Date: Oct 23, 2019Time: 6:00 PM to 8:15 PM

Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America: A Strategy for Reinvigorating our Democracy

Wed, 6:00 PM TO 8:15 PM New York City Bar
Alumni OnlyOther


“The politics industry is different from virtually all other industries in the economy because the participants, themselves, control the rules of competition.” – Katherine Gehl & Michael Porter

Our political system has become increasingly polarized over the last few decades, causing gridlock in Washington that has made it more difficult to solve some of the nation’s pressing problems. Business executive and policy activist Katherine Gehl and Harvard University Professor Michael Porter will present their analysis of the extreme political dysfunction that exists today and the resulting negative impact on U.S. competitiveness.

Applying traditional business tools for analyzing competition to politics for the first time, the Gehl Porter Politics Industry Theory uncovered the root cause of the dysfunction—the failed political competition the parties have created. This duopoly creates high barriers to entry for new competition, no longer delivering results in the public interest. Therefore, Congress has a less than 15% approval rating, yet over 90% of all incumbents are re-elected. Election districts are gerrymandered, so there are few competitive elections. Elected moderates are disappearing, while Independents, the largest voting group, are disenfranchised. Major votes in Congress are along party lines. Dissatisfaction is demonstrated by the fact that the U.S. has among the lowest voter turnout in the developed world.

The Gehl-Porter presentation will include a discussion of root cause solutions to change the nature of competition—to promote healthy competition—starting with election innovations. The presentation by Ms. Gehl and Professor Porter will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A on the most promising solutions to today’s political dysfunction. We plan to have a distinguished political historian join Porter and Gehl in the panel discussion. This is a non-partisan initiative.

If you are concerned about the dysfunction that exists in Washington, you will not want to miss this event.

Please register early, as we expect to sell out.

Please note that no refunds will be issued.



Katherine M. Gehl

Former President & CEO of Gehl Foods, Inc.

Katherine M. Gehl is a business leader, author and speaker. Katherine was president and CEO of Gehl Foods, a $250 Million high-tech food manufacturing company in Wisconsin where she led a transformational growth strategy, receiving multiple awards, before selling the company in 2015—in part to dedicate more time to political reform. Her career includes roles in the private and public sectors including at Oracle Corporation, Bernstein Investment Research and Management, Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Office at the City of Chicago, and Chicago Public Schools. In 2011, Katherine was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Over the past decade, Katherine has focused on the urgent need for non-partisan political innovation and reform on both state and national levels. In 2016, Katherine applied business competitiveness tools to the industry of politics for the first time, to uncover the root cause of the dysfunction—the failed political competition the parties have created. She invited Michael Porter to join her in this work. In 2018, Katherine co-founded Democracy Found, a Wisconsin-based initiative mobilizing a bi-partisan group of leaders to implement electoral innovations in Wisconsin.

Katherine graduated from the University of Notre Dame and holds an MA from Catholic University and an MBA from Kellogg.


Michael E. Porter

Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School

Michael E. Porter is an economist, researcher, author, advisor, speaker and teacher. Throughout his lifetime career at Harvard Business School, he has brought economic theory and strategy concepts to bear on many of the most challenging problems facing corporations, economies and societies, including market competition and company strategy, economic development, the environment and health care. Michael’s approach is based on understanding the overall economics and structure of complex systems, in contrast to particular elements or parts. His extensive research is widely recognized in governments, corporations, NGOs, and academic circles around the globe and has received numerous awards. Michael is the author of nineteen books and over 130 articles is the most cited scholar today in economics and business.

Michael graduated from Princeton University and holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a Ph.D. from Harvard’s Department of Economics.

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Date Time

Date: Oct 23, 2019Time: 6:00 PM to 8:15 PM


New York City Bar42 West 44th Street
New York, NY
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  • 20 / Member/Member Guest (limit one)
  • 40 / Non-Member/Guest (limit one)


Jacqueline Adams, Julian Alexander, Margo Alexander, Laura Artigas, Donna Bascom, Paul Biddelman, Bruce Bockmann, Maria Bockmann, Jacquelyn Bonner, Gabrielle Chaiban, Kevin Charlton, Michael Chen, Andrew Cheskis, Christine Chi, Missy Condo, Leo Corbett, Patrick Corbett, Shanaya Deboo, Kevin Degen, Charlie Donaldson, James Dray, Alexander Evans, Elizabeth Fairfax Brown, Colin Farmer, Michael Farmer, Janelle Faulk, Pamela Flaherty, Mary Flannery, Thomas Flohr, Anselm Fusco, Charles Goldman, Sylvain Grande, Susan Grant, Robert Gray, Jing Guo, Robert Hagemann, Mary Hainsworth, Ryan Harper, Mary Henry, Norman Hinerfeld, Herbert Hochberg, Fred Hodder, Monroe Hodder, Stacey Hughes, Stacy Hughes, Randall Hull, William Jacobi, Patricia Jeffers, Shabrina Jiva, Herbert Kaplan, Mary Jane Kaplan, Lev Kaye, Milo Kaye, Lucy Kennedy, Jason Klein, Kathleen Kolb, Mark Kolb, David Kurtz, Michelle Kurtz, Didi Lacher, Gregory Lyss, Duncan MacArthur, Jean-Louis Maserati, Frances McLaughlin, John McLaughlin, Barrie Moskowitz, Michael Otten, Paul Payton, Clark Peterson, Deborah Porder, Ronald Randall, William Rosser, Lew Rothman, Peter Russell, Bette Schultz, Alfred Seidel, Thomas Sharp, Gordon Shearer, Moishe Simon, Peter Siris, Carol Stix, Eunice Suh, Aleksandra Szczepanowska, Bob Gray Guest TBD, Sharp Guest TBD, Adam Tepper, Richard Ventura, Frank Walter, Robin Weaver, Leighton Welch, Karena Wells, Andrea de Cholnoky, brenda drake


Herb Kaplan MBA '65 and Michael Otten MBA '67


New York City Bar

42 West 44th Street, New York, NY, 10036