Jessica N. Grounds
Co-Founder of Running Start, Founder and Principal Strategist, Solid Grounds Strategy
Jessica N. Grounds has devoted her life to empowering women to become political leaders. Most recently she served as the Director of Women Ready for Hillary, the grassroots organization that built early support for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run. Before Ready for Hillary she was the the Executive Director of Running Start, a non-profit that she cofounded which inspires girls and young women to run for elected office. She currently serves as the organization’s Co-Chair of the Board of Directors. Jessica is also the founder and principal strategist for Solid Grounds Strategy, a firm that consults women candidates and helps campaigns better reach women voters. In 2010, she cofounded Women’s Campaign Consortium, a collaboration of female campaign consultants dedicated to serving women candidates.
Jessica’s background spans work within various sectors. She was previously the President of Women Under Forty Political Action Committee (WUFPAC) and currently serves on the Board of Directors. From 2004 – 2009, she worked for Stones’ Phones, a Democratic campaign strategy firm. As the Senior Vice President, she consulted hundreds of candidates and organizations throughout the country. She has worked on the ground and advised female candidates including many of the youngest female Members of Congress. Jessica was the Training Lead for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign for the Iowa Caucuses.
Jessica has lectured on campaign strategy and barriers for women’s political leadership. She has led candidate and leadership skills trainings for a wide variety of organizations and academic institutions, including: Johns Hopkins, American, Yale, Duke, Georgetown, UNC Wilmington, George Washington, Middleburg, Murray State, among other schools; Women’s Campaign Fund, the Women & Politics Institute, National Association of Women Business Owners, Women’s Congressional Staff Association, Women in Government Relations, Human Rights Campaign, Women’s Leadership & Mentoring Alliance (WLMA), American Association of Univeristy Women, Women’s Information Network, National Democratic Institute, the State Department, the National Council of Women’s Organizations, the League of Women Voters, Public Leadership Educational Network (PLEN), National Young Leadership Conference, American Medical Association PAC, and the Women’s Campaign School at Yale. She has also trained and lectured to international audiences from around the world. Most recently she traveled to Panama, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Tajikistan, and Brussles to speak about women’s political empowerment.
Jessica completed a graduate program in Women, Policy and Political Leadership at the Women & Politics Institute at American University. In 2012, she completed an Executive Master’s in Leadership at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. She has published research on gender differences in leadership style within Congress and has completed research on new trends in campaign messaging for women candidates. Jessica and her work has been profiled in numerous publications including: Roll Call, The Hill, NPR, ELLE, Glamour, Washington Post, Politico, Georgetown Business Magazine, Spike the Watercooler, Daily Muse, Sage publications and Forbes.com.
Jessica was recently named a political top 50 Influencer by Campaigns & Elections magazine. She has been named a Rising Star by Politics magazine and was honored to receive the Young Woman of Achievement Award from Women’s Information Network. She previously served on Board of Directors for the National Council of Women’s Organizations and is currently a Leadership Team member for Political Parity. Jessica grew up in San Diego, California, and graduated from Pepperdine University. She has lived in Washington, DC, since 2003.