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Meet Nicole Kuklok-Waldman and Katherine Hennigan of Collaborate

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Kuklok-Waldman and Katherine Hennigan. Them and their team share their story with us below:

We met, funnily enough, in the Junior League of Los Angeles! In the early 2000s, Nicole was on the Board of the Junior League of Los Angeles and Kate had joined. Nicole needed help with coordinating a City Hall Tour, and called Kate, who fixed everything! Kate continued working in her career as a staffer to numerous City elected officials such as Councilmember Cindy Miscikowski, Councilmember Jack Weiss, Councilmember Eric Garcetti, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Councilmember Paul Koretz. Nicole was working as a land use lawyer at Latham & Watkins and afterward with partners from Latham.

In 2015, Nicole switched her practice to focus more on advocacy and community outreach, and hired Kate as part of her team at her lobbying firm. Two years later, we knew it was time to go out on our own, and we are so happy we did! Collaborate is a women-owned business that provides strategic guidance, lobbying, and community outreach to businesses and developers that want to be part of the Los Angeles community. We are one of the few women-owned and operated firms in this space and we are really proud of what we are doing in Los Angeles and Southern California. Being small and women-owned, we are able to provide amazing, nimble customer service and solutions in a challenging regulatory environment.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Forging a path of providing personalized service in complex environment can be tough. We are a small, women-owned business in an industry dominated by men and larger firms. We have worked hard to establish our reputation, and we are very grateful to the amazing clients that have placed their trust in us. Fortunately, our results speak for themselves. We are creative problem solvers that help manage complex issues for a number of entities, from Fortune 500 companies to major educational institutions.

Forming partnerships and depending on others can be hard when you are used to doing things by yourself. It is hard to let go and trust others, whether experts or coworkers. It is, however, key to collaborative decision making and growth. We continue to learn and grow and trust ourselves as we move forward, and know that continued success and growth takes time. But we also know that the sky’s the limit, and we are excited about where our future will take us.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Collaborate is a full-service public affairs firm that provides strategy, community outreach, land use, and lobbying and advocacy services for clients. We are problem solvers, and we really stick by our name–we obtain results through collaboration: collaboration with City officials, the community, clients, and everyone who might be a stakeholder in a given project. We are really proud of our brand and how we have created a women-owned business in the government affairs and real estate space. That’s pretty rare, as is our growth over the last five years. We have an awesome team that supports us and we are really proud to have created not only an amazing business but also a wonderful place to work.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Doing things yourself is not always the best, most efficient, or even cheapest path. The fact is, many clients think they don’t need consultants like us to help them in their government-facing work, to strategize, plan, and problem solve. So they come to us when things have gone wrong, and we then try fix them, but at greater time and cost. It’s OK to ask for help! And often, it is the most efficient and least expensive route.

Another piece of advice would be to choose your partners wisely. We are great business partners, in part, because we share key values, including the value of hard work. When you have a partner, you are literally trusting your life and career in their hands. We are so grateful to be on this journey together. We are also grateful for our shared taste in travel, handbags, and champagne. It keeps things fun as we continue to provide phenomenal work for our clients.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Kyle Ellis for professional photos. Others are cell phone photos. Photos are with Governor Gavin Newsom, the most interesting man in the world, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Council President Nury Martinez, County Supervisor Hilda Solis, and the Collaborate team: Jacob Jauregui, Alescia Ellis, Katherine Hennigan, and Nicole Kuklok-Waldman. Nicole is the redhead Kate is the blonde, fyi.

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