Phillip Singleton is the only consultant in The Process who can lay claim to the title “Hip-Hop Lobbyist.”
He also claims a first: In 2010, he says he became the youngest African-American registered lobbyist in Florida history.
The next year, the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators recognized him as an Emerging Leader in Politics, and he was included in 850 Business Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 in Florida politics.
He founded Singleton Consulting in 2014. It’s a long way from his days as a hotel clerk in Tallahassee.
Here’s Singleton in his own words:
I am … 30 years old.
I live in … Palm Beach Gardens.
I got into politics … because I was fired from the DoubleTree hotel in Tallahassee the weekend after Tim Tebow scored four touchdowns in Doak Campbell Stadium. The hotel called it downsizing. I called it a forced step out on faith. I was unemployed, so I maxed out my credit cards and savings to pay my bills up for six months, just to take an unpaid internship in the Capitol. I took advantage of the opportunity and I fell in love with the process.
One principle I always put above politics is … humility. I live by the mantra #HumbleAndHungry because of my humble beginnings and the hunger to be successful. Throughout life, and especially in politics, people get caught up chasing power, clients or a title that will feed their ego. Life’s too short to be in a nonexistent competition with other people. I believe that humility teaches you to treat people with respect and to always remain true to yourself regardless of the accomplishments, status, wealth or positions you attain in life. I never forget that at the end of the day we are all regular people in the eyes of our creator, we just happen to work in politics.
Person or people who gave me my first shot are … State Rep. Dwayne Taylor and attorney Sean A. Pittman. Representative Taylor interviewed me in the lobby of the DoubleTree the week before I was let go. He saw that I was a hard worker and believed that this opportunity could open up bigger doors for me. After interning with him and the House Minority Office, Sean Pittman gave me an opportunity to really learn and grow under his tutelage. I appreciate both of these gentlemen for giving a young black man a chance.
I’ve already worked on … a lot of campaigns across Florida at the local, state and federal level. During the 2014 cycle alone, I was able to work on four successful races including Gwen Graham for U.S. Congress, Alan Williams for State House, Andrew Gillum for mayor of Tallahassee and Nick Maddox for Leon County Commission.
When I begin a project or first work on a campaign, I look at … the numbers. Jay-Z said it best, “Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t.” The numbers allow you to set a goal you can work toward and let you know what your team needs to achieve in order to be successful. In a campaign, you need to know how many votes it’s going to take to win, then build your infrastructure to reach that capacity.
I’ve been blessed to have these people as my mentors … In no particular order: Ron Book, one of the best-dressed and hardest-working people I’ve ever met. He’s quietly an Oakland Raiders fan, too. Sen. Oscar Braynon II is like a big brother and one of the few elected officials I have a secret handshake with. Bill Peebles, his style and knowledge are invaluable. Yolanda Cash Jackson, she took time to really teach me the finer details of this process. Rana Brown, she’s amazing, smart, funny and quietly one of the best in the game. And Davin Suggs always takes the time to inspire and point me in the right direction.
The people I most admire in politics are … the staff members. Committee staff, legislative staff or chief of staff, it doesn’t matter. They make this process look so easy and their bosses look even better. When you really think about it, they keep the wheels of this state churning and I admire their dedication.
One lesson I’ve already learned is … the Hip-Hop culture has barely scratched the surface of what it could do in politics. The culture impacts almost every industry outside of music but none of these businesses are at the political table. It’s more than voting or hiring a lobbyist, its actually being involved and understanding the impact policy plays on their business. As stated by Aubrey Graham, “doing is one thing, doing it right is a whole different story.”
If I wasn’t working in politics, I’d be working in … I honestly don’t know. This was God’s plan not mine. I would have probably still been working in a customer service capacity or found a way to work in the music industry.
In 10 years, you’ll read about me … winning two Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical album and Best Rap Song, then flying back to Tallahassee the next day to make sure my clients’ projects are in the budget. Real Hip-Hop Lobbyist style.