Nikki A. Heidepriem ’72

2002 Distinguished Citizen Award

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Political and public policy consultant Nikki Heidepriem understands how power works, and she makes it work for her clients. A founding partner of the Washington, D.C. firm Heidepriem and Mager, Inc., she helps her clients understand the various levers of power and how to use them to advance the interests of women’s health and rights, and mental health, as well as those of some of America’s largest corporations.

The South Dakota native believes Macalester gave her the confidence to earn a law degree as a Root-Tilden Scholar at NYU and to found a business in the frenzied, male-dominated world of Washington. She left a Chicago law practice to become special assistant to HEW Secretary Joseph Califano, Jr. She then practiced law in Washington, but left to join the national staff of Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign. Over the years, Heidepriem has been a consultant to many presidential and senatorial campaigns, most recently that of Bill Bradley, and perhaps most significantly, that of Barbara Mikulski, the first elected Democratic woman senator. She was also a key strategist in the campaign to defeat the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork.

Heidepriem serves as board chair of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health, a director of the National Partnership for Women & Families, Women’s Policy, Inc., and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. She is a steering committee member of EMILY’s List, has served on Macalester’s Alumni Board and is a member of Georgetown Presbyterian Church.

Her former professor Chuck Green says: "Nikki has focused her astounding energy and intelligence on making the world a better place for women. She has designed campaigns that have been both distinctive and effective. Though the challenges are serious and urgent, Nikki maintains an amazing sense of humor. She is nationally regarded as a major political strategist."