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An Evening With Tom Hashemi

The founder of Cast from Clay talks about the death of think tanks, Brexit, and bonfiring his brand.

Words: Laicie Heeley
Pictures: Holson House

I met Tom Hashemi because of a brand: this one.

My opening line was definitely something like, “You know this site about moms? Do you think you could build me one for foreign policy?”

Despite all that, he did, and we became fast friends, aided by the fact that he is truly one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

In addition to design, Tom’s team is leading the field in research on think tank communications — breaking the bad news, again and again, that folks had better shape up or ship out. And, sharing the good news that shaping up means learning to tell a better story. To, “bring the human back into policy communications.”

So it’s no surprise that earlier this month, Tom and his team took a page out of their own book. They scrapped their original name in an effort to better tell their own story.

I asked Tom about the new brand and lessons learned from his three years at the helm of one of the most cutting edge communications firms in foreign policy.

The highlights of our talk are included with the photos below:


Laicie Heeley

Editor in Chief

Laicie Heeley is the founding CEO of Inkstick Media, where she serves as Editor in Chief of the foreign policy magazine Inkstick and Executive Producer and Host of the PRX- and Inkstick-produced podcast, Things That Go Boom. Heeley’s reporting has appeared on public radio stations across America and the BBC, where she’s explored global security issues including domestic terrorism, disinformation, nuclear weapons, and climate change. Prior to launching Inkstick, Heeley was a Fellow with the Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program and Policy Director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Her publications include work on sanctions, diplomacy, and nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, along with the first full accounting of US counterterrorism spending after 9/11.


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