Presidential politics is a beast unlike anything most people have experienced. In terms of actionable work load, speed of work, and emotions, it’s like the week leading up to the Super Bowl for those who enjoy sports or the week of your annual corporate conference, gala or retreat for those in the private sector.

Instead of a week though, it is an entire year.

To say it is all consuming is an understatement. Daily 6:30am conference calls, 8pm conference calls, getting pulled in many directions at the same time. Crises popping up when you least expect it. Unraveling of plans and jumping to re-plan for the fifth time at midnight.

From a communications perspective, every reporter thinks their email, text or phone call is your most important of the day. Times fifty. Deadlines are fast and furious.

You are flying a large aircraft and your flight plan is changing as you fly. But that flight plan you’ve been trying to follow is really important to make sure you are driving the right messages to the masses.

No candidate knows how it feels to be in the presidential arena until they’ve done it. No U.S. Senate campaign or eight years in a governor’s office can prepare you for being in the barrel of running for president. And no campaign staffer knows what it’s like to work for someone on a presidential campaign until they’ve done it.

This past year, K2 was in the throes of a presidential campaign. We did it because it mattered, because America deserved a choice in the primary elections. Voters needed to decide if we wanted a redux of the 2020 election or something different.

By Super Tuesday, Nikki Haley saw the writing on the wall. Republican primary voters had made their decision. She ran a great race as an underdog and defied all expectations. Watching her toughness and grit as she went toe to toe with the fellas, as she would say, was inspiring.

And there’s another reason K2 got into the arena this election cycle. We need more women like Nikki Haley to step up, to do what’s right, not be intimidated by the roughness of the sport and challenge the status quo. It’s a mission the two Ks have had for some time. Be part of the solution. Get in the arena. That’s why I’m on the board of The Campaign School at Yale, to train women to run for political office or support women who are running.

We also did it because it’s a great experience that prepares you for the most difficult crisis the business world can throw at you. Experiences like these make us better communicators, better tacticians, and better at our jobs.

We want K2 to be at the top of our game for all of our clients. While working for Nikki, we continued to sharpen our edge and our relationships. Now, we will apply that to every advocacy project, down ballot campaign or corporate thought leadership strategy we work on.

-Kirsten Kukowski, K2 Partner