Young Women’s Political Summit 2013: Breakout Sessions

June 18, 2013

Session 1: 1:00pm-2:00pm

1. Quantifying the Value of Women in Business and Politics 2. How to Run as a Conservative Woman 3. Young Women’s Elected Panel: Voices from the Trenches 4. Personal Branding & Social Media 5. First Impressions: Perfecting Your Opening Pitch –Sponsored by Barbara Lee Foundation: Pitch Perfect
We all know that having more women in leadership is a good idea because we make awesome leaders. But did you know that studies show adding women to leadership makes companies more profitable, governments less corrupt and more collaborative? Join us at this panel to learn why adding more women isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. Calling all conservative women—we need you to run! And if you’re worried about breaking into politics or gaining party support, we’ve got you covered. Our powerful panel of experts will discuss some of the unique challenges impacting conservative women’s races, talk about efforts to recruit more conservative women to run, and offer the best strategies for a winning race. What’s it really like to be a young woman in office? Hear the firsthand experiences of our panel and learn about the challenges, the tips, and the off the record stories from women who have run, won and lost. You are great, and we know it. But projecting the right image is not always easy in the age of social media (as Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Anthony Weiner can attest!) We will help you avoid some pitfalls and teach you how to put your best self forward – online. The latest nonpartisan research from the Barbara Lee Family Foundation provides a clear roadmap for introducing yourself to voters and showing them you are qualified. In this session we will teach you how to perfect your pitch to voters, how to choose your words wisely, and how to use traditional and new media to amplify your message.


Session 2: 2:10pm-3:10pm

1.The Well-Spoken Woman: Looking & Sounding Your Best 2. Old Boys Club: Building a Sisterhood –Sponsored by Women are Talking – Bonnie McDaniel 3. Name It, Change It: Don’t Turn the Other Cheek for Sexism in Politics –Sponsored by She Should Run 4. How Young Latinas are Shaping the Political Landscape –Sponsored by Univision 5. First Impressions: Perfecting Your Opening Pitch –Sponsored by Barbara Lee Foundation: Pitch Perfect
Most people would rather get a tooth pulled than speak in public. Christine Jahnke, author of the Well-Spoken Woman, will help improve your comfort level with this critical leadership skill. She’ll share what works in public speaking and how to give the best impression every time you stand up to speak. We’ve all heard the term “good old boys club” and for many generations we have tried to become members. Needless to say, we’re over it. Join this workshop to learn how we can build a powerful sisterhood of women in our country and around the world. Develop practical skills like identifying and making the right connections, building good support systems, and leveraging your network to help you tap into the sisterhood. It’s not news to any of us that sexist media attacks have done serious damage to women’s political campaigns. However, it may be news that the best response is a counterattack. Name It. Change It, a project of She Should Run, and its partner, Women’s Media Center, will share groundbreaking research along with the insights of women candidates and media experts. Come learn how women candidates can repair the damage done to their campaigns—and can even gather more support than they had before. Latinas are an emerging force in American politics. This panel will showcase some of the top Latina women working in politics and business. Our panelists will delve into what matters most to Latinas, how they are shaping the country’s political future, and how we can get more Latina’s prepared and ready to run. The latest nonpartisan research from the Barbara Lee Family Foundation provides a clear roadmap for introducing yourself to voters and showing them you are qualified. In this session we will teach you how to perfect your pitch to voters, how to choose your words wisely, and how to use traditional and new media to amplify your message.


Session 3: 3:20pm-4:20pm

1. Messaging and Media Training: It’s What You Say and How You Say It 2. How to Ask for and Get What You Want 3. She Should Run:Like the Ceiling Can’t Hold Us –Sponsored by She Should Run 4. Financial Savvy for Political Success —Sponsored by State Farm 5. Fundrai$ing 101 & Beyond
Have some great ideas but you’re a little fuzzy on clearly conveying them? Does the thought of being interviewed on camera make you queasy? This workshop will help learn to craft and deliver an effective message and will help you avoid many of the common pitfalls of speaking to the media. Being a good negotiator can be the difference between getting a good job and getting a great job. It can mean the difference between being the lowest paid in the office to making what you really deserve. Come learn some pointers to become primo negotiator so you can reach your true potential. Women make up 18% of Congress. They hold just 24% of the state legislatures. And only 5 governors are women. Something is seriously wrong here. Ladies, if you’re part of the population, you can be part of the solution. Consider this your cordial invitation to change the world by running for office! Susie Orman tells us we have to own the power of money to control our future. But what does this mean in our careers and campaigns for public office. Join this panel led by the experts at State Farm as we delve into the best strategies for financial security and success. Asking for money is not a skill that comes naturally to most. Whether your running for office, raising money for a candidate or your favorite charity, developing your fundraising prowess is a powerful asset. It’s a skill that will set you apart. Come learn some tips to build a winning war chest and make the art of fundraising a little less painful.

Women to Watch Spotlight: Malala Yousafzai

April 30, 2013

Here is a sneak peak of our 2013 Women to Watch Awards honorees.  This year we are thrilled to honor four inspirational women who are making a tremendous impact in politics, media, philanthropy, and activism.  These women are not only exceptional in their fields, but are also inspiring role models for young women around the world.

Tickets for the 7th Annual Women to Watch Awards are going fast, get yours today!

Role Model: Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai HeadshotAt just 15, Malala Yousafzai showed amazing bravery and persistence in the face of an assassination attempt by the Taliban.  She refused to back down from her heroic activism for girls’ education, not allowing her serious head injury from the attack to dampen her commitment to her cause.  Malala’s courage proves that you are never too young to make a difference, which is why she has earned our Role Model Award.  In fact, Malala started very young, speaking out at age 11 about the atrocities committed in her hometown under Taliban control.  Her work has earned her much-deserved accolades:  in addition to TIME magazine recognizing her as a runner-up for Person of the Year 2012 (the top honor ultimately went to President Obama), they recently named her one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People.  She is the youngest person to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and is the inspiration for a United Nations petition that demands that there be no children left out of school by 2015.

We hope that Malala’s spirit and conviction will spur young women everywhere to become leaders and take action about issues they are passionate about.

Introduced by: Alyse Nelson

Alyse NelsonRunning Start Board Member Alyse Nelson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Vital Voices Global Partnership.  As co-founder of Vital Voices, Alyse has worked for the organization for 15 years, serving as Vice President and Senior Director of Programs before assuming her current role in 2009.  Alyse has worked with women leaders to develop training programs and international forums in over 140 countries and has interviewed more than 200 international leaders, including Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former Presidents Mary Robinson and Bill Clinton, as well as Nobel Peace Prize laureates Aung San Suu Kyi, Wangari Maathai, and Muhammad Yunus.  Under her leadership, Vital Voices has tripled in size and expanded its global reach to serve a network of over 14,000 women leaders in 144 countries.

Vital Voices established the Malala Fund on behalf of Malala and her family, continuing Malala’s work for the right of every child to an education.

Previously, Alyse served as Deputy Director to the Vital Voices Global Democracy Initiatives at the U.S. Department of State.  Her position aided former First Lady Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s commitment to promote the advancement of women as a U.S. foreign policy objective.  From July 1996 to July 2000, Alyse worked with the President’s Interagency Council on Women at the White House and U.S. Department of State, and serves on the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society.

Alyse is the author of the best-selling book Vital Voices:  The Power of Women Leading Change Around the World, which shares the stories of remarkable, world-changing women, as well as the story of how Vital Voices was founded, crossing lines that typically divide.

Alyse has been featured in international and national media, including the Washington Post, Financial Times, the Miami Herald, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Reuters, and has appeared on BBC, PBS, CNN, NPR, FOX, News, and CNBC.  In 2006, Alyse was named on of “Ten Women to Watch”, by Washingtonian Magazine and was honored by her alma mater, Emerson College, with the distinguished speaker award.  In 2011, she was featured in Newsweek as one of “150 Women Shaking the World,” and in 2012 she was TIAW World of Difference 100 Award recipient.

And by:  Andrea Walton

Andrea Walton Photo

Andrea Walton, 19, is a proud 2012 alumna of our Young Women’s Political Leadership program. She is currently finishing her freshman year at American University before heading back to her hometown of Princeton, Indiana for the summer.  She is majoring in political science and developed a strong interest in  government and politics through serving as a U.S. House of Representatives Page for two summers, sponsored by former Indiana Congressman  Brad Ellsworth in  2010 and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in 2011.  At the age of 18, Andrea was chosen as her county’s delegate to the Indiana Democratic Convention and went on to be elected Indiana’s youngest delegate at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Beginning when she was 16 she worked as an intern on the Ellsworth for Senate campaign in 2010 and volunteered for gubernatorial and Congressional races in 2012.

Taking advantage of all the opportunities Washington, DC has to offer, Andrea has continued to stay politically involved at American University.  As a member of AU College Democrats, she has volunteered for Senate and gubernatorial campaigns in Virginia, as well as for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.  Andrea has also been thrilled to have the opportunity to serves as an intern for her hero and mentor, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, this semester. Reflecting Running Start’s mission, she hopes to run for office at a young age in order to rise to a position of leadership. Andrea’s ultimate goal is to serve as a Member of Congress representing her home state of Indiana.

 Stay tuned for more weekly spotlights on our Women to Watch honorees!

Click here for more information and to reserve your seats at this year’s awards!

Thank you to our Founding Sponsor:


Frigid Elect Her Trainings-By Nancy Bocskor

April 16, 2013


Elect Her  facilitator Nancy Bocskor was on the “snow tour” as she visited University of Minnesota, Washington & Lee University and Northern Michigan University this past month.  A little snow and cold certainly didn’t keep young women from attending workshops designed to sharpen their leadership skills and inspire them to run for student government positions.

Women’s Center graduate student Sara Pennebecker organized University of Minnesota’s first-ever Elect Her workshop with more than 35 attendees, including students from the very large Somalian and Hmong communities.  These women, in particular, are from countries where women political role models are difficult to find, so leadership training is vital for their success. 

The winner of the Elect Her mock election was graduate student, Kristel England.  Her major takeaway from the day?  “Through each activity I learned a little about myself, as well as other people. I learned that asking for help and support is not that difficult when you are passionate about the purpose. I also learned that other people, sometimes the most unlikely people, will stand beside you and partner with you to help achieve your shared goals. Learning both of these concepts made the process of running for an elected student office seems not only possible, but also plausible. By the end of the seminar I had learned how to create a stump speech and strategize for a political campaign.  I left with an  increased confidence in my own ability to compete in the political arena.”

Bocskor’s next stop on her “snow tour” was a drive down to Lexington, Virginia where Washington & Lee law professor Jill Fraley and her team successful brought together 25 law students and undergrads for the Elect Her workshop.  An all male college until the mid-80s, women continue to lag behind their male counterparts in student government.  Fraley recognizes the continuing challenge and hosts Elect Her to inspire and motivate more women to run.

The winner of the mock election was law student Alexis Aduba, who said the event truly had an impact on her. 

“Each speaker brought a fresh and frank perspective to the larger discussion of female empowerment and women running for public office. To hear from women who have done exceedingly well in their respective careers discuss the challenges that they had to overcome in an overwhelmingly patriarchal culture gives me hope.  I have experienced my own challenges as a result of gender bias but with encouragement and a sincere belief that this hurdle is not an insurmountable one I think that I can achieve a lot. Encouragement is precisely what Elect Her has provided me. It is not an easy thing to reach success and have the drive to turn around and reach out to help someone else, but that is what these women have done. I even ran for office in the Elect Her mock campaign. We each had to come up with a campaign platform and encourage students to vote for us. My strategy was an easy one; we had just learned it in the presentation. I had to first listen, garner support and then take initiative. So I listened to what the students in the room wanted, found a group of strong supporters, consolidated our ideas and boldly walked up to the event hosts, Nancy Bocskor, Dr. Jill Fraley, and the W&L Law Women President and asked for their votes. In the end I won the election but more importantly I learned a lot about the many issues women face on my campus. This has really inspired me to do more. I can’t say for sure that I will run for campus office but whatever I end up doing I can proudly say that if it wasn’t for women like those at the Elect Her event who turned around to reach a hand out for me I would not be in the position to the same for someone else.” 

The final stop on this winter’s tour was a trip to Northern Michigan University, located in Marquette on the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Bocskor was the first Elect Her facilitator who actually arrived during the last three years (yes, Lake Superior was frozen solid and the terrain looked more like Siberia!)  Professor Judy Puncochar and her team organized the event – and 25 women ventured out in a heavy snowstorm to learn how to enter public service.

One attendee, Nichole, said of Elect Her:  “Today was my most significant day of college!”  Two students, Amber Lopota and Abby Roche are running as a team for ASNMU president and vice-president. Both gave speeches that were of Presidential quality – they both have a solid future in public service – and the White House needs their talents. 

Said Amber: “ I had an amazing experience today attending the Elect Her event workshop hosted by the gracious Nancy Bocskor. My skillset has been expanded, as well as my understanding of how to best convey to each of you the bright future of ASNMU once I am elected President. I saw a number of strong capable women moving forward today, making the decision to empower themselves and take on the responsibility of serving this student body. Congratulations to each of you, and many thanks to Elect Her for raising our awareness of the amazing results we can expect as more competent intelligent women move into positions in government at all levels. Your talented Vice Presidential candidate of choice, Abby Roche made a rousing and inspirational speech that made it crystal clear the benefits we all incur when strong young women such as herself make the important decision to get involved in student government.”

-By Nancy Bocskor

North Carolina Central University- March 2, 2013 by Tara Andrews

March 25, 2013

A Day of Inspiration

On March 2, 2013, Elect Her: Campus Women Win traveled to the beautiful campus of North Carolina Central University (NCCU) in Durham, NC. Last year, NCCU joined forces with Duke University to host Elect Her on Duke’s campus. This year, however, NCCU was selected to host its own training for almost 40 women.

To break the ice, trainees introduced themselves and named a woman leader that they most admired. It was touching to hear more than half of them name their own mother for the sacrifices she has made on behalf of her children. In further affirmation of these she-roes, the women next heard from The Honorable Cora Cole-McFadden, an alumna of NCCU and the first African American woman elected Mayor Pro Tempore of Durham. Ms. Cole-McFadden spoke candidly about the struggles she has faced as a woman of color in elected government, including how she has had to work harder to earn credibility among her peers and, at times, even her constituents. Ms. Cole-McFadden, however, also talked about the joy of serving her community and encouraged the women of NCCU to bring all of their talents and courage to bear to aim high and give back.

Lunch featured a rousing trivia game that tested everyone’s knowledge of women in government. The day’s focus then shifted to effective campaign messaging and a communications training led by NCCU Director of Community and Government Relations Starla Tanner. Another NCCU alumna, Ms. Tanner previously served as Deputy Executive Director of the NC Democratic Party and has been the political director for several statewide campaigns. Ms. Tanner shared several humorous stories that hit home with the women and emphasized the importance of developing and strengthening a personal brand and message long before running for public office.

The climax of the training was a friendly competition that gave every woman an opportunity to deliver her campaign elevator speech to her peers and potential voters.  The content and delivery of the speeches was impressive; a few groups had to do a second round of voting to break ties. After three rounds, Shenita Palmer was elected winner of the competition with a powerful and pointed speech aimed at improving student academic advising to help students save money and graduate on time.



This post was written by Elect Her facilitator Tara Andrews

Stony Brook University- March 1, 2013 By Rebecca Thompson

March 25, 2013

Women Supporting Women

Last weekend, I had the honor of serving as the Elect Her facilitator at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY. From the moment I arrived on campus, it was evident that there was a great deal of support for the training and for young women in leadership at the university. From the Dean of Students Office to the local AAUW chapter, there were countless women (and men) who helped make the weekend possible. As a second year trainer I’ve had the opportunity to travel to numerous colleges and universities on behalf of Elect Her, and by far, this was one of my favorite trainings yet! 

We began the day discussing the importance of young women running for student government and elected office. With over 15,000 students on campus about 47% of Stony Brook’s University Student Government (USG) representatives and 55% of their executive positions are held by women. Anna Lubitz, a 21 year old Biology major from Setauket, NY, who was also instrumental in bringing Elect Her to campus, currently serves as USG President. “Feedback from the second annual Elect Her training has been wonderful. I’m happy to inspire young women leaders on campus and to encourage them to get involved in college and after graduation”. 

The keynote speaker was recently elected, 26 year old State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic who spoke about the challenges she faced as a young candidate and her years of experience as a former legislative staffer. Her inspiring remarks provided the women with an opportunity to see firsthand that if you work hard (Nily knocked on over 5,000 doors in her district) anything is possible. One of the highlights of the day included a panel of current campus leaders whose involvement ranged from student government to an organization dedicated to Haiti relief. The young women spoke about the demands of balancing busy course loads with the challenges of leading student organizations (their advice: invest in a planner) and how many of the skills covered during Elect Her are relevant outside of the realm of politics. Ciara Ward, a 20 year old Junior Business major from Brooklyn, NY said, “I never thought about running (for student government) and still don’t. This training isn’t just about running for office. I can take these skills to start my own business or can apply them to my leadership role now.” Ward is currently involved with Hairitage, an organization on campus that promotes healthy hair. 

After learning about how to develop a campaign strategy, the participants learned about the importance of developing a message from former head of CBS News and Associate Dean of the School of Journalism, Marcy McGinnis. Not only did she speak about how she worked her way up from a secretary to head of the company, but she provided the women with tips on everything from how to dress for an interview to how to effectively speak with reporters. Additionally, a student news crew from Stony Brooks campus TV station covered the training and a number of participants were able to practice their new interview skills right away. 

To close the day, participants practiced developing elevator speeches and put those skills to the test as they participated in a campaign simulation that challenged them to introduce themselves, describe the work their involved with, and to make an ask (either for a vote or for support) – in under 30 seconds. After numerous rounds of voting, Grace Drewez, a 21 year old senior Women’s Studies/Political Science Major from West Babylon, NY was selected as the 2013 ElectHer campaign simulation winner.  Drewez said, “Because I’m writing my senior thesis on women and politics it was great to hear about real examples from real women about their experiences as opposed to reading about it in a book”. 

As a former student body president, I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to share wisdom with current and former SGA leaders. As we wrap up the last few ElectHer trainings this spring, I can’t wait to (hopefully) visit Stony Brook again next year! 


This post was written by Elect Her facilitator Rebecca Thompson

University of North Carolina, Wilmington- February 2, 2013 by Chonya Davis Johnson

March 25, 2013

 Ready, Set, Go!

In the days leading up to my visit of University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW) Elect her. I reflected on all the great women that have gone before us to make their mark in America. I was ready to share my story and the importance of women running for office and being Ready to serve in leadership roles.

So, I did a “What if” talk to the attendees…. “What if.. Susan B. Anthony,” “What if… Harriett Tubman”, “What if… Sojourner Truth” and “What if countless other women had not made a choice to LEAD despite the obstacles and the stereotypes they face.”  

I was followed by guest speaker Elizabeth Redenbaugh, John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award recipient, who shared her story of acting in spite of the race relations and segregation in North Carolina school system.

In addition, Dr. Jeanne M. Persuit, Stacey Baisden, Hannah Braun, all shared the reasons our attendees should always be Ready to Speak Up, Set with core values and equipped to Go into places where women aren’t represented and stand up!!

Our UNCW winner of the Elect Her campaign simulation was Karen Orduna. She did a great job on presenting her elevator pitch. Her issue of 1st generation student retention and support resonated with the other  women in attendance. At the I encouraged the women to always think What if….. What if they were the ones America was waiting on to act… what would be their response.

After hearing the heartfelt messages of UNCW Elect Her attendees.  I have no doubt, that they will accept the call to act and be agents of change for issues all around the world. A special thank you to Dr. Michelle & her team….another one bites the dust!

This post was written by Elect her facilitator Chonya Davis Johnson.

Sierra College- March 3, 2013 by Kelly Grace Gibson

March 25, 2013

Many Types of Leaders

In Rocklin, CA, a small town outside of Sacramento, there is a different kind of Community College.  A community college where involvement and passion are high and a drive to take advantage of resources is strong.  Sierra College is the educational home for a student population as interested and dedicated as any four year college.  Sierra College is the only community college in the Elect Her program and it is clear why. 

On a Saturday morning nearly 40 students, men and women, young and old, gathered to join in the discussion about why women should run for office.  A community college has a much more diverse student population and as a result, we had a unique day of training with input from middle aged men new to the US and driven 20 year old women looking for the tools to lead. 

We had the honor to hear from Placer County 5th District Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery.  She helped us all realize the dedication and passion needed to make running for public office worth it.  She helped us realize the strength it takes to run as a woman, in her first election she was the only female candidate in a pool of four. She explained that she needed to work harder and smarter to make up for the discrepancy. She said early on in her presentation, “Running for office, no matter what office, is a job for a woman”. Everyone is the room responded to her real life experience, and appreciated her dedication to improving the lives of the people in her community.

A panel of current student government officials spoke with us candidly about what doing this job really means at Sierra College.  The President of Student Government, Carol Geis, helped us understand that running and being elected for student government is a job bigger than people understand.  She is in charge of a sizable budget, and the spokesperson for all Sierra College students to the College President’s office, Board of Trustees and Faculty.  But with the responsibility comes great reward.  She believes that the experience she has gained from doing this job has made her more confident and capable.

The trainees participated in a campaign simulation where they had to craft and deliver stump speeches in order to win votes.  Many in the room were intimidated by the process but as they got more comfortable with the idea the room filled with energy and people started to want to win.  Our final candidates, two men and a woman, stood up in front of the whole group, delivered their speeches, and asked for their support.  Much to her surprise Alyssa Hurst was the victor.  Getting a great majority of the votes.  She said afterward what a fulfilling experience Elect Her was, “the perfect combination of information and fun!”  We were all lucky she was part of the day.

The very root of our discussions that day were, you shouldn’t have to run because you are a woman, quite the opposite, if you want to run, being a woman shouldn’t stop you.  I have a sneaking suspicion 10 years from now I’ll be hearing about some of these young women again.

This post was written by Elect Her facilitator Kelly Grace Gibson

Chico State- March 9, 2013 By Katie Shorey

March 25, 2013

Being Vulnerable is a Powerful Tool

It was a beautiful spring day when I set foot on Chico State’s campus. I was met by Kirsten Foster, the student organizer for the Elect Her session (and a former Running Start intern), and Molly Heck, the faculty advisor from the Multicultural and Gender Studies department.

After we kicked off the program and got into the details about why we need more women in leadership positions, a student stated: “Even if I’m thinking about running, the process is intimidating”.  Luckily Jovan Smith, the elections supervisor for the Associated Students of CSU Chico, stepped in to save the day. I invited him to take the stage and explain the process of declaring a campaign.  He then handed each participant a prepared packet on the deadlines, rules, regulations and a letter of support!

Four of the current AS officers answered questions about their campaign experience and how they’ve been able to make a difference in the role.  Their candid insights took the edge out of the ‘unknown’ world of AS for the participants.

Next we had the privilege of hearing from Chico’s Mayor Mary Goloff and Councilwoman Ann Schwab about their experiences running for office.

Mayor Goloff told the participants that they can always find an excuse not to run. She urged them to consider why they wanted to be involved and give back, and then just jump in. We discussed the importance of having a support network, such as Elect Her.  Schwab discussed an issue that women tend to face more often than men: being favored/liked in the public eye. She explained that not everyone is going to be in favor of your ideas, but you need to remember why you’re working for the people and just do what you think is best—and to trust yourself.

Following the panel, Chico State communication studies professor Stephanie Hamel gave a vivid and informative presentation on the importance of message and communication, and also touched upon media sexism and the need for more women in positions of leadership.

As we wrapped up the day, the students were pumped with information and spirits were high. Sophomore communications major, Darion Johnston, was the winner of our campaign simulation. She presented herself as a poised and articulate individual running for Associated Students president.

All in all, the participants came into the session unsure about their interest in running for student government. So what happens next? The interest is there, and the “next step for the potential candidates who attended the event is to challenge themselves and take responsibility” says Kirsten Foster.

We’ve encouraged the Elect Her participants to run, and we will remain an on-going resource, but now it’s your turn. Chico State Elect Her ladies (and men)- you can do it!


This post was written by Elect Her facilitator Katie Shorey

Ithaca College- March 2, 2013 By Karen Defilippi

March 25, 2013

Just say YES!

At the recent Elect HerCampus Women Win training at Ithaca College, student and Elect Her participant Emily Haff (@PrincessEhaff1) tweeted, “Continue to say yes! Just say yes! #BestQuote.”

The women of Ithaca College (and a few men) learned that the first step in running for office or taking on a leadership role is to step up and say “yes.” Over 50 Ithaca College students are now ready to say YES….to running for student government and taking on more leadership roles in their communities.

These women are already smart, effective leaders on their campus and they’re now ready to take the next step.  While they acknowledged the barriers women face running for office, they also saw inspiration in the fact that when women run, they win at the same rates as men.

These inspiring women took to heart the message that you have to participate in the system if you want to make a change. A panel of current Student Government Association representatives talked about how to run on Ithaca College’s campus.  Apparently video spoofs of “Call Me Maybe” are quite effective. 

One SGA panelist told her personal story. She was turned off by the politics of the SGA, but rather than shy away from the institution, she ran to make a change. NY State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton echoed similar statements when she talked about her ascension to political office and helped participants see they already have the skills and experience to lead. 

“Don’t put limits on yourself and your abilities. You don’t have to be an expert in everything to run for office.  Think critically, do research and stand for what you believe,” said Assemblywoman Lifton. This prompted participant Ayesha Patel (@AyeshaJPatel) to tweet, “Freshman year I didn’t run for senator b/c I felt intimidated. Being here makes me realize I should have never let that stop me.”  Amen, Ayesha!

The participants wrapped up the day by putting their leadership savvy on display delivering their elevator speeches.  Women refined the speeches individually and practiced delivery as their peers voted on their favorites.  When voting produced a tie, it was broken by the first ever IC Elect Her Speech-Off.   Student Kaley Beval was the ultimate IC Elect Her Speech-Off Champion with her elevator speech. 

Congratulations to Kaley and all other IC Elect Her participants!


This post was written by Elect Her facilitator Karen Defilippi

Georgia State University- March 9, 2013 by Rebecca Thompson

March 25, 2013

Building Confidence Through Elect Her

Last weekend I had the opportunity to facilitate my final Elect Her training of the season at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. While the group was small (we also had students from Atlanta Metropolitan State College in attendance) it provided us with an opportunity to have a really great discussion. We began the day discussing the importance of young women running for office both at the student government level and beyond. While women at Georgia State University are represented well at the Student Government Association (SGA) level, they comprise 53% of the SGA Senate and 42% of the Election Board.  There is still work to be done at the state level where 0% of women serve in executive level positions.

After hearing about the issues that participants were dealing with in their communities, they learned about the ins and outs of running for student government from a panel of current SGA leaders, including Adriana Macchione, the first Latina ever elected as Vice President of the GSU Student Government Association.

Additionally, State Representative Stacey Abrams (84th District) spoke about her experiences as an elected official and the challenges women face balancing their careers and personal lives. Abrams spoke candidly about the pursuit of “having it all” and of the impact that she has been able to make as a public official.

Participants also heard from Molly Badgett, who spoke about the importance of developing your message. We closed the day with a campaign simulation where Breonna Smart, a 22 year old Biology major at GSU from Millen, GA was selected as the winner.

The biggest takeaway from the day was that the skills learned through Elect Her are transferable beyond the work of student government. AnNesha Flecha, a 21 year old Criminal Justice major at GSU from St. Thomas, VI said, “Even if you aren’t interested in SGA, the elevator speech exercise helped me build my confidence and practice sharing in front of other people.” Shani Hoover, a 21 year old Chemistry major at Atlanta Metro said that she hopes more young women will consider attending an Elect Her training. It has been so amazing meeting such amazing young women from across the country and I can’t wait to meet more future elected leaders next year! 




This post was written by Elect Her facilitator Rebecca Thompson