Mak Heddens

Associate Vice President, Public Affairs & Events

Mak Heddens is the Associate Vice President of Public Affairs & Events and longest serving team member at Strategic Elements (SE). She can see the big picture and the most granular aspects of a project – understanding all the pieces and how they fit together, identifying gaps, and developing solutions.

Mak translates clients’ visions into actionable items while ensuring key performance indicators are met on time. She develops strategic communication materials to elevate issues and cultivate advocacy by influential community voices to advance projects and policies at all levels of government. Mak has managed fieldwork in more than 20 states tasked with coalition building, generating earned media, and coordinating events to engage public officials. She has secured partnerships with major media outlets, such as POLITICO and National Geographic, and executed sponsorships for large-scale events, such as the Iowa State Fair and the Presidential Caucuses.

As it relates to internal operations, Mak assists with building out policies, processes, and procedures across departments to achieve growth objectives for the firm and its clients. She focuses on understanding internal and external needs to improve efficiency and enhance quality. Additionally, Mak is responsible for developing writing training materials for the team.

Before joining SE Mak wore many hats in the Office of the President at Iowa State University (ISU). Within the Government Relations Department, Mak identified opportunities to increase ISU’s profile through strategic communications, political advocacy, and events highlighting ISU’s impact across that state while cultivating relationships with external stakeholders. She helped get more than $100 million worth of capital projects approved for the university. At ISU, Mak worked for the Chief of Staff & Chief Financial Officer, carrying out special project implementation and communications plans pursuant to operational changes. Mak also coordinated events for ISU’s President and oversaw facility renovations.

Previously, Mak worked in Washington, D.C. at The Washington Center where she oversaw 250 college students’ fieldwork placements at the National Political Conventions. Previously, she worked at Voice of America in the Office of Special Events.

Mak has proven success in building relationships, fundraising, and project management. She co-chaired Leadership Ames’ town and gown service project, which raised $66,000 for local charities and an endowment for students with disabilities. She graduated from the Ames Citizen Policy Academy, sat on the Story County Crime Stoppers board, and participated in Leadership Palm Beach County upon relocating to Florida. She served as the Foster Coordinator for the German Shepherd Dog Rescue of Iowa and volunteers at the Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Palm Beach.

Mak attended Iowa State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications with an emphasis in public relations. She earned her master’s degree in business administration, achieving the Top Performing Professional MBA Team award.




Fun Facts

Adrenaline junkie and fan of anything active outdoors.
Lived in Barcelona, Spain.
Event planning is her labor of love.
Lynn Leclerc (Stinson)
Elizabeth Silva