Dress for Success
Annamarie Rienzi
August 14, 2017
Dress for Success
On Monday, August 7, more than 30 women came to the Leadership Institute (LI) to network, shop, and learn how to dress for success. Partnering with the Independent Women's Forum and the Ladies of Liberty Alliance, LI gathered enough professional clothing for each attendee to take home at least one outfit. In addition, attendees heard from Sonya Gavankar, former Miss D.C., and multimedia host and content creator. Her lecture was filled with great tips and tricks to help young ladies navigate professional fashion without being overwhelmed. She broke down a lot of misconceptions about office fashion choices and entertained the audience with her anecdotes. Here are three key lessons learned about professional dressing for women. Be honest with yourself about what looks good on you. Sometimes what you think looks good may not, in fact, be the most flattering. Wearing tight clothes runs the risk of not being taken seriously in the workplace. Whereas wearing baggy clothes runs the risk of looking sloppy. You should find clothes which are work appropriate and also give you confidence. While shopping, surround yourself with friends who are honest and frank with you. Take turns trying on new work outfits and giving feedback. You don't have to sacrifice personal style to look professional. As long as your clothes are work appropriate, certain liberties can be taken to tailor clothes to your style. An excellent example of this is to dress professionally but look for ways to incorporate a splash of color into your outfit. This may be an accessory or wearing a brightly colored jacket. Don't dress for work how you'd dress for the weekend. Dress codes are more relaxed at organizations than they used to be, which means there's some ambiguity about what women can wear. Because you never know when a meeting may be sprung on you, make sure you don't overstep the boundary between smart casual and casual. If in doubt, look for a female executive at your organization who you admire, and who dresses well. Use her for inspiration. Attendees were grateful to hear Gavankar's advice. They were especially thankful for her time as she stayed during the “shopping” period and reviewed the ladies' outfit choices as they tried on clothes. The unclaimed clothes were donated to the not-for-profit organization, Dress for Success, which provides professional development and attire to women.
How to Communicate With Your Liberal Friends and Neighbors – Without Alienating Them
Autumn Campbell
August 3, 2017
How to Communicate With Your Liberal Friends and Neighbors – Without Alienating Them
We've all been there. We've been unfriended on Facebook during the 2016 election cycle, forced into an awkward political discussion over Thanksgiving dinner, or attacked on Twitter for making a political comment. Yes, the current political climate is hostile; but there is a way to communicate effectively without losing all of your friends. Keep your point clear and concise. Rambling will get you nowhere in a heated discussion. Instead, stay clear-headed and stay on the topic at hand. Use personal stories and experiences. Many you converse with will find it hard to argue against your personal experience. Tie your experience in with why you believe what you believe. You can then back up your experience with facts and statistics. Meet emotion with emotion. Do not shy away from empathy. You can stand your ground while being empathetic to the concerns of the other person. Although these three steps seem simple, you'll be surprised at how calm and level-headed you'll feel at the end of the conversation. Who knows? Your friend may even see your point of view! Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, works with more than 1,868 conservative student groups, and helps employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 187,207 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.
The Walls Have Ears
Ben Woodward
July 31, 2017
The Walls Have Ears
You may be surprised to learn that the number of staff working each day to advance the conservative movement is small. In Washington, D.C., it's a few thousand at most. This is great for your career! Working in the small DC conservative movement, it is easy to get to know the influential players who can support your career advancement. But reputations are made very quickly, and for those less savvy who don't mature quickly, simple mistakes can be destructive. One of the worst mistakes anyone can make in Washington, D.C. is to bad mouth their boss or their organization. You can avoid these three common mistakes. Speaking badly of your employer on social media It is surprising how frequently profe ssionals will speak negatively of their bosses on social media. Remember that not only will this be seen by colleagues, and very likely your employers, but your future employers will read your social media. Ranting about your boss today could risk alienating your potential boss tomorrow. After all, no one wants to hire someone who may badmouth them in future. Speaking badly of your employer during an interview “What did you like least about your last job?” We've all been asked this question during an interview, and I have struggled to answer. By falling into the trap of badmouthing your former boss, you convince the interviewer that they may be the next target of your public scorning or worst case scenario, your last boss may hear about it. Instead, you should answer the question by saying: “While there were many aspects of my previous job which I enjoyed such as…, I would have liked to have had more of an opportunity to… which is why I have applied for this job.” Speaking badly of your employer during networking events We've all been there. It's been a rough day, perhaps you have been frustrated by your supervisor, but there is a time and a place to complain about your work, and it's not at networking events. You run the risk of alienating conservatives who may know your boss. In the worst case scenario, your comments could get back to your employer, and your career will suffer. So what should you do instead? There is a time and a place to address your concerns at work. So instead of complaining about your boss, consider how you can constructively approach the situation. Ask for a private meeting Never criticize your boss in front of colleagues. It will damage their authority in front of the team and is more likely to frustrate them than anything. Have your conversation in private if you believe your boss should be taking a different approach to a project. Know what you want to say Consider writing down your specific concerns and what you want to say in advance. Structure your feedback positively, instead of “I don't agree with your decision…” say “I think we could consider approaching the project this way…” If your boss agrees with you, then great! If not, respect their decision. Ultimately it's their call. Ask a mentor If you find you do need to express serious concerns about your employer, find someone you can trust to give you sound advice and keep it confidential. This person is perhaps a close friend or family member, or another professional who exercises sound judgment. Use them to guide you in your decision making. Know your organization's procedures In the worst case scenario, where you feel mistreated, figure out your organization's formal complaints process and use it. Your relationship with your employers, past and present, can be a positive one if you maintain your professionalism. By keeping your employers on your side, you can rely on strong references, potentially great mentors, and a support base for your career in the conservative movement.
Using Snapchat As An Activist
Stephen Rowe
July 21, 2017
Using Snapchat As An Activist
More than 160 million people check Snapchat every day -- and seven out of 10 of them are under the age of 35. The popular mobile app first became known for users posting videos and pictures that “self-destruct” (disappear) after they're played. But there's more to Snapchat than that. Members of Congress, media companies from the Wall Street Journal to the Food Network, and media personalities like Bret Baier are all on it too. Here's how you can make the most of Snapchat as an activist. #1 Usegeofilters The next time you're thinking of flyers for your event, think of Snapchat geofilters too. Geofilters are custom designs (think stickers) that overlay on Snapchat photos. They're limited to a specific location, known as a “geo-fence.” Example geo-fences may be inside a sports stadium, at a wedding venue, or a political rally or other event. You can create your own on-demand geofilters for any event to help spread your message. When people post a photo or video to Snapchat inside your pre-set geo-fence, they'll see your filter as an option. When they select it, they're sharing their photo or video plus your filter with their friends. Starting at just $5, geofilters are often cheaper than the printing costs of flyers -- and have the potential to reach far more people. That $5 goes far: 20,000 square feet or half the size of an NFL football field. You can use free design programs like Canva to create your custom design. Geofilters must be 1080x1920 pixels and saved as a PNG, a common type of graphics file. It is best to place your filter in the top or bottom quarter of the screen so the filter does not block the original photo. Choose when and where you want your custom design to be active. Then submit your design to Snapchat at least 24 hours in advance. (You can submit your design here.) The next day, you can see data about how your filter performed. #2 Create your story Snapchat lets you create custom stories within a specific location (yes, the geo-fence again). That means that anyone using Snapchat inside the geo-fence can contribute to a group story. You can select friends within your desired location to contribute to your story, or you can set it up so that friends of friends can also join in and see the fun. This all happens free of charge. This means more publicity for your events, conferences, and more. Your next event can be full of attendees sharing their experiences with their friends and on the geofenced story. You can create up to three custom Stories of your own. You can post an unlimited number of times in stories created by others. To make your own custom Story, swipe right on the home screen then click the plus symbol in the top right of your screen. Then select Geofence and pick your desired location. #3 BONUS: Take LI's Online Training: Emerging Social Media Platforms Structured as fun, easy-to-understand introductions, the three days of LI's Emerging Social Media Platforms Workshop will get you up and running on new, popular social media platforms -- including Snapchat. Each day, you will complete "deep dive" into Instagram (Monday), Snapchat (Tuesday), and Facebook Live (Wednesday). You can check out the full agenda – and sign up – here. You will learn: • how to set up your account and choose from the different types of posts for Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook Live; • the meaning common terms and acronyms, so you can maximize your presence; and • lessons learned from how campaigns, media companies, and conservative organizations are using each platform. Register for Emerging Social Media Platforms workshop.
A Blog Can Be Great For Your Career
Ben Woodward
July 2, 2017
A Blog Can Be Great For Your Career
When people think about blogs, they usually dismiss them as a prehistoric way of getting ideas into the public realm. Today many people prefer a 140-character tweet to a well thought out, self-published article that takes a lot of work to compose and publicize. However, when it comes to your career, demonstrating passion for your field is critical. Writing a blog, which is accessible to recruiters, could be what secures your next big opportunity. Here are 5 ways writing a blog can benefit your career. You can establish yourself as a thought leader Recruiters will expect to see that you have knowledge of your field and show an active interest. By writing a blog directly related to the professional area in which you want to progress, you can illustrate your interest and your ability to lead others. By communicating with readers in such a way that offers leadership, you are showing that you are a strong communicator and an innovative thinker. You can reach an audience directly Individuals who have not yet established themselves in their field do not interest most publishers. By writing your own blog, you cut out the intermediary and go directly to your chosen audience. When you write your blog, get your friends to share it, publish it on your social media and in relevant group chats, even tweet it to respected individuals in your field. That way you add validity to your work and show recruiters that readers respect your opinion. You have writing samples to show recruiters Good writers are in high demand, so not only will writing a blog refine your ability, but it will also give you examples of your writing you can show to recruiters. When you build your following and established people share your work, your blog posts gain validity as writing samples in job applications. In addition, by establishing a digital footprint you will have ‘Google Insurance.' This means that when a recruiter Googles your name they will see links to your blog. This shows you are engaged in the current trends of your industry and will significantly improve your likelihood of getting an interview. You can build a community of people interested in your field Building a following among your readers will get you noticed by others in your field. Taking an active role in the discussion will help you make connections. For example, if you are interested in foreign policy, blogging about it, and having your writing shared by those currently working in foreign affairs will get you noticed by potential recruiters. When you write a blog, remember to put links to your social media and personal website so readers and recruiters can find you easily. Your employer may value contributions Many employers in the conservative movement are looking for contributions to their websites and social media. By writing blog pieces you not only help your employer create content for their website and social media, but you also publish pieces through your organization which increases the validity of your writings. Successful workers take initiative. By writing a blog, you show employers you take an active interest in your work. If you have a significant following, use your blog to attract attention to your organization's successes. That way you can assist your employers beyond your day-to-day work. If you are interested in learning more about successful written communications for your career, please register for the Leadership Institute's Written Communications Workshop.
3 Effective Ways to Boost Your Facebook Engagement
Stephen Rowe
June 28, 2017
3 Effective Ways to Boost Your Facebook Engagement
You may notice a pattern every time you scroll your newsfeed. It starts with a relevant update, then an advertisement, and it doesn't take long before a video starts auto-playing. The biggest question on people's minds when they see this pattern is, “How do I get my content to appear first in everyone else's newsfeed?” Here are three things you can start doing now: 1. Go Live Creating a video is one of the quickest ways to grow your online presence and spread your message. Between 2015 and 2016, video consumption on Facebook increased 800% (from 1 billion views to 8 billion views per day). Now that's a big boost. Making things even better, Facebook gives precedence to videos over other pieces of content. Facebook even sends push notifications when friends “go live.” It's very easy to use Facebook live. You just update your status as usual, click “Live Video”, make sure everything is ready in preview, and click “Go Live” (pro tip: get a stabilizer for your iPhone or camera and a microphone for less than $35). Even if you're camera-shy, Facebook Live can still be for you. You can create live Facebook polls very easily with free sites like MyLivePolls. Then ask your audience relevant questions and watch your engagement soar. Video is king. Start using it! 2. Great visuals = Great social media Almost no one will stop scrolling for a huge chunk of text. But an engaging image will get you everywhere! Your Facebook page posts should have high-quality photos. People love great visuals more than they care to read. You don't have to be a design expert to create compelling visual graphics. Check out Canva.com if you are new to the design world. It's a free and simple graphic design tool website. Learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator at the Leadership Institute. The next Digital Creative Workshop: Design is just around the corner. 3. Posting frequency “How often should I post on Facebook?” You should post on Facebook as often as you have quality content. Just ensure your posts are spaced out at least an hour. If you have tons of content, then posting up to 15 times per day is a good thing. However, 95% of people don't have the quality content (or time) to post that much. Let your content dictate the frequency of your posting. Do your best to craft a content schedule and make it consistent. The marketplace will let you know if you're posting too much if you're getting poor engagement on your posts. If you're getting a solid number of likes, comments, and shares then try increasing how often you post. 4. BONUS: Check out the Leadership Institute's online Facebook for Activism training! If you liked the tips above, you will love this training. The Leadership Institute's Online Training: Facebook for Activism will show you how to use Facebook to build a movement around the candidate, campaign, or cause you're committed to. You will leave this training with strategies you can use to accomplish your goals, whether it's starting chapters, recruiting volunteers, building your meetings and events, or even just connecting your friends to each other. Specifically, you'll learn: how to prime your Facebook for success to activate people in your online community; best practices to create conten­t that your supporters will respond to and want to share; and a proven, five-step process to build relationships with your supporters. Learn more about Facebook for Activism here. Let me know what you think. Have you used any of the resources/tactics above? Leave a comment below.
I remember reciting my first speech
Autumn Campbell
May 25, 2017
I remember reciting my first speech
I remember reciting my first speech – “Respect the flag . . . “ – those are the only words I remember, maybe because that's the title. Although I don't remember the words, I do remember the feeling I had as a seven-year-old reciting the poem from memory in front of judges and others I didn't know. I was nervous. I had butterflies. And I knew I didn't want to mess up. I adjusted my sparkly Uncle Sam hat and waited for the judge's nod while my heart seemed to pound out of my chest. I drew a deep breath and began the poem. With shaky hands I held my props and waved my little flag at the appropriate time. And, I made it through. Whew! (Side note: I won at this particular competition. That is my claim to fame.) Maybe you're like me, and just reading about public speaking makes you nervous and sick to your stomach! Well, you're definitely not alone. In fact, public speaking is one of the most common fears. According to Toastmasters, fear of public speaking outranks the fear of death and loneliness! But I have great news! The Leadership Institute's Public Speaking Workshop and Advanced Public Speaking Workshop can help. LI has experienced faculty who can help you hone your speaking skills and give you personal feedback on your speech delivery. So overcome your childhood fear today! Register for the Leadership Institute's Public Speaking Workshop here. Or, register for the Leadership Institute's Advanced Public Speaking Workshop here.
Five things you should do in your first week at a new job
Ben Woodward
May 22, 2017
Five things you should do in your first week at a new job
Starting a new job is among the most daunting experiences in our professional lives. After all, you only get one chance at a first impression. As well as trying to wrap your head around your new responsibilities, learn the office culture, make friends, and demonstrate your ability, you're also trying to keep your feet on the ground and build a successful future for yourself. It is natural to want to keep your head down and not draw attention to yourself, like a mouse among sleeping cats. This is a mistake! Here are five things you should do in your first week: Ask your supervisor (and employees) to lunch By asking your supervisor to lunch, you are showing your new boss that you are confident in your new role and you are serious about learning the ropes. I would advise you to keep this lunch just the two of you if possible, as other employees may dominate the conversation. It is also an effective way to get to know your supervisor on a one-to-one basis, outside of the formal office environment. It is important for them to get to know you. This is your chance to tell them what you want out of this job and where you would like to go in your career. If you're a manager, take your staff out to lunch, either in small groups, or one-to-one if possible. This is your chance to understand what makes these individuals tick, and establish what you expect from them. Introduce yourself to everybody in the office You will be spending lots of time with the people in your department and organization over the next few months and years. So be sure to take some time to introduce yourself to everybody in the kitchens, boardrooms, or even by visiting their workspace. Understanding the office culture is critical to success. You will likely need to collaborate with other departments on a multitude of projects, so make friends with them quickly to establish your relationship. Too many new employees fail to integrate themselves into the social side of a new office and get left out in the cold. Learn about all of the current and upcoming projects Fully brief yourself on all of the current projects in your department. Wherever possible, you should do your research, but do not be afraid to ask smart questions. It is in your colleagues' interests to help you succeed, as your work will affect theirs. Try to establish what other people are working on and where you can be of assistance, but also what scope you have for innovation. Every employer is different; some will let you pursue your projects, whereas others prefer a top-down approach. Learn about the location of your office Being successful at work requires you to be happy in your job, and comfortable in your environment. However moving to a new place, especially if you have moved away from home or college for the first time can make you feel isolated and unsettled. This is not conducive to success in your new job. Ensure that you learn the area quickly. Where are the best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops? What activities are happening locally? With whom in your office do you share hobbies? This will help you to settle quickly into your new environment, and even take the lead in your office's social life. Reconnect with former colleagues It is easy when you start a new job to be swept up in your new professional life. As a keen networker, try to get into the habit of keeping in touch with your old colleagues quickly. You never know when you will need a referral, or when your new job requires a connection from your past. Remember to keep those professional relationships alive.
LI faculty members join international election observation mission in Honduras
Ron Nehring, Director of International Programs
March 14, 2017
LI faculty members join international election observation mission in Honduras
TEGUCIGALPA – Honduras is one of the few countries in Latin America with a center-right government. This week, four Leadership Institute staff and faculty members participated in an international mission observing the country's national primary elections. The Leadership Institute's International Department has a robust ongoing training program in Honduras. The center-right National Party is under pressure from two leftist parties, the more extreme of which, Libre, receives active support from radical left-wing regimes in the region including Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. International observation missions are an important means of ensuring transparency and accountability in internal party democracy. LI's Director of International Programs Ron Nehring, former Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine, and former party chairs Nyna Armstrong and Thaddeus Taylor, who made up the LI team, were joined by 17 observers selected from conservative parties of other Latin American countries by Germany's Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (Foundation), which sponsored the program. The observation team visited 4 polling places in the region of Honduras' capital of Tegucigalpa, watching and reporting on how voters received and cast their ballots in each party's primary election. The team reported the election was well organized and experienced only minor complications, such as the late arrival of observers from various party factions at some polling places. “While countries like Venezuela and Cuba rest political liberties, Honduras demonstrates a strong national commitment to allowing every citizens' voice to be heard,” said Nehring. In 2016, the Leadership Institute trained 1,058 conservative candidates, potential candidates, leaders, and activists from throughout Honduras. Click here to learn more about how you can bring an LI training to your country.
Leadership Institute trains Canadian Conservatives poised to take back Alberta
Ron Nehring, Director of International Programs
February 6, 2017
Leadership Institute trains Canadian Conservatives poised to take back Alberta
With the left in control in “the Texas of Canada,” conservatives in Alberta are gearing up for a comeback. On Saturday, January 21 the Leadership Institute trained 223 activists, elected officials and future candidates with an intensive program that brought participants from throughout Alberta and as far away as Edmonton. Leadership Institute Director of International Programs Ron Nehring and expert faculty member Bill Faulk of New York led the program. They were accompanied by William McBeath of the Manning Centre. The overwhelming attendance shows a “pent-up demand for this kind of training” according to one Conservative Party leader. Participants received training in subjects including the real nature of politics and elections, campaign strategy, crisis communications, digital activism, campaign messaging, and more. The Calgary program was the second in a series of six programs the Leadership Institute is holding throughout Canada in 2016 and 2017. Future programs are already on the books for Halifax, Toronto, and Ottawa. Click here to learn more about how you can bring an LI training to your country.
Picking a Presidential Nominee in 2016
Morton Blackwell
December 18, 2015
Picking a Presidential Nominee in 2016
The presidential nomination process is about to enter a very different phase. Until now, the 2016 presidential campaign has consisted mainly of words: speeches, debates, interviews, and the publication of some issue papers by the candidates. The coming contests in the states will actually elect delegates, and this race will become a test of each candidate's ability to identify supporters and organize them to participate personally in the primaries and conventions. Every state and U.S. territory has different election laws and party rules, not to mention different sets of political circumstances and local leaders. Organizing successfully to win nomination contests in enough states and territories to win a national presidential nomination is a massive problem. Some candidates will not come close to solving it. Conservatives are keenly aware of the fact that, among the several presidential candidates the Republican Party has nominated since Ronald Reagan, not one of them supported Reagan for nomination in 1980. If they can, conservatives should nominate in 2016 a candidate as genuinely committed to conservative principles as Reagan was. Several candidates now running appear to be more conservative than anyone Republicans have nominated for President since Reagan. Conservatives hope they can unite behind a single candidate, but they haven't yet come close to uniting. Can they achieve this and win the nomination and the general election? I think they can. First, almost every conservative leader I know, even those who have already endorsed a Republican candidate, will admit that there are several among the current field of candidates whom they would happily support in the November 2016 election. Their current preferences are at least somewhat fluid. Second, a great many conservative activists and leaders now have no single preference. If asked, they will list a number of candidates whom they believe are reliably conservative and infinitely preferable to the Democrats' likely nominee. As the contest enters the phase where grassroots organization and activism will determine who wins how many delegate votes at the Republican National Convention, serious conservative activists and leaders will have to decide for sure whom they choose to support. If enough of them choose the same candidate, that candidate will win the presidential nomination. That important decision will determine the future of our country. I know almost all of the presidential candidates, and some of them have been personal friends and allies of mine for years in the public policy process. Put me personally among the undecided in this contest. To help me think through this, I'm writing this brief discussion of what I believe to be the most important factors to take into consideration, and then I'll share it with conservatives whom I hope may find my thoughts useful in their decision-making process. Has the candidate a record of personal activism and leadership for conservative principles? Talk is cheap. Actions have consequences. Every experienced conservative has heard many candidates make false promises to appear more conservative than he or she has ever been. Past performance does not necessarily predict future results, but it usually is the best indicator. Is the candidate surrounded by people notable for their firm commitment to conservative principles? Personnel is policy. Long before he became President, Ronald Reagan had surrounded himself with competent and serious conservatives who were known and trusted by movement conservatives. If elected, a candidate without an inner circle of reliable conservatives to help him or her staff an administration has no chance of winning victories in tough battles against liberals. And conservatives should not forget that one more reliably leftist presidential appointment to the Supreme Court could irreparably damage America. Are the candidate's currently stated policy positions solidly conservative? Quite often candidates, if elected, turn out to be less conservative than they promised to be in their election campaigns. Very rarely does an elected official turn out to be a better conservative than he or she led conservatives to believe. If a candidate currently advocates some liberal positions, the chances are almost zero that he or she will ever fight hard against the liberals on many issues. Has the candidate ever continued to fight hard for conservative principles when it appeared to be a losing battle? Never fully trust anyone who has not knowingly gone down fighting for an important, good cause that he or she believed was losing. Sometimes we have to live with content-free Republicans, but conservatives should not promote any of them to the White House. Does the candidate frequently reverse his or her positions on important issues? Every major politician, including the most admirable among them, occasionally changes position on at least a few issues, but a candidate who frequently flip-flops on policy issues for personal political advantage cannot be trusted to keep even promises solemnly made. Has the candidate built a record of helping conservative organizations and working to elect conservative candidates? The fight for conservative principles cannot be won without strong conservative organizations to pressure politicians and without conservative election victories, including in nomination contests with non-conservatives. A candidate who has never helped conservative organizations or conservative candidates cannot be expected to change that behavior if elected. If elected, would the candidate melt when the heat is on? Our country is in deep trouble. Most Americans believe the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction. Only strong, principled leadership can enable us to recover from the damage already done. Business as usual would make our major problems worse. Conservatives should consider candidates' strength of character. Assume that Republicans elect a President in 2016 and keep Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress. How will the left react if a new President starts the difficult task of repairing damage the left has already done? For example, what if legislation were passed to cut significantly our currently bloated government spending? Leftist organizations now receive billions of dollars each year from government funds. For them, most government spending, except for defense spending, is virtually sacred. And left-wing groups are larger and better organized than ever before in our history. They would surely react immediately to any real threat to cut the cost and intrusiveness of government. I expect that the left would take violently to the streets and create as much ugly chaos as they could. The liberal media would work overtime to blame conservatives. What would conservatives have accomplished if Republicans nominated and elected a President without the strength of character required to persevere for the good of the country under difficult circumstances? Can the liberal media destroy any truly conservative presidential candidate? They'll try, but they have much less of a communications monopoly now than they had when they savagely but unsuccessfully attacked candidate Ronald Reagan in 1980. In the current run-up to the 2016 presidential primary season, the liberals have already fired their big guns to little effect against all the Republicans who now appear to be strong candidates. Most often those attacks have not weakened the targets' support. Some media attacks have actually helped those the liberal media intended to destroy. Polls now show that any of half a dozen Republican candidates could beat the likely Democrat nominee. If enough conservatives unite, they can nominate and elect any of the more conservative Republican presidential candidates. So there's every reason for conservatives to try hard now to unite in support of a candidate they believe would be the most determined and effective conservative President possible.
A Must Read: Mark Levin’s New Book Plunder and Deceit
Morton Blackwell
July 31, 2015
A Must Read: Mark Levin’s New Book Plunder and Deceit
In politics, it is not enough to know what's right. To succeed, your command of a subject must be so secure that you can persuade people you are right. And then you must activate them. Plunder and Deceit by Mark Levin is a necessary read for anyone who fights against statist power grabs. This new book sets the stage for the 2016 election and beyond. Levin's new book is a wake-up call, especially for young people. He explains the dangers of government and the coming crisis our country faces -- the loss of the greatest republic known to history. Before the 2016 election, educate your friends and family with this book about the growing dangers of big government. Young people must find the personal strength and will to break through the cycle of manipulation, unrelenting emotional overtures, and pressures of groupthink. Parents too often ignore the threats to their children's future. Plunder and Deceit calls for a new civil rights movement to end the exploitation of our children by statist government policies. Levin challenges young people to stand in their own defense so their generation and future generations can live in freedom. Plunder and Deceit will be released on August 4. However, you can pre-order this book today. Pre-order your copy of this must read, Plunder and Deceit by Mark Levin, today. I recommend Plunder and Deceit to every conservative activist and leader. Mark Levin is a nationally syndicated talk-radio host and president of Landmark Legal Foundation. He is the author of Liberty and Tyranny, the 38-week New York Times bestseller which spent three months at #1 and sold more than one million copies. I expect Plunder and Deceit to be widely read and distributed to young conservative activists and their parents. Activism without education in conservative principles is dangerous. Order your copy of Plunder and Deceit today.
Grinding up bad laws: LI Faculty Member Italo Antoniotti fighting for free market reforms in Latin America's coffee sector
Ron Nehring, Director of International Programs
June 17, 2015
Grinding up bad laws: LI Faculty Member Italo Antoniotti fighting for free market reforms in Latin America's coffee sector
It's been said that big business loves big government, and this maxim certainly holds true in Latin America where Leadership Institute faculty member Italo Antoniotti is fighting to reform Guatemala's outdated and destructive coffee and trade laws -- helping tens of thousand of indigenous Mayans in the process. Antoniotti serves as the director of FEDECOCAGUA, the voluntary national association representing 23,000 small coffee producers in Guatemala, most of whom are native Mayans. They're going up against the country's biggest coffee producers and their government-guaranteed supermajority on the board of Guatemala's state-sanctioned coffee trade association, ANACAFE. The small producers represented by Antoniotti's group are forced to obtain export licenses from the big coffee producers that dominate ANACAFE, and pay a mandatory (and economically inefficient) 1% export tax to fund the organization. This year, FEDECOCAGUA went to court to challenge the constitutionality of the export tax and the regulatory system that requires small coffee producers to, in effect, obtain the permission of their larger competitors for the freedom to sell their goods on the world market. With a tiny domestic coffee market, producers' financial success or failure depends entirely on their freedom to export. With a 30% decline in Guatemala's coffee production during the last decade, it's economic crunch time for the country's indigenous population of coffee producers who rely on selling their product to sustain their families and communities. Antoniotti, who began serving as a Leadership Institute volunteer expert faculty member in Latin America this year, argues that the free market, and not government mandates, should prevail. Industry trade associations should be voluntary and not government-mandated, and the export tax should be abolished as economists universally recognize the inherently destructive nature of export taxes. (Article 1, Section 9 of the United States Constitution explicitly prohibits such taxes.) In many Central American countries people have been forced to choose between socialist policies on the one side, the crony capitalist policies on the other. The solution, as documented extensively by the Heritage Foundation in their Index of Economic Freedom, is to advance policies that give neither government nor government-favored businesses an unfair advantage in the marketplace. Reasonable and predictable taxes, free trade, freedom from corruption, access to a fair judicial system, a low regulatory burden and free labor markets are the keys to economic success and prosperity. If Antoniotti and his group of 23,000 independent coffee producers succeed, one Central American country will have taken a significant step in the right direction.
Do You Want to be a National Convention Delegate?
Morton Blackwell
April 2, 2015
Do You Want to be a National Convention Delegate?
In early 1961, I decided to try to be a Goldwater delegate to the 1964 Republican National Convention. When Barry Goldwater beat the party establishment and won the G.O.P. Presidential nomination, I was his youngest elected delegate at San Francisco's Cow Palace. And I've been deeply involved in politics ever since. In 1975, I wrote an article for the Young Americans for Freedom magazine New Guard entitled, "So You Want To Go To A Convention?" Oklahoman Steve Antosh read the article and followed my advice. The next year, at age 19, Steve was elected a Reagan delegate to the 1976 G.O.P. national convention. Four years later, in 1980, Steve was the National Director of Youth for Reagan. For you, as for Steve Antosh and for me, conservative activism could be the route to the Big Convention and, perhaps, a career in the public-policy process. Hard Work Pays Off For Conservatives If you're a liberal Democrat, and you're a black lesbian militant with a Spanish surname, the Democrats' convention rules are written with quotas for you. If you are a conservative -- Democrat or Republican -- chances are you'll have to work hard to win a seat on your state's national convention delegation. Each state has its own rules for national convention delegate selection. States may and often do change their state laws and party rules between national conventions. Under their national rules and U. S. Supreme Court decisions, state Democratic parties may adopt rules for national convention delegate selection which are inconsistent with state laws. The national Rules of the Republican Party now also provide that state Republican Party rules for national delegate selection prevail over state law on this subject. Most delegates are elected in states with primaries, but primary and convention rules vary greatly from state to state. Learning your state's applicable laws and party rules is a key, first step toward becoming a delegate. If your state is one of those which have no presidential primary, you may have to mount a major operation to attract people to a caucus or win support from local delegates to a district or state convention. If you already know how to draw a crowd, work a convention, use parliamentary procedure, form alliances, and count votes, you have a head start on the road to the Big Convention. If your state elects delegates in a presidential primary, your problems will be somewhat different. A primary can involve precinct organization, TV, radio, social media, and press advertising, a great deal of money, and many more people than a convention. But while it helps to be an expert at convention politics and primary election politics, your personal reputation and your candidate preference are likely to prove much more important. Some states have "winner take all" presidential primaries. Other states use proportional representation. Under this system, presidential candidates who get a sizable minority of the primary votes may get some of the state's delegate votes. Rules for delegate apportionment for candidates in proportional primary states vary widely. In some primary states, delegates are elected by the party separately from the presidential primary. In these states, delegates are bound by the primary to vote at the national convention for the presidential candidate who wins the state's primary, for one or more ballots or until "released" by the candidate for whom they were obliged to vote. Neither state conventions nor primaries require the delegates to vote a certain way on other issues which may come before the national convention, such as credentials contests, the party platform, or proposed changes in the party's national rules. You can see how important it is to work hard to familiarize yourself with the rules which govern the delegate selection process in your state. In every state, whether delegates are selected by primaries or by conventions, the system is wide open at the bottom. Anyone can be a member of any party and participate in its delegate-selection process. You win if you get the most people to turn out for a primary, a caucus, or a convention. Building Your Base I began in early 1961 to consider the available routes in Louisiana to become a delegate to the 1964 G.O.P. nominating convention. There seemed to be only two sorts of people elected delegates to national conventions: those who had worked long and hard for the party over many years and those who had contributed substantial sums of money to the party and its candidates. Neither avenue was open to me. I had neither the time nor the funds to qualify. To develop a third route, I settled on youth politics. I helped organize Louisiana State University's YAF chapter in 1961. In 1962, I helped organize L.S.U.'s first College Republican Club and was the first elected College Republican state chairman for Louisiana. In 1963 and early 1964, I ran the youth campaign for Charlton Lyons, the Republican candidate for governor of Louisiana. Mr. Lyons won eight smashing, upset victories in college student mock elections, which raised my credit in the party. Later in the spring of 1964, I was elected state chairman of the Young Republicans. I wore out my old Rambler organizing youth activities across the state. Having worked closely with party leaders in all eight congressional districts, I became one of the handful of Republicans known to virtually every local leader who would be at the state convention. Senior party leaders were comfortable with me. I ran for national delegate with the simple slogan: "Elect one young person." The 1964 Louisiana Republican state convention elected four at-large delegates to the 1964 G.O.P. national convention: three well-off, veteran party activists and me. The Team Of course I would never have been a delegate if my presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, had not been popular in the state party. In 1963, I was one of the original eight members of the Steering Committee of National Youth for Goldwater. I ran openly as a Goldwater supporter. This brings me to the central fact for aspirants to delegate slots: In a national presidential nomination contest, each candidate's district and state organizations may run slates of delegate candidates. If you are not slated by a candidate's organization, you are very unlikely to be elected a national delegate at a district or state convention or in a state primary. Occasionally, particularly in a convention state, a party senior statesman can be elected as an uncommitted delegate. Newcomer mugwumps (those who sit on the fence with their mug on one side and their "wump" on the other) go nowhere. Why might a candidate's state organization want you on their team? Here are some questions your candidate's organization will consider when you ask to be slated as a delegate or alternate delegate: Are you committed to our candidate? Are your commitments ever shaken by pressure, threats or bribes? Do you have personal supporters whose help would strengthen our candidate's entire slate of delegates? Will you be a hard-working campaigner for our slate of delegates? Are you sure to attend the national convention? Could you be useful to our candidate in winning more delegates to our side at the national convention? Do you have support and contacts in our candidate's national organization? Is there any likelihood you will say or do something foolish to damage our candidate? Is there anything in your background which would embarrass our candidate? Do we like you? If you are philosophically sound, technologically proficient, and movement oriented, you should pass muster on all these questions. Being a well-known volunteer leader would increase your chances of being slated by your candidate's organization. Alternatives May Work For You You don't have to be a delegate to go to a presidential nominating convention. An alternate delegate has all the rights and privileges a delegate has except voting. An alternate delegate may have a better time, because at contested conventions delegates are encouraged not to leave the convention floor even during dull speeches. In fact, you do not have to be either a delegate or an alternate delegate to have an impact on the events at a convention. When I was a Goldwater delegate in 1964, my major accomplishment was minor at the national convention in San Francisco. As a volunteer, I stuffed campaign envelopes for other delegates in the Goldwater mailroom. In 1968, as a Reagan alternate delegate, I was able to help convince a couple of uncommitted delegates to vote for Reagan. At the 1972 G.O.P. convention, I was neither delegate nor alternate. But I worked successfully with the conservative forces fighting against a well-organized, well-funded liberal attempt to change the national party rules governing delegate allocation and bonus delegates. A plan I drafted, which came to be known as the California Compromise (or the Briar Patch Plan), was adopted by the 1972 convention after a major, nationally televised, conservative vs. liberal fight. The principal speaker for our conservative plan was California Governor Ronald Reagan. Since 1972 that delegate allocation plan has withstood liberal challenges in court and at some subsequent G.O.P. national conventions. With few changes, it still is the basis for the allocation of delegates to the national convention. Since 1964, I've participated actively in each of the GOP national conventions, almost always as a delegate or alternate delegate but also, since 1988, as a member from Virginia of my party's national committee. The circumstances back in 1972, when I was not even an alternate delegate, permitted me to have what was probably my biggest impact to date on what went on at a presidential nominating convention. So don't miss a national convention just because you can't be a delegate. Start Now In politics you can start late, but you can never start too early. Maximize your effectiveness by joining your candidate's campaign organization as soon as you can. Call your candidate's office. Sign on early as an activist. The election process puts a premium on volunteer efforts. You should be welcomed with open arms. Your work for your candidate, not whether or not you are a delegate, will determine your position in your candidate's convention organization. The Big Convention comes only once every four years. It's too good an opportunity to miss. If you are serious about becoming a delegate or alternate, you should get a copy of your state party's rules from local or state party officials, or from your candidate's state or national organization. Conservatism is now politically fashionable. But few people will beg you to assume leadership. As historian Paul Johnson wrote, leadership, in its essence, is a combination of courage and judgment. If you plan carefully, work hard, and keep alert for good breaks, you may make a difference at a national convention. And you'll learn a lot.
The 2016 Republican Presidential Nomination
Morton Blackwell
April 2, 2014
The 2016 Republican Presidential Nomination
This will not be a cheery update because the news is not good. I shall do my best to summarize developments and not take you too far into the weeds. At the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Mitt Romney broke all precedent and used his power as the coming nominee to change the rules, to centralize power in the hands of the establishment, and to make it very much harder for any power in the party to flow from the bottom up. For one example, the rules previously had required that, to be placed in nomination for President, a candidate had to have the written support of a plurality of the delegates from at least five states. In Tampa, the Romney campaign changed that requirement. Currently, a 2016 presidential candidate will have to have the support of a majority of the delegates from at least eight states. The power grabs regarding the party rules in Tampa were so outrageous that the proposed new rules were almost rejected in a voice vote by the convention, and thousands of people left Tampa furious as a result. The worst of the Romney rules changes at the Tampa convention was a new rule, now Rule 12, which authorized the Republican National Committee to further amend 24 of the 41 national rules between conventions. That opens the way to abuses limited only by the imagination of future power grabbers. With RNC Chairman Reince Priebus pushing hard, the Republican National Committee has drastically shortened the period in which national convention delegates can be elected, selected, or bound. The period is shortened at both ends. All but four states, New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada, must wait until March 1 to hold their primaries or conventions to elect national convention delegates. Those four states may begin selecting delegates in February. That was fine with me. The same rule was in effect in 2012 but violated by a number of states which broke the rule and held earlier primaries. New penalties now in place should dissuade states from jumping ahead in 2016. However, the changed rules now will also end the 2016 primary process far earlier than before, because states must certify their elected delegates by June 3, forty-five days before the 2016 national convention convenes in Cleveland. In 2016's truncated period of delegate selection, it will be almost impossible for a less well-known conservative candidate who does much better than expected in the early primaries to parlay that good showing into much better fundraising and much greater grassroots organization. There won't be enough time for a conservative candidate to come from behind and elect a majority of the convention delegates. The establishment candidate will almost certainly be Jeb Bush or Chris Christie. Bush would start with more money and more news media acclaim than any of the more numerous, more conservative candidates likely to be splitting the conservative vote. There is no way, before the convention convenes, to change the current national rules regarding the timing and the methods of election of national convention delegates. The shortening of the delegate selection process is a done deal for the 2016 election cycle. The shorter period will almost certainly provide sufficient time for the content-free, establishment Republicans to unite but perhaps too little time for conservatives to unite behind a single one of the more numerous conservative candidates. In modern times there have almost never been multiple candidates with a chance to win the race by the time of the national convention. It's human nature for people to yearn to be on the winning side. For many Republicans interested in participating in the presidential nomination contest, that desire becomes all-consuming. When one candidate seems to be winning, the compulsion to jump on that candidate's bandwagon becomes all but irresistible. By the time the Republican National Convention convened, there has not, since 1976, been any doubt as to who will be nominated. National rules changes have had the intended effect of eliminating favorite-son candidates capable of controlling their states' delegations, thus ending another factor which might insert some uncertainty regarding who will win the nomination. Remember, to be placed in nomination, a person now must have proof of the support of the majority of the delegates from eight different states. Even in states which allocate their delegates by some type of proportionality, the plurality winner generally will get a much higher percentage of the delegates than the percentage of the primary vote that candidate received. Where a state primary has a winner-take-all system, the candidate with a plurality gets all the state's delegate votes. The current rules guarantee that, once again, the supporters of unsuccessful candidates will go home angry and insulted. Some beneficial rules changes could be adopted after all the delegates are selected, just before the 2016 convention in Cleveland begins. These changes cannot pass without the support of some 2016 Republican presidential candidates. One rules change can and must be made by the 2016 Convention Rules Committee and adopted by the convention before the actual nomination process is taken up by the convention. In the run-up to the 2012 national convention in Tampa, the Romney campaign employed strong-arm tactics to prevent the possibility that any other candidate would have a plurality of delegates in any five states, which would have enabled that candidate's name to be placed in nomination before the convention. As a result, only Mitt Romney's name was formally placed in nomination. Then came the roll call of the states. Each state delegation chairman, starting with Alabama, called out the number of delegate votes each candidate had won in that state. Then an outrageous thing happened. The convention secretary, from the rostrum, called out the number of delegate votes which would be counted from that state. Only the number of delegate votes cast for Mitt Romney in each state was announced! Hundreds of delegates who had been duly elected by their states, had traveled to the convention, and had been certified as delegates by the Convention Credentials Committee were thus deprived of their right to have their votes counted. In many cases, delegates were bound by state law or state party rules to vote for candidates other than Romney. Too bad for them in Tampa. Already upset by the Romney campaign's many power grabs regarding the rules, supporters of other candidates and many fair-minded Romney delegates were thoroughly outraged when hundreds of duly elected and credentialed delegates were summarily disenfranchised. How would it have hurt the Romney campaign to have the legitimate votes for other candidates announced and counted? Romney had the votes to win on the first ballot. An honest tally of the delegate votes won by other candidates would not have hurt Romney at all. Instead, the arrogant and ham-handed Romney campaign, determined to demonstrate who was boss, trampled on the rights of other candidates and their supporters and sent thousands of grassroots Republicans home angry at them. This happened at the very time when the Romney campaign should have been striving for good will and party unity in the fall campaign against President Barack Obama. As the Rules of the Republican Party are now written, this ugly scenario could be repeated at the 2016 Republican National Convention. The only way to make sure this doesn't happen at the Cleveland convention is for the 2016 Convention Rules Committee to propose and for the national convention to adopt a change in the rules to provide that the votes of duly elected and credentialed delegates shall be announced, recorded, and counted during the balloting for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Any requirements for prior proof of support for a presidential candidate should affect only the determination of which candidates may be presented to the convention by formal nominating speeches. Unless bound to vote for specific candidates by state law or by state party rules, duly elected and credentialed delegates should be able to exercise their rights to vote for the candidates of their choice. It is obvious that conservatives should be making plans right now to unite as much as possible behind a single good candidate before the short primary season begins. Otherwise, Republicans shall almost certainly have another establishment presidential nominee in 2016. The short duration of the 2016 presidential primary period, the large number of conservatives likely to run for president, and the much smaller number of establishment Republicans likely to be in the race combine to increase greatly the possibility that an establishment Republican will win the 2016 nomination. Think back to the moment just before Ronald Reagan clinched the 1980 nomination. Define all his supporters then as Reaganites and all other Republicans as non-Reaganites. No Reaganite presidential nominee since Reagan! It's time for the Republican Party to nominate another Reaganite.
Leadership Memo: No, you may not just quit
Mike Rothfeld
October 1, 2013
Leadership Memo: No, you may not just quit
Rather than a piece by me to begin this Leadership Memo, I've decided to run a “guest editorial” by my friend and fellow Leadership Institute Board member Mike Rothfeld. Mike took LI training 28 years ago and has had a successful career as a political activist, a campaign consultant, a direct marketing consultant, and a conservative organizational entrepreneur. He frequently serves as a volunteer faculty member at Leadership Institute training schools and runs good training schools through one of his own, separate organizations, Foundation for Applied Conservative Leadership. He sent the below piece as an email to graduates of his own training, and I believe all principled LI graduates would benefit from reading his advice. Cordially, Morton Blackwell No, you may not just quit By Mike Rothfeld This email is only for folks who are in a position of leadership and/or responsibility, or intend to be in such a position one day. If you are not in either group, you may stop reading ... and ask yourself why you are on this list. Now, before I go further, I want to make something clear: The title does not apply to you if you are quitting because of a serious health issue, a crisis within your family or to maintain those who depend upon you financially. Your health, family and finances come before activism. This is not only proper, it is prudent. Activists who fail to keep their priorities straight destroy themselves or their family, or burnout, or all three. With that out of the way, let me re-state the title -- NO, YOU MAY NOT JUST QUIT. It does not matter that folks were mean to you (e.g. 2012 RNC Convention from beginning to end), cheated at the meeting (e.g. RNC Convention on the floor over Rules, Credentials and Roll Call), beat you in an unfair fight (e.g. 2012 RNC Convention in Credentials Committee), beat you in a fair fight (e.g. RNC Convention in Rules Committee [not counting the bus hijacking]) or ... anything. I do not care. People Look to You for Hope There is no way around the fact that trying to defend and restore liberty and life is slow, hard and all-too-often heartbreaking work. You often will lose, fairly and unfairly. Even when you win, it often will seem pyrrhic or incomplete. And there is always another fight, another project and another assault to be handled. And so when you feel that powerful desire to chuck it all (and you WILL, probably over-and-over -- I sure have, as has virtually every one of my peers), consider how those around you probably feel. And they probably do not have your passion, vision, determination or training. If you quit, most of them will too. And if you quit from a position of responsibility or leadership that they promoted or supported you for, you will add treachery to your achievements. And You Don't Get to Reject Your Training Either Now, in the dark times, even if you will not quit, you will face another, similar, temptation -- to switch trains. You know your training, and why you are doing what you are doing. You know why you should not waste time with 3rd parties, initiative and referenda, toothless resolutions and fantastical fix-it-all-in-one-move schemes (like a Limited Constitutional Convention). But suddenly, when the hard, correct path looms thick with obstacles and enemies, these softer, sillier approaches will lure you again. And they will sweeten their poison with this whisper "you are not quitting or selling out, you are just changing trains." And it is a lie. You are quitting. So What Do I Do When it Just Feels Like Crap? I am not going to insult you by saying "suck it up." Mostly folks who never really have been tested spout that advice. It may work for a few people, and it may work for you sometimes. But I think it likely that, sooner or later, it will not be enough. So I will give you the best advice I have heard; advice I have taken a number of times. It comes from Dr. Tony Evans, a well-known and respected (and loud) evangelical preacher out of Dallas, Texas. Dr. Evans was addressing Christians who were called by God to a particular work and were doubting they were still called to it. Although Dr. Evans was teaching Christians doing explicitly Christian work, his advice is clear. Dr. Evans said, "Continue doing what you knew you were clearly called to do until God clearly calls you to do something else." This means you trudge forward in the work you are doing (and it may take every ounce of will to take each step for a long period of time), unless there is concrete proof you must do something else. And, most of the time, you will find that there is nothing else; the dark period fades and the clarity, hope and, yes, even joy that brought you into the fight returns. James 1, 2-4: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Peace and ... Best regards, Mike Rothfeld President Foundation for Applied Conservative Leadership © 2013 All Rights Reserved, Reprinted by permission. 101 Washington Street Falmouth, VA 22405 kks@training4liberty.org
Ballerina Dances Her Way Into Colorado Politics
Kelly Macfarland
August 26, 2013
Ballerina Dances Her Way Into Colorado Politics
Alexa Van Anne isn't your ordinary 19-year-old. She's a competitive ballerina, a committed conservative activist, and dreaming of running for office herself – but first, she's got to finish college. Alexa got her start in politics working for the reelection of her congressman, Rep. Mike Coffman, in 2012. As area campaign director for Mike Coffman for Congress, Alexa went door-to-door canvassing and phone banking. As November neared, Alexa became more involved in working on projects with the field director for her district. “Every week or so, we would have large groups of college students come in to help make phone calls and canvass, so I helped to train them on our systems,” Alexa said. Alexa also worked to publicize the debate between Congressman Coffman and his opponent, Joe Miklosi – one of the most competitive House races in 2012. She recruited campaign supporters so they made up the majority of the audience – and media coverage. Alexa's experience with the Coffman team didn't end with November elections. After the election results, she felt inspired by the work her Congressman was doing and decided she wanted to apply for an internship with his fundraising firm, The Starboard Group. Through her internship at The Starboard Group, Alexa got involved with other local political opportunities, including Congressman Corey Gardner's campaign, Colorado Secretary Scott Gessler's campaign, and local non-profits. During the legislative session, Alexa interned for State Representative Jerry Sonnenberg; after the session, for Secretary Scott Gessler's campaign. Alexa is very much an advocate for her state, and has big dreams that include running for office. “I would like to run for elected office in my home state of Colorado,” Alexa said. Growing up, Alexa learned the value that small businesses bring to the community and families. Working for her father's store—Blade Runner Services—Alexa gained valuable insight that has made her appreciate the hard work that goes into building and maintaining a business and the people behind them. “Working at a small business founded by my father provided me the opportunity to know what it takes to run a company,” Alexa said. Alongside being a committed activist for liberty, Alexa has spent the last 14 years of her life practicing ballet. During her time performing, Alexa lettered twice and was in a dance company for six years. After hearing about the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School from a friend who took the political bootcamp, Alexa decided to attend. Her experience was one that she will never forget. “I had an incredible experience at LI's Youth Leadership School. I learned exactly what it takes to be a conservative leader, and I was left with the tools to be one,” Alexa said. “The speakers were remarkable, and I was humbled by the opportunity to learn from each of them. Being a part of this two-day training alongside like-minded individuals was a great experience, and I met many promising future leaders. Most impressive, however, was the sheer amount of applicable information.” After taking the Youth Leadership School at the Leadership Institute in July with 141 others, she said she was “better informed” for her political future. And this fall, she will be joining 10 other conservatives to intern for the Leadership Institute. “I would recommend the Youth Leadership School to anyone who wants to become involved in politics. Everyone could learn something because the focus is on highlighting the skills of a selfless leader, which is very uncommon,” she said. Sign up now for one of LI's Youth Leadership Schools (YLS). The weekend trainings are hosted all over the country, or you may contact Daryl Ann Dunigan (DDunigan@LeadershipInstitute.org or 703-247-2000) to host a YLS training near you. Please congratulate Alexa Van Anne on receiving the Leadership Institute's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award and please encourage her to continue advancing conservatism in Colorado. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award where they will have an article written about them, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
A scandal ... and a rare opportunity
Morton Blackwell
July 13, 2013
A scandal ... and a rare opportunity
With smart and effective graduates like you, it's no wonder that the left hates the Leadership Institute. You may have seen your Institute's name in the Wall Street Journal or on Fox News this summer. As a grad, you'll recall LI does not seek media attention as a general rule. But the largest and latest scandal that threatens to derail the Obama administration has LI at the center of it. How could I say no? I refer to the scandal of deliberate IRS targeting and interminable blocking of conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status -- which has by no means run its course. Instead, it's given way to a second, unfolding scandal. Ordinarily, information about abuses in IRS auditing practices is a deep, dark secret. Targets choose to suffer in silence for fear that an IRS audit will scare away some of their donors or that publicly complaining would cause the IRS to persecute their organizations even more. Those calling the shots at the IRS believed there was no chance at all that they would ever be held accountable for specially targeting conservative groups. But a groundswell of conservative complaints and considerable new information has led Congressmen Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan to ask Treasury Department Inspector General J. Russell George to “conduct an investigation to determine whether groups that possess tax-exempt status were targeted for audits or examinations based on their political beliefs or ideology.” Your Institute is one such targeted group. The timing of the audit of LI coincided with the period for which the IRS stonewalled applications by new conservative groups for tax-exempt status. During this period, the IRS office in Cincinnati asked an applicant, the Hawaii Tea Party, about its relations with LI. The IRS Baltimore office was conducting the audit of LI -- a sign of coordination between the IRS offices, not just a couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati. This should be big news. IRS targeting of existing groups for audits is a second can of worms to be opened. It's one thing to try to kill nascent conservative groups; it's quite another and even more serious thing to persecute existing conservative groups which already have tax-exempt status. No one at the IRS could be sure whether or not a brand new group might be effective, but it's very easy for them to target existing groups which have already proven their effectiveness -- like your Institute. Surely congressional investigators will dig up more facts about these abusive practices. Soon there may be public-spirited whistleblowers inside the executive branch willing to expose abusive conduct, including information about who ordered those abuses and who knew about those abuses but took no steps to stop the illegal practices. Some guilty people may decide to confess and implicate others in order to reduce the criminal charges they know they are about to face. This is certain: if no one at the IRS is fired, fined, or jailed for the persecution of conservatives that has already become public knowledge, the guilty people there will conclude that they can continue their abuses with impunity. You and I must not allow that to happen. Please thank Congressmen Issa and Jordan for continuing their investigations into the IRS scandal. Please contact me or my staff if you or your conservative organization were asked about a relationship to the Leadership Institute. Let's keep building our case. Guilty people may actually be held accountable for abuses of power by the IRS. That's a rare and precious opportunity.
Summer vacation at the Leadership Institute
Leadership Institute
July 13, 2013
Summer vacation at the Leadership Institute
Tan and rested they are not. But they return home a little smarter, a lot more effective, and with many more friends in the conservative movement. For an activist like you, this may sound like a holiday. So far this summer, more than 3,700 conservatives just like you agreed -- choosing Leadership Institute training over a beach, trading swimming and relaxing for learning from experienced political professionals, and picking up pens and notepads instead of hot dogs and hamburgers. Our movement and our country will be grateful they did. As Senator Rand Paul said, "If more conservative candidates have the same secret weapon I had -- top staff and key volunteers trained by the Leadership Institute -- you and I will see many more conservative victories in the future." You can imagine how many LI staff, graduates, and donors have that line committed to memory. It cuts to the core of the Institute's mission -- and what graduates like you do every day. Just see some of the highlights from this summer. Issues That Unite Since its launch in May, LI's Issues That Unite: Latinos and Conservatism has trained 410 conservatives. At these intensive evening workshops -- held so far in Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Virginia -- attendees learned how to welcome Latinos into the conservative movement, how to work best with Spanish-language media, and how to talk persuasively about the values Latinos and conservatives share. The influence of Latinos in business, politics, and American culture is growing at a dramatic rate. But their involvement in the conservative movement has not matched that pace. LI and partnering organizations are changing that...one evening at a time. You may register for upcoming Issues That Unite events in Orlando, Florida; Houston, Texas; Miami, Florida; or Los Angeles, California. Bring a conservative friend. Better yet? Bring five. Virginia: Voting Is Not Enough It is election season in Virginia, which means LI is training activists and campaign staff to work for the candidates of their choice. Since January, the Institute has offered custom, targeted workshops for Virginians, training 540 conservatives so far. But it's really heating up this summer, with five trainings in June, eight trainings in July, and seven trainings already scheduled in August in locations all across the state. Live in Virginia and want to get involved? Contact Christopher Doss, Deputy Director of Grassroots, who's running the show. Impressive numbers at summer trainings Conservatives are hungry to learn how to win. That's one way to explain the eye-popping numbers from trainings at the Institute this summer. In June, the Conservative Intern Workshop trained 98 interns from 30 conservative organizations in and around Washington, D.C. Interns learned how to make the most of their current internships and land full-time jobs when they graduate. In July, the Youth Leadership School, LI's flagship training, welcomed 141 young conservatives. In an intensive, two-day political bootcamp, they learned ho wto run mass-based youth efforts for the candidates of their choice. Look for them on the campaign trail. In August, just last week, the Future Candidate School hosted more than 100 conservatives who plan to run for office. In four days (45 hours of instruction), they learned how to decide when they're ready to run, how to build their networks and raise funds, and how to devise a grassroots-powered political campaign. LI grads have done great things in office. Many of these aspiring candidates will join them soon. With three more weeks of summer, Institute trainings aren't slowing down. They're just getting started. Check out LI's 2013 training calendar. If you register this week, use the promotion code LeadMemo to save 25% on your registration fee. But hurry! The code will expire this Saturday, August 17.
Want to Win Your Campaign? Learn How to Recruit Your Volunteers
Heather Homan
January 18, 2013
Want to Win Your Campaign? Learn How to Recruit Your Volunteers
A common misconception is to keep recruiting until you have enough volunteers. The problem is if you are running an effective campaign you never have enough volunteers. Let's face it --life happens. People will cancel and bail on you at the last minute. Unforeseen tasks come up and in the campaign world you need to learn to expect the unexpected; what can go wrong, often does. In order to save you the often avoidable stress and wasted time of having to scramble at the last minute to find enough people to accomplish your goal, make sure you never run out of volunteers with these quick tips. * Have something for them to do. If you aren't prepared with projects for your volunteers, you will appear unorganized and it will reflect poorly on your campaign or organization. Without work, volunteers will get bored and go home and may never come back. *Treat them well. Remember, your volunteers are giving up their time – and we all know time is money. Make sure you feed them and thank them for sacrificing their time. Treating volunteers with respect may seem like a given, but you'd be surprised to know how many instances I've seen where this isn't always the case. *Never stop recruiting. Recruitment is a fulltime job – it never ends. You should always be searching for new volunteers and encouraging folks to sign up to volunteer for your candidate or cause. You need to be bold and ask people to volunteer; they aren't going to be knocking at your door, so you need to find them. If you have 30 phones to fill, don't recruit 30 volunteers and think you've succeeded. Keep recruiting and constantly look for ways to bring new people on board. Give ‘em a title and get ‘em involved. There is always something to be done. If you don't have work for volunteers to do, then you need to reevaluate your campaign! Recruitment doesn't have to be a tedious task. In fact, it can be an effective tool to mobilize supporters to your campaign or cause. Volunteers are your biggest asset -- now go recruit! This article is a part of a regular “Expert Insights” series which delves into the mechanics of political technology. LI staff, faculty, graduates, and conservative friends are welcome to submit an article by contacting Lauren Day at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org Heather Homan is the Leadership Institute's political training coordinator and manages LI's week-long Campaign Management Schools and Future Candidate Schools. Before coming to LI she worked five years for U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich (R-OH) in his state office and later on Capitol Hill. She currently is the national committeewoman for the Young Republican Federation of Virginia, where she also serves as chair of the YRFV's outreach committee. Locally, Heather serves as the membership chair for the Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans. Heather is a 2005 graduate of The University of Toledo, where she received a B.S. in Criminal Justice and also holds a Master's in Organization Development from Bowling Green State University's College of Business.
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