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denise Cardinal is the founder and President of Cardinal Insight, a communications and consulting firm servicing nonprofits, progressive candidates, causes and campaigns.

She most recently served as the Executive Director of ProgressNow, a 21-state network of communications-centered advocacy organizations known for their smart messaging and tough tactics. She started the Minnesota affiliate, Alliance for a Better Minnesota (ABM) in 2007, which has been widely touted as a national model (see: New York TimesMother JonesStar Tribune) During her tenure, she led the organization through the 2010 election that helped get the first DFL Governor elected in Minnesota in decades -- one of the few bright spots for progressives that year.

Before moving back to her home state of Minnesota in 2006 to be communications director for America Votes Minnesota and then start ABM, Denise served for five years as Senior Press Officer for the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. working mainly on the so-called No Child Left Behind Act.

She also spent time in our nation’s capitol as the Press Secretary for U.S. Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND). She’s worked at newspapers in Nevada, Idaho, Iowa and earned a degree in Journalism from Drake University in 1995. She’s the first in her family to attend and graduate from college, and lives in Saint Paul with her two school-aged children, husband and brown dog in a drafty 100-year-old house. She grew up in Stillwater, Minnesota on the St. Croix river across from Wisconsin. And yes, she really does in fact like the cold.