Working Together to Support Women CandidatesDecember 06, 2012
It takes a special kind of college student to get up early on a Saturday morning, put on a suit, and head out for a voluntary all-day workshop. I feel lucky to have spent a recent Saturday with a group of such special (and fashionable!) Howard University women at Elect Her—Campus Women Win.
The day started off with a conversation about women in politics: where we are, how far we’ve come, and where we need to be. Then we had the privilege of hearing from not one, not two, but three women involved in Washington, DC politics! Dyana Forester, Stephanie Maltz, and Vickey Wright-Smith of the Washington DC Advisory Neighborhood Commission were all fresh from their own campaign trails with lots of advice to share with the students. Every speaker had a unique story, but one point rang true for all three: you need to show up, and often! All three women stressed that actually getting their faces out there and talking to people (especially on election day) was a defining factor of their victories.
After getting inspired by how other women ran successful campaigns, we then heard from Janaye Ingram, DC Bureau Chief of the National Action Network, about the importance of message when running for office. She boiled down a the components of a good message into three main points:
1. Who I am
2. What makes me unique
3. Why you should vote for me
Armed with this new framework, plus their elevator speeches developed from one of our interactive exercises, the attendees then put their new messaging skills to the test, as they went out on campus to ask for votes in the final campaign simulation! The winner of the simulation recruited the women around her to work together as a lean, mean, campaigning team. It’s no surprise Dominique Jenkins won the simulation, considering she later told me that not only is she a former Running Start intern, but also a graduate of their Young Women’s Political Leadership program! Like her fellow attendees, Dominique will certainly keep on gathering the important experiences that will lead her on the path to a great political career.