WeLead Campaign Training Program

Women bringing women into the powercenter of politics

The Women & Politics Institute at American University is dedicated to closing the gender gap in the political arena. Now in its 16th year, our nonpartisan WeLead Campaign Training Program successfully positions young professional women to run for office or lead a political campaign.

As part of our commitment to public service and gender equality in politics, we are proud to provide this valuable program to admitted participants at no cost.

News Updates

WL Fundraising Panel Jan 30 2021

JAN 30: In WeLead's Fundraising session, expert practitioners Niccara Campbell, Micah Yousefi and Helen Milby shared best practices around outside fundraising support. Tips for successful women candidates include 1/ using more data with supporters and 2/ making sure to share updates, thank yous and free events, in addition to asking for support. In terms of a career in this space, all agreed that "fundraisers are usually the first hired and the last fired."  Read More

U.S. Capitol

JAN 11: WPI Executive Director and WeLead Expert Speaker Betsy Fischer Martin hopes future women are not discouraged from running for office, but rather emboldened to make a difference and to fight for equality in the wake of last week's violence and mayhem at the U.S. Capitol. Read More

welead speaker melanie roussell newman on zoomNOV 14: In WeLead's Media & Messaging session, expert practitioners Antonia Ferrier and Melanie Newman shared best practices and pitfalls around candidate introductions, campaign communications, policy messaging and crisis response. According to Newman, at the highest level, communications is about education. ‘Being a smart news consumer, knowing the audience, and understanding policy will help a candidate and her team avoid mistakes and missteps.’  Read More

kamala harris speaking at podium from behind

NOV 13: WeLead Expert Speaker Atima Omara celebrates women getting one step closer to breaking the highest and hardest ceiling in our nation. Read her Gender on the Ballot post about this momentous occasion for VP Harris, as well as the sexism and racism we should watch for in the next four years. 

woman at voting booth

Oct 22: WeLead Expert Speaker Amanda Hunter takes us on a journey from 'soccer moms' and 'hockey moms' to 'security moms' to 2020 'suburban women' to explore which way women will vote between the Trump/Pence and Biden/Harris tickets.  Read More

powerpoint slide about female elected officials

Oct 17: WeLead Expert Speakers Amanda Hunter and Lisa Montenegro explored the question of why there aren't more women in public office by looking at self, others, and trends in gender politics. Hunter shared research on women overcoming obstacles and getting elected, as well as on women leading effectivley in a crisis. Montenegro encouraged these emerging leaders to "Do the work to discover your authentic self. Then double down on your strengths. Identify and fix your fatal flaws. Ignore the rest.”  Read More

About WeLead

WPI Executive Director Betsy Fischer Martin, talks with top 2018 gubernatorial campaign managers Anne Caprara (D) (SPA/BA '01) and Kristin Davison (R).

Top Political Practitioners

Learn from and engage with elected officials and leading experts in campaign management, communications, fundraising, grassroots mobilization, polling, advertising and digital media. Pictured Left: Betsy Fischer Martin with 2018 gubernatorial campaign managers Anne Caprara (D)(SPA/BA '01) and Kristin Davison (R).

Professional development coach Lisa Montengro

Professional Career Development

Sharpen leadership skills through interactive sessions on personal branding, resume building, effective mentorships and public speaking.  Professional development coach Lisa Montenegro is featured in this photo. 

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser at podium

Record of Success

Engage with our network of 600 WeLead graduates through our signature mentorship program. Our alums occupy the halls of Congress, campaign war rooms, K Street offices, state legislatures, city councils and corporate boardrooms across the country.  DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (SPA/MPP '00) shares her experience running for office.  

Lauren Underwood addressing WeLead graduates

Designed for Working Professionals

Our competitive application process limits our class size to a select group of 30-40 accomplished post-graduate women. Mindful of professional obligations, our six day-long training sessions are held on Saturdays at American University in Northwest Washington, DC.  WeLead Alumna Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) addresses graduating women of the WeLead program. Full Story

welead speaker selika talbott

WeLead Speaker Spotlight

Selika Talbott, Adjunct Professor, American University

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welead alumna erin daly wilson

WeLead Alumni Spotlight

Erin Daly Wilson, Director of Appointments, TX House of Representatives (2007 Alumna)

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Panel at virtual book talk event

Government & Politics ·

Wave of Women Elected Shatters What It Looks Like to Serve in Congress

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WeLead Reader

A curated newsletter, delivered to inboxes on Saturday mornings, 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.

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Gender on the Ballot Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on all the latest news + gender analysis in politics.

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WPI Newsletter

Sign up for the WPI Newsletter to view recent highlights and learn about upcoming opportunities and events.

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