Execute the right strategy and MOVE THE WORLD. As experts in political strategy, fundraising, and advertising, we know that the right strategy wins.
With Olson Strategies guiding your campaign or organization, you will benefit from years of lessons learned on the ground managing and consulting for campaigns at all levels across the country.
So if you are ready to BRING IT, Olson Strategies & Advertising can provide the solutions, advice and services that will give you the advantage.
We want to start you on the path to breakthrough results in your election.
Managing Partner and Director of Consulting
“Feisty.” That’s how the Kansas City Star described one of Dustin Olson’s campaigns.
With more than ten years of experience in campaigns and political advertising, Dustin Olson has managed or consulted for campaigns and organizations throughout the country at all levels. He has a reputation for hard work, originality and making things happen.
Dustin Olson’s campaigns are known for FOCUS… on strategy, on message, on targeting, on identifying supporters, on goals and metrics, and on massive turnout. The number one aspect that sets his campaigns apart is the understanding that THE RIGHT STRATEGY WINS. As Olson says, “In campaigns, activity is common. Strategy is rare.”
“Where are you going, what’s the landscape, what resources will you have to get there and considering all of this, what path do you take? The answers to those questions are the bedrock of a winning strategy,” says Olson.
Dustin Olson is also known for taking on tough races (A Ray of Light for GOP – The Politico) and crafting and executing aggressive strategies for candidates ranging from challengers, open seats and incumbents with tough reelections.
In an article in U.S. News & World Report, columnist Michael Barone commented on one of Mr. Olson’s races saying that while the opposition was fighting the last war, Olson’s candidate was running a campaign that more clearly dealt with the realities of the present. (Lessons of a Near Upset in Massachusetts – U.S. News & World Report)
In order to win, Dustin Olson executes aggressive fundraising strategies for his clients so they have the resources to compete. But his approach is not solely focused on how much money you have to spend, but rather how you spend it.
Following Congressman Joe Wilson’s “You Lie” incident during a joint session of Congress, Joe Wilson asked Mr. Olson to help him prepare for the multi-million dollar onslaught from radical liberal groups. The Wilson team raised $5,925,471.47. Through the efforts of the Wilson fundraising team, Congressman Wilson became the top recipient of small donations in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Dustin Olson also fights to get press coverage for his clients, even in difficult and crowded media markets, by implementing creative and bold tactics.
The Los Angeles Times highlighted the novel “Take Joe to Work” and “Joe Means Jobs” campaigns saying they used, “Facebook and Twitter to document his [Wilson’s] innovative campaign to highlight employment issues…” and allowed small businesses to put Joe to work doing one of their jobs, giving the congressman a chance to walk a mile in their shoes. (Working Joe Wilson Completes His Jobs Campaign – LA Times).
Numerous clients from the Republican National Committee to Colorado Family Action have hired Mr. Olson for his background in quickly building large targeted grassroots operations focused on identifying and turning out voters.
With Dustin Olson providing hands-on strategic counsel, your organization will have an even-keel for when the storm hits. He understands that your name is on the line and that you deserve real professionals that will do their utmost to help you win.
But he won’t work for just anybody. Dustin Olson believes that less government means more individual freedom and that we as citizens must do everything in our power to promote and protect America’s tradition of liberty. Olson only helps candidates and organizations that support this philosophy and understand that while this unique and exceptional idea is enshrined in our founding documents, each generation must fight for its preservation.
Beyond campaigns, Olson served in the Bush Administration where he dealt with agriculture and conservation issues, worked on Capitol Hill and served on President Bush’s second Inaugural Committee.
Olson graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He is a native of Colorado and lives in Denver.
Partner and Director of Fundraising
“Fundraising is successful only when donors believe in the ‘product’ in which they are investing.”
Carolyn heads up the fundraising department for Olson Strategies and Advertising. The team has combined experiences ranging from congressional, statewide and local campaigns all across the country. Carolyn’s experience includes fundraising for congressional campaigns such as the successful re-election campaign for Congressman Joe Wilson, one of the top five most expensive congressional races of 2010.
She helped raise $5,925,471.47 during the 2010 election cycle, most of which was through both traditional and innovative fundraising methods months after the initial reaction to the “You Lie” incident.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Congressman Wilson became the top recipient of small dollar donations in the U.S. House of Representatives. Out of the total number of donations, 63,232 donations were $200 or less.
Through the use of direct mail, online and phone solicitations, Carolyn and her team continued to increase the small donor numbers throughout the campaign (Campaign of few house members fueled by the ‘small donors’ – Center for Responsive Politics).
There are four important building blocks that Carolyn believes are necessary for any candidate to have success in fundraising:
1) First, you need The Finance Plan, which is crucial for maintaining focus and accountability in executing the financial goals of the organization.
2) Second, you need Goals & Metrics. Having regular monthly, weekly and daily internal reports is a necessary tool to keep track of the amount of donations that are being collected and what methods are bringing in the most money.
3) The third building block is making sure to Follow-up with donors about their financial commitments to the campaign.
4) Lastly, Organization is needed for call time, events, and especially organization of the donor database to be effective.
With these four crucial building blocks and Carolyn on your team to help adapt these proven systems to your campaign, you are guaranteed to become more successful at fundraising so that you have enough money to get your message out and win.
In addition to her fundraising background, Carolyn has extensive experience on the political scene both in the U.S. and internationally. While studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2008, Carolyn worked for a member of Parliament helping with research while learning about the United Kingdom’s system of government. She also has worked on campaigns including President George W. Bush, Karen Floyd for Superintendant of Education, Ken Wingate for State Senate, as well as working for the former governor of South Carolina and the South Carolina Republican Party.
Carolyn graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. She is a native of Columbia, South Carolina and currently lives in both Columbia and Denver.
Partner and Director of Advertising Services
With his tenacious style, Sean Bartley has earned the nickname “Bulldog” from friends and foes alike.
Sean has earned a reputation for his ability to build campaigns that are professional, aggressive and known for giving his candidates their best chance at victory.
From his first campaign, where he took an issue campaign from a 40 point deficit to a 12 point victory, Sean Bartley has been willing to tackle tough contests and make every campaign contend for the all important electoral victory.
Through his decade of experience leading campaigns, fundraising consulting, and political advertising, there is no facet of a campaign that Sean Bartley hasn’t done.
It’s this experience that has shown Sean that every campaign is different and that there is no magic formula for victory.
Through his knowledge and ability to gauge the electorate, Sean was deemed the “smartest guy in town” by the Fort Wayne Reader for his campaign’s landslide victory in hotly contested 2011 Fort Wayne Republican mayoral primary.
Knowing that not all campaigns have the same strengths or opportunities is one of the main reasons that Olson Strategies is a full service campaign consulting firm. We want to be able to build your campaign without trying to direct you to a specific product or service.
Whether Sean Bartley is working a local mayoral race, organizing Congressman Joe Wilson’s grassroots campaign that made over a quarter of a million volunteer voter contacts, or spearheading Colorado State Senator Bernie Herpin’s historic campaign to recall the sitting Colorado State Senate President, he will work tirelessly to give you and your campaign the best opportunity at victory.
Beyond campaigns, Sean has worked as a communications consultant for the oil and gas industry and as a legislative aide in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Sean Bartley looks forward to putting his wealth of political and policy experience to work for you.
Director of Government Relations
Kelly Sloan is a government relations, public affairs, and communications consultant with ties in both Denver and the Western Slope.
He brings several years of experience in government relations, journalism, and public policy. As the Energy and Environmental Policy Fellow at the Centennial Institute, Kelly has produced policy papers on the environmental lobby’s legal assault on energy production, and on the costs of renewable mandates. He is an experienced journalist, who has written or served as editor for the Grand Junction Business Times, The Colorado Statesman, and oil and gas industry publications. His columns have appeared in the Business times, Colorado Statesman and the Denver Post. He has appeared on local, state and national media speaking on a variety of public policy issues.
Kelly was the policy director for Bob Beauprez’ 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Colorado, and has served in a communications and policy advisory role for several statewide campaigns. He has represented a broad range of clients at the Colorado State Capitol and at the federal level, and has extensive experience in policy issues ranging from oil and gas, to criminal justice, to business and regulatory issues. In the course of advocating for his client’s interests, Kelly has formed solid relationships with legislators at all levels, and on both sides of the aisle, as well as with various trade associations, industry groups, and issue organizations.
Kelly was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and graduated from Mount Royal University in 1994. He looks forward to providing your organization with the direction needed to navigate the complex world of public policy and communications.
J. Mark Powell
Director of Communications
J. Mark Powell is Missouri native with more than 30 years experience in both government and journalism.
He knows what it’s like to be on both ends of the phone – as a reporting asking tough questions, and as a communications expert answering them.
Mark’s remarkable career began with working as an announcer and news reporter at a Joplin, Missouri radio station while still in high school. He honed those skills working weekends in KJRH-TV’s newsroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma while earning his college degree.
A string of news jobs followed: reporting at a TV station in Joplin, then off to CNN Headline News in Atlanta, followed by more local news at TV station in Huntsville, Alabama and Paducah, Kentucky. He later worked in the Kentucky Governor’s Office and a media/public relations company in Louisville.
But news called him back, and in 1995 Mark returned to CNN (and later CNN Headline News again), where he had a front row seat to the biggest stories of the day.
In 2009, he accepted a new career change by finally tasting politics from the campaign side. He became communications director for a gubernatorial campaign in Alabama, and later served on a congressional re-election campaign in South Carolina. Then it was off to Capitol Hill, where he served as a staffer for a New Hampshire Congressman. In 2012, he became communications director for the South Carolina Attorney General’s office.
Along the way, he published two novels, The Curse of Cain and Tell It Like Tupper. Eventually, the Missouri Ozarks lured him home to be near his family, where Mark currently writes Holy Cow! History, a syndicated newspaper column.
Mark looks forward to putting his extensive skills set to work in helping you achieve your communication goals.
Director of Digital Media
A natural story-teller, Megan has worked around the country with a diverse range of experiences in politics, government and media.
While the landscape of media has transformed in the last decade and the ways stories are told has changed, Megan can develop a clear, compelling and consistent message that will be heard no matter the medium.
After receiving a B.A. in Journalism with a focus on political science from the University of Minnesota, Megan spent a year in New York City working for a fashion magazine as an online editor and learned how the new world of digital media works from the inside.
She then moved to Texas where she led the “war room” for a U.S. Senate bid, heading up media monitoring and rapid response while gaining critical experience on a nationally-watched campaign. As a member of the campaign’s communications team, Megan assisted in developing and executing the campaign’s long-term communications strategy while also reacting quickly and carefully to the events of the day, always remaining on message.
From 2012 to 2015, Megan served as the Communications Director for a Texas State Senator. During her time at the Texas Capitol, Megan worked directly with the press core during two legislative sessions and was responsible for the Senator’s social media accounts as well as writing speeches, newsletters and email communications. For every bill the Senator introduced, Megan crafted a message plan around the legislation and ensured that everything from a speech on the Senate floor to a tweet was consistent with that plan.
Megan has also worked as a social media consultant for several organizations and campaigns and recently has worked as a tracker for an opposition research organization. She has seen close-up what can happen when a campaign goes off-message, and it has reinforced her passion for helping campaigns and organizations stay true to their stories.
Whether it is a Facebook post, a picture on Instagram or a story on Snapchat, Megan is committed to not only creating and developing a story for her clients but also ensuring it is told in a consistent and compelling manner. An early-adopter of social media (she was the first person she knew to have a Facebook page AND a Twitter account), Megan understands the intricacies of the various and ever-changing platforms and how to leverage each one for the greatest advantage.
Megan believes participating in social media and having an online presence is no longer an option for any campaign or organization, and she looks forward to helping you create, develop and maintain your social and digital media personalities to not just draw attention, but keep it.
When not working, Megan enjoys exploring her new home city and state, Denver. A lifelong skier and newfound hiker, her Instagram feed is full of mountains, beautiful Colorado sunsets, and, yes, on occasion, her dinner.