Message from the Executive Director 2022 Year-End Update

2022 by the numbers

As we close out 2022, here’s a snapshot of what the great team at WPI has been working on this year.


We offered 16 core Women, Policy and Political Leadership certificate courses, enrolling over 265 undergraduate and graduate students. Our dedicated faculty include top academics and practitioners:

  • Dr. Karen O’Connor, Jonathan N. Helfat Distinguished Professor of Political Science
  • Kate Black, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer
  • Dr. Diana Carlin, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer
  • Dr. Rebecca DeWolf, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer
  • Dr. Marie Fritz, Sr. Professorial Lecturer Department of Government
  • Lucy Gettman, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer
  • Laura Cox Kaplan, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer
  • Amanda Fuchs Miller, J.D., Adjunct Professorial Lecturer
  • Shilpa Phadke, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer
  • Dr. Vicky Wilkins, Dean, School of Public Affairs
  • Susannah Wellford, J.D., Adjunct Professorial Lecturer

WeLead Campaign Training Program

Now in its 18th year, our non-partisan WeLead program successfully positions young professional women to run for office or lead a political campaign. Our 640+ alums work in the halls of Congress, campaign war rooms, K Street offices, state legislatures, city councils and corporate boardrooms across the country.

Our current class of 25 talented young women are looking to expand their influence in a political or professional leadership role. The class has already worked with top political practitioners, expert speakers, and leadership coaches on how, why and when to run for office, and will start raising money for the program in December as part of the WeLead Fundraising Challenge.

Through the support of your generous contributions, we are proud to be able to offer this program at no cost to the participants. We are also most grateful for the WeLead alum network that continues to mentor and inspire each new class to close the gender gap in political leadership.


Gender on the Ballot

In collaboration with the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, our nonpartisan project Gender on the Ballot, continued to examine and contextualize gender dynamics in politics. Following the election, our expert contributors have written blog posts, sharing their insights and analysis on topics such as the pandemic’s toll on women, intersectionality,and women’s political leadership.

Poll Release

The New Normal: Women, the Workplace, and Pandemic Politics.” Through our Gender on the Ballot initiative, we worked with a polling team at Benenson Strategy Group (BSG) to investigate the ongoing impact of the pandemic two years after Covid-19 emerged. The survey reveals that women are economically stressed, struggling with mental health, and concerned about the state of the country, yet they are also galvanized in support of improving healthcare systems, electing women to public office, and seeing the first Black woman Supreme Court justice.

WeLead Reader

Launched in fall 2018, the WeLead Reader is a carefully curated newsletter packed with news and research about women in politics. Delivered to inboxes on Saturday morning, readers can catch up on a week’s worth of important new developments about women running for office, serving as leaders, and engaging in the political arena. We are proud to have over 11,225 subscribers.

"Women on Wednesdays" Events

We continued our regular weekly series, "Women on Wednesdays," which brings together our WPI community together with dynamic and thought-provoking women leaders, authors, scholars, journalists, and activists.

In total, we hosted 11 discussions featuring 16 guest speakers including:

  • Kati Marton, Former NPR and ABC News correspondent
  • Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky, co-founders of “Lift Our Voices”
  • Maggy Krell, former prosecutor and human rights lawyer
  • Amanda Hunter, Executive Director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation and Lindsay Vermeyen, Senior Vice President at the Benenson Strategy Group
  • Liuba Grechen Shirley, Founder and CEO of the Vote Mama Foundation
  • Valerie Biden Owens, campaign manager and author
  • Lis Smith, former senior advisor in communications to presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg
  • Dr. Elisabeth Griffith, author and historian
  • Ali Vitali, NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent
  • Dr. Bonnie Morris, author and Professor Emerita at George Washington University
  • Amanda Hunter, Executive Director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation; Christine Matthews, President of Bellwether Research and Consulting; Atima Omara, Founder and President of Omara Strategy Group; Mabinty Quarshie, USA Today National Political Reporter

WPI Lunch and Leadership Series

In fall 2022, we launched our “Lunch and Leadership” series to provide students the opportunity to speak in an informal small group setting with women leaders in politics, journalism, and public service. Our featured guest speakers included, NBC News correspondent Ali Vitali author of, Electable: Why America Hasn't Put a Woman in the White House . . . Yet, and AU alumna Jennifer Palmieri, author of She Proclaims: Our Declaration of Independence from a Man's World, who shared their insights and experiences with the group.

With the midterms full of firsts for female, Black, LGBTQ candidates we eagerly anticipate a busy and energetic year ahead.

Only with your help can we offer more courses, enroll more students, train more young women to run for office, conduct more research, convene more special events, and ensure that women have a seat at all of the tables where the most important decisions are made.

And please consider supporting our work in 2022 with a $1,000, $500, $250, or $100 tax deductible contribution.

Together, we will change the face of politics!