Shana Holmes, Senior Operations Manager and Communications Advisor at Analyst Institute
“How do we bridge the gap between the research and how we talk about it?”
Meet Shana Holmes. Shana Holmes, a Senior Operations Manager and Communications Advisor at Analyst Institute — a progressive analytics and research clearinghouse. Founded in 2007 to bring statistical rigor to the progressive movement, AI has a large membership base. Prior to joining AI, Shana was raised in the “Land of a 1,000 Lakes” where she worked on a number of campaigns including Al Franken’s Senatorial run; helping folks sign up for MNsure, Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace, as well as MoveOn’s Syrian Refugee Campaign. Shana recently moved from DC to Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood. Shana’s side hustle is a focus on writing and filmmaking: “I am currently working on a TV pilot (a comedy that touches on loneliness and mental health) and am taking a UCB sketch comedy class. I also performed on improv and sketch comedy teams when I lived in DC, although I prefer directing and writing to performing.” You can follow Shana on Instagram and connect to her via LinkedIn or our Slack.
How Did She Get Into This Work?
“We were not very civically engaged per se, but my family was very involved in the community. Through their church, they helped host weekly free dinners for those who needed it. They set a really good example for me.”
Shana grew up in Owatonna, Minnesota, population 35,000. Her interest in politics was sparked early. Beginning in her senior year of high school, Shana interned as a page for the Minnesota House of Representatives and an intern at the Governor’s office. She remained involved in politics throughout college. After teaching English in Taiwan for a year, Shana returned to D.C., working on the Franken campaign, as well helping folks sign up for MNsure — Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace, and running media and events for MoveOn’s Syrian Refugee Project. She went where she was needed, pitching in races or campaigns in Chicago and Philadelphia, and taking on a range of roles from field organizer to training director.
It was during the Franken campaign that Shana first heard about the Analyst Institute:
“While I was working as a 2014 field director I remember Josh Nussbaum (a former Civic Hall Organizer-in-Residence, and now co-founder of The Movement Cooperative) basing a lot of his thinking on AI’s research: “You have to check out this org!”
A year and a half ago, Shana did more than that; she joined the Analyst Institute as its Senior Operations Manager and Communications Advisor. Looking back at her experiences, she recalls how too many colleagues based their strategies on their gut, not data. Beginning in 2007 the founders of AI recognized this gap and wanted to be a nexus for rigorous testing. Over the past twelve years, it has run more than 600 field experiments and shared findings and best practices with the progressive community.
Given that empirical evidence shows that facts alone don’t persuade people, Shana is interested in how storytelling and research can work in tandem: “How do we bridge the gap between the research and how we talk about it?”
What Does She Do?
First, a bit of context about The Analyst Institute. AI has two arms: One runs scientific experiments on campaign tactics and messages: “Just like a clinical drug trial would test heart pressure medication, we test a persuasion message, or how many pieces of mails you should send.” The other arm is about synthesizing the research and translating it into recommendations and resources for the community.” Shana is currently managing AI’s Innovation Directed Research Fund (DRF) with America Votes and just co-wrote and designed a political spending report.
How Did She Come To Civic Hall?
Shana learned of Civic Hall through an Analyst Institute co-worker who had researched and recommended our community.
What is She Reading/Watching/Listening To?
“This may not be a typical answer, but I have loved all of the TV shows and movies that have come out recently showing a more genuine perspective of what it’s like to be a teenage girl. From Ladybird to PEN15 to Booksmart, it has been refreshing to see brutally honest portrayals coming from a female perspective. It seems like teenage girls in movies and shows are often relegated to one-dimensional, stereotypically characters — I love the change and I hope more films and shows from this perspective keep getting produced!”
What Is Her Ask of Civic Hall?
“Run tests with us!”
Ask: The Analyst Group is always looking for new research partners from members of the progressive community.
Offer: Research findings and best practices! “[We have] a ton of great resources, ranging from GOTV recommendations to tests on paid digital to canvass scripts.” AI just published a Political Spending report (aimed at netting Democrats votes) this past August 2nd. Additionally, for the last three years, AI has been publishing an Annual Research Report in partnership with the State Infrastructure Fund (SIF). Here’s the link to sign-up for our membership. To qualify you need only work in the progressive or civic engagement community. For-profits, 501(c)(3)’s and B-Corps are all welcome.