By: Shannon Garrett, President, VRL Board of Directors

Last weekend, 22 women attended Ready to Run Michigan, powered by VoteRunLead, at Saginaw Valley State University. Spanning the ideological spectrum, these current and up-and-coming leaders explored the concerns, opportunities and challenges that are unique to women in politics – with several women solidifying their plans to run for elected office very soon!

Our trainers shared their time and talents with participants, equipping many to finally act on their long-held political ambitions. Dawn Crandall, a frequent trainer for VoteRunLead, helped women hone their “100 words” – those important words that convey your campaign message with authenticity. Nikhol Atkins led showed us how to find and share our own stories of leadership. Working on fundraising plans, DiAnna Solomon reminded us that “there is no romance without finance.”  A veteran fundraiser in her own right, Sarah Prues Hecker moderated what turned out to be our “panel of Judi’s” – Lansing City Councilwoman Judi Brown Clarke, Saginaw County Democratic Party Chair Judi Lincoln, and Michigan 4th Congressional District Republic Party Chair Judith Ann Rapanos – elected women sharing how they became comfortable and effective at asking others for dollars, time and votes.

A second panel of phenomenal political leaders rounded out the day. They shared their own journeys to elected office, demystifying the campaign process and offering advice to those still figuring out their own paths.  Moderated by PR maven Kelley Rossman-McKinney, speakers included Hon. Dorene S. Allen, Presiding Probate and Juvenile Judge , Midland County; Judi Brown Clarke, Vice-president, Lansing City Council ; Julie Calley, Chairperson, Ionia County Board of Commissioners; Vanessa Guerra, Michigan House of Representatives, District 95; and Deb Shaughnessy, former State Representative, former Mayor of Charlotte.

What does it mean that Ready to Run Michigan was powered by VoteRunLead? It means that this weekend was only just the beginning. In a few weeks, attendees from Ready to Run MI will get there own private group on VRL’s upcoming forum. As new members of VoteRunLead, these participants get full access to our ongoing web clinics and can continue to develop their leadership at 

As VRL Co-Founder and Board Chair, I was honored to get to know these amazing women throughout the workshop.  I can’t wait to see how their leadership impacts Michigan!

See all the great Tweets and Instagram posts that went out by scrolling through the below gallery.