Newly elected President International Association of Political Consultants Maricio De Vengoechea flaunts decades of experience advising presidential candidates in US, Mexico and other countries, working with Lawmakers in the US. He emerged as the new President after the Association’s Annual Conference in Austria last week. He spoke with the NPO Reports. Excerpts:
Congratulations over your emergence as new President of the IAPC. Have you ever eyed the day the affairs of this global body would be run by you?
You do not enter to the IAPC with the objective of one day being president, but your participation and perseverance in supporting the principles and objectives of the association can take you, over the years, to be recognized with this, which for me is a true honor. It has a great symbolic significance to reach the presidency of IAPC the first world association of consultants founded by two great, Joseph Napolitan considered the father of modern political consulting and Michel Bongrand, 52 years ago.
We note that the number of board members has been drastically reduced, what was the reason for this?
Maybe we stay the same as always and we end up becoming a Club of friends. We did not care enough to bring the new generation of consultants, something we must do now. The industry has changed a lot in recent years and the association must adapt to the new times. I think I had to be president of the transition and as such I must keep the legacy of the founders in force but at the same time be giving the IAPC management to a new generation with new ideas for the future.
Now that you are the president, what specific changes should the members expect under you?
I think they expect to see me working on revitalizing and strengthening the association. For this I intend to do three specific things: The first, focus on bringing the new generation of consultants with their new ideas. Secondly, creating communication mechanisms between us. The members feel that if we provides to them knowledge and global experiences, it will be useful to them and their professional development. and thirdly strengthen the association economically.
How does this help the organization?
This ensures the interest of consultants worldwide in the association and the permanence of the IAPC in the future is ensured.
The IAPC has not been consistent in its brand outlook. For instance, it’s logo for the New York Conference was different from that of Antigua while that of Austria was also different from the one adopted for Iceland, why is this inconsistency?
In fact, it was now changed again at the Danube meeting. I share this concern, maybe we were wrong to think that this was the mechanism to adapt to modern times. Now it is also true that each meeting manages its own branding that seeks to motivate the city where the annual meeting was held. The truth is that we must project more the reputational brand of the IAPC as an institution, than the place of our meetings.
Are members and indeed, others at large to expect an adoption of a logo for enhanced brand identity?
I think some do expect. Others are more concerned about the permanence of the association over time. I insist, if we give more importance to our reputation and it comes from the values and principles that we defend; to arouse the interest of the new generation of consultants towards the association; and to strengthen ourselves, our permanence and importance in the future will be assured.
The theme for the Austrian Conference was “Democracy under pressure…” What solutions do you proffer to ensure that democracy serves the global population better?
I think a good analysis was made of what is happening, but we did not talk about the solutions that are important.
One of the things that has happened to us in recent years is that we have become analysts of the world political situation. It is perhaps because things have become complicated in almost every region of the world. But we are consultants and our role, is not to be analysts but strategists who must find solutions to advise our clients on how to solve it. That is, in my opinion, this is the approach that we should give to the programs of our annual meetings as well as showing how to win elections in today’s world.
Describe briefly what roles you think IAPC as a global body can play to ease the tension around democracy?
I think we should be much more active in giving opinions and participating in communications in the defense of our principles and values in defense of democracy, human rights and freedom.