Jenifer Howard | New York | Empower & Promote!

February 5, 2018

https://voterunlead.org

I have long believed that the world would be a better place if more women were in power. When I was studying in college, I double majored in politics and women’s studies, gender studies, and really that solidified that I wanted to work within the system to reshape the system and to inspire and encourage others who can be transformers inside of our government. I got an internship with an organization called The White House Project where I went from intern to vice president over the course of about nine years, and actually launched VoteRunLead for the first time as a program for The White House Project. There, it was a traditional field operation with offices in several states, and traveling around in our cars, doing face to face training. In 2014, I launched the organization on its own, with the opportunity to leverage technology and to bring online training networks, to support and augment the face to face engagement we were doing. We’ve been growing ever since. It was great to be an already-established resource, following the presidential election, seeing the surge in women who wanted to run, to be able to say, ‘hey, we’ve got resources already available to you.’

 

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

One our biggest challenges has been to fulfill the hundreds of requests we receive to hold campaign trainings in various communities. We’re glad to see there’s such a high volume of interest, so we’re working hard to capture that energy. The second challenge is tracking their success as it could be years in between women taking the training and deciding to run.

 

What’s something that you have seen or heard lately that makes you hopeful about our future?

All of these women running for office. They’re declaring their candidacies. I pulled the list of people who said they’re willing to run within the next three years and it’s like 60 percent of our newly-signed up folks. That’s huge. Prior to the election, about two-thirds of women wanted a five-year plan. After the election, about 60 percent of the women wanted to run between now and 2020. So they’re saying yes to running for office, it means they’re accelerating their timelines, so that’s something that really gives me hope that sort of shift that has just happened in their mind, that they’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.

 

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Say it loud and proud! Good work isn’t enough; we need to promote, promote, promote. No, it’s not bragging. It’s the truth. Speak your truth to as many people as will listen. I have learned to put herself first in order to advocate for others. I champions figuring out what you want, going after it, trying new things, and going easy on yourself when s—t doesn’t go the right way. It took time for me to learn when to let other members of my team lead, but it was crucial to their success. As a leader, as a CEO, as someone who's running the ship, you always have to be in forward mode, go mode.

 

 

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