Background: Lenox is the president of Lenox Consulting, a U.S. and Ireland-based strategic communications consulting firm with offices in New Jersey, New York and Ireland. A dual citizen, he splits his time between New Jersey and Cork.
Tell us about your Irish heritage.
“My roots trace back to Donegal from several generations ago. My wife and three boys live in Cork, so I’m always travelling between Ireland and the U.S. Ireland is quite literally my second home.”
You have had a long career in public affairs. How did you first got interested in politics?
“My grandmother was an active Democrat in Essex County and I remember the excitement of being out with her on the campaign trail as a young boy. Years later, my wife’s uncle, then serving as county manager in Limerick, put me in touch with Mayor Cahill’s office in New Brunswick, New Jersey. I started with him a college intern and my passion for politics was reignited.”
You were involved in the re-election of New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg in 2008. Besides fundraising, what is the biggest challenge of any political campaign?
“Working with Senator Lautenberg will always be a highlight of my career. Elected officials aren’t held in high enough esteem for their level of service. They are too often characterized unfairly by the misdeeds of others who have lost their way and succumbed to the trappings of office.
“Human tendency is to gravitate to the sensational, fed by a steady diet of spin and fluff offered by irresponsible media outlets. Candidates and campaigns have the added pressures of cutting through the clutter and delivering a clear and consistent message in tidy sound bites instead of engaging in substantive discussions.”
Have you seen a growth in American companies seeking your advice about relocating to Ireland?
“Since starting with William Fry in November, 2010, I have been amazed at the coordinated efforts of so many to remind anyone that will listen that Ireland is open for business.
“There is also a clear recognition that it is not enough to simply sit back and wait for companies to come knocking on Ireland’s door. A continued proactive approach is the key to continued growth in this area.
“The success of the IDA in bringing jobs to Ireland is evident, and with new initiatives in place that empower any member of the Irish diaspora to serve as an ambassador for inward investment there is no doubt that Ireland’s future is bright.”
What is your advice for Irish graduates who have recently immigrated to the U.S?
“The spirit and enthusiasm of the Irish workforce continues to be attractive to U.S. companies establishing operations in Ireland. These same attributes make Irish graduates attractive to employers here in the U.S. Make sure they are on full display!
“Those arriving today should also avail themselves of the experiences of so many that have come before them. There are great organizations, including Irish Network USA, in cities all over the U.S. that can help match new graduates with mentors and opportunities.”