Threase A. Harms – President/CEO
Hello and welcome to the Advocacy Strategies website. I hope you take this opportunity to meet our staff and learn more about the strengths, experience and relationships that each of the AS team members bring to the firm and ultimately allow us to be successful for our clients!
I have over 20 years experience lobbying on behalf of clients ranging from fortune 50 companies, municipalities, local government associations, state agencies, and non-profit organizations. My intimate knowledge of the legislative process and long time serving both in the lobby as well as a short time in the Iowa Senate have provided me long standing solid relationships with policymakers, staff and key opinion leaders in many areas. I have a proven track record of working on controversial legislative issues, securing and maintaining state appropriations and working to find compromise to help move issues forward.
I have also spent nearly two decades developing and implementing successful public affairs and grassroots campaigns of all sizes from national campaigns across the country to smaller campaigns in Iowa communities. My wealth of expertise in this area affords Advocacy Strategies a strong network of relationships with legislative and community leaders and a unique skill set in developing successful and innovative strategies to achieve policy goals that few firms are able to offer.
As a very proud Iowa farm girl, I was born and raised in Alden, Iowa before attending the University of Northern Iowa where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies. I also had the distinct honor of serving as both the Student Body President and Vice President, as well as playing on the nationally-recognized UNI Women’s Rugby team. While at UNI, I worked with the administration and the student body to implement a multi-million dollar legislative campaign to restore the oldest building on campus, Lang Hall. I earned my Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Iowa State University in May of 2011.
Upon graduating from UNI, I worked in the Iowa Senate on education issues before my employment with the American Cancer Society (ACS) as their first Director of Government Relations. In the five years as director, I succeeded in passing a number of important legislative items, and assembled a strong, statewide grassroots organization from the ground up. From ACS, I took the position of Director of the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control division within the Iowa Department of Public Health, giving me the opportunity to use my passion to protect families from the hardships of illness and death from tobacco use. While there, I had the ability to work across state agencies and departments, to promote tobacco control issues and set the stage for significant policy issues to move forward in the coming years to protect the health of Iowans. With multiple successes in the non-profit sector, I was recruited to be part of the Worldwide Alliance Development team for Pfizer, Inc. I spent nearly two years leading up the strategic development and implementation of policies across the country for oncology, tobacco and general patient access issues, worked on outreach with patient advocacy and professional organizations on behalf of the company, and implemented strategic advocacy campaigns nationally and internationally.
The relationships I built and the years of experience I have in shaping public policy through both lobbying and grassroots work in fields such as health care, education, environmental issues, economic development, local government, and the judicial system made me realize that I have the drive, passion and resourcefulness to help companies and organizations that I believe in, meet their objectives. I formed Advocacy Strategies, LLC to address the unmet needs of groups in and out of Iowa who need to be represented before policymakers and need to have access to comprehensive strategies and campaigns to help them fulfill their organization or business missions and goals.
I live in Windsor Heights, Iowa with my husband and three children. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, cycling, attending sporting events, and supporting the UNI Panthers. Our family keeps very active in the community. I serve as a member of the Windsor Heights City Council and on the Board of Directors for the Metro Waste Authority, Healthiest State Initiative Strategic Statewide Alliances Committee, HCI/VNS, and the UNI – Des Moines Panther Scholarship Club. I have also served on Leadership Iowa Board of Governors for the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, Health Advisory Council for Iowa Legal Aid; Board of Directors for Easter Seals Iowa, Greater Des Moines Partnership Well Communities Committee, Northern Iowa Women’s Rugby Foundation, and Iowa Sustaining Parents Involvement Network Committee for Clive Elementary.
Additionally, I am an active member of the UNI Alumni Association, a Big Sister with the Big Brother/Big Sisters of Central Iowa, a volunteer and mentor for the Business Horizons program, a dedicated member of the VeloRosa Cycling Team, a member of the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Windsor Heights Chamber and am consistently involved in helping the West Des Moines School District. I pioneered the UNI and Des Moines Women’s Rugby teams, am a regular RAGBRAI rider, and a licensed foster parent.