The November fundraising session began with long-time fundraiser and founder of The LS Group Lisa Spies, emphasizing curiosity and generosity over a more transactional approach. She went on to elaborate about hosting breakfast events, digital outreach, and call days (which is different than call time). She was joined by Jessica Brouckaert, an attorney at Dickinson Wright, who outlined campaign finance rules and regulations.
Next up was a panel of female fundraisers with decades of experience working for dozens of well-known candidates between them. Liesl Hickey, partner at Ascent Media, Ali Lapp, founder of The House Majority PAC, and Democratic Strategist China Dickerson talked to the class about PACS, SuperPACs, Independent Expenditures, dark money and more. They explained how these groups identify and fund candidates, and all agreed that in the current regulatory climate, candidates need to embrace all-types of fundraising in order to broadly share their messages and ultimately execute their platforms.
Over lunch, the WeLead Special Project on Fundraising was introduced. Working in teams, the women will develop a three-month campaign to raise awareness and funds for the program. In keeping with the mission of WeLead to close the gender gap in political leadership, this is a critical piece of giving women the confidence and skills they need to run for office.
The day ended with an exercise and instruction on Networking from professional development coach Lisa Montenegro. Directly related to fundraising, the conversation focused on mutually-beneficial relationships, networking inner and outer circles, and ‘friend-raising’.
The Women & Politics Institute joined the School of Communication and the Sine Institute for Politics & Policy for a screening of Knock Down the House, a riveting documentary which chronicles the endeavors of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin as they mounted campaigns during the historic 2018 midterm cycle.
Moderated by Executive Director of the Sine Insitute for Politics & Policy Amy Dacey and Executive in Residence at the School of Communication Molly O’Rourke, a panel discussion followed the film screening to dissect various elements of the documentary. Director Rachel Lears, executive producer and AU alum Cherry Graziosi (SOC/MA '91), and former congressional candidate Amy Vilela (D-NV), sat down to discuss the film-making process, as well as the broader political landscape as it currently stands. Vilela spoke both passionately and candidly, noting that the fight against the establishment is still ongoing. “If they’re not going to give you a seat at the table, bring a lawn chair. If they aren’t going to listen to you, raise your voice even louder,” she urged.
WeLead’s Communications & Messaging session on Saturday highlighted political and campaign communications careers. Panelists included: Ashley Fox, Deputy Chief of Staff for D.C. City council member Elissa Silverman; Meredith Kelly, Communications Director, Gillibrand 2020; and Pamela Stevens, Director of Specialty Media, Charlotte 2020. The path to success was different for each panelist, but shared some common traits, such as taking chances, believing in yourself, respecting others, and doing the work.
WeLead alumna Ashley Fox shared with the group the value of trying new things, being honest with yourself about what you enjoy, and identifying your strengths. Fox started as an intern at a non-partisan non-profit, working with colleges and universities to recruit and keep young people in federal civil service. From there, Fox volunteered on a campaign for a first-time candidate running for D.C. City Council. She ultimately joined the staff, and within five years was named Deputy Chief of Staff. Fox said to the room, “My WeLead experience was so instrumental in prompting me to go into the role I’m in now. Some of my closest friends today in D.C. actually came from my WeLead class so I cannot encourage you strongly enough to build good relationships with folks in the room and to make an effort to get to know people. And that’s friends on both sides of the aisle for me. In my current work at the local level in D.C. politics, the value of folks being on the Hill or in other spheres of government has been particularly meaningful to me.”
After college, Kelly took an unpaid internship in Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) office and was hired after four months to be his upstate deputy press secretary, where she learned on-the-job. Ultimately, she became his press secretary in New York City, a very demanding media market. Working with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2016, Kelly helped Democrats secure a net gain in Congress, and flipped the House to a majority-Democrat institution in 2018. In January 2019, Kelly joined the Kirsten Gillibrand Presidential campaign as Communications Director. Kelly said, “I couldn’t be prouder of what we did. We drove the conversation on key issues like reproductive rights, paid family leave, and did move the entire presidential field. I’m glad I worked for a powerful, smart woman.”
Pamela Stevens also started in a volunteer role, on the Reagan/Bush campaign. She started by answering phones while waiting for an interview at the White House, and was hired that same day as a troop coordinator for Reagan. Stevens stressed being as generous as you can, being kind, being respectful, and leaving a situation better than you found it. “Loyalty is everything,” she added. Stevens has spent more than two decades working in television and other traditional media, and was recently appointed as the Director of Specialty Media for the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte.
Later in the day, Represent co-author Kate Black shared real-world examples from the book about how women decide and start to run for office. There was plenty of Q&A to discuss policy platforms, fundraising, messaging, and time management. The self-reflection exercises in the book related directly to the work done in the afternoon with a professional development coach on constructing a personal brand or declaration that is unique, honest, and memorable.
Over the course of the day, the young women in WeLead were inspired and encouraged to run for office, run a campaign or run a communications team. “You are qualified (to run) today. Your experience is your expertise,” Black told the room. Kelly added, “You don’t get anything in D.C. that you don’t ask for.”
In collaboration with the Women in Public Service Project, WPI hosted a discussion on the intersection of women, politics, and the world of new media. Lucia Di Meco, Global Fellow at the Wilson Center, presented findings from her forthcoming paper on female politicians and how they use social media as a tool for leveraging political gains. In her talk, Di Meco highlighted the “double-edged sword” the world of social media can be for women in politics. While there are the “trolls” who bombard women’s online platforms, she also finds that women politicians are able to use social media to drive actual policy change, compared to their male counterparts.
Following Di Meco’s paper presentation, the panelists, Christine Matthews, President, Bellwether Research and Consulting; Crystal Patterson, Global Civics Partnership Manager, Facebook; Jenna Golden, President, Golden Strategies, Former Head of Political Sales at Twitter; and Rebecca Schuller, Executive Director, Winning for Women, discussed how the women running for president in the upcoming election might benefit from using social media and the authenticity social media brings to constituents. "Hearing the message straight from you is the most important currency women have as candidates" says Patterson about the importance of using social media in a campaign. The panel was moderated by WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin.
The Women & Politics Institute hosted a forum to discuss, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics,” a book that details the careers and friendships of four powerful African American women in the political world. Co-authors and renowned political strategists Donna Brazile, Minyon Moore, and Yolanda Caraway joined WPI Executive Director and moderator Betsy Fischer Martin as they explored the importance of urging women to run for public office, and examining the value of women surrounding themselves with other strong, like-minded women.
Central to their discussion, the panelists touched on the significance of adequate political representation, noting that the nation still has a long way to go until such a feat is achieved. Brazile - who frequently spoke of the need to elect more women to office - finalized her thoughts by imploring females in the audience to consider the onerous task of mounting a campaign. “Why you? Because there’s no one better. Why now? Because tomorrow’s not soon enough,” Brazile said passionately.
View event photos here, full story here, and watch the video here.
The Women & Politics Institute and the School of Communication Journalism Division hosted an empowering book talk with co-authors and educators Kristin Grady Gilger and Julia Wallace. Their book, There’s No Crying In Newsrooms, captures the essence of what it’s like to navigate the world of journalism as a woman—from sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement to suppressing emotions and crying in bathrooms, the authors discussed the hardships of maneuvering through womanhood in a profession conventionally dominated by men.
Joined by Lisa Matthews of the Associated Press and Cory Haik of VICE, the panelists shared their unique stories of climbing to the top of their fields, underscoring the extent to which double-standards and hypocrisy often plague and disillusion female journalists at every juncture in their careers. As Betsy Fischer Martin moderated the talk, the women offered advice for aspiring young professionals who seek to subvert gender norms in the office.
When asked how she makes important decisions at the managerial level without appearing “bossy” to her subordinates, Matthews said, “I just do it with a smile.”
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
WPI, along with AUSG Women’s Initiative, the Kennedy Political Union, Black Girls Vote, Sister Sister AU, and the NAACP, co-hosted an event featuring U.S. Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (D-NC). Adams, a longtime educator at Bennett College, a historic black women’s college in Greensboro, North Carolina, described how she made it from the Greensboro School Board to the U.S. House of Representatives. Representative Adams has been working with WeLead Alumna and U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood to co-sponsor the Black Maternal Health Caucus, stating that mothers in the United States are more likely to die during childbirth than mothers in any other developed nation. The cumulative stress of racism and sexism makes black women twice as likely to experience complications during childbirth as white women.
Adams detailed the five pillars the Black Maternal Health Caucus attempts to address, which includes increasing access to critical services, improving the quality of care, addressing maternal and infant mortality, enhancing support for families both before and after birth, and improving data collection and oversight. When asked what advice she has for young students thinking about getting into politics, Adams makes the distinction that “there is a difference between being concerned and being committed.”
WPI launched the 2019-20 WeLead program year with a dynamic, authentic and inspirational talk from D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (SPA/MPP '06). Nadeau spoke about the ever-important issues of housing and education for her Ward 1 constituents, but also about how, in general, it’s important to listen, dive into issues, and “leave things better than you found them.” In keeping with the mission of the program to close the gender gap in political leadership, Nadeau encouraged the 40 women to “please run”. This theme was echoed in the afternoon panel of WeLead alumnae who are making a difference and setting the agenda at advocacy groups, non-profits and on the Hill.
The afternoon panelists included: Katie Smith, Federal Lobbyist at AFSCME; Anne Hedgepeth, Director of Federal Policy at AAUW; and Caren Street, newly-named Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus. The panel discussed topics as varied as networking, imposter syndrome, work-life balance and executive presence. Not surprising with this group, policy and politics also came up – a conversation that continued at a social reception immediately following the session.
To view more photos, click here.
While the audience of students, faculty, and community members enjoyed lunch, Nicole Fossier, Associate at the Benenson Strategy Group presented key takeaways from a recent poll of likely 2020 voters that GOTB commissioned to find explore attitudes on electability and gender as it relates to the presidential election. After presenting the top-line findings from the poll, Fossier joined Amanda Hunter, Research and Communications Director at the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, and Li Zhou, Politics and Policy Reporter at Vox, in a panel discussion about what the electability discussion means for the women running for president. The panel was moderated by Betsy Fischer Martin. Read more about the event here, view more photos here, and catch the livestream here.
Co-hosted with Women In Film & Video, WPI screened excerpts from One Woman One Vote, an award-winning documentary that captures the plight and history of the women’s suffrage movement. Additionally, audience members watched an exclusive trailer of the upcoming film Resisterhood, which documents the female-driven Resistance movement that has made waves nationwide since 2017.
Following the screenings, WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer-Martin moderated a panel and Q&A session with three prominent women involved in the filmmaking process: Ruth Pollak, the writer and producer of One Woman One Vote, Cheryl Jacobs Crim, filmmaker of Resisterhood, and Mimi Hassanein, a political candidate featured in Resisterhood.
Recognizing the vast amounts of progress that women have made in a considerably short of time, Crim noted, “We’ve come a long way, and yet we have so much further to go.”
To view more photos from the event, click here.
Together with the law and government department of AU's Washington College of Law, friends of WPI joined current students and alums for an evening of networking at the Rayburn House Office Building.
American University hosted a Fulbright Student Enrichment Seminar on Women’s Economic Empowerment, Challenges and Opportunities.
On Thursday, May 16, WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin moderated a panel discussion following a screening of Hingakawa: Forgiveness Is a Choice (Starbucks Productions), a new documentary that tells the story of two women who became friends after being on opposite sides of the Rwandan genocide.
Panelists included Zulima Espinel, Vice President for Global Public Policy and Government Affairs at Starbucks, Julie Vogtman, Director of Job Quality and Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, and Curt Reintsma, Food Security Partnerships Specialist at USAID’s Bureau for Food Security.
On Friday, May 17, Fischer Martin moderated a roundtable discussion on grassroots and civil society efforts to promote women’s economic empowerment. Participating in the discussion were Rachel Pearson, founder of Engage, a bipartisan women’s initiative focused on issues surround economic security, Sharyn Tejani, Director of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, and Deborah Vagins, Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Research at the American Association of University Women. The panelists discussed how local organizations can empower women and advance women’s rights on multiple fronts.
Following the discussion, Fischer Martin also participated in a roundtable debrief along with Dr. Jeff Hayes (Program Director, Job Quality and Income Security, Institute for Women’s Policy Research) and Dr. Kelly Jones (Assistant Professor, American University). The discussion was moderated by Elyse Shaw (Study Director, Institute for Women’s Policy Research).
At a lunch event, the Women & Politics Institute celebrated the ten students who received the Women, Policy, and Political Leadership Certificate this year. WPI also honored three 2018-2019 Alice Paul Award Winners:
Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (Alumna Recipient)
Cindy Buffart (Graduate Recipient)
Jacqueline Pelella (Undergraduate Recipient)
Shilpa Phadke (Faculty Recipient)
Congratulations to all!
To view more photos, click here.
After a year of hard work and dedication, WPI was pleased to graduate 28 members of the 2018-19 WeLead class on May 8th in the DC offices of MacAndrews & Forbes. Graduates and their guests were welcomed by WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin, American University School of Public Affairs Dean Vicky Wilkins, and MacAndrews & Forbes Senior Vice President and AU Alumna Elise Aronson. All three women encouraged the graduates to aim high and support each other.
WPI was proud to present WeLead alumna, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL) with our annual Alice Paul Award. In special remarks to graduates, Congresswoman Underwood, who graduated from the program in 2012, shared her story about why and when she decided to run for a seat in the House of Representatives, ultimately defeating a four term incumbent and becoming the youngest black woman ever elected to Congress. Underwood stressed that it wasn't 'easy' or 'convenient' to run for office, but that it was important to provide a voice on the issues she cared most about. She credits campaign training programs, like WeLead, with helping prepare young women with the skills and confidence that it takes to campaign for elected office at any level.
Underwood shared with the young women who currently work in federal agencies, Congress, non-profits and advocacy groups that some of the first calls she made when she decided to run were to her former WeLead classmates. Several of them came out to campaign for her in Illinois, even though it wasn't convenient, it was important. Representative Underwood congratulated and took a picture with each graduate during the ceremony, which was followed by a celebratory reception, generously co-sponsored by MacAndrews & Forbes.
Great advice and perspective from two young, successful, female campaign managers and strategists who shared personal and professional stories about campaign life at an AU Kennedy Political Union event. Anne Caprara, Chief of Staff for Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, said "You can't be ambivalent about campaign politics. This has to be in your bones." Caprara is an AU and WPI alumna. Echoing a similar theme, Kristin Davison, VP and General Consultant at Axiom Strategies, said, "You have to acknowledge on the front end that you're going to have to sacrifice stuff. You need to love it!" The panel was moderated by Betsy Fischer Martin.
Dynamic, successful, young female Campaign Managers entertained and educated WeLead participants on April 13 in the sixth of six sessions for the 2018-2019 program year. Betsy Fischer Martin moderated the panel which included Kristin Davison, General Consultant at Axiom Strategies, Anne Caprara, Chief of Staff for Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, and Keenan Austin Reed, Chief of Staff for Virginia Congressman Donald McEachin.
Campaign managers hire/fire staff, control the budget, and are the "truth-tellers" to the candidate. As such, the panelists agreed that campaign management is an influential and rewarding career with unlimited opportunities for advancement. In the afternoon, WeLead alumna Rachael Estes shared strategies for successful salary negotiations, including doing research about industry standards, practicing, and knowing your own non-negotiable bottom-line before negotiations begin. Estes cited a statistic that only 9% of women negotiate their first salaries out of college, compared to 57% of men, leaving up to $1 million on the table over the course of their careers. Estes, Manager of Government & Regulatory Affairs at Apex Clean Energy, also stressed the importance of regularly-scheduled performance reviews as a good opportunity to discuss pay increases, title promotions and other employee benefits.
More than 60 people joined WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin on April 10th to hear New York Times best-selling author Evan Thomas and his wife Oscie discuss their new book, First, about the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The Thomases shared many anecdotes from interviewing more than 350 people about O'Connor, who was a ranch-raised, Stanford-educated, extremely practical woman, in her own life as well as on the bench.
Evan Thomas said O'Connor was frequently a "girl in a man's world", including raising three boys, but had enough education and good sense to navigate that successfully. Fischer Martin asked about the idea that O'Connor was also the "fifth" as a swing vote on the Supreme Court when it came to her priority issues of affirmative action, reproductive rights and freedom of religion. Both Thomases agreed that O'Connor would not like that description or attention, but rather preferred to put her head down and do the work.
Oscie Thomas discussed at length the relationship between O'Connor and the second female Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She said their relationship was both competitive and support. Apparently Justice Clarence Thomas called O'Connor the "glue" of the jurists. Pick up a copy of First to learn more about O'Connor's ground-breaking role on the Court.
Co-authors, Jenna Brayton, Elle Celeste, Nita Contreras, Molly Dillon, Andrea Flores, and Taylor Lustig, joined WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin for a discussion on their new book, Yes She Can. They spoke to the audience about their personal experiences in the White House that shaped who they are today. The authors shared their wisdom about how to make the most out of your career at a young age and what they would tell their younger selves. The book is currently a New York Times Bestseller.
Read more about the event here.
The Center for Israeli Studies and WPI hosted a panel discussion on the current state of women and politics in Israel. Panelists included former member of the Israeli legislature Knesset, Einet Wilf, and Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA-7). Wilf spoke about how women in Israel engage in the public forum, and Spanberger discussed how women are changing the landscape of politics in both the United States and Israel. The event was moderated by Tamara Wittes, Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution, and a reception followed the evening’s remarks.
At the March session of our WeLead training program, professional coach Lisa Montenegro talked to participants about ways to make an interview successful, and about traps to avoid. One tip is to review your job chronology in detail and be prepared to cite specific experiences that have shaped your current strengths and areas for growth. Another tip is to listen closely to the questions to determine how your skills and knowledge can address an interviewer’s ‘pain point.’
The next session focused on candidate recruitment from advocacy groups and committees. Jess O'Connell spoke about recruiting progressive, mostly female, candidates in her work at EMILY’s List and currently as a Partner at NEWCO Strategies, while Neri Martinez discussed how the Republican State Leadership Committee and other committees find and fund candidates for races in counties and municipalities all the way up to federal office. Martinez noted that most committee work is in open seats without intense primaries.
The session ended with an introduction of a relatively new campaign tool - direct voter contact via texting. WeLead alumna Zandria Haines of Hustle shared how her company is helping first-time and veteran candidates use texting for events, message testing, get-out-the-vote efforts, direct mail follow-up, and other strategies. Haines demonstrated the ease of the technology with a custom event invitation to everyone in the room that took less than 5 minutes to execute.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, the Women & Politics Institute partnered with the School of Public Affairs, School of International Service, Kennedy Political Union, Delta Phi Epsilon, and American University's International Relations Society to host a panel discussion of women ambassadors to the United States. Members of the AU community and the public filled the recital hall at Katzen Arts Center, eager to hear about the status of women in politics in countries around the world. Panelists included Floreta Faber of Albania, Vlora Çitaku of Kosovo, Kirsti Kauppi of Finland, Claudia Ivette Canjura de Contento of El Salvador, Karin Olofsdotter of Sweden, and Rosemary Banks of New Zealand. WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin moderated. The ambassadors discussed women’s political representation in their own countries and shared how they celebrate International Women’s Day. They also touched on how the female ambassadors to the US support each other, revealing that they have a WhatsApp group called “Woman Power.” The consensus: women have made great progress in their respective countries, but there is a still a long way to go to full equality.
Read more about the event here.
At the fourth session of the 2018/2019 WeLead training program, our participants learned how to run a successful political campaign, be it local or presidential, as the candidate or consultant. The day's dynamic speakers covered networking, field operations, advertising, polling and speechwriting. They inspired the participants to explore and discover who they trust, what they care about, when to run, where to get started, and how they can make a difference. Several common themes emerged across the
The Doyle Forman Theater was packed with students and community members eager to watch On the Basis of Sex, the new film about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s early years as a lawyer. The film illustrated some of the formative cases that Ginsburg tackled, altering the precedent around gender and the law. It also depicted the love story between Ginsburg and her husband, Martin, and how they worked together to change history. After the film, Betsy Fischer Martin moderated a discussion with Vicky Wilkins, Dean, School of Public Affairs and Beth Frank, Adjunct Associate Professor of Law, Washington College of Law, about their reactions to the film and how they think society has evolved since the crucial sex discrimination cases Ginsburg argued when she was a young lawyer. Audience members questioned the panelists about their interpretation of changes in the legal system since the late 1970s. While they acknowledged there is still a long way to go, panelists were largely optimistic, sharing how they have seen discriminatory laws slowly phased out of legal system in their lifetimes.
WPI was pleased to present the findings of our 2018 poll on women midterm voters, called She Votes/She Leads, to AU students and faculty. The survey, conducted by Benenson Strategy Group, surveyed 1200 midterm voters about women's political leadership and what mattered most to them at the ballot box. Senior vice president of BSG Katie Connolly presented the results and Betsy Fischer Martin moderated a conversation with Katie and the Jonathan N. Helfat Distinguished Professor of Political Science and WPI founder, Dr. Karen O’Connor.
The panel highlighted key findings, including women voters’ dislike of President Trump’s tone and the optimism that women voters feel about the ability of the newly elected women representatives to make progress on issues that matter to the electorate. Students asked the panelists questions and discussed the implications for the political landscape in 2020.
See the report here.
The Women & Politics Institute partnered with the Benenson Strategy Group (BSG) to create a survey that explores how and why women voted the way they did during the 2018 midterm elections. On Tuesday, December 4th, 2018, WPI executive director Betsy Fischer Martin and senior vice president of BSG Katie Connolly broke down the implications of the survey results in a discussion at the National Press Club. Some of the key findings that the panelists highlighted looks at how troubled women voters are at President Trump’s tone, the optimism that women voters feel about the newly elected women representatives to make progress on issues that matter to the electorate, and reinforces that women are not one singular voting bloc. Additionally, women of color and millennial women are especially astute to the gender discrimination that women running for office face. You can find a full report of the findings here and the survey questions and responses here.
At Saturday's session, the WeLead Class of 2018-2019 continued their work with professional coach Lisa Montenegro, learning about successful mentorship. Lisa led a group discussion on what mentors and mentees should expect, and how to establish objectives for a mentor/mentee relationship. There were also two panel discussions. Morning panelists included Atima Omara of Omara Strategies Group, LLC and Cherisse Eatmon of Millennial Action Project (MAP), who spoke about the importance of grassroots organizing. In the afternoon, Amanda Fuchs Miller of Seventh Street Strategies and Jennifer Bell of Chamber Hill Strategies discussed the role of lobbying in politics. Both panels were moderated by Julia Salvatore of WPI.
Students and faculty packed a room to enjoy lunch and listen to a panel discussion about the results of the 2018 midterm election. Panelists included Dr. David Barker of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, Amna Nawaz of PBS Newshour, Dr. Jan Leighley of the School of Public Affairs, and Jonathan Martin of The New York Times. The discussion was moderated by Betsy Fischer Martin, Executive Director of WPI. The panelists discussed what to expect in a post-election landscape. Speaking about the new Congress, Amna Nawaz said, "Now it's about how they are going to legislate. That's where the rubber meets the road."
SPA Dean Vicky Wilkins hosted a welcome reception for WPI's new Executive Director, Betsy Fischer Martin. Many friends and supporters of WPI gathered to celebrate Betsy's new position.
The WeLead Class of 2018-2019 worked with professional coach, Lisa Montenegro, to learn about creating their personal brand, crafting a biography for every occasion and polishing resumes. The afternoon panelists included, Rhonda Foxx, Office of Representative Alma Adams; Jordan Colvin, Jesse Colvin for Congress; Alexandra Raposo, EMILY’s List; and Betsy Fischer Martin (moderator), who spoke on approaches to fundraising on approaches to fundraising. The day concluded with Megan Sowards Newton’s presentation on ‘Legal, Reporting, and Compliance Issues of Fundraising for Campaigns.’
WPI co-sponsored a discussion with leading political and government experts on the dynamics and repercussions of the 2018 elections. Panelists included David Barker, professor and director of the Center for Congressional & Presidential Studies; electoral politics expert Elaine Kamarck, senior fellow in the governance studies and the founding director of the Brookings Institution’s Center for Effective Public Management; and political strategist Sara Fagen, a partner at DDC and former White House Political Director for President George W. Bush. The event was moderated by political scientist, professor, and director of the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, John Haskell. Watch the discussion here.
WPI was proud to co-sponsor a special screening of the acclaimed 2018 documentary, RBG. RBG, directed and produced by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, explores the exceptional life and legendary career of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The event included a pre-screening reception and post-screening discussion with panelists Robert Barnes, Supreme Court Washington Post Reporter, and Julie Cohen, RBG co-director; moderated by Betsy Fischer Martin, WPI. The panel took questions from the audience.
Our new WeLead Class of 18-19 gathered for their first session and spent the day learning about Communications and Messaging. They later mingled with WeLead alumni.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Friends of WPI gathered to celebrate another successful year at the Women & Politics Institute and say goodbye to our Director, Jennifer Lawless, as she heads to the UVA!
wpi graduation festivities
Saturday, April 28, 2018
The Women & Politics Institute celebrated this year's Women, Policy, and Political Leadership Certificate recipients and WeLead Program graduates. The event also honored the 2017-2018 Alice Paul Award Winners: Jennifer Palmieri (Alumna Recipient), Amanda Fuchs Miller (Faculty Recipient), Rachel Kershaw (Graduate Student Recipient) and Mary-Margaret Koch(Undergraduate Student Recipient).
Celebrating Women, Men & U.S. Politics: 10 Big Questions
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox hosted a unique speed-learning event, celebrating the release of their new textbook. Guests spoke with several experts on topics ranging from women's under-representation in legislatures to a woman's right to choose. Special guests included Jennifer Palmieri and others!
The Trump Effect: In Discussion with Politico
Wednesday, June 25, 2017
Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox joined Luiza Savage and Amanda Ripley of Politico to discuss the findings of their recent survey of potential candidates.
Alice Paul Awards and WPPL/WeLead Graduation
Saturday, April 22, 2017
The Women & Politics Institute celebrated this year's Women, Policy, and Political Leadership Certificate recipients and WeLead Program graduates. The event also honored the 2016-2017 Alice Paul Award Winners: Betsy Fischer Martin (Alumna Recipient), Liza Morris (Staff Recipient), Eliza Frost (Graduate Student Recipient) and Hannah Tennies (Undergraduate Student Recipient).
Women on the Run
Monday, March 6, 2017
The Women & Politics Institute and KPU hosted a Women's History Month event featuring a book discussion of Women on the Run with authors Jennifer Lawless and Danny Hayes, moderated by Candy Crowley.
Pre-Election Panel: 2016 Presidential Election
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
The Women & Politics Institute and the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies co-sponsored a pre-election panel discussion on the upcoming 2016 presidential election. The panelists included Jim Hobart, Anna Greenberg, and Hans Noel. The discussion was moderated by Jennifer Lawless.
Explore DC: Women in the Nation's Capital
Wednesday and Thursday, August 24-25, 2016
Incoming freshmen interested in careers in politics met with women shaping policy in DC, Congress, and the Executive Branch. Among many activities, students networked with women on Capitol Hill and with representatives from Women in Government Relations.
See photos of the event here.
Book Launch Event at Athleta
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Authors Jennifer Lawless and Danny Hayes signed and sold copies of their new book, Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era at Athleta in Georgetown. The evening included prizes, refreshments, contests, and giveaways.
Women on the Run Book Launch Event
Thursday, June 16, 2016
CNN's Nia Malika-Henderson moderated a discussion about Jennifer Lawless and Danny Hayes' new book, Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era. The co-authors discussed the reasons why women may not run for office, and how to close the gender gap in political leadership.
Watch the recorded discussion here.
WPI Graduation Festivities
Saturday, April 16, 2016
In a combined dinner event, the Women & Politics Institute celebrated this year's eight Women, Policy, and Political Leadership Certificate recipients and thirty WeLead Program graduates. The event also honored the 2015-2016 Alice Paul Award Winners: Laura Cox Kaplan (Alum Recipient), Jane Palmer (Faculty Recipient), Kayla Williams (Staff Recipient), Amanda Sweet (Graduate Student Recipient) and Cassandra Fowler (Undergraduate Student Recipient).
AU Experts Forecast the 2016 Election
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
A number of political experts assembled on Tuesday to discuss and provide insight on the 2016 election and its candidates. The panelists at the event included Jennifer Lawless, Glen Bolger, Anna Greenberg, Allan Lichtman, and David Wasserman. The discussion was moderated by James Thurber.
Katzen Book Reception and Discussion
Thursday, September 24, 2015
NBC's Ronan Farrow moderated a discussion about Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox's book, Running From Office: Why Young Americans Are Turned Off to Politics. Jen and Richard were joined by Congresswomen Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY). The panelists discussed ways to re-engage young people in politics and how changes to the system must come from both inside and outside of government.
See photos of the event here.
Explore DC: Women in the Nation's Capital
Wednesday and Thursday, August 26-27, 2015
Incoming freshmen interested in careers in politics met with women shaping policy in DC, Congress, and the Executive Branch. Special guests included DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Miss DC.
See photos of the event here.
Book Signing and Discussion
Thursday, June 18, 2015
CNN's John King moderated a discussion about Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox's new book, Running From Office: Why Young Americans Are Turned Off to Politics. The co-authors discussed the growing alienation of young people from politics and what we should do to chart a new course.
See photos of the discussion here.
WPI Graduation Festivities
Sunday, April 26, 2015
In a combined brunch event, the Women & Politics Institute celebrated this year's fourteen Women, Policy, and Political Leadership Certificate recipients and thirty-one WeLead Program graduates. The event also honored the 2014-2015 Alice Paul Award Winners: Congresswoman Gwen Graham (Alumna Recipient), Jessica Waters (Faculty Recipient), Paula Warrick (Staff Recipient), Samantha Guthrie (Graduate Student Recipient) and Cassondra Jo Murphy (Undergraduate Student Recipient). See photos of the festivities here.
4th Annual 5K Race to Representation
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Despite the cold weather, WPI's 4th Annual 5K Race to Representation was a success! We had more than 500 registered runners, 30 sponsors, and 30 volunteers participat to support our efforts to close the gender gap in political leadership.
Jennifer Lawless offered opening remarks and was among those who finished the race, along with several Institute staffers, students, and faculty members. Click here to see all the selected photos.
Post-Election Panel Discussion
Thursday, November 6, 2014
CCPS, WPI, and the Kay Spiritual Life Center co-sponsored a post-election panel discussion. Moderated by James A. Thurber, the panel analyzed the 2014 midterm election results. The panel speakers were Anna Greenberg, Jennifer Lawless, Candice Nelson, and Molly O'Rourke.
Pre-Election Panel Discussion
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
WPI and CCPS co-sponsored a pre-election panel discussion. The panel discussed the upcoming midterm elections and provided predictions on who would win and lose. On the panel were Glen Bolger, Margie Omero, and John Sides.
See photos of the discussion here.
2014-2015 WeLead Kick-Off Reception
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
WPI hosted guests at the Rayburn Office Building for the 2014-2015 WeLead Kick-Off reception. WPI Director Jen Lawless offered introductory remarks to welcome the 2014-2015 WeLead participants.
We were also joined by Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) and former Congresswoman Barbara Kennelly (CT-01) who all shared some personal anecdotes. Furthermore, Leaders of key DC women's organizations, Capitol Hill staffers, and many friends of WPI also joined us at the reception as well.
WPI Graduation Festivities
Sunday, April 13, 2014
In a combined brunch event, the Women & Politics Institute celebrated this year's eleven Women, Policy, and Political Leadership Certificate recipients and twenty-five WeLead Program graduates. The event also honored the 2013-2014 Alice Paul Award Winners: Muriel Bowser (AlumNA Recipient), Lucy Gettman (Faculty Recipient), Diane Hsiung (Staff Recipient), Morgan Walton (Graduate Student Recipient) and Jacqlene Moran (Undergraduate Student Recipient). See photos of the festivities here.
3rd Annual 5K Race to Representation
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Despite the rainy weather, WPI’s 3rd Annual 5K Race to Representation was a success! We had more than 400 registered runners, 27 sponsors, and 30 volunteers participat to support our efforts to close the gender gap in political leadership.
Jennifer Lawless offered opening remarks and was among those who finished the race, along with several Institute staffers, students, and faculty members. Click here to see all the race photos.
Women's History Month Panel Discussion
Thursday, March 27, 2014
WPI and CCPS co-sponsored a women's history month panel discussion. The panel discussed partisanship and polarization in the US Congress, and whether more women can help solve these problems. On the panel were Mickey Edwards, Nancy Johnson, and Barbara Kennelly, all of whom served in the US House of Representatives with Newt Gingrich.
Sean Theriault also signed copies of his new book, The Gingrich Senators: The Roots of Partisan Warfare in Congress. See photos of the discussion here.
2013-2014 WeLead Kick-Off Reception
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
WPI hosted guests at the Rayburn Office Building for the 2013-2014 WeLead Kick-Off reception. WPI Director Jennifer Lawless offered introductory remarks to welcome the 2013-2014 WeLead participants.
We were also joined by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09), and Cheri Bustos (IL-17) who all shared some personal anecdotes. Leaders of key DC women's organizations, Capitol Hill staffers, and many friends of WPI also joined us at the reception.
Miss Representation Screening and Panel Discussion
Friday, July 12, 2013
Phi Sigma Sigma welcomed over 300 guests for a screening of Miss Representation. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film highlights the manner in which the mainstream media contribute to women’s under-representation in positions of power and influence in America. Jennifer Lawless participated in the panel discussion immediately following the screening.
Girls Just Wanna Not Run Event
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox invited the AU community and public to join them for a discussion on their new report: Girls Just Wanna Not Run: The Gender Gap in Young Americans' Political Ambition. Before the program, the participants enjoyed cocktails and food. The event was a success, as Jennifer and Richard presented their results and also answered various questions from the audience. To see photos of the event, click here.
WPI Graduation Festivities
Sunday, April 28, 2013
In a combined brunch event, the Women & Politics Institute celebrated this year's six Women, Policy, and Political Leadership Certificate recipients and twenty-nine WeLead Program graduates. The event also honored the 2012-2013 Alice Paul Award Winners: Ann Timmons (Faculty Recipient), Anita McBride (Alumna Recipient), Sarah Glassman (Staff Recipient), Jane Palmer (Graduate Student Recipient) and Emily Yu (Undergraduate Student Recipient). See photos of the festivities here.
2nd Annual 5K Race to Representation
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Over 300 people attended the Women & Politics Institute’s 2nd Annual 5K Race to Representation. Those that participated ran to support the institute’s efforts to close the gender gap in political leadership. Jennifer Lawless offered opening remarks and was among those who finished the race, along with several Institute staffers, students, and faculty members. Click here to see all the race photos.
WeLead Kick-Off for the Class of 2012-2013
Saturday, September 22, 2012
On Saturday, September 22nd, Women & Politics Institute welcomed the new WeLead Class of 2012-2013. At this kick-off brunch, WPI Director Jennifer Lawless offered introductory remarks to welcome the WeLead participants. In addition, the participants met and mingled with WeLead Alumni from the Class of 2011-2012. All in all, WPI was proud to once again host this kick-off event for our new WeLead participants and WeLead Alumni.
Women's Week: Women in Politics Panel
Thursday, September 13, 2012
WPI and AU Democrats co-sponsored a Women in Politics Panel. The panel examined why it is so important to have more women in government the potential for increased representation of women in the upcoming election.
Speakers: Amy Dacey, Executive Director of EMILY’s List: AU Professor, Jennifer Lawless: Executive Director of Running Start and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Women Under Forty Political Action Committee, Jessica Grounds, and Clare Bresnahan, Programs Director of the Women’s Campaign Fund.
Beyond the Vote: Post-Suffering Strategies to Gain Access to Power
Thursday, August 23, 2012
WPI, National Archives William G. McGowan Theater, and National Capital Parks-East, National Park Service hosted a panel that discussed how women gain access to power to make change.
Speakers: Dr. Joy Kinard, Central District Manager, National Capital Parks-East - Mary McLeod Bethune Council House NHS; Jennifer Krafchik, Assistant Director and Director of Collections, Sewall-Belmont House & Museum; and Dr. Jennifer Lawless, Director, Women & Politics Institute, American University.
WPI's 2012 Graduation Festivities
Sunday, May 6, 2012
In a combined brunch event, the Women & Politics Institute celebrated this year's nine Women, Policy, and Political Leadership Certificate recipients and thirty-seven WeLead Program graduates. The event also honored the 2011-2012 Alice Paul Award Winners: Elizabeth Sherman (Faculty Recipient), Jan Du Plain (Alumna Recipient), Leah Gates (Graduate Student Recipient) and Kathleen McKenna (Undergraduate Student Recipient). See photos of the festivities here.
Celebrating Women's History Month and the 20th Anniversary of the "Year of the Woman"
Monday, March 19, 2012
Jennifer Lawless signed copies of her new book, Becoming a Candidate, as guests enjoyed refreshments and musical hits from 1992 with DJ Dave. Following the signing, WPI and CCPS honored 15 women who ran for congressional office in 1992: Elaine Baxter, Paula DiPerna, Michele Dyson, Sylvia R. Garcia, Charlene Haar, Josie Heath, Stephanie Johnson, Jean Lloyd-Jones, Connie A. Morella, Anna Nevenic, Pam Roach, Claire Sargent, Susan B. Stokes, Mable Thomas, and Ellen E. Wedum all offered brief remarks on why they decided to run for office in 1992. See more photos from the event here.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The Alliance for Women in Media and WPI welcomed 200 guests for a screening of Miss Representation. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film highlights the manner in which the mainstream media contribute to women’s under-representation in positions of power and influence in America. The event began with a well-attended reception in the Katzen Arts Center. Jennifer Lawless and Erin Fuller offered remarks before the start of the film.
Race to Representation
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Nearly 500 people attended the Women & Politics Institute’s inaugural 5K Race to Representation, an event that sought to draw attention to the dearth of women in politics and highlight the Institute’s efforts to close the gender gap in political leadership. The race provided a fun opportunity for both the AU and DC communities to hear about gender disparities in politics and to work to increase women’s presence in the political sphere. Jennifer Lawless offered opening remarks and was among those who finished the race, along with several Institute staffers, students, and faculty members. Check out all the photos from the race here.
WeLead Kick- Off for the Class of 2011-2012
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
On Wednesday, September 21st, more than 150 guests gathered at the Rayburn Office Building for the 2011-2012 WeLEAD kick-off. WPI Director Jen Lawless offered introductory remarks to welcome the WeLEAD participants and Congresswomen Donna Edwards (MD-04) and Rosa DeLauro (CT-03). Both shared some personal anecdotes and advice to those in attendance on how to succeed as a woman in politics. The Women & Politics Institute was proud to once again host this Kick-Off event attended by leaders of key DC women's organizations, WeLEAD participants, Capitol Hill staffers, and many friends of WPI. See more photos from the event here.
WPI's 2011 Graduation Festivities
Sunday, May 1, 2011
In a combined brunch event, the Women & Politics Institute celebrated this year's thirteen Women, Policy, and Political Leadership Certificate recipients and thirty-six WeLEAD Program graduates. The event also honored the 2010-2011 Alice Paul Award Winners: Connie Morella (Faculty Recipient), Erin Fuller (Alumni Recipient), Christy Anthony (Staff Recipient), Gail Baitinger (Graduate Student Recipient) and Kathryn Baxter (Undergraduate Student Recipient). See photos of the festivities here.
Celebrating Women's History Month
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Cindy Simon Rosenthal signed copies of her new book, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the New American Politics (co-authored with Ron M. Peters, Jr.) as guests enjoyed refreshments and entertainment from Zeebop. Following the signing, a panel moderated by Cindy Simon Rosenthal with former congresswomen Elizabeth Holtzman (member 1973-1981) and Connie Morella (member 1987-2003) discussed whether the more things change, the more they stay the same. Jennifer Lawless offered introductory remarks. Take a look at more pictures from the event.
Women, media, power, leadership: No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Gloria Feldt signed copies of her new book, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, as guests enjoyed light refreshments. Following the signing, a panel with Gloria Feldt, Amanda Hess, Karen Finney and Congresswoman Terri Sewell discussed women, media, power, leadership, and Gloria's new book. The audience then asked panelists questions about their experiences navigating political leadership. See more photos from the panel discussion.
Women and the 2010 Elections: It Still Takes A Candidate
Monday, November 29, 2010
Jennifer Lawless signed copies of her new book (co-authored with Richard L. Fox), It Still Takes A Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office as guests enjoyed light refreshments and live music by Zeebop. Dee Dee Myers, former White House Press Secretary to Bill Clinton, Dana Perino, former White House Press Secretary to George W. Bush, and Jennifer Lawless discussed the outcomes of the 2010 midterm elections before an audience of more than 150 guests. Shira Toeplitz, of Politico moderated the discussion. See more from the signing and event.
Honoring the Women of the FCC: Past & Present
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The Alliance for Women in Media and WPI welcomed five current and former female FCC Commissioners, Mimi Dawson, Susan Ness, Deborah Taylor Tate, Gloria Tristani, and Meredith Atwell Baker for a panel discussion moderated by Jennifer Lawless. The Commissioners answered questions related to diversity in the media and challenges faced by female candidates for nominated or elected positions. The event concluded with a reception held in the Katzen Arts Center Museum.
Borders Book Signing with Jennifer L. Lawless
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Borders in Friendship Heights hosted our first Washington, DC, book signing for Women & Politics Institute Director Jennifer Lawless, and her new book, It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office. The book reports the results of surveys and interviews with 4,000 women and men who are well situated to run for office. It ultimately demonstrates that many fundamental barriers continue to confront women in politics, making gender equality a remote prospect. Check out more photos from the signing.
Gloria Stienem at AU
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
The Women & Politics Institute co-sponsored an event at which Gloria Steinem discussed feminism today, the struggles the women’s movement continues to face, and what the next generation of women’s activism will entail. After her speech, students were invited to participate in a question and answer session with Ms. Steinem. Other co-sponsors included: the Kennedy Political Union, Women's Initiative, and AU College Democrats.
2010 - 2011 WeLEAD Kick-Off
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
More than 150 guests gathered at the Rayburn Office Building for the 2010-2011 WeLEAD Kick-Off. WPI Director Jen Lawless offered introductory remarks to welcome the WeLEAD participants and Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis (WY-At Large) shared some personal anecdotes. Live music by Zeebop greeted members of Congress, leaders of key DC women's organizations, WeLEAD participants, Capitol Hill staffers, and many friends of WPI.
WOMEN AMBASSADORS & WOMEN IN DIPLOMACY
Thursday, June 3, 2010
More than 170 guests from the DC community gathered at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain to honor the work of women ambassadors and women in diplomacy. Jan DuPlain of DuPlain Enterprises, Inc. introduced Her Excellency Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States, to an audience that included several other ambassadors, diplomats, alumni, and friends of WPI. Jennifer Lawless, WPI Director, offered remarks on the mission of the Women & Politics Institute.
CELEBRATING WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Honorable Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, and Tina Tchen, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, spoke to an audience of more than 150 guests about the Obama Administration's efforts to advance women in the US and around the world. Anita McBride, executive-in-residence at American University and former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush, moderated the discussion.
WOMEN, CAMPAIGNS, & ELECTIONS
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Washington Post White House correspondent, Anne Kornblut, signed copies of her book Notes from the Cracked Ceiling: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and What It Will Take for a Woman to Win. After the signing, CNN's Jessica Yellin and MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell joined Kornblut for a panel discussion about women in the 2008 election. WPI Director Jennifer Lawless moderated and more than 150 guests attended. See more photos from the event here.
Capitol Hill Reception for Jennifer Lawless
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Live music greeted more than 100 guests from the DC community as they gave a very warm welcome to Washington to WPI Director, Jennifer Lawless! Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) introduced Jen to an audience that included several other members of Congress, leaders of key DC women’s organizations, Capitol Hill staffers, and friends of WPI.
WPI & KPU Host Meghan McCain
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
On September 23rd, Daily Beast columnist, Meghan McCain, spoke at to a packed room in the Mary Graydon University Center at an event cosponsored by the Women & Politics Institute. WPI Director, Jennifer Lawless introduced McCain, who is the daughter of Senator and Republican presidential candidate, John McCain. Many thanks to the Kennedy Political Union for including us in this exciting event!
AU Welcome Event for Jennifer Lawless
Wednesday, September 1, 2009
The AU Community showed up in force to welcome WPI’s new Director, Dr. Jennifer Lawless. President Neil Kerwin, Provost Scott Bass, SPA Dean William LeoGrande, and WPI Founder and Director Emerita Karen O’Connor offered remarks.
October 8, 2019
Top journalists and former leaders of the Republican and Democratic National Committees gave their impressions of the ever-changing political landscape heading into the 2020 presidential election.
September 19, 2019
The Women & Politics Institute and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation co-hosted a panel discussion on campus to shed light on what the much-discussed concept of "electability" actually means to voters in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election.
May 8, 2019
The Women & Politics Institute was pleased to graduate 28 members of the 2018-19 WeLead class on May 8th in the DC offices of MacAndrews & Forbes. WeLead alumna and newly-elected Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), shared her story about why and when she decided to run for office. Underwood stressed that it wasn't 'easy' or 'convenient' to run for office, but that it was important. Healthcare is one important reason she ran for office, and an area in which she hopes to make a difference in Congress.
March 6, 2019
The all-star panel of female ambassadors to the U.S. discussed women’s political representation in their own countries and shared how they celebrate International Women’s Day.