Steinhauser Strategies is a full service public relations company based in Austin, Texas. We were privileged to have co-founders Brendan and Randan Marie Steinhauser on the Agents of Innovation podcast to share their story with us. A husband-wife team with an 8-month old daughter, the Steinhausers formed their company four years ago. Between the two of them, they’ve run national campaigns, shaped public policy, led grassroots movements, and have built a network of allies in all fifty states.
Randan brings the creativity and public relations skill set. Brendan brings in the grassroots activism and political campaign experience. “Through the last ten years of working for different organizations, we kind of have developed our own skill sets that do come together and do complement each other,” said Brendan.
Brendan has worked for FreedomWorks, where he organized the largest tea party rally in our nation’s capital on September 12, 2009; he then worked for the Texas Public Policy Foundation; and then went on to be the campaign manager for U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s successful reelection bid in 2014. Randan has worked for the Foreign Policy Initiative, Senator Jim DeMint, and the American Federation for Children, where she worked with education philanthropist Betsy DeVos, who was recently appointed as U.S. Secretary of Education.
The couple met each other in DC, were married, and moved to Austin (in Brendan’s home state of Texas) in 2012. Randan was able to continue working remotely for various school choice causes. But after working at home, she was much more efficient and found she had more time on her hands. So, she got the fire in her belly to want to do something more. She and Brendan had always talked about the possibility of starting their own business — so why not start a public relations strategy firm and bring their skill sets together for public policy impact?
“It was scary,” said Randan. “I had this fire to start something.” After a conversation with her mom, who was very encouraging, she and Brendan got serious about it. “If it had not been for that conversation (with her mom) we wouldn’t have taken that plunge.”
While starting this venture was challenging at first, they have gotten more comfortable and represent a range of clients. They enjoy working on various projects for multiple clients. They work from their home office; from the capitol in Austin; they take meetings in coffee shops and hotel lobbies, in client offices, and they travel the state and country meeting clients and allies. Every day is different.
“You have to put in the time” to network. As Brendan told us on the Agents of Innovation podcast, 80% of life is showing up — and that’s even more true in the world of politics and public policy.
They tell their clients that when you hire Steinhauser Strategies, you get an issue advocacy campaign that uses multichannel marketing to get your message out, and that combines a multi-pronged strategy of policy, grassroots, social media, and campaigning, for a successful issue advocacy campaign. “We’ve set ourselves apart as a company by taking that approach,” said Brendan.
The couple shared their passion for working with others, helping mentor younger people, and traveling the world.
“We joke sometimes that we work to travel,” said Randan. “We really believe in working to gain life experiences – whether that’s through relationships or traveling the world. At the end of the day, I think that’s where we find the most benefit and the most comfort in life – is by being able to work to do something we are genuinely passionate about with great people and allows us to travel the world.”
Brendan added that, “Life is about the experiences, about getting outside of your office, outside of your town, your state, and even your country, and seeing the world and meeting people and experiencing things. That’s really what motivates us to work so hard.”
Listen to the full interview of the Agents of Innovation podcast (episode #23) on iTunes, Stitcher, or Soundcloud. The episode also includes the song “Hit the Ground,” by the folk rock duo Flagship Romance.