October 19, 2023

Perspectives from a Cornerstone Employee-Owner

During my years as a Senate staffer I met and knew plenty of multi-client lobbyists from various firms.  But when I decided to leave the Hill, I chose Cornerstone due to its people and its reputation.

Unlike other firms that often rely on the name recognition of former Members of Congress, Cornerstone has built a government relations practice around smart, hardworking, reliable, and effective former staffers covering every aspect of the political and policy landscape. Why? Because these are the people you call upon when you are in a pinch, and they know how to roll up their sleeves and get things done.

While Cornerstone has grown significantly since its founding in 2002, and since I joined in 2016, its ethos of teamwork has never wavered.  Our becoming an ESOP – Employee Stock Ownership Plan – was a major step in strengthening our Team approach and reinforcing our collaborative spirit.  At the time, Cornerstone examined a range of financial options to help the firm grow.  In the end, the partners realized that the best option to reinforce the spirit, culture, and philosophy of teamwork that had made it so successful was an ESOP.  It also allowed leadership to create a model of sustainability and reward those who were contributing to the success of the business.

Under an ESOP, all employees are owners.  We are all invested in the success of the firm, in helping each other, in maintaining our culture, and in building a business.

At Cornerstone, we can and do cheer for our chosen political party and hope for wins on election day.  But elections come and go, bringing changes to the parties in power.  To operate successfully, clients need a team with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, which we are fortunate to have at Cornerstone. But having strong players isn’t enough. A successful team requires collective effort that results in a sum greater than its individual parts.

Being an ESOP has reinforced our commitment to support each other and work collaboratively to achieve client success.  Every Cornerstone employee wants our clients to succeed, and, under the employee ownership structure, we are financially incentivized to help achieve that success.

There may be bigger government relations firms in Washington, and there are law firms and lobbying firms who have chosen different financial and organizational models.  But there is only one firm which incentivizes its entire staff to help its clients succeed by organizing itself around a teamwork model that brings everyone together on behalf of our clients.

I am proud that Cornerstone is an ESOP, and I look forward to working hard on behalf of our clients and my fellow employee owners now and into the future.