My Journey in Communication
My name is Ted Dahlstrom. I am from Yakima, Washington. I graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Business and a minor in Political Science. After discovering the excitement of government and politics during my studies in college, I decided to move to Washington, DC, to try my hand at the political game. I arrived in Washington with no job, no connections, and only what could fit in my car. It was sometimes hard to be so far away from my family, but moving to the east coast was an easy decision for me at the time because fear of regret drives me much more than fear of failure.
Through luck and good timing I ended up realizing my vision and got a job working for Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho. As you might expect, I had to research how to properly pronounce his last name (Cray-poe) before my interview. As a native northwesterner, I understood the needs of Idahoans and fit into the office culture right away. I felt so proud to represent the Senator and the people of Idaho. I often couldn't believe that I was actually in the Capitol learning about Congressional procedure and gaining invaluable writing experience as a part of my job.
Working for the Senator taught me the writing and interpersonal skills necessary to succeed in communication and advocacy. Since then my career has taken many positive turns, including working for a Congresswoman from Illinois, running a small Seattle-based non-profit educational foundation, managing the government affairs operations for a financial services company, and consulting on various communication-related projects.
The ability to explain complicated issues in simple terms to a variety of audiences has been central to my professional development. By quickly learning, understanding, and explaining new issues as they arise, I have grown into a strategic and insightful communicator. Telling the story of the organizations for which I have worked has been the most rewarding aspect of my career.
Effective communication skills, including clear writing, insightful research, and strategic messaging, are the most important aspects of success in government and politics. That realization has driven me to continually improve my writing and communication skills in order to tell an even better story. It has also given me the ability to apply my skills in career fields outside of government, including communications, public affairs, and public relations.
In order to broaden my base of knowledge and become more marketable to companies here in the Northwest, I enrolled in the COML program at Gonzaga University. Over the past two years I have grown as a scholar through the COML program and look forward to continuing my journey as a communication professional. Earning a master's degree from Gonzaga will give me an in-depth understanding of communication that will allow me to excel in any career field I choose.