AAUW’s Top Policy Adviser Picks up Pen, Draws on Midwestern Roots to Inspire Others

March 11, 2010


Lisa Goodnight, goodnightl@aauw.org


Lisa Maatz Writes Chapter on Early Rabblerousing in Ohio for Secrets of Powerful Women

WASHINGTON – Lisa Maatz, AAUW’s top public policy adviser, has joined some of the nation’s foremost women leaders and thinkers to offer life lessons in an inspirational new book for younger generations. Secrets of Powerful Women: Leading Change for a New Generation is a collection of 24 essays focused on the secrets to success — from personal tales of missteps to power pitfalls, power surges, powerful beginnings, and power suits.

Released in February by Lifetime Networks and VOICE, an imprint of Hyperion, Secrets of Powerful Women boasts a roster of authors that includes members of Congress.

“To be in the company of women such as Rep. Carolyn Maloney, my former boss, as well as Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Kay Granger, and Shelley Moore Capito is truly an honor,” said Maatz. “Some of these women are household names like Rosario Dawson and Betsy Myers; others are icons of the women’s movement, like Martha Burk and Madeleine Kunin, and I consider myself lucky to be among them.”

First brought together as speakers at Lifetime’s Future Frontrunners Summit at the 2008 Democratic and Republican conventions, the book’s contributors initially spoke to a select group of high school and college students as part of Lifetime’s Every Woman Counts campaign to empower and inspire girls to make their voices heard. In her introduction, actress Rosario Dawson says: “the women sharing their knowledge, stories, and passion in this book are asking you to step up, find your voice — your power — and use it.”

Maatz’s chapter, “A Process Tailor-Made for Women’s Strengths,” focuses on her early experience with the power of advocacy. As a third grader in Hinckley, Ohio, she organized her peers to fight for new stall doors in the girls’ restroom in her school. In the book, she explains how this seemingly trivial issue became a lesson on the power of collective action:

I had first asked for doors all by myself and got nothing. In fact, I got worse than nothing — I got dismissed, even disrespected. But when I gave [my principal] a petition signed by two hundred of my classmates, I had doors in a week. Just imagine how such a lesson could shape your sense of the world at the age of eight.

That experience taught Maatz about the importance of not only speaking truth to power but also taking as many steps as possible to reaching your objective: “I’ve become what I call a pragmatic idealist,” she writes in Secrets of Powerful Women. “I work toward big goals incrementally, taking one strategic bite of the apple at a time and using the sweet taste of those victories to fuel the next fight.”

About Lisa Maatz
Lisa Maatz is a sought-after speaker across the nation and on Capitol Hill. She leads several coalitions working to advance opportunities for women and girls and has developed a reputation for her effective, strategic approach to legislation and advocacy. She has done similar work for the former NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (currently known as NOW Legal Momentum) and the Older Women’s League and was previously a legislative aide to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Her grassroots advocacy career began when she was the executive director of Turning Point, a battered women’s program recognized for excellence by the Ohio Supreme Court. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Ohio University, has two master’s degrees from the Ohio State University, and holds an adjunct appointment with the Women and Politics Institute at American University.

Having served for the past seven years as AAUW’s director of public policy and government relations, Maatz advances AAUW’s priority issues on Capitol Hill, through the executive branch and in coalition with other organizations. She often refers to AAUW members and supporters as the “Big Teal Machine,” in reference to their enthusiasm and effectiveness in passing landmark legislation such as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Family and Medical Leave Act. More recently, AAUW had a front-row seat at the White House signing ceremony for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in recognition of AAUW’s leading role in efforts to pass that bill and other measures to close the wage gap.

Lisa Maatz’s upcoming appearances/book signings

    • Institute for Women’s Policy Research Roundtable on Women and Economic Policy, March 14, Washington, D.C.
    • Alpha Kappa Delta National Legislative Forum, March 15, Arlington, Virginia
    • National Women’s Political Caucus, NPWC President’s Circle, March 16, Washington, D.C.
    • Public Leadership Education Network, Women in Congress Seminar, March 17, Washington, D.C.
    • 2010 AFT/NEA Joint National Higher Education Issues Conference, March 26–28, San Jose, California
    • National Council of Jewish Women’s Washington Institute, March 21-23, Washington, D.C.
    • National Association for Partnerships in Equity Policy Day, April 14, Washington, D.C.
    • SUNY–Potsdam Women’s and Gender Studies Program Annual Brunch, April 17, Potsdam, New York
    • Iowa Women’s Coalition Equal Pay Events, Ames, Iowa, April 23–25
    • AAUW Capitol Hill Briefing and Symposium, Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, May 2010
    • 2010 AAUW of Michigan State Convention, May 8–9, Livonia, Michigan
    • National Conference of College Women Student Leaders, June 3–5, College Park, Maryland


By:   |   March 11, 2010