Diane HessanDiane Hessan
Entrepreneur and Political Researcher

Diane Hessan is a successful entrepreneur, researcher and author. She is the founder and Chairman of C Space, formerly Communispace, which was the first company to leverage social media to help companies get insight and inspiration from their consumers. Diane was CEO of the company during 14 years of exponential growth, as C Space worked with hundreds of global brands across 12 countries. She was honored as a disruptor and innovator in the market research industry because of her work in conducting breakthrough longitudinal research via the internet. Communispace was sold to Omnicom in 2011, and as Chairman, Diane remains an advisor to the company, its clients, and many other Omnicom CEOs.

A serial entrepreneur, Diane has consolidated all of her investment and advisory work into a new company called Salient Ventures, which is helping to accelerate the next generation of growth companies in tech.

Over the last 4 years, Diane has been engaged in an in-depth study of the American Voter. She has personally interviewed nearly 1000 voters from all states, ages and ends of the political spectrum, and has been online with 500 of them weekly, as she looks for trends, shifts, and common ground. She has written over 50 Op-Eds about her findings for The Boston Globe, and has shared her perspectives on many national and local television shows.

Diane co-authored the book Customer-Centered Growth: Five Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage, a Business Week best-seller that is published in 11 languages. She has keynoted over 50 events in the last five years, focusing on leadership, entrepreneurship, women’s issues, and customer centricity.

Diane has received many honors, including the Pinnacle Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Most Admired CEO award and Boston Power 50 awards from the Boston Business Journal, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year (National Finalist), and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year.

Diane serves on the boards of Panera, Eastern Bank, Brightcove, The Schlesinger Group, Mass Challenge, Tufts University, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and NACD. In 2017, the Boston Globe appointed her to its Editorial Board. She received her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and her B.A. in Economics from Tufts University, and she has received honorary degrees from Bentley University and The New England College of Business. She has 2 grown daughters, and is also founder of The Sound Bytes, an a cappella group that sings about business.

ISBN: 978-1-63755-028-1
Price: $28.00
Publication Date: June 22, 2021

Our Common Ground: Insights from Four Years of Listening to American Voters

For four years, Diane Hessan has been in weekly conversation with voters across the United States. What she has learned will surprise you, enlighten you, give you hope, and change the way you think about your fellow Americans.

Our inability to hear each other, our suspicion, and our impatience is stressing us out and tearing us apart. It’s a sickness that permeates the American culture, erodes our collective mental health, and makes us hate each other.

To gain insight into how we can move forward, Hessan undertook a massive listening project, conducting an ongoing series of weekly interviews with 500 voters from every state, of every age and ethnicity, and along different points of the political spectrum. The topics ranged from race to guns, from character to party politics, from masks to rallies, from the Supreme Court to the pandemic to immigration and climate change. After more than a million individual communications, two things became clear:

We have more common ground than we realize.

And we are, sadly, failing at understanding each other.

On issue after issue, our “divided” nation isn’t nearly as polarized as we imagine. An overwhelming majority of voters believe in commonsense gun licensing and regulation. They are pro-immigration. They believe climate change is real and the coronavirus is deadly. They care deeply about their families and are willing to work hard to make ends meet. And, they believe that Washington is slow, bureaucratic, and not working in their best interests.

In dozens of columns on these topics published in the Boston Globe, Hessan has upended common political wisdom. Presented together for the first time as part of this book, they reveal a unique perspective on how Americans actually think, what they value, and how we can move forward.

The path to healing our divided nation is both simple and profound. We must turn down the heat. We must begin to listen, to stop presuming, to try to understand, to treat each other with dignity, and to know that most Americans are not crazy radicals. We truly share common ground. If we can pull together, we can have a much better America.

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