Public Affairs Lecture Series: Ally Isom

Brigham Young University enjoyed having Ally Isom speak at the Public Affairs Lecture Series on Thursday, November 2nd. Ally Isom is currently the director of Institutional Messaging for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The evening was full of her sharing motivational experiences and inspiration advice. She continually reminded us throughout the night that there is “no magic formula for success, except faith.”

Ally Isom graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in communications. After graduation, Isom started her career working for several political campaigns. From there, she worked as government affairs director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Later in her career she was appointed as the Utah governor’s deputy chief of staff. She worked as communications director, and spokesperson for Governor Gary R. Herbert. Currently, Ally works as the director of family and communications relations for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In regard to her career, Ally shared five principles that she follows when confronted with an issue. She explained that using these guiding principles in the following order helps promote success.

People-Principle-Policy-Process-Politics

Ally explained that carrying about people should proceed all other principles. Often in politics, individuals want to lead with the influence of policy or politics, but Ally argued that there is a better way as she explained these five guiding principles.

A highlight throughout the lecture was hearing Ally’s many references to her faith. Ally continually acknowledged the importance of trusting in God as He guides the futures. She advised, “put your career at God’s alter because he will make more of you than you can ever make of yourself.” She also taught that the spirit is the most loyal mentor and guide in our lives. She reminded us to listen to the prompting of the spirit, for “he will tell you when you went too far and when you have not gone far enough.”

It was also inspiring to hear Ally share her personal experience as being a woman, working in politics. Ally Isom is breaking barriers by being a working mom in Utah and holding higher position in politics and within the church. Ally taught that the dilemma between motherhood and the workforce is not real. She explained that options are only limited when one doesn’t have an imagination. It was evident that Ally was living proof of that statement. She shared many of the experiences that she has had as a woman, and mother, in politics.

Another highlight of the lecture was the advice that Ally said she would give if she could talk to her 22-year-old self. She gave the advice as follows.

  1. Breath because it’s all going to be okay
  2. Never stop learning and keep you mind open
  3. Keep your skills sharp and your network vibrant
  4. Leaders are not always on top of the organization chart
  5. Trust in God

Finally, Ally ended her lecture teaching us a principle that none will soon forget. She taught that practicing true discipleship in the public arena will transform an individual. In the hyper-polarized world we live in, we need to resist placing people in polarized duality. We must discuss ideas, issues, and solutions without being unkind, and remember that people matter, and each soul has infinite value.  We must see with spiritual eyes and hear with spiritual ears. Ally acknowledged that there will be hard days ahead but reminded us that we can do wondrous work for God. And finally, she invited us to “act with faith and revolutionize the world in which we live.”

We are so grateful for Ally Isom’s words of inspiration. She truly is the embodiment of her words and we appreciate her example to all those who were at the Public Affairs Lecture Series.