Maven to Know: Elise Shrock, Director of Operations, Tamm Capital Group
As the 2020 election draws near, Elise Shrock is working to make sure everyone’s voices are heard.
The born-and-raised Hoosier is the current Director of Operations for Tamm Capital Group, where she oversees government affairs clients, as well as a number of others at the firm. In her spare time, she’s also a trainer for the National Democratic Training Committee, where she equips volunteers with a unified curriculum and the tools needed to win elections.
“We have to mobilize, we have to come together,” Elise says. “We have to vote.”
We slipped some time on Shrock’s schedule and discussed the importance of representation in local legislation, how white populations can be good allies, and the unique way she paid for her college book fees.
Maven superpower. I’m pretty intuitive. And I’m really good at ordering food for a table.
How would you describe your job to someone you just met at a dinner party?
I work at a boutique lobbying firm where we help clients advocate for their industry and employees. Our clients range from hospitality to technology, affordable housing, and criminal justice.
What’s it like working at Tamm Capital Group?
We are a very small shop, there are only seven of us on staff. It’s a really great opportunity to be in the statehouse and affect legislation and make sure that we’re helping people with their policy initiatives. I’m very involved in politics, especially when it comes to empowering women and immigrant communities.
What are you most passionate about?
One thing that I am really passionate about is increasing engagement in the political process for the Latino community. Coming from an immigrant family myself, I feel like my freedom and ability to do that would not have happened without the many, many sacrifices that my family has made along the way. It’s really an honor to do the work to fulfill their legacy for a better life and a better future and lifting up others along the way.
How have you personally advocated for these better lives and communities?
One of the first opportunities I had was when I worked for the Indiana Senate Democrat — a former senator was incredibly harmful to the Hispanic community. When the Senate Democratic Caucus looked to fight back and help pass new legislation that could maybe fix it, we looked around the caucus and there was literally no representation. So, I created the Indiana Latino Senate Democrat Latino Round Table. We found a lot of issues that were happening but probably wouldn’t have had a lot of a platform if we had not created that space.
What would you say to someone who is unsure about voting or perhaps this is the first election they’ll be voting in?
I would encourage them to vote early. Our country is facing too many crises at once for folks to not be able to come out and voice their vote — have input on the direction of our country. I would encourage them when they’re voting to look at their communities and not just their singular self. Look at what they want their community to look like and what they want their neighbors to have, not just themselves.
Some people might be nervous for this upcoming election. How can people have a good experience voting?
Well, I think that we have to get out of the mindset that we can only vote on Election Day. Especially right now, we want people to be as safe as possible. Vote as early as possible, get it done, don’t put it off.
Who’s a woman in office you admire?
While they are both moving on after this term, State Representatives Mara Candelaria Reardon and Karlee Macer are two women in office who I greatly admire. Both are authentic to who they are and have an unbreakable drive to make our state better. They have the unique ability to find consensus among many cross sections of stakeholders and take absolutely no shit from anyone.
You mentioned uplifting the voices of the Latino community and how we need more diversity in offices and representation. How can others offer help and give their support?
White folks can, first and foremost, make space for people of color by taking a seat themselves. It is important that white allies not center themselves in these discussions, but make space for people of color to speak their own truth and experiences to power. Make space for Latinx folks outside of the “Latino Outreach” moniker—the community has talented perspectives in all areas that would strengthen any organization. White allies must also realize that this work is never done, and their comfort is nowhere in the realm of the end goal. And finally, pay Latinx workers a fair wage, especially Latinas who suffer from the largest wage disparities.
What’s something people might not know about you?
Growing up, I was heavily involved in my hometown’s 4-H program. I raised swine to show at the 4-H fair, although I wasn’t very good. One year, inside the showmanship ring, I lost control of my pig and he went after the 4-H queen and her court. It was a great way to appreciate the full cycle of nature and where our food comes from. And the money I made from raising and selling the pigs ended up paying most of my book fees when I went off to college.
What’s your favorite weekend indulgence?
I love to cook. And I love to cook Spanish food. It makes me feel like my family is there in the kitchen with me.
Samantha Kupiainen is a regular Indy Maven contributor.