Irene Waitzman, President
A 1985 graduate from Villanova University, Irene Waitzman has owned and operated call centers throughout the United States since 1993. She was an Ernst & Young finalist in 2001 and has successfully directed over 1500 employees and multiple call centers.
Over the past 20 years her centers have focused efforts with in the political arena. She leads an executive leadership team that provides quality and timely services to their clients.
Irene is married with 3 boys and 3 grandchildren. She and her husband Douglas are actively involved with the Edward Taylor Coombs Foundation, a foundation that provides merit awards to graduating high school seniors who have recognized potential and academic strength, Canine Partners For Life, a foundation that provides service dogs for people who have needs and The Miami Project, a foundation whose goal is to cure paralysis. Doug and Irene enjoy golfing, going to the movies, and a passion for travel.
Mary Schoonover, Senior Vice President
Mary has been with Political Connection/Strategic Connection since 2003 and has held the positions of Human Resource Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Operations Manager, Director of Operations, and is currently Senior Vice President. Mary joined Political Connection after working 10 years for a Fortune 500 company. While there she held various Human Resource positions and was a Production Coordinator. She has extensive experience in Lean Manufacturing and the Toyota Production System. Mary's philosophy for her Operations Team is , " We care for our people first. At the end of the day, it is about the lives we can change and make better. I am in the business of people. Operations is a process driven environment , working lean and smart. There is no room for waste."
Mary has a passion for traveling the world.
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.” Anthony Bourdain
Paige Knudsen, Human Resources Manager
Paige Knudsen began her career with Political Connection in December of 2013. She held positions as Assistant to the Director of Operations and Assistant to the Human Resource Manager in her early years with the company and has held her current role as the HR Manager since July of 2017. Paige and her team create and promote employment policies, procedures and programs that create a strong foundation for both employee satisfaction and organizational success.
Paige attended Coastal Carolina University and graduated in 2011 with a degree in Communication with a Minor in Business.
Paige and her family reside in Myrtle Beach, SC and have recently welcomed baby girl Kennedy, little sister to their Olde English Bulldog, Mack.
Abby is originally from Manila Philippines, the youngest amongst the 3 siblings. Abby was raised in a family that has an abundance of love but less than enough when it comes to financials. This makes her a resilient woman that believes she must work harder to achieve her goals in life and overcome any difficulties that she may encounter. She is always more appreciative in all forms of blessings that God may bestow upon her may it be big or small. She worked hard in her studies from Elementary to High School and secured a Scholarship from the Quezon City Scholarship program and a half Scholarship from Central Colleges of the Philippines where she graduated. This made a huge impact in her life enabling her to finish her studies. She was a very active student and was voted as the president of the Computer Science Society, one of the most reputable organizations, at her school. Abby graduated with a B.S. Degree in Computer Science.
After graduation, she worked directly in a Software House that molded her as a programmer analyst where she worked mostly in big banks in the Philippines. She has more than 20 year experiences in system development cycle and well versed in using programming language such as Informix, PHP, HTML and shell script on a UNIX and Linux platform with Informix Database. She currently has a certification with Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), and Network +. Abby is Political Connection’s Systems Engineer, designing software for the company and supervises a group of PHP coders. She analyzes current systems and redesigns or implements new systems to offer enhancements in the operations. She has been working with Political Connection LLC for more than 14 years.
She believes, “Life is like a development cycle where we get to write our own style in code, test and execute but regardless how much effort and time we put in, there is still a big chance that it will fail. We don’t stop there, we debug, modify, and start the cycle from the top to bottom until we get it right. The most important lesson is we don’t dare to give up but we keep trying.”
Chris Goodwin, SHRM-SCP, Corporate Vice President
Abigail (Abby) DeGuzman, Project Manager and Data Team
Chris Goodwin began her career with Political Connection in February of 2001. She held positions as Operations Manager and Director of Operations in her early years with the company and then eight years as the HR/Financial Manager. As Corporate Vice President, Chris leads the HR, Finance, and IT divisions of Political Connection. Her teams help drive organizational success through workforce strategies that acquire, develop, reward and retain the best talent and continuous development of innovative, robust, and secure technology solutions for clients.
Chris has a Bachelor’s degree in Management with an emphasis in Human Resources and an Associate’s degree in Accounting. She is also SHRM-SCP certified. She came to Political Connection with 8 years of experience in call center management and training with a Fortune 1000 company.
Chris resides in Glidden, Iowa where she is actively involved in her local volunteer ambulance service as a state-certified EMT and in her local Rotary International chapter. Chris and Jack enjoy traveling, camping, and kayaking in the great Iowa outdoors. They have 3 grown children and 4 young grandchildren.