Roots: Sarah Flowers
Founder of 76 Words
Cascia Hall graduate Sarah Flowers now lives in Washington, D.C., where she works as a political consultant.
Vital stats: Graduated from Cascia Hall Preparatory School; attended The University of Oklahoma; worked for Oklahoma political campaigns including former state Rep. Bill Settle and former U.S. Rep. Brad Carson
Now: 30; political consultant and co-founder of Washington, D.C.-based 76 Words, a consulting firm opened in 2010 that specializes in campaign strategies using television, radio and online communications to elect Democrats and support progressive causes; a founding member of WeLEAD, a bipartisan leadership and mentoring training program at American University that works to increase the number of women working in politics and running for office
How does 76 Words fill a niche in the political world?
There are 76 words in a 30-second ad. We go about finding those words, the pictures that go with them and the strategies that make them effective more creatively than most. My whole practice has largely been built on the idea of how you tell stories. … What I think is the way that you both win elections and the way you advance policy forward is by connecting emotion and stories and impact to ask people for their vote.
Who are some of your current clients?
76 Words has three types of clients. We have people running for office … and so what we’re hoping to do is preferably work for about 20 people running for Congress this year and maybe one or two governor’s races. … We also work for Planned Parenthood (Federation of America) and for the United Nations Foundation. … We do ballot initiatives. … Our work changes from cycle to cycle in terms of what our clients’ focus is.
Of the campaigns you’ve conceived, which are you proudest of?
I’m very proud of the advertising and the organizing work that we just did for Planned Parenthood around the defunding fight.
Planned Parenthood has been a client of mine for almost the entire time I’ve been in the business, and what we were able to do through the national advertising we did there was demystify the work that Planned Parenthood does every day.
A lot of people think about Planned Parenthood and only think about abortion, but the truth is, one in four American women go to a Planned Parenthood at some point in their lifetime and (use) 97 percent of their services provided there. … All have to do with basic health care.
... I think both that work and the work of the advertising helped folks see this different angle and why having someone available to provide this health care to women mattered so much.
Are you interested in running for office one day?
I don’t think that is my call to political participation. … What I like to do is articulate strategies and messages with candidates to advance policy.
How did Tulsa prepare you for what you’re doing now?
I have amazing parents. I am lucky to have had a mom and a dad who made our childhood about learning and creativity and being open but never told me there was anything I couldn’t do. … My educational experience at Cascia (Hall) is fundamental to who I am. The way that we approached writing and the way that we approached developing an argument is key to what I do every day. I had a really wonderful speech and debate coach, Judy Rogers, who taught me that an argument was never something to shy away from — that speaking your mind was never something to be embarrassed about.
I do a lot of national television, like Fox News and the like, and it’s not always easy to go onto Fox News and support the president or defend the Democratic position, but I think of Judy and the confidence she gave me and how to articulate my opinion and to know that it was valid and an important part of the discussion, even if everyone doesn’t agree with you all the time.
What are some of your favorite memories of back home?
Most of my favorite memories of Tulsa have to do with my family. The nutcrackers at Utica Square over Christmas — that was a big tradition in our family. One of the really nice things about Tulsa is, no matter how long I’ve been gone, whenever I get off the plane and hug my mom and dad, I’m back home.
What do you miss most about Tulsa?
I miss seeing my family on a regular basis. When you live half a country away, that is a hard thing to go without. You can’t just walk over for dinner. I also miss the sort of community that Oklahoma has always had. And I mean that in the sense of Tulsa is a community, Cascia is a community, our church was always a community. That’s hard to replicate in D.C. and is something very special. It’s important to a lot of people in Tulsa and it has to do with the way Oklahomans live their lives.