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.
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.
Cubicle Conservatism
Grace Tarr
March 15, 2017
Cubicle Conservatism
We all know that person. You know what I mean, that person who chews loudly, talks incessantly, or – my personal bad habit – leaves sticky notes everywhere. These attributes can quickly lead to tension within an office. But tension really begins when political views come into play. How do we know when to defend our values and when to respect a professional environment? As a current intern at the Leadership Institute, I have the privilege to work alongside like-minded, passionate individuals. However, past work experience taught me three important lessons about respectful political conversation with the people I see at the same cubicle every day. Don't spike Punchy political one-liners may be funny around other conservatives, but they quickly shut down any valuable conversation between opposing viewpoints. Always promote discussion. It is respectful conversation that changes a person's mind. In good conversation, each person is like a volleyball player “hitting” the conversation back and forth. If one player spikes the ball, the conversation – and opportunity to convince someone – is over. Pick your battles Don't fight every issue every time. Sometimes in an office it is simply inappropriate to talk politics. Read the situation and practice discretion. I know, it is hard to stay silent. But picking your battles means that when you do engage, it is more meaningful and your coworkers will not be exhausted by constant political banter. It's not about you The Leadership Institute works hard to promote a movement and not build an organizational empire. Conservatives must be team players committed to principles. If we enter a conversation trying to prove that we are right, we will always lose. This is not a time to prove how smart we are. It is not enough to be right. We must also be tactful. Well-timed, respectful conversations can change minds and influence movements.
Ready, Aim, Fire: LI Graduate Speaks Out at CPAC 2017
Angel Chitnatham
March 1, 2017
Ready, Aim, Fire: LI Graduate Speaks Out at CPAC 2017
You may recognize Antonia Okafor from her many guest appearances on the Blaze, NRA TV, and Fox News. She is also a Campus News Correspondent for Independent Journal Review where she works to expose liberal bias and abuse on Texas college campuses. Her official website AntoniaOkafor.com has the following blazed across the top: Black, Armed, and Conservative. Antonia knows she doesn't fit the “normal” stereotype of a conservative gun activist but she's getting her message across to the media regardless. “There's definitely a lot of shock factor as I'm not the ‘typical conservative'. It's opened a lot of doors with being able to have people listen. Whether it's plain curiosity or genuine interest, I think being someone who is contrary to the typical conservative helps people want to listen.” Antonia is currently a student at the University of Texas at Dallas but aims to bring new female perspective to gun rights and regularly advocates for campus carry policies. Her own passion for campus carry often brings her into the cross-hairs of feminism and right to self-defense. “For me it's an empowerment issue. Being a feminist came first and the gun rights issue came after. I became so passionate above advocating for campus carry and the right to self defense because I strongly believe every woman should have the choice to decide which form of defense is right for them. That includes guns." Most recently, Antonia co-headlined the Armed and Fabulous panel at CPAC 2017 with fellow female gun rights activists Kimberly Corban, Ashlee Lundvall, and Kristi McMains, moderated by Townhall's Katie Pavlich. Before her rising success and spotlight in the media, starting in 2015, Antonia attended twelve different Leadership Institute trainings including the Youth Leadership School, Future Candidate School, Comprehensive Fundraising Training, Digital Communications Workshop, Television Workshop and more. “The Leadership Institute is what inspired and equipped me to be a successful advocate and voice for the campus carry movement. I knew how to relay my message effectively because of their generous Campus Reform student journalism program and their media training.” Antonia was later inspired to start a Network for Enlightened Women chapter in Texas because she attended LI's Women's Leadership Workshop where she met Karin Agness, founder of NeW. “Before then, I had no idea that the conservative values I hold dear could be an effective way to empower women who are turned off to the radical leftist feminism movement of today. Because of LI, I can 100% say that I am effective today because of them. I will forever be grateful.” When asked what advice she would give to young people in the conservative movement, Antonia paused for a second to think. Her answer that followed was resolute. “Network. Get to know people. Go to conferences and meet people. You never know where you will be a year from now, and a lot of times, it's people you meet that will give you that opportunity you want so much.” The Leadership Institute thanks Antonia for her dedication to conservative principles and congratulates her for her nomination for LI's Conservative Leader Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,887 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 182,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Senator Jim Banks -- His Campaign's
Mari Vogel
September 13, 2016
Senator Jim Banks -- His Campaign's "Secret Weapon"
Jim Banks has shown a dedication to service throughout his life. As a father of three, a state Senator, and a Navy Reservist, he has proven himself a strong and value-oriented leader. “There is a lot of pressure to go along with the majority sentiment, but I will not go back on the pledge I made to my constituents,” said Senator Banks. As the State Senator for the 17th district of Indiana, he has continually been a voice for conservative principles. Next, he hopes to continue his service to Indiana as a member of Congress. While in the senate, Senator Banks has served on numerous committees, most notably the Senate Veteran Affairs and the Military committee. He believes this experience, coupled with his military service, could provide a unique perspective to the Congressional Armed Services Committee if elected in the fall. Senator Banks fought in a hotly contested primary this spring due to the number of other well-funded candidates and the coinciding presidential nomination which drew in many more voters. However, due to his knowledgeable volunteers (several Leadership Institute graduates) and lean campaign strategies, he was able get his message out and win the election. Another thing which helped now Senator Banks through the election was his family, which he referred to as the campaign's “secret weapon.” His wife, Amanda, was able to play a unique role in the campaign because of her own political experience. As a Navy Reserve Supply Corps officer, Jim was called to Afghanistan from 2014 until 2015. While Jim was serving in Afghanistan, Amanda took over his seat in the state Senate. During her time in office, she worked on the Veterans Affairs committee and the Education committee, where she helped author and sponsor many bills. She also co-authored several bills in defense of the unborn. “Public servants cannot separate who they are from what they do,” she says, “so the various vocations I have in life as a mother, a military wife, and a conservative activist all come to the forefront when considering the issues facing our state." If he wins the election in November, Senator Banks is ready to fight for conservative values in Congress. “I believe we need to go back to our roots and start building support around conservative solutions for our current public policy challenges,” he said. Instead of being the “opposition party,” he sees the importance of bringing conservative proposals and ideas to the table. Jim credits the Leadership Institute with providing a solid foundation for him as he began getting involved in politics. Thanks to the Grassroots Activist School and Youth Leadership School, he made connections which allowed him to work with a member of Congress and run a Mayoral campaign very early in his career. “The LI program didn't just provide me with the knowledge and skills I would need to make a difference on behalf of candidates I would work with," said Senator Banks, "but it helped me connect with people who would have an important role in my career down the line.” Mari Vogel was a summer intern in the Grassroots Department for the Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,619 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 175,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
A Different Type of Activist
Natalie Tuttle
March 14, 2016
A Different Type of Activist
What do you think of when someone says that they're an activist? Do you picture scenes like supporters sign waving at the annual March for Life? Do you remember watching demonstrators on the steps of the Supreme Court waiting for a controversial decision? Meet Jason Jones. Jason is a conservative, pro-life activist who uses filmmaking to spread his message. His goal is to navigate through (and counter) morally challenged Hollywood. Known for films that promote a humane society, Jason is the president and founder of Movie to Movement, a project of his larger organization HERO (Human-Rights Education and Relief Organization). Through Movie to Movement, Jason targets a broad audience and tells stories that allow people to acknowledge the value of life at all stages. His films have won international attention for addressing tough issues that transcend generations and cultures. Published projects include the film Bella, winner of the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. When asked about the reception of conservative principles in the left-leaning film industry, he said, “I don't fish from a bucket [of conservatives]. I fish on the lake and put the fish I catch in the bucket.” Jason and his team offer an alternative to the cultural norms Hollywood accepts and encourages. Jason tailors every project to promote the value of humanity in Hollywood. Even in Hollywood, he finds support. “I don't believe any areas are shut off. Regardless of ideology, we agree on more than we think we do. Everyone want the best education, the best healthcare, the best world… we just have radically different ideas on how to get there.” Jason hopes that projects like Bella communicate with people on an emotional level. While each project has its own underlying focus, the mission of Movie to Movement is “to promote the incomparable dignity and beauty of the human person through the power of film.” Much of the work he has done, he has attributed to the Leadership Institute. Jason moved to the Washington DC area in the year 2000. He attended Institute workshops on fundraising, TV presence, and non-profit organization management. He read every book Morton Blackwell recommends in “Read to Lead” and went to as many Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfasts as he could attend. Jason has adapted techniques employed by aspiring politicians for use in making and promoting films. For example, Jason transformed LI's precinct captain strategy into a “theater captain” program by assigning volunteers to advertise and advocate for Movie to Movement on the local level. This and other techniques learned in the classrooms at LI have helped Jason advocate for conservative principles in Hollywood. The Leadership Institute isn't just about learning techniques, it's about a network of conservative activists. While learning how to win at LI, Jason met his best friend. Jason has stayed in contact with many at LI, including Morton Blackwell. During his most recent visit to the Leadership Institute, Jason told staff members that because of LI, he knows how to do more than vote. Jason encourages everyone to take an active role in changing politics and culture. “If you think all you have to do is show up to vote, you're a D student,” he told the Leadership Institute interns. Jason champions party involvement and volunteering for causes and campaigns. To learn more about Jason and his project Movie to Movement visit www.movietomovement.com. The Leadership Institute thanks Jason for his dedication to conservative principles and congratulates him for receiving LI's Conservative Leader Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,750 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 172,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Candidate to Congressman: Rep. Alex Mooney shares his story at Future Candidate School
Cameron Douglas
February 25, 2016
Candidate to Congressman: Rep. Alex Mooney shares his story at Future Candidate School
As an intern at the Leadership Institute and a recent college graduate, I attended LI's Future Candidate School. Though it isn't something I know much about, the thought of running for office has crossed my mind and I want to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more. One of the best parts of the internship is the access to training programs staffed by outstanding faculty in relevant fields. During this Future Candidate School a member of Congress joined the list of expert faculty. Who better to lead a discussion on running for office than a sitting Member of Congress? Leadership Institute alumnus Congressman Alex Mooney (R-WV) came to LI's Future Candidate School to teach attendees how to successfully run for, and win, public office. Congressman Mooney's lecture drew on his extensive experience in campaigns at both the state and federal level. He won three elections to the Maryland State Senate, where he served from 1999 to 2011. Then, in 2014, he ran for and won a seat in the US House of Representatives in West Virginia. For me, Congressman Mooney's presentation was valuable in two big ways. First, he gave a frank, clear-eyed assessment of both the upsides and the downsides of running for office. Second, he provided a great deal of practical knowledge about how to campaign. Rep. Mooney emphasized the importance of fundraising for successful campaigning. He advised 80-90% of a candidate's time should be spent raising funds, which reflects Leadership Institute founder Morton Blackwell's saying, “You can't save the world if you can't pay the rent.” The Congressman also stressed the importance of having a clear, simple message, and taking that message directly to voters by picking up the phone and knocking on lots of doors. The part of Rep. Mooney's presentation which stayed with me most was not anything he said; rather, it was the way he presented himself to us. He's a sitting member of Congress, and none of the students at the school live in his district. Yet, he came out to share his experiences with us. To me, his candid yet friendly way of presenting himself was a prime example of the attitude a candidate for office should have while campaigning. To learn more about Leadership Institute training go to LeadershipInstitute.org/training and register to attend one or more trainings.
Leadership Institute grad elected second-youngest legislator in the United States of America
Mitchell Nozka
January 21, 2016
Leadership Institute grad elected second-youngest legislator in the United States of America
She's 19. She's conservative. She's in college. And she's an elected official. Yvonne Dean-Bailey was fed up with the leftism she encountered at her college. She decided to do something about it – and enrolled in Leadership Institute training. Yvonne went from conservative student to Leadership Institute graduate to campus activist to state legislator in less than a year. A cesspool of liberalism: Mount Holyoke College LI's campus field staff recruited and mentored Yvonne – a student eager to fight the left at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Through the Leadership Institute's campus watchdog news website, CampusReform.org, students like Yvonne expose leftist bias and indoctrination to make an impact on their own campuses. Frankly, Mount Holyoke College is a cesspool of liberalism. Yvonne's articles on CampusReform.org showed how the college: Held an event to shame white students on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for their so-called “white privilege” Cancelled a theatre production of the “Vagina Monologues” – not because it was disgusting, but because it didn't go far enough to promote feminism and wasn't “inclusive of transgender students” Encouraged students to participate in a protest against a grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for defending himself against Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri In response to Yvonne's articles, leftists at Mount Holyoke College slandered Yvonne on message boards all over the campus, calling her “hateful, transphobic, homophobic, and racist.” Shockingly, leftists encircled and harassed Yvonne in the college's cafeteria. But Yvonne responded, “Despite this, I will continue to be an independent and active voice on campus until all sides are considered.” Yvonne enrolled in the Leadership Institute's Student Activism Conference, Television Workshop, and One-on-One Media Training. Then, Yvonne took her conservative activism to the next level. She ran for elected office in her home state. Yvonne takes her activism to the next level through Leadership Institute campaign training Yvonne ran courageously as a conservative in New Hampshire's 32nd state district. “If I'm elected, I'm going to focus on fiscally responsible principles and conservative principles,” she said. “Some legislators think about tax dollars as just a number, when in actuality this is people's money.” Most observers didn't expect much from this 19-year-old young lady. But Yvonne had a crucial advantage. “Through the Leadership Institute,” Yvonne said, “I learned how to fundraise, how to handle the media, and how to organize a grassroots effort in a rural New Hampshire community.” With a record voter turnout in May, Yvonne defeated her leftist opponent with 52.4% of the vote. Donors train young conservatives for a lifetime of activism Today, Yvonne is the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the New Hampshire state legislature – and the second-youngest state legislator in America. “The Leadership Institute gave me the tools I needed to beat an experienced liberal Democrat. Their training makes young leaders successful in organizing campaigns,” Yvonne said. “I'm so thankful for the donors who helped LI train me to win.” Yvonne not only serves as the field director for a presidential candidate's campaign, but she now studies at the University of New Hampshire where she continues to fight campus liberals and hold them accountable – both as a Leadership Institute campus correspondent and as a state representative. Yvonne is one of the thousands of Institute-trained graduates who will fight to protect America's founding principles for many years to come.
Hoosiers take on a Race for Congress
Angel Chitnatham
December 14, 2015
Hoosiers take on a Race for Congress
Even campaigners with years of experience can stand to learn from the Leadership Institute. Earlier this month, Jadan Horyn participated in the Leadership Institute's Campaign Management School and came away with enough knowledge to give an edge to his congressional campaign. Jadan is currently the campaign manager for Jim Pfaff, a candidate running in Indiana's 9th Congressional District. “It all started when I was 13 years old,” said Jadan. “During the Bush/Gore 2000 election, I stayed up all night to watch election results. Pretty much from then on, I was fully enveloped in politics.” A 2012 graduate of Liberty University, Jadan dedicated years to build up his College Republicans group; work with the State Central Committee, the governing body of the Republican Party of Virginia; and serve on the College Republican state board. Jadan would go on to co-host his own talk show called “Rude Awakening” at Liberty University, hosting guests like Senator John McCain and Governor Mike Huckabee. After graduating, Jadan integrated his media background and his interest in political campaigns working for Laura Ingraham on her FOX News appearances, followed by three years of working in congressional communications. It wasn't until he started working in Congressman Tim Huelskamp's office did he meet Jim Pfaff, then Chief of Staff for Congressman Huelskamp. Jim Pfaff would then ask Jadan to be his campaign manager in his race for congress in his home state of Indiana. “I told him I'd take the job but that I needed to go to LI to fill in the missing pieces.” said Jadan. The week-long Campaign Management School provides the students with a run-through on the know-how and tools required to establish and build up their campaigns. “First day, we learned opposition research. It was the how, the methodology, was what I didn't know.” On the first day at the training, Jadan texted his staff how and where to look for the potential weaknesses of their opponent. “By 4:00 p.m. that day, I had an entire document from my campaign researcher about questionable votes made by our opponent. If I had never come to this training, I would have never had that ammunition to use on them.” When asked what advice he would give future candidates and campaign managers now that he's completed the Campaign Management School, he said “Sit them down and hold them accountable….and make sure they follow through on their goals.” Join the Leadership Institute in thanking Jadan for his dedication to conservative principles and congratulate him for receiving LI's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,761 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 170,266 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Fighting for the Farm
Jacob Weaver
July 2, 2015
Fighting for the Farm
How did a small family-farmer transform into a national headline? Why did she join the 2015 Congressional Property Rights Caucus Roundtable, and become The Property Rights Foundation of America's “Nation's Grassroots Property Rights Leader”? It started with a young girl's childhood dream. Martha Boneta grew up in Mount Vernon, Virginia. She attended George Mason University for both her undergraduate and law degree, later studying Alternative Dispute Resolution at the prestigious Strauss Institute of Pepperdine University. After school, Martha worked in government relations at ICS, then became a strategic account executive at Reed Elsevier. Martha's childhood dream became a reality when she purchased Liberty Farm. Unfortunately, her American Dream quickly deteriorated into an American nightmare. Her farm became the epicenter of attacks from extreme environmental groups. Using agencies ranging from the Virginia Department of Transportation to Animal Control, these groups subjected Martha to many abusive inspections. This exploitation culminated in zoning violation charges for the farm's hay rides, birthday parties, on-site sale of farm goods, and pumpkin carving in the pumpkin patch. The penalty? A $15,000 per day fine if she did not immediately cease all operations. “The experience was crushing, and I was heartbroken,” Martha said. Refusing to endure this violation of their property, Martha and her family began to fight back. Agreeing with George Washington, she believed that “freedom rests on the shoulders of property rights.” Martha proceeded to attend three Leadership Institute (LI) trainings -- the Future Candidate School, the Crisis Communication Training, and the Public Speaking Workshop -- where she learned the valuable grassroots skills to combat overbearing government. “The Leadership Institute was able to provide significant insight into overcoming obstacles and having the courage and network of resources available to create coalitions and legislation,” Martha said. The strength of these bipartisan coalitions devastated the liberal opposition. More than “7,000 Virginians wrote petition letters, made phone calls, and attended rallies and General Assembly hearings in support of legislation to protect family farmers,” Martha said. This activism led to the passage of the Boneta Bill I and II, which limited government's ability to overregulate small farmers, allowed farmers to engage in on-farm activity to attract customers, and provided consumers better access to locally produced farm goods. The new documentary Farming in Fear produced by Sean Malone of Honest Enterprise depicts Martha's nine-year battle to save her livelihood. The film premiers at the Anthem Film Festival on July 11. When asked about the film, Martha responded: The message people walk away with is hope. The idea that even though government and powerful special interests so often seem unbeatable, and that it's pointless to even try to defend your rights against those kinds of odds, it is actually possible to succeed if you persevere and stand strong for truth, justice, and the American Dream. Martha also plans to speak at the 44th National Fourth of July Conservative Soiree hosted at Bull Run Park (Centreville, VA) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All who attend receive free admittance to the food, the fun, and the great company of other conservatives! Though the fight for her farm ended, Martha knows she must continue to promote freedom, declaring: My heart will always be on the farm, but I have a great passion for community engagement and grassroots organization. If we are not zealously and passionately protecting our freedom, we will no longer be free. This experience has taught me to never, ever give up on the American Dream. It is my hope and prayer that others will be inspired by my family's journey to stand strong to keep the flame of liberty burning bright. The Leadership Institute thanks Martha for her dedication to conservative principles and congratulates her for receiving LI's Conservative Leader Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,581 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 165,050 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Sen. Cruz About LI: “A Training Ground for the Conservative Movement”
Jacob Weaver and Joshua Gill
June 18, 2015
Sen. Cruz About LI: “A Training Ground for the Conservative Movement”
“The Leadership Institute is a training ground for the conservative movement,” Texas Senator Ted Cruz said. Watch Senator Cruz in this 38 second YouTube video. “LI does a fantastic job taking young conservatives from all across the county and helping give them the tools to defend free market principles, to defend the constitution, and to explain the principles our country was founded upon,” Senator Cruz said. The words of Senator Ted Cruz express the Leadership Institute's (LI) fundamental mission: to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process. By equipping the conservative movement with the proper political tools and technology, LI builds the foundation for future conservative success. The Leadership Institute develops this foundation on a network of individuals, offering forty-four different trainings which target everyone from grassroots activists to future politicians. Former Senator and current President of The Heritage Foundation, Jim DeMint explained LI's influence: I come across the Leadership Institute's graduates all the time… as key congressional staffers, as heads of conservative organizations, even as colleagues. When I ran for U.S. Senate in 2004, an LI graduate was my campaign manager and another organized students for me throughout South Carolina. Even my son-in-law is a Leadership Institute graduate. Leadership Institute graduates continue to make a difference in the public policy process not only around the United States, but around the world. In 2014 alone, LI trained 7,805 students within the U.S. and another 10,377 internationally. In addition to on-sight and grassroots trainings, the Leadership Institute brings conservative courses to the digital age, broadcasting live webinars from LI Studios. The free online programs allow anyone instant access to a small part of the trainings LI offers. The Leadership Institute, Sen. Ted Cruz said, “is setting the foundation for what I believe is a historic opportunity we have to turn our country around -- to get back to the principles America was founded on.” Join the movement. Find out more at www.leadershipinstitute.org.
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.
LI Grad Adapts to the Rise of Political Technology
Leah Courtney
June 5, 2015
LI Grad Adapts to the Rise of Political Technology
Since 2008, the rise of technology in politics has turned elections into a whole new ball game, and no one knows this better than Rachel Kania. Rachel currently serves as the Senior Field and Technology Strategist for Rand Paul's presidential campaign. But she didn't just fall into the position. Rachel is a firm believer in starting at square one and working your way up the ladder. Rachel grew up in an apolitical household in Spring Hill, FL. Her passion for politics didn't come right away. In fact, it wasn't until 2007 that she became drawn to political philosophy and seeking out a candidate with strong principles. While perusing through YouTube videos, Rachel discovered Ron Paul and became inspired. After transferring to the University of South Florida, Rachel began finding other like-minded conservative activists inspired by the Texas Representative. Kania went on to serve with Students for Ron Paul and at Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). It was during her internship with YAL that Rachel was introduced to Leadership Institute (LI) trainings. Out of the many LI trainings she attended, she distinctly remembers what she learned from LI's Youth Leadership School and the Campaign Boot Camp, LI put together with YAL. “I still have my notes from those trainings and I reference them often,” Rachel said. The trainings provided Rachel with the knowledge to create a campaign budget, develop an effective staff structure, and how to build and spread the message. While describing her experience at LI, Rachel says, “What did I learn? More like, what did I not learn?” Kania says that the first place she sends activists is to a Youth Leadership School. When asked how LI has been helpful in her professional journey, Rachel responded with “connections.” Kania describes LI as a great networking tool and a “confidence booster.” She further explained that the Leadership institute helped her to find more activists like herself who were passionate about seeking the truth and electing principled conservatives. Following her time with YAL, Rachel was accepted into the Charles Koch Institute's intern program where she helped the Bill of Rights Institute create a student forum which reached out to and taught high school and college students about the Constitution. Since then, Rachel has served in top positions for Ron Paul's presidential campaign and for Ted Cruz's senatorial campaign. Rachel Kania is also responsible for creating Uproots Strategies, LLC, which provides field planning, digital strategy, and campaign management services. Uproots is responsible for putting the first two Republicans in history on Austin's city council. When asked what advice she would give potential leaders like herself, she said “Start from square one and climb… be flexible with your location and pay. Your experience gets your name out there.” She described her campaign experience as “building a business from the ground up.” “The biggest obstacle was going up against the establishment's big money and rallying activists,” Rachel said. But, the political world is “changing dramatically,” Rachel said. “Digital helps us access demographics we haven't reached before. Rand Paul's presidential campaign is already accommodating the evolution of politics by seeking out online volunteers to help their blogging and social media team. The campaign has even asked for volunteers to design their next t-shirt.” Rachel Kania predicts that the political world will keep evolving in the next 10-20 years due to the rise of technology. Please join LI in congratulating Rachel Kania for receiving LI's Conservative Leader Award. 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 Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,581 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 163,714 conservative activists, students, and leaders have been trained. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org
The Leadership Institute Continues the Reagan Revolution, Says Former White House Staffer
Joshua Gill
April 15, 2015
The Leadership Institute Continues the Reagan Revolution, Says Former White House Staffer
“People used to say to me, Morton Blackwell is the guy who will continue the Reagan Revolution and he's going to do it through the Leadership Institute.” That's what coworkers told John Shosky about Leadership Institute (LI) president, Morton Blackwell, years ago. John Shosky is the president of Roncalli Communications, a professional speech writer, trainer, and author of almost 3000 speeches for government officials, political candidates, and public interest advocates. John first heard of Morton Blackwell in 1988 while working in White House public affairs on a collection of President Reagan's accomplishments called The Reagan Record. “They began to tell me that before the administration started, Morton, who was a friend of Reagan's, was part of a loose pre-election kitchen cabinet that Reagan had,” Shosky said. “Morton had the idea – and Reagan thought it was a great idea – of trying to go beyond the 8 years of the administration and think about the future, and the future would be grassroots training for new generations of leaders, conservative leaders for the years to come.” Over the years, the Leadership Institute has trained 162,792 such leaders under the direction of Morton Blackwell, and through the generous donations of people who believe in investing in the future by training young conservatives. According to the numbers, and to John Shosky, the Leadership Institute has done just what people predicted years ago. He has kept the Reagan Revolution alive and well in young leaders across the United States. If you would like to know more about the Leadership Institute, hear more about the trainings and services LI offers, or want an opportunity to hear prominent conservative leaders speak publicly in support of what LI continues to accomplish, watch these videos featuring students and leaders LI has impacted. The Leadership Institute offers 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,607 active conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 162,764 conservative activists, students, and leaders have been trained. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Building the Young Conservative Movement
Elizabeth McCullough
March 31, 2015
Building the Young Conservative Movement
Leadership Institute partners with TeenPact to train Christian high school youth Seventy dedicated Christian youth aged 14-19 spent five days at the Leadership Institute to train for a lifetime of activism and leadership. With a strong commitment to advancing faith and freedom through community and civic engagement, these students came from 41 states for their annual adventure known as ‘Back to DC' – a program run by TeenPact. Founded in 1994 and based out of Richmond, Virginia, TeenPact is a dynamic, hands-on leadership school for Christian students. TeenPact works to train youth to understand the political process, value their liberty, defend their Christian faith, and engage the culture. The Leadership Institute has partnered with TeenPact for 19 years to help these students achieve those goals. Five intense days of training at the Leadership Institute During the five-day program in October, experienced Leadership Institute faculty taught students political lessons, including: The Real Nature of Politics Campaign Structure and Organization Developing Effective Speeches and Literature Voter Outreach Media and Public Relations “Every year, this is the only group of students that intimidates me,” said Steven Sutton, the Leadership Institute's Vice President of Development. “They're razor sharp and brilliant.” After addressing the group, Steven asked if there were any questions – nearly every hand in the room went up. “Each student showed a level of maturity and intellect well beyond their years,” said Steven. “They process information quickly, add context from their personal experiences, and extrapolate to the next level. You can practically see their brains growing right in front of you.” TeenPact's training program also included several visits to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress and visit the institutions that comprise America's constitutional government. Turning campaign knowledge into experience Students participated in campaign exercises where they applied their political lessons to run mock presidential campaigns – complete with press conferences, letters to the editor, and targeted voter outreach. The culminating activity was a presidential debate where each team uniquely and creatively put their theories into practice. Five Leadership Institute and TeenPact judges rated six teams based on performance in all areas of their campaigns. Outstanding young graduates win elections Several outstanding Leadership Institute graduates got their start through TeenPact, including: Jessica Koehler – After an internship and several trainings with the Leadership Institute, Jessica went home to manage her father's campaign – and propelled him to election victory to the Ohio House of Representatives this past November. Jennifer Sullivan – This 23-year-old took the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School and learned how to organize volunteers for campaign victory. Jennifer is now the youngest woman ever elected as a state representative in Florida. Youth already putting their training into practice TeenPact students filled the Leadership Institute's classroom with energy, enthusiasm, and determination to make a difference – ready to apply their training in their communities. “I learned so much this week and I'm really motivated to become more active in my state's government,” said Rachel Bass. “I've already started helping on my lieutenant governor's campaign for re-election in 2016. I wouldn't have gotten involved in the campaign if it hadn't been for TeenPact and all the Leadership Institute speakers we heard from.” Donor support makes this exceptional teenage training possible and allows the Leadership Institute to cultivate conservatism in teens before they meet with the onslaught of liberal bias and indoctrination on college campuses. The Leadership Institute offers 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,602 active conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 162,508 conservative activists, students, and leaders have been trained. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Multi-State American Girl – Soldier, World Traveler, Writer
Joshua Gill
February 25, 2015
Multi-State American Girl – Soldier, World Traveler, Writer
Though she calls South Carolina home, Samantha Bonsack – soldier, world traveler, and writer – will be the first to tell you she is a Multi-State American Girl. She recently added Iowa to her repertoire of states due to her new job as Congressional Staff Assistant to Rep. Rod Blum. Samantha, though forging ahead in her political career, came relatively recently to the working world of politics. After a life of military service, and several other jobs that took her across the country and around the world, Samantha sought a new direction in life. “I began to question the direction of my life,” Samantha said. “I had one job and I was lucky if I got 18 hours! I was pretty bad off at 31 with a degree and a 10 year military background but no open doors.” Samantha said the Leadership Institute (LI) helped her open a door where at first it seemed there were only walls. “I had done an over the phone resume consultation with the Leadership Institute that helped me a lot with condensing my four page federal resume down to two,” said Samantha. “They strongly urged that I join a campaign to help me gain political experience, which I had never thought of doing.” In addition to the phone consultation with LI's Conservative Jobs, Samantha also attended LI's Capitol Hill Jobs seminar. Samantha credits the training she received in that seminar with helping her land her start in her political career. “If I had not gone to that seminar I wouldn't be where I am today, and I am so thankful for LI and the seminars they offer,” Samantha said. “At the very least, you can do a lot of networking at those events.” After Samantha's phone consultation with LI, Samantha said she was drawn to Representative Rod Blum's campaign because of their shared political values. Looking back, Samantha says she chose well. “Through personal connections with people I had met through meetings and events I learned about Congressman Blum and loved what he stood for and his principles and wanted to help him win because I felt that Congress needed more people like Rod to get things right in our country,” Samantha said. “I flew out to Iowa and canvassed the first district all day sometimes into the night and all of the team's hard work paid off because we won a primarily democratic district. One of the best and fun experiences I have had. I would definitely do it again.” Before Samantha's foray into politics she served in the munitions field of the U.S. Air Force for 10 years and was the first female in her family to join the military. Samantha's military career took her across the world. She was stationed in California, South Korea, England, and Texas, and deployed twice to Afghanistan. Samantha thrived in the military. Noble as her military career was, though, Samantha realized she wasn't fulfilling her life's passion. “I separated from active duty for two reasons,” Samantha said. “One, I wanted to go to school full time and pursue my dream job. Two, I couldn't be politically active being active duty military.” After ending her active military career, Samantha enrolled in McMurry University in Abilene, TX where she earned a BA in political science. Samantha then took a DOD contracting job in Qatar for 14 months starting in 2013. Politics, however, was a passion that stayed with Samantha throughout her life – a fact borne out not only by her current political career, but also by her career as a writer for a small town newspaper in Texas. Starting in 2011, Samantha wrote political opinion articles for the paper and continued through 2015. “Writing my political opinion (fact) articles is a passion on mine,” Samantha said. “I love writing and I love politics.” Samantha said her passion for politics began as a result of growing up in a politically aware family. “I kind of always laugh when asked, ‘why politics' and I explain to people that I am a ‘Rush baby,' that's why,” Samantha said. “My parents have talked politics since I was a little girl and I remember driving around San Diego, California with my mom and her ALWAYS listening to Rush Limbaugh.” Even though Samantha no longer actively serves in the military, she said she hopes to continue to serve her fellow service members through her political career. “I'm hoping that I can make a positive impact on the constituents in the first district and that they know they can fully rely on Congressman Blum to put their needs and concerns first,” Samantha said. “I also hope that I can contribute to legislation for veterans. I love my veterans, being one myself, and I would love to make suggestions to not only help veterans in Iowa, but all over the US. Someone needs to look out for them and I want to be that person.” In addition to serving the people of Iowa and helping veterans across the nation, Samantha has big plans for the future. “I plan to pursue my Master's degree in Foreign Relations and eventually find a PhD program to complete my long time goal of gaining the highest level of education that anyone in my family has achieved.” The Leadership Institute is committed to training and equipping leaders like Samantha. Please congratulate Samantha Bonsack on being nominated for LI's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,576 active conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 161,460 conservative activists, students, and leaders have been trained. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Running Against the Odds
Leah Courtney
January 29, 2015
Running Against the Odds
Missouri's Fifth Congressional District was over 60% Democrat and the media had painted the race as “unwinnable” for a Republican. But that didn't stop one dedicated conservative from running against the odds. Unlike many who run for public office, Jacob Turk didn't plan to run. He graduated from the University of Missouri – Kansas City with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and is a Marine Corps veteran, business owner, volunteer, proud father, and grandfather. “Honestly, if I had not felt the Lord calling me distinctly to run for this office, I can't imagine deciding to do it on my own. It was a step of faith to run.” Jacob Turk ran for U.S. Congress in Missouri's Fifth Congressional District in 2012 and again in 2014. “We are not wealthy nor do we have powerful political connections,” Jacob said. “One of the biggest obstacles was the lack of confidence of those who live in the district…the skepticism made it difficult to raise the funds necessary for a victory.” In 2012 and 2014, Jacob Turk won the primary, but lost to the incumbent Emanuel Cleaver. “We didn't lose the war; we just didn't win a particular battle,” Jacob said. In the 2014 general election, Jacob was projected to lose by thirty points. He only lost to Cleaver by 6.6%. “Our campaign forced the Democrats to spend almost a million dollars in precious resources they could not spend on senatorial races in 2014.” The campaign also managed to bring in new volunteers and new donors. “Over 70% of our volunteers had never volunteered time in a political campaign before our race,” Jacob said. “We heard the same from a majority of our financial donors, as well.” Both Jacob and his wife Donna are Leadership Institute (LI) graduates. They have attended several LI trainings including the Campaign Management School, Television Workshop, Field Representative Training, New Media Workshop, and Youth Leadership School. “If you want to be a serious player in the conservative movement, we recommend that you take all the LI courses you can, both in DC and in your area,” Jacob said. “We can take hope that if we are able to motivate our voters to turn out every election, we can win the tough races.” Jacob credits the Field Representative Training for “the robust cadre of college and home school students that contributed thousands of volunteer hours to [his campaign] effort.” When asked to describe the Leadership Institute, Jacob said “The staff and presenters are enthusiastic about winning the ideological battle in America, and their will to win this war is infectious.” Jacob and his wife, Donna, reside in Lee's Summit, Missouri. They work tirelessly to change their local government. Please join us in congratulating Jacob Turk for receiving LI's Conservative Leader Award, and in thanking him for his tireless effort to promote conservative principles. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 40 types of training programs, working with more than 1,568 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 161,271 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Englander’s Grassroots Efforts Sprout Victory
Scott Heneveld with contributions from Joshua Gill
January 14, 2015
Englander’s Grassroots Efforts Sprout Victory
Chip Englander has a track record. He wins. When Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was at the bottom of a four-way primary at the beginning of his campaign, he knew he needed a winner. He turned to Chip for a campaign manager. In a state President Obama swept by 25 percent in 2012, Rauner became the first candidate to defeat the governor of a president's home state since 1892, ousting incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn. Making his success even more remarkable, Rauner was outspent during the final three months of his campaign in one of the top five most expensive non-presidential races in American history. Chip was drawn to Rauner because of the candidate's viable solutions to serious issues. “I believe we have nearly intractable problems and it will take a transformational figure to change direction -- Governor Rauner can do that,” he said. Under the slogan, “Shake up Springfield. Bring back Illinois,” and running for conservative ideals including job creation, tax repeal, and fiscal responsibility, Chip was able to rally a powerful grassroots effort behind Rauner. Chip attributes his ability to muster such a critical effort to the training he received from the Leadership Institute early in his career. “I took 19 different LI training courses starting in 2000,” Chip said. “The principles on grassroots organization still guide what I do today.” Grassroots are crucial to victory. Moreover, a solid candidate is vital for a strong grassroots effort. Chip was able to recruit the manpower needed to pull off an upset because of Rauner's character. “Governor Rauner's strengths were unique to him,” Chip said. “Voters saw his vision, work ethic, and integrity.” A combination of a strong candidate and strong localized efforts is important to any conservative campaign, especially ones in Democrat-leaning counties or states. “From the first day I met Rauner he emphasized building a historic grassroots organization,” Chip said. “We opened 83 offices with 700+ paid workers and 10,000+ volunteers and knocked on millions of doors and made millions more phone calls.” Chip's efforts paid off. Rauner is one of many freshly elected Republicans in a national movement back towards conservative principles. Given Chip's winning track record, it comes as no surprise that the Rand Paul team just hired Chip Englander. According to a report from Politico's Katie Glueck, “Englander will transition to campaign manager ‘if and when Rand runs,' a senior adviser to the senator said.” Originally from Santa Monica, California, and a graduate of the University of Michigan, Chip has worked as a campaign manager in many different elections including assembly, senatorial, and gubernatorial campaigns. In 2002, Chip was the Executive Director of the Republican Party of San Diego County, an organization Rush Limbaugh called “a model for the nation” after Republicans handily seized the county previously held by Democrats. His desire to help America is the driving force behind his efforts. His beliefs coupled with his winning methods have produced tremendous victories for conservative principles. “I didn't choose politics, politics chose me,” Chip said. Conservatives everywhere have leaders like Chip to thank for the changing political scenery sweeping the U.S. Thanks to hard work and proven strategies, America is once again returning to the principles upon which it was founded. The Leadership Institute is committed to building winners like Chip. Please congratulate Chip Englander on winning LI's Conservative Leader Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,568 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 161,271 conservative activists, students, and leaders have been trained. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Personal Politics – From the Man Who Got Paul, Cruz, and Rubio Into Office
Scott Heneveld
December 9, 2014
Personal Politics – From the Man Who Got Paul, Cruz, and Rubio Into Office
For Brendan Steinhauser, politics is personal. “Politics for me is about real world issues that affect us every day,” said Brendan, campaign manager for Senator John Cornyn of Texas. Since playing an integral part in the organization of the tea party in 2010, Brendan has helped elect many prominent conservative politicians, including Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and many others. Brendan isn't alone in his effort to make conservative politics personal. He helps recruit and train new grassroots activists for a growing movement. And it's paying off. With a Republican majority in Congress, many incumbent and newly-elected conservative politicians have local grassroots efforts to thank. More importantly, they have the people behind those efforts to thank – people like Brendan who took the offensive. “Many of the folks I've recruited over the years are passionate about the future of their country, and its impact on their families,” Brendan said. “I try to encourage them to do something productive about their concerns, and channel their passion into a cause or candidate that fits their personality and interests.” A veteran of effective and proven strategies, like those taught at the Leadership Institute (LI), Brendan has trained many local activists how to impact their communities through door knocking, phone banking, and social media. “We conservatives can apply LI's approach to politics extremely well at the local level,” he said. “This will not only improve things at the level of government closest to the people, but it will build our farm team for higher offices.” The localized political movement is growing in response to the many challenges our country faces. Conservatives everywhere are becoming more involved and their principles are now appealing to a wider demographic. “I believe that conservative policies are the solutions, and I really enjoy helping candidates and elected officials who are fighting for these policies and can win the arguments for them as well,” Brendan said. Rather than pander to moderates, he believes candidates should focus on making the case for their beliefs, winning over independents and undecided voters in the process. “I believe that conservative candidates can do this by demonstrating how their ideas work better than the failed ideas of the far left,” Brendan said. Sound political theory is great, but making it personal is one of the most effective ways to get votes. Look no further than John Cornyn's campaign, one where the conservative senator won an unprecedented majority of Latino votes in Texas this November. Brendan helped Senator Cornyn win the Latino majority through a personalized effort. “Our staff attended hundreds of events, meetings, and social gatherings around the state,” he said. “We visited very diverse communities, including our inner cities, barrios, rural areas, and suburbs. We even visited a colonia along the border with Mexico, which is a very poor area made up of recent immigrants.” Focusing on building relationships is invaluable. Listening to individual concerns while explaining practical, achievable solutions goes a long way. “As we met with folks and listened to their concerns, we tried to find common ground, even if there were policy disagreements,” Brendan said. “People appreciated that willingness to start a conversation, and we earned lots of respect that way.” This strategy demonstrates progress in conservative tactics. “The left tends to do better integrating emotion and compassion into their arguments, but I think conservatives are improving,” said Brendan. The results speak for themselves. The beauty of grassroots politics is that activists, like good candidates, are standing on their principles. They're activists because they care. They're fighting for a cause that's their own. Even though people won't always see eye-to-eye, someone who fights for what they believe in earns the respect of those around them. Unfortunately, caring doesn't win elections. Brendan, however, is also very good at winning. What is the key to his success? “Working hard and working smart,” he said. The foundation of a winning effort is figuring out the right strategy and then effectively and energetically implementing it. Brendan took LI's Youth Leadership School (YLS) in 2005. He has taught at six since then. “LI is one of my favorite conservative organizations in the movement,” Brendan said. “The most important lesson I've learned from the YLS is about organization. The way Morton Blackwell and his team developed this concept and instilled it in campaign operatives and activists over the years is really important.” In politics, winning or losing a campaign often comes down to organization. “The better organized, efficient campaign that understands the real world of political campaigns is going to have a better chance of winning,” Brendan said. “LI is the best place for conservatives to learn how to win. And you owe it to your conservative philosophy to learn how to win.” Brendan advises all activists and aspiring campaign managers to run a race at the local level. “There is no better way to learn about the importance of a good candidate, and of face-to-face communication,” he said. “If you want to understand grassroots politics and the power of what LI teaches, you should get involved in a local race and see the impact of good political organization.” There has never been a more important time for conservatives to take a stand for their principles. Fortunately, grassroots activism provides an effective means for conservatives to make an impact in their communities and beyond. Brendan has embraced and helped revolutionize the conservative grassroots effort. His winning strategies, fueled by his passion for his work, have yielded amazing results and point to great things to come. Please congratulate Brendan Steinhauser for receiving LI's Conservative Leader Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 43 types of training programs, working with more than 1,591 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 159,225 conservative activists, students, and leaders have been trained. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
West Virginia Congressman-Elect Shares His Winning Strategy
Scott Heneveld
December 4, 2014
West Virginia Congressman-Elect Shares His Winning Strategy
He didn't leave anything to chance. He knew what was needed to win. West Virginia Congressman-elect Alex Mooney knows politics well enough to know a good heart isn't all it takes to win an election. The first Hispanic elected to Congress in West Virginia history, Alex is a Leadership Institute (LI) grad who will join a U.S. House of Representatives with a Republican majority. Owning a majority brings expectations, and Alex is excited to do his part in meeting those. “With the strong majority I will be joining in the U.S. House of Representatives, voters are going to expect us to fight for them and deliver results,” he said. One of Alex's primary focuses is scaling back government regulations in West Virginia. “I plan to fight back against devastating job losses created by the overreach of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),” he said. By working to reduce restrictions in his district, Alex will address a nationwide problem: jobs. “Perhaps the biggest issue facing my state is the lack of good paying, quality jobs,” he said. “West Virginia is blessed with several great Universities and Colleges but too many of those graduates leave West Virginia to find jobs. I am working every day to bring new jobs and industry to my district.” An offspring of crippling government regulation, job shortages have led many of West Virginia's brightest young people to leave the state, a problem Alex is committed to solving. “By reigning in an out-of-control EPA, jobs will begin to return to areas of my district which desperately need them,” he said. In the wake of widespread disillusionment with the policies of the far left, many Americans are looking to conservatives like Alex to present solutions to the pressing issues the U.S. faces. “Voters were disappointed in the failed policies of Barack Obama,” Alex said. “The voters in West Virginia made it clear to me in my campaign that they wanted someone to fight back against Obama's war on coal and assault on our individual liberties.” The best way to combat intrusions upon personal liberty is to take ownership of the problem and begin working from the local level up to protect the freedoms being threatened. Fortunately, many conservatives are accepting that responsibility and are becoming more active in local campaigns. “Local Grassroots efforts are of the utmost importance in any Congressional campaign,” said Alex. “I was sure that my team had an aggressive plan that executed targeted door knocking and volunteer phone calls.” Local involvement is crucial for successful campaigns. It's vital for a winning candidate to have a loyal, passionate, and well-trained base to build off of. After winning a hard-fought campaign in November, Alex knows this as well as anyone. “I won my race by just under 5,000 votes and can say for certain that my team's get out the vote push made the difference,” said Alex. Thanks to the improved methods of organization many conservative politicians are adopting, it's becoming easier for local activists to channel their support and energy effectively. Volunteering to knock on doors, make phone calls, or engage in social media efforts all contribute greatly to a campaign's success. “Pick a candidate in your area with whom you are ideologically aligned and volunteer on a regular basis,” Alex said. Even if it's a few hours after work or on the weekends, the regular contributions add up. There's no substitute for face time when it comes to bringing politics to a personal level. The most effective means of reaching voters is still door-to-door campaigning. “When I first ran for the State Senate, I had no name ID and was running against a 16 year incumbent,” Alex said. “I beat him by a wide margin because I personally knocked on over 10,000 doors. I have knocked on doors in every campaign since.” He also stressed the importance of attending local meetings. Woody Allen said 80 percent of life is showing up. Morton Blackwell's 22nd Law of the Public Policy Process is, “Never miss a political meeting if you think there's the slightest chance you'd wish you'd been there.” Being a part of a team of like-minded activists is essential. No one is an island, and a campaign built on individuals who refuse to work together is a losing campaign. “You should attend meetings of conservative groups in your area such as tea party chapters, pro-life groups, Republican clubs, and other organizations that believe in aggressive political grassroots action,” said Alex. The networking that occurs at meetings has more than just short term benefits. Alex has taken many LI trainings and regularly uses the connections he made during them. “To this day I have friends from those first LI schools I attended and some of them even traveled to help me in my most recent election,” he said. Having a loyal, close-knit team is a vital step towards winning a campaign. Having the training, resources, and strategies to win is another. “The Leadership Institute is where conservative activists, candidates, and campaign workers go to receive the training they need to win elections,” Alex said. “Everyone who works for me is required to receive ample training from the Leadership Institute.” Grassroots activism works, from local school board elections to congressional campaigns. Every conservative owes it to their cause to learn how to win and then put that knowledge into action. A testament to the effectiveness of combining belief with hard work and winning strategies, Alex is part of an exciting opportunity for the conservative movement. Now, more than ever, we need leaders. Alex has answered the call. Please congratulate Congressman-elect Alex Mooney on winning LI's Conservative Leader Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 43 types of training programs, working with more than 1,386 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 155,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders have been trained. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
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