Category: VRL Blog

Creative Disruption: Using Innovative Tech to Advance Latina Leaders in Politics

By Nadia Farjood and Erin Vilardi

Latinas, despite being the country’s fastest-growing population, are the most underrepresented major group in American politics. Why? Because you can’t be what you can’t see. With a short supply of Latina role models and weak institutional support (think parties recruiting Hispanic leaders), Latinas are missing out on two critical elements known for increasing diversity in leadership. And when, on average, Latinas are paid only 56 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, economic inequity becomes a significant disadvantage in such a resource-driven political environment. Today, only a handful of organizations provide Latina-specific political and campaign training. So, what’s the good news? What can we do to advance Latinas who have been left out of the political system?

We’ve got some best practices from our partnership, Latinas in Leadership, a ten-part web clinics series with LatinasRepresent and VoteRunLead, featuring Latina leaders, for Latina leaders launched in October 2014. By combining tech and targeted training, we are reaching new leaders and growing the talent pool of Latina leadership.

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Here’s what we’ve learned.

  • Keep Resources Free and Accessible for LongTerm: Reduce economic and geographic barriers with free, online content and keep content available and evergreen to allow women to access it at their own pace,
  • Latina-Specific Content, Recognize Intersectionality, and Internal Diversity: Respond directly to Latinas’ concerns, questions, and competencies and build a supportive network inclusive of the diversity within the community. Allow others to access resources from outside to showcase Latina talent.
  • Inspiring Role Models from All Levels: Spotlight Latina leaders who are making waves in politics, policy, and public office from local levels to national role models.

It’s simple: Innovate. Think outside the box. Use technology to reach Latinas nationwide because. Try new tools to create a more reflective and effective democracy. Take a risk. Our digital innovations are equipping, emboldening, and energizing Latinas to vote, run, and lead and we hope you will join us in the journey.

Your first step can be to watch and then share the Latinas in Leadership web clinics!

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Watch + Share Vocalizing Your Ambition

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Watch + Share How to Create a Support System

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Watch + Share Answering Tough Questions

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Watch + Share Mentoring & the Power of Your Network

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Watch + Share Mighty Mujeres

It’s essential to the future success of our country that we have more qualified Latinas in civic leadership roles, and if you’re reading this post then the chances are pretty good that you agree. Join us and give us your feedback.

You tell us…

What did you think of the Latinas in Leadership series? What do you find the most rewarding? What are your fears about running for office? We hope a few women have popped into your head while reading this: share this with her and encourage her to run for office!

One year later, here’s what we’ve done together

Did you know that we turned one this month? As we look back on our first year since launch on September 10, 2014, we’re humbled by the outpouring of support from those like you who have become our community now known as VRL Nation. More than that, we are energized with a sense of purpose to continue delivering on the programs we have in place to fill the political pipeline with viable women leaders on our quest to achieve parity.

If you see this, that means you’re part of a nationwide movement that is 45,000 people strong who’ve had nearly 60,000 interactions with each other resulting in over 7 MILLION online impressions. Whoo!

Yes, we are proud of our work so far — but not satisfied! We have audacious goals for 2016 to offer even more training resources and have an even larger connected community of women and men who believe in our mission of diverse leadership.

Thank you for being part of this movement!

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The Campaign Plan Overview: A 3-Part Campaign Plan Workbook

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Ok. So you’ve made the decision to run. You know what you want to run for. Now it’s time to get serious.

The Campaign Plan Timeline, broken up in three parts, will help you to think about the “big picture.” Lots of details will go into your plan, but this will help you organize what it takes to run a campaign.

Our motto is, “Plan the Work. Work the Plan.” Whether it’s 5 years or 5 months (or even 5 weeks), this timeline will help you create a great campaign plan. Remember. If it’s not written down, it’s not a plan.

Download your free workbook loaded with actionable strategies, best practices, and tactics to get you started.

Download Campaign Plan Workbook

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Motivation: Single Mother. Small Business Owner. State Representative.

Angela-Williams-Video-StillFrameWhile she was running her own business, Angela Williams was approached to consider running for office about four years prior to winning her position in the Colorado House of Representatives. As a single mother who raised her son by herself since he was seven, she is dedicated to bringing the voice of others like her into the conversation. Having been a small business owner for 14 years, Angela had previously testified on bills at the capitol and began to understand how she could make a difference and be a voice for others like her, and through leadership training, realized that decisions are being made at a very high level that affects everyone. Motivated by the impact she was having by participating in civics, she ran for office and was elected during a time when there would be no African American women with a seat at the table. 

I decided to run because I wanted to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice.

One of the things we love about Angela’s leadership story is that she ran for office because she wanted to be a voice for those who don’t have one. Like so many of us, she recognizes the importance of having a governing body that is truly reflective of its people. She considers her time in office “critically important” to ensure there is a diverse voice with opportunity for everyone to be heard and represented.

But it doesn’t stop there for Angela! Among a myriad of other committees, she is a Co-Founder for the Colorado Black Democratic Legislative Caucus,  and, in her commitment to diversity, she works closely with the Latino Caucus to ensure that all of the voices in their communities are being heard.

It was important that we have a legislature that is reflective of the diversity here in Colorado.

I think our most favorite piece of Angela’s story is how she makes it her business to encourage and recruit other women to also run for office and be involved in policy.

Remember, if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.

Watch Angela share her leadership story below:

Take the next step in your leadership by registering for an upcoming web clinic, checking out a webinar replay, or learn at your own pace in our resource center.

To your success!

Ins & Outs of Local Government

Download The E-Book: The Big 4 Offices of Local Gov’t

Thanks for being part of VRL Nation and taking this step in your leadership journey. Download your e-book!

Ins & Outs of Local Government

The 2nd* most frequent question we get at VoteRunLead is about the elected office itself. With our busy lives and lack of civics in schools, we find ourselves in the dark about what local government / local elected offices actually do everyday. Generally, what spurs women to become involved in local government is a specific issue. Once they have become involved and learned how to work in the local political process they often discover that they have something to offer the community, and are interested in its future.

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

We are proud to release our first e-book, “The Big 4: The Ins and Outs of Local Government,” where we breakdown the roles and responsibilities of City Councils, County Offices, State Legislatures, and School Boards with a dynamic and diverse group of women holding these positions right now!

The Big 4 e-book on local elected offices will help you figure out where your policy passions get legislated:

  • Care about your kid’s curriculum? Become a voice on the School Board and rally for high-quality education.
  • Want to bolster downtown revitalization? Get your city government galvanized to make it happen.
  • Hope to influence water policy? Head to the capital so your state can be a model for the nation.

Get your copy of this fabulous resource today and get started on your journey into local politics!

Download The Big 4 E-Book

10 Powerful Quotes to Renew Your Spirit

Sometimes it feels like your life is on autopilot. We get caught up in the day-to-day and forget to zoom out and regroup. Words have power — and these inspiring quotes are sure to challenge the way you think and perhaps even change the way you live. There are a lot of words of wisdom out there, and we lined up 10 oh-so-shareable quotes to help kick off your week.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
1. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

There are only two options - make progress or make excuses.
2. There are only two options – make progress or make excuses.

Nothing worth having comes easy.
3. Nothing worth having comes easy.

If we can learn to deal with our discomfort and just relax into it, we'll have a better life.
4. If we can learn to deal with our discomfort and just relax into it, we’ll have a better life.

Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery.
5. Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery.

If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done.
6. If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.

If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission.
7. If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission.

Be humble at the mountaintops, be strong in the valleys, and be faithful in between.
8. Be humble at the mountaintops, be strong in the valleys, and be faithful in between.

We need to accept that we won't always make the right decisions, that we'll screw up royally sometimes -- understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of the process.
9. We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes — understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of the process.

On particularly hard days when I feel that I can't endure, I remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days is 100% so far.
10. On particularly hard days when I feel that I can’t endure, I remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days is 100% so far.

What’s a quote that keeps you on your toes?

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VoteRunLead Celebrates One Year Anniversary

 

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September 10, 2015

VoteRunLead Celebrates Year One; Announces Fall Live Web Line-Up and The VRL 100

Using technology and training to change the game for women in politics, VRL celebrates its one year anniversary with an online birthday party, new weekly web clinics and Chief Product Officer

NEW YORK: VoteRunLead (VRL), a national non-profit dedicated to promoting women seeking public office through technology, is marking the one year milestone with a new fall line-up of online web clinics. The 14 clinics range from how to get an appointment to the Black Lives Matter movement to running for office in rural America. The one hour, free web sessions start today and run through December.

The birthday celebrates training over 2,100 women in 12 months, includes a free e-book on the ins and outs of locals office and contests. The festivities are supported by The VRL 100, a national network of local influencers raising $10,000.

VoteRunLead is pleased to announce Karen Schoellkopf as their new Chief Product Officer, continuing to deliver and grow high-quality, integrated experiences for women leaders online and in-person. Schoellkopf has a background in the arts and technology, is the brains behind HireMoreWomeninTech.com and is an expert in building community. “I am excited to roll up my sleeves and contribute to the robust and innovative VoteRunLead programs and products,” says Schoellkopf.
VoteRunLead is the only organization working at the intersection of technology and politics to advance women’s representation.

Fall Web Clinic Schedule
VRL Live! Weekly Web Clinics occur every Thursday at 2:00pm ET

September 10 How to Rock Your Debate
September 17 Turn it Up to Turn it Out! GOTV Planning
September 24 What a Jerk! Dealing with the good, the bad and the ugly on the campaign trail
October 1 Black Lives Matter
October 8 Appoint Me! Get yourself appointed and stay effective
October 15 Schools Politics at the State Level
October 22 Why I am Awesome = Self-assessment + picking the right district
October 29 Building People Power
November 5 Election Update from VoteRunLead
November 12 Real Talk: Fitting Campaigning into My Crazy Life
November 19 My 1 Year Plan for 2016
December 3 Money Talks, You Walk: Field and Fundraising
December 10 Ms. Mayor? Yes, Please!
December 17 Small Town, Big Politics: Running in Rural America

The VRL 100
Influencers from across the country wish VoteRunLead a Happy Birthday

Analyn Aguilar, Mike Anderson, Subha Barry, Rina Shah Bharara, Stephanie Berger, Rhonda Briggins Ridley, Jimmie Briggs, Vanessa Cooksey, Lisa Copeland, Dawn Crandall, Keya Dannenbaum, Owen Fertel, Deb Fitzpatrick, Shannon Garrett, Robin Goad, Heather Grady, Catherine Gray, Jehmu Greene, Sue Hakes, Donna Hall, Pakou Hang, Marci Harris, Thad Hellman, Liz Johnson, Jeff Johnson, Kitty Kolbert, Gara LaMarche, Jensine Larson, Ann-Marie Luciano, Heather Lurie, Ross Martin, Robert Mayer, Terry Newman, Melissa Palank, Karen Schoellkopf, Jenn Shaw, Heidi Sieck, Rebecca Sive, Jay Strell, Jane Swift, Karyn Twarnite, Asali Ude, Eze Ude, Dana Vilardi, Karen Vilardi, Erin Vilardi, Ted Wichman, Barbara Wiener, Faith Winter, Marie Wilson

About VoteRunLead
VoteRunLead is a national, nonpartisan organization that unleashes the power of women leaders in democracy through training, technology and community. We aim for large-scale impact on women’s community and political leadership never before seen in the United States. By harnessing social networks as a new and powerful recruitment tool, creating an online platform to learn to run and lead, and conducting in-person trainings that build powerful networks, VoteRunLead will fuel women’s ambition for civic leadership and close the knowledge gap around politics for women from all classes, cultures and colors.

Contact: Erin Vilardi / erin@voterunlead.org / 917-727-4874

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Fall 2015 Web Clinics are Here!

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2016 is Your Year! Let VRL Live Weekly Web Clinics Help You Get There

VoteRunLead has just released the new Fall line-up for our weekly web clinics. We couldn’t be more excited to bring you more “ins and outs” of public offices (anyone for Mayor?), where to run and what to run for (a little self-assessment), how to make your 1 year plan for running in 2016 (yes, you are ready!) and running in Rural America with women who’ve done it before.

Sign up for the clinics using the links below.

Fall Web Clinic Schedule
VRL Live! Weekly Web Clinics occur every Thursday at 2:00pm ET

September 10 How to Rock Your Debate

September 17 Turn it Up to Turn it Out! GOTV Planning

September 24 What a Jerk! Dealing with the good, the bad and the ugly on the campaign trail

October 1  Black Lives Matter

October 8  Appoint Me! Get yourself appointed and stay effective

October 15   Schools Politics at the State Level

October 22   Why I am Awesome = Self-assessment + picking the right district

October 29   Building People Power

November 5 Election Update from VoteRunLead

November 12  Real Talk: Fitting Campaigning into My Crazy Life

November 19  My 1 Year Plan for 2016

December 3 Money Talks, You Walk: Field and Fundraising

December 10  Ms. Mayor? Yes, Please!

December 17  Small Town, Big Politics: Running in Rural America

Women need these 2 things to run for office

In order for women to be qualified for public office, you need to start with these two things: passion and integrity. Everything else can be taught.

Find your passion

Passion is the energy that keeps us going, that keeps us filled with meaning, and happiness, and excitement, and anticipation. Passion is a powerful force in accomplishing anything you set your mind to, and in experiencing work and life the fullest extent possible.

Ultimately, passion is the driving force behind success and happiness that allows us all to live better lives.

When it comes to holding public office, passion is key.

Passion will drive you to pick up he phone to raise money and pound the pavement to get out the vote. Passion is what will motivate you to raise awareness around an issue important to you or your community. Passion cannot be taught, it must already burn within you.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
Maya Angelou

Integrity matters.

Integrity is one of the most important characteristics of a good leader — especially in public office. Without integrity, you lose trust. And when you’ve lost trust, respect usually follows suit. It can be a hard line to walk at times, but it’s even more difficult to re-establish your footing after you fall.

Having integrity means not only knowing, but always doing what’s right – even when no one’s looking.

Why we need folks with integrity is an easy one — we need good people in office! Again, this is something that cannot be taught.

INTEGRITY

And that’s it. Everything else can be learned through things like volunteerism and interning, or online through our web clinics, webinar replays, and resource worksheets. You can build your political resume, but you have to get started. Now.

Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.
– C. S. Lewis

Women have a long list of reasons we  aren’t qualified.

“I’m not qualified because I don’t have enough education. I don’t know enough about every issue. I don’t have enough professional experience.”

Stop.

That doesn’t matter. You can learn the issues. Do you have passion for change? Are you a person of integrity? Great. Run! Voters vote for people they trust to make good decisions — not based on some grade you have on an imaginary test in your head. You can be taught everything else.

Women always have a long list of everything we do in life of why we’re not qualified or what we could do better. Remember that the list in your head is longer — by far — than the list other people have on you. You ARE qualified. You are passionate, and you have integrity. That’s why we need your power and your decision making at the table right, and you SHOULD run for office.

Watch the video on what you need to run below:

Monday Motivation – It’s Time to Find Your Courage

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Happy Monday, VRL Nation. It’s time to talk about courage, or in some cases, the lack thereof. You can scroll to the bottom of this post to see Rhonda’s video, or read on for some further insights and fun (not to mention oh-so-shareable) quotes about courage.

By definition, courage is…

Let’s start simply with the technical explanation of couragethe quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. 

But courage is so much more than that. VRL Board Member Rhonda Briggins Ridley explains,

Courage is something that is in you, that you didn’t know was in you, ever since you were born.

She goes on to say that you must tap into your dreams and goals. We all have a purpose and are equipped with the tools that will help you achieve those goals. And what is that spark that drives you? Courage.

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Find the courage to stand up to adversity and fight without worrying about what people think, what they’re saying about you, or what is going on around you. At the end of the day, you have to be focused totally on achieving those goals.

Watch Rhonda’s Video on Courage

Courage is when something deeper, greater, and bigger than even yourself drives you.  What does courage mean to you? When have you dug deep for your courage within? Tell us in the comments. ♡

courage-Mary Anne Radmacher