Walker’s Legacy Profiles recognize unique women of color in business who embody the legacy of Madame C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire. In this installment, focused on Women in Policy, meet award-winning policy strategist, Edda Collins Coleman.
Edda Collins Coleman is the Chief Public Affairs Officer and Co-Founder of All In Together, a non-profit campaign dedicated to increasing working women’s civic participation, closing gender gaps in civic engagement, and encouraging greater public and private sector collaboration. With experience in government, advocacy, politics, and business as a guide, Edda creates unique, strategic partnerships and advises several corporations and nonprofit organizations.
Edda is also the Founder and Managing Director of The 316 Group, a boutique firm working across political party lines to focus on political engagement, public affairs, advocacy relations and inclusion initiatives.
Not surprisingly political consulting companies are still widely dominated by male professionals. Edda decided to take matters into her own hands. By starting The 316 Group and co-founding All In Together, she’s challenged the status quo.
“Starting a company from the ground up is hard work, but I love a challenge.
“My goal as an entrepreneur is to empower women in policy, politics and civic engagement. What better way to do that than creating an organization for women led by women.”
Edda’s political background all began at Hampton University, her eternal home by the sea. There, she graduated with a degree in political science. She went on to earn a Masters in Communications from Georgetown University and is also a graduate of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.
In addition to her graduate education, she served on the staff of Virginia Governor Mark Warner, the Democratic National Committee, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Hill+Knowlton Strategies and Polsinelli Law Firm, where she focused on engaging Congress, building advocacy groups and partnership development.
Edda was also a gubernatorial appointee to the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth where she served on the Board of Trustees for a decade and was appointed by Governors Mark Warner, Tim Kaine and Bob McDonnell, respectively. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Women in Government Relations.
Edda’s talents are not limited to political strategy. She is also a skilled journalist. Her published works have appeared in the Huffington Post, Refinery29, the New York Daily News, OZY and The Hill. In addition to keynote presentations at national universities and conferences, her insights have appeared in media outlets such as Forbes, Digiday and the DailyWorth.
Becoming a successful and well-known leader in the policy sphere is attributed to Edda’s dedication to cultivating diversity and inclusion in government, which is needed now more than ever. As an entrepreneur, Edda lives by the saying, “If you want something done right, do it with passion.”