Tonia Bui WeLead2011

Tonia Bui headshot

Tonia Bui
Managing Director, PWP Strategies

What was the most valuable thing you learned from WeLead?
The most valuable lesson I learned was how fundraise. Our group project to raise funds to pay for a portion of our WeLead program really strengthened my networking, communications, and critical thinking skills. The women in my group were very talented. I learned how to remain persistent with donor asks. Our group acquired a sponsorship for a reception room at one of the downtown DC hotels.  We had former Congressional candidate Krystal Ball and previous Running Start Executive Director Jessica Grounds headline our event. It was such a blast. That was when I realized I enjoyed fundraising. I also learned that making the asks for donations wasn’t so bad! 

What was your favorite part of the program?
My favorite part was meeting women from many different backgrounds. Not everyone had a policy background like me. Some of my WeLead cohort members had degrees in computer science and others owned small businesses or worked in the media industry. Despite our different career paths, we shared the common goal of promoting women’s leadership.

What advice would you give to the current WeLead class? 
Relationship building is a key component of this program. However, you don’t have to be an extrovert to thrive in this environment. Everyone is a different kind of ‘WeLeader’. Come to the training with your own personal or professional goals and make the best of the sessions that resonate with you.

Any other thoughts on your WeLead experience?
The WeLead program truly is a space of women who empower other women. I learned about WeLead through WeLead2009 alumna Ellen Kamei (current Councilmember of the City of Mountain View, California), while we were working on Capitol Hill. I’m so glad she encouraged me to apply because I’m now part of a network of women that I truly admire.

Bui has worked on Capital Hill, for several non-profits, at Booz Allen Hamilton, and most recently in communications for Montgomery County, MD public schools. In 2023 she launched her own political consulting firm, and The Blue Dumpling podcast, which aims to bridge gaps in AAPI civic and political engagement efforts in Maryland and across the nation.   

gender on the ballot