Growing up in rural Chenango County, in a relatively conservative part of New York, Minda Conroe often found herself engaged in debates.
“I was that person in my high school social studies class arguing with my teacher about the war in Iraq,” she says. “I was kind of a lone liberal in that area. … It honestly did teach me to see opposing viewpoints.”
Those early lessons have given Conroe the ability to more effectively communicate with clients at J Strategies, where she works on public affairs and advocacy campaigns focusing on issues like energy, tourism and finance. In one recent campaign, Conroe worked with the owner of several McDonald’s restaurants in the Southern Tier on a promotion that offered free meals to health care workers during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The core of our business that really founded J Strategies, it’s work called alliance development,” Conroe says. “We were kind of one of the first (firms) to do that strong organizing and advocacy.”
Conroe, who has been at J Strategies and member of its staff since 2015, says she is grateful to have previously worked for both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer – experiences that each taught her a different set of skills. In Cuomo’s office, she assisted with the daily schedule and planning events. “I was right there, kind of in the action,” she says. Meanwhile, her role in Schumer’s office taught her “that kind of like relentless, dogged pursuit of getting an accomplishment,” she says.