaders must skillfully outmaneuver undermining forces on each of their flanks to achieve victory.

For 75 years, America has heeded past lessons that rejecting the benefits of trade prolongs economic misery. The Smoot-Hawley Tariffs in 1930 sparked retaliatory duties that drove a drastic reduction in U.S. exports that deepened and lengthened the Great Depression. We cannot let their protectionist successors similarly prolong the Great Recession.

President Obama joins an unbroken string of Democratic presidents that have successfully championed trade. Both he and Republicans face hurdles in delivering the votes necessary to extend this record."

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PRWeekPR Education Program of the Year

PRWeek Award Celebration

Washington, DC

April 30, 2015

It was wonderful to celebrate the George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) receiving PRWeek's recognition as the PR Education Program of the Year. This clearly recognizes the wonderful education experience for students enrolled in the program.

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YPIAThe Debate over U.S. Global Trade Policies in 2015 and Beyond

Panel Discussion - Young Professionals in International Affairs (YPIA)

Washington, DC

April 29, 2015

It was wonderful to organize and lead a panel discussion for (YPIA) and the Young Trade Professionals (YTP) from the Washington International Trade Association (WITA).  I appreciate Scott Miller from CSIS and Daniel Anthony from The Trade Partnership for joining me. As key trade votes are pending in Congress, it was an ideal time to discuss how the outcome impacts their lives and how they can find careers related to trade.

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