Scott Heneveld
November 19, 2014
"Freeing the world from its socialistic ropes"
Few activists have accomplished as much as Carl Andersen has at his age. The son of a successful construction entrepreneur and raised on a chicken farm in South Jutland, Denmark, Carl has begun fighting for the conservative cause in his home country. Despite being a 19-year-old recent high school graduate, Carl is already very involved in Danish politics. “I have been a member of Liberal Alliance and Liberal Alliance Youth since 2009, and have risen in the party on every single level,” he said. “I am on some boards at local, regional, and national levels, and run some campaigns for our candidates. I got elected to the county board in Vejen last year. I am now sitting as a member of the Technique and Environment Committee.” In September 2014, Carl began working as an intern at the Leadership Institute (LI). As an intern, he has been able to take trainings he believes will help him continue advancing conservative principles in Denmark. “Especially, I like that LI is an international organization; LI does not only focus on Americans and America, but on freeing the world from its socialistic ropes,” said Carl. He first heard of LI from a fellow member of Liberal Alliance, Lars Seier Christensen, a former LI speaker and current CEO of SAXO Bank. Carl was impressed with the level of knowledge and experience LI has in fields he believes are important in the modern political landscape. One of the tools Carl uses very successfully is social media. He runs Liberalisten1995, the largest political YouTube channel in Denmark with over 5,000,000 views and 3,000 subscribers. “I am self-taught in IT (WordPress and Photoshop), and do some freelance work in that field as I am the CEO of Place2Translate and GratisKonkurrencer.nu,” he said. One of the classes Carl recently took was the Comprehensive Online Activist School. Among other things, the class teaches how to build and grow an online community, and how to effectively use the new generation of social media. It's a class geared towards all levels of learners, from beginners to experts. Carl was one of 13 international students who attended, illustrating the diversity in the classroom. As an activist with extensive history working with social media, Carl learned a lot from the more technical aspects of the training. “The information about the Facebook algorithm was very useful. I did not know that before, and I am already seeing how the tips are working on my pages,” he said. Along with the techniques he learned in this Leadership Institute training, Carl is taking other innovative outreach ideas back to Denmark with him. “Currently, I am working on the first political direct mail letter in modern Danish history. I could not do this without the training from LI,” he said. Carl is excited to put his new knowledge into practice this coming spring during Danish national elections. “The training I have received at LI has given me a lot of great knowledge and tools to fight for our ideas in the public,” he said. Following his internship, Carl will return home where he hopes to attend Copenhagen Business School and study International Business and Politics, while continuing his work as an activist. As for his long term ambitions, Carl said he dreams of working as a connection between the private sector and politicians. Carl is part of a young generation of conservatives who recognize the power of social media outlets and he is using social media in innovative ways. Please congratulate Carl on receiving the Leadership Institute's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award and encourage him in his future efforts to make Denmark and the world a freer place. 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.
Soviet Refugee Works to Protect Prosperity and Freedom in the US
Leah Courtney
November 12, 2014
Soviet Refugee Works to Protect Prosperity and Freedom in the US
Recalling his life in the Soviet Union, Igor Birman paints a dreary picture. “Imagine every aspect of your life from the cradle to the grave being dictated to you by government,” said Igor. “No matter your talents or wishes, you had little say in your own future.” Igor Birman was born in the Soviet Union in 1981. After a decade of Soviet refusals for exit permits, his family arrived in California in 1994. Igor first felt compelled to defend conservative principles as a student columnist at UC Davis, where he studied Political Science. “My parents risked everything to get me out of the Soviet Union where freedom did not exist and into the United States, which was founded on the notions of personal responsibility, limited government and individual liberty,” said Igor. “How could I possibly not dedicate my life to ensuring that my children grow up to know the same freedom that I was so lucky to find?” In 2001, Igor proudly became a U.S. citizen. As he continued earning his degree at Emory University, Igor chaired the Federalist Society, a group of conservatives and libertarians committed to preserving freedom. At 24 years old, he graduated as a Doctor of Law, and the following year was admitted to the State Bar of California. Intent on making a difference, Igor started working in politics. He was appointed as Representative Tom McClintock's Chief of Staff in 2009, and decided to run for Congress in 2014. When asked what his biggest obstacle was during his race, Igor answered, “Becoming known, which is something most first-time candidates have to tackle. But I have to say that the creativity fostered by Leadership Institute training went a long way towards raising my name identification in the shortest possible time.” While a student at UC Davis, Igor began training with the Leadership Institute. He is a graduate of LI's Youth Leadership School, Public Speaking Workshop, Student Publications School, and Television Workshops. “Not only has LI equipped me with the knowledge and time-tested techniques for persuasion, but also supplied my campaign with some of the best operatives I have ever had the honor of meeting,” said Igor. Igor Birman describes the Leadership Institute as “indispensable” for anyone in politics. He says that activists looking to run for office should “stand up for the principles that got them into politics and defend them with all they can muster. If they don't, there is no point in winning.” This country needs more leaders with Igor's drive and passion. We are looking forward to see more great things from him in the future. Please join us in congratulating Igor Birman 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 1,386 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
Kyle Baccei
November 6, 2014
"Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose" is Nonsense
It is not always enough to be right -- as in correct -- candidates have to know how to win. It takes preparation. Since 1979, future candidates have attended Leadership Institute trainings. At LI, they learn the tools to win -- persuade voters, effectively fundraise, and get-out-the vote. Because they graduated from LI training, many winning candidates in 2014 understood how to effectively run and win. "Thanks to you Morton and LI staff, there are countless conservatives making a difference in public policy across the country," said soon to be Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. "As one of your earliest students, I know firsthand what a wonderful foundation the Leadership Institute's education provides for someone involved in public service." Here are some of the many LI and Morton Blackwell trained candidates who won accross the United States in 2014: Mitch McConnell – U.S. Senate, Kentucky Alex Mooney – 2nd Congressional District, West Virginia David Jolly – 13th Congressional District, Florida Vicky Hartzler – Fourth Congressional District, Missouri LI graduate and New Mexico businesswoman Kelly Fajardo said, “I don't think I would have ever taken the step to run if not for LI.” Terry Branstad – Governor, Iowa Mark Hutchinson – Lt. Governor, Nevada Chassity Martin – Commissioner, Collinwood, Tennessee Michael Hough – State Senate District 4, Maryland Hans Zeiger pictured above in 2010, graduated from three of the Leadership Institute's trainings. “LI is an excellent program for learning how to win in politics,” Hans said. “I recommend LI training strongly for campaign managers, policy professionals, and others who are shaping the future of our communities, state, and country.” Hans Zeiger – State House District 25b, Washington Lauren Cheape Matsumoto – State House District 45, Hawaii Kelly Fajardo – State House District 7, New Mexico In 2014, LI graduate Jennifer Sullivan became the youngest woman ever elected to the Florida legislature. “There are enough people that are in it for the power," Jennifer said of politics. "We need to get people that are principled and conservative that are going to be in it for the people; because that is the only way we are going to get our country back on track.” Jennifer Sullivan – State House District 31, Florida Kyle Koehler – State House District 79, Ohio Matt Krause – State House District 93, Texas LI trained candidates know being right is not enough. They study how to win.
Homeschool Mom – Online Activist
Scott Heneveld
October 30, 2014
Homeschool Mom – Online Activist
Paula Bolyard knew something was wrong. An Ohio native and Toledo graduate, Paula got her start in online activism with her work on education. Following a series of articles bashing homeschooling published in a large local newspaper, Paula began educating others on homeschooling through emails, message boards, and blogs. “Homeschooling crosses all demographic lines and there is also an incredible amount of variety and diversity in the education styles we see in homeschooling families,” Paula said. After receiving nationwide attention, Paula launched her own blog, primarily focusing on homeschooling and education. Eventually, the exposure she generated led to additional writing opportunities. Paula is now a regular contributor at PJ Media and Ohio Conservative Review. She also recently began writing for the Heartland Institute. Paula decided to homeschool her two sons because local public schools didn't teach reading until first grade. Her oldest son, Ryan, was ready to learn before then. After a year, Ryan was so advanced for his age (and Paula had enjoyed teaching him so much) she decided to continue. “Eventually,” Paula said, “we came to appreciate the multitude of social and spiritual benefits of teaching our children at home. They were able to receive a personalized education that met their individual needs and at the same time, we were able to impart to them our family's Christian faith and values, by including those things in our curriculum and our everyday life.” Paula stressed no family is perfect. Even the best ones have their bad days. But that should not influence a parent's decision to homeschool their child. “Parents who love their kids and persevere through the process – even parents without any special training – can and do raise happy, well-rounded, highly educated children,” she said. “Americans have come to accept that non-traditional education models can work – and can even work better than the government model left over from the Industrial Revolution.” Paula recently wrote about Common Core on PJ Media. She said college readiness assessment tests (like the SAT and ACT) being aligned with new standards will affect homeschooling parents' control over curriculum. “It's not a stretch to envision the government at some point tying federal financial aid to compliance with the Common Core standards,” Paula said. “Homeschoolers shouldn't think they'll be safe from the effects of this attempt to nationalize education standards.” Paula said a great way to fight back is through the grassroots activism happening now. Just because a concerned parent isn't an influential politician doesn't mean they can't have an impact. “Soccer moms with cell phones are facing down powerful lawmakers, lobbyists, and billions of dollars of opposition – and they're making a difference and beginning to rack up some significant policy victories,” she said. Passion and concern are great, but it's important for grassroots activists to know how to take a stand. “There are proven ways to communicate, to win elections, to raise funds, to use social media effectively,” Paula said. “The Leadership Institute has spent years figuring out the best practices for these very specific skill sets and LI is very generous in passing that knowledge on to others in the conservative movement.” Paula's son Ryan attended Hillsdale College and interned at LI during the summer following his sophomore year. “LI trains conservatives to win and succeed,” Paula said. “Whether you're an activist, a writer, a candidate, a non-profit, or a campaign volunteer, there's something at LI that can help you do it better.” Paula has taken a webinar, Strategic Messaging Starts with Mission, and a Campaign Management School (CMS) from LI this year. “I'm currently helping a candidate with messaging and communications for an upcoming campaign and the things I learned at the CMS are an invaluable resource,” she said. Paula made a difference. She fought back against something she knew was wrong. In doing so, she opened doors to other activism opportunities and provided a blueprint for individuals who want to get involved. Please congratulate Paula Bolyard on her ongoing work in the movement and 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 40 types of training programs, working with more than 1,441 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 143,000 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.
Hard Work: From Kentucky Tomatoes to Conservative Politics
Christopher Goffos
October 23, 2014
Hard Work: From Kentucky Tomatoes to Conservative Politics
Robert Stuber has known the value of hard work since his childhood. Currently the Director of Development and Direct Marketing at Americans for Prosperity (AFP), Rob began his career on a farm in Louisville, KY, when he was 12. He and his father decided to grow extra tomato plants and sell them on the side of the road. After two years of success, Rob recalls, “We were going to become rich and planted hundreds of plants and worked our butts off, but so did everyone else and the price of tomatoes collapsed to almost nothing. I learned a lot about free markets…and never ate a tomato again.” Since that early entrepreneurial experience, Rob has continued working hard to help the conservative movement thrive. He was elected Chairman of the College Republicans in Kentucky in 1979 and served on the College Republican National Committee until 1981 while working for Jefferson County Executive Mitch McConnell, later elected senator. Rob met his future wife, Karen, at the College Republican National Convention in the summer of 1979, where she was invited by Morton Blackwell to attend one of the very first Leadership Institute trainings. “Karen remembers that Helen and Morton hosted a bunch of students at their home for a spaghetti dinner,” said Rob. “Hardly anyone who ever meets them can forget them.” In 2002, Rob and Karen's 15-year-old daughter, Kate, followed in her parents' footsteps by attending LI's Youth Leadership School. She worked alongside Karen on local campaigns, eventually earning a degree in history from the College of William and Mary. Kate lives in Richmond today, pursuing a career outside of politics, though Rob thinks she might be back in the game in the future. “One thing to remember is that LI training is great at preparing folks for more than just politics,” said Rob. “It's about selling ideas, and that translates across lots of careers.” Rob's first taste of his career in development came while he worked for Mitch McConnell in the late 1970's. “I was lured into volunteering a few hours a week, and then the youth volunteer coordinator went off to law school at the end of one summer. They asked me to take his job.” “We started to become aware that targeted direct mail letters could be used to find new supporters,” said Rob. “We started experimenting, as I had no formal training.” Rob's experiments proved successful. McConnell had nearly 1,000 donors who contributed more than $1 million to his first local reelection campaign in 1981. Rob said the “career-changing episode” of his life was the opportunity to work on the re-election campaign of Senator Jesse Helms, who he believes “was the greatest to ever serve in the U.S. Senate.” Rob moved to Raleigh, NC, at the age of 27 and was the youngest on the campaign team. “It was the hardest job I ever loved, but they gave us free reign to do amazing things.” Now at AFP, Robert Stuber continues to do what he loves. He sees his role as empowering his energetic team members to reach success. “My objective is to provide a steady stream of new donors who are cultivated by regional folks on the development team. They are the lead fundraisers.” Rob remains prized faculty at LI's fundraising trainings, and he stresses the importance of attending these trainings for anyone tasked with raising funds. “This is the only chance anyone gets to spend a couple of days with the most experienced talent in the business,” said Rob. “The faculty has raised literally billions of dollars for candidates and causes.” Rob has a long history of working with and for LI. He met LI's former development director, Rick Hendrix, while working for Eberle and Associates, and in 1993, Rick offered him a job working on foundation relations and planned giving. “You can't go into a right of center non-profit in Washington or office on Capitol Hill that there isn't someone who has benefited from Morton Blackwell's training,” said Rob. “This is all the proof you need to know that you will receive quality training.” Rob remains passionate about the conservative movement, but he cautions that “passion alone doesn't yield success.” Passion does no good unless you learn to channel it toward effective action for the right causes. “My dad was a Navy veteran of World War II. He and my mom worked hard to make life better for us,” said Rob. “We owe it to our kids to do the same. Engagement in the public policy process is the best way to influence our culture and improve society.” Rob hopes young conservatives can learn the value of hard work as well. “Remember, the political conflict in which we are engaged is one that has raged on in a big way for half a century. Our side has often been on the losing side. There will be more losses along the way. Do not be discouraged. I will keep up the fight until my dying breath, and I hope others will be there with me,” said Rob. Please congratulate Robert Stuber for receiving LI's Conservative Leader Award, and thank 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 1,441 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 143,000 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.
Bachmann’s Press Sec – LI Grad Goes to Capitol Hill
Scott Heneveld
October 16, 2014
Bachmann’s Press Sec – LI Grad Goes to Capitol Hill
Be the change you want to see. As press secretary for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Mikayla Hall is doing just that. Mikayla's earliest political memory is of accidentally voting for Bill Clinton in 1996 during a mock election at her elementary school. “I went home and cried because I thought my fake vote made him win,” she said. Born in Minnesota, Mikayla also considers Washington state one of her home states, having spent a decade in both. While studying Communication at the University of Washington, Mikayla joined Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) as a freshman after being recruited by a Leadership Institute (LI) field rep. Eventually, she became YAL's first Northwest Regional Director, organizing students in 10 states. “LI is a toolkit. You can use its material to build yourself the steps to a career in politics, with opportunities to practice through their internship and field program,” she said. Mikayla first met Michele Bachmann while interning for LI in 2011. After learning Bachmann represents the part of Minnesota Mikayla is from, she applied for an internship in the congresswoman's office. Three years later, she has worked her way up to press secretary. One of the things that attracted Mikayla to Bachmann was Bachmann's focus on serving her local community. Rather than relying on problems to fix themselves, Bachmann decided to be proactive – to be part of the solution as a congresswoman. As press secretary, one of Mikayla's priorities is to show that the congresswoman genuinely cares about the future of the U.S. and takes action accordingly. Besides not knowing what to do with her hands during Bachmann's interviews and photo shoots, the most difficult challenge Mikayla faces is the unpredictability of politics. “You never know what breaking news will come up each day,” said Mikayla, “and depending on what it is, it can affect messaging, scheduling, and legislation.” Mikayla credited LI for helping hone the skills she uses daily. “LI invests in their interns and encourages them to embrace their interests, and it's made all the difference,” she said. Mikayla will be lecturing at LI's upcoming Comprehensive Online Activist School - her favorite training when she was an intern. Her advice for aspiring online activists is twofold: don't be boring, and present yourself well by keeping your internet presence polished, updated, and interactive. “You know you're a Conservative, you know what you love, and you know what you want to do, and LI is there to help you figure out how to do it,” she said. Action, not concern, is the key to results. Mikayla is proof. Please congratulate Mikayla Hall 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 40 types of training programs, working with more than 1,441 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 143,000 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. 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 1,441 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 143,000 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. - See more at: http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/news/?NR=10843#sthash.1hMZnyLo.dpuf
Serving to Protect the Last Best Hope for Mankind
Leah Courtney
October 9, 2014
Serving to Protect the Last Best Hope for Mankind
For Army veteran Larry Provost, the call to action, “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country” was all it took for him to feel the need to get involved. This military veteran wasn't always a conservative. In fact, his mother was liberal. It wasn't until Ronald Reagan became president in the 1980's that Larry began to see what conservatism was really about. “As time went on I saw that, on an overall scale, government policies were hurting, and slowly, almost imperceptibly, taking away the dignity, freedoms, and prosperity of the very people they were supposed to help. Reagan was the first President I remember, and he shaped my idea of what a President could be,” Larry said. In addition to his previous work in the U.S. Army, Larry also serves as an advisor to several conservative groups, and as a Chaplain for the American Legion in Washington, DC. His enthusiasm for helping the conservative movement is something to be admired. Larry battles the left by contributing to conservative blogging sites like Townhall.com. Many of his articles share his view on what makes this country great and how to preserve it. “Our nation is, as Lincoln said, the last best hope for mankind at least in the political realm. In terms of nations, America is the hope for the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed,” Larry writes. Larry Provost credits the Leadership Institute's Conservative Jobs and alumni base for helping him in his professional journey. “I learned more about getting a job in DC and defending conservative principles through a few days of training at the Leadership Institute than I did in four years of college,” he said. Larry first heard about the Leadership Institute from a teacher at his old high school. Since then, he has graduated from LI's Youth Leadership School, Public Relations School, and Online Journalism Workshop. Larry grew up in upstate New York. He graduated from SUNY Oswego with a double major in History and American Studies in 2001. He also graduated from Regent University with an M.A. in Government with a concentration in Terrorism and Homeland Defense in 2006 and from Liberty University with another M.A. in history in 2011. When asked if he had advice for potential leaders in the conservative movement, Larry replied, “Show what you are for and not always what you are against. Show this country that conservatism is the movement of love and compassion, especially for those who suffer the most in our country. Show that conservative policies keep people safe. The left has run out of ideas. Hold them accountable for what they did, and what they will try to do. Be not afraid and be bold in giving people hope.” Please congratulate Larry Provost for receiving LI's Conservative Leader Award, and thank 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 1,441 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 143,000 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.
The ‘Viral Genius’ Journalist
Carmela Martinez and Carol Wehe
October 2, 2014
The ‘Viral Genius’ Journalist
He lives in New York City, grew up on the West Coast, and went to college in California, but Oliver Darcy isn't your typical liberal journalist – he works for Glenn Beck. “Oliver Darcy is a viral – twitter, facebook, social media – genius,” said fellow journalist Josiah Ryan, who worked with Oliver at the Leadership Institute's CampusReform and now at Glenn Beck's TheBlaze. In just one month this year, Oliver drove 25 million page views to TheBlaze. “My interest in writing was reignited while at the Leadership Institute when I started writing for CampusReform.org,” Oliver said. After working for CampusReform.org for a year, he was offered a job as the Weekend Editor for TheBlaze, a news, information, and opinion website founded by television and radio host Glenn Beck. Oliver has since moved to New York City, and become the Late Night Editor. “I would tell conservatives hoping to find work in journalism to cover news from an objective angle. Stop giving your opinion and start offering information,” Oliver said. Conservative journalists provide value by simply exposing the truth, Oliver's co-worker pointed out. “On the conservative side of things, we do have the truth on our side,” Josiah said. “The facts are on our side, and if we present them in a professional compelling way, people will come over to our side. What we're trying to do at TheBlaze is what the guys at CampusReform are trying to do at the Leadership Institute, which is to tell true stories and let the readers decide,” Josiah said. Right now, Oliver is launching a breaking news account for TheBlaze, called @TheBlazeNOW. The account allows people to follow the news as it happens – live. “The Leadership Institute has been very helpful to me in my professional journey, allowing me to start my journalism career at CampusReform.org and continue from there,” Oliver said. He first heard about the Leadership Institute when a Regional Field Coordinator contacted him to speak about viral video at an LI training. “I enjoyed helping teach students how they can expose instances of waste, fraud, and corruption on their college campuses. Traveling with Leadership Institute staff was always a blast,” Oliver said. Oliver was born near Seattle, Washington and attended high school in Fresno, California. He got his early start in journalism in high school, where he wrote for the school newspaper for three years. After graduating from the University of California, Merced, Oliver moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Leadership Institute's CampusReform.org. In his time at the Leadership Institute's CampusReform, Oliver was named Leadership Institute's Employee of the Quarter and Employee of the year by Morton Blackwell. Please congratulate Oliver Darcy on his work with TheBlaze, and please applaud 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 40 types of training programs, working with more than 1,441 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 143,000 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.
The Advocate
Jackie Silseth
September 25, 2014
The Advocate
Chelsi Henry doesn't view herself as a politico; she's an advocate. “I've always had an interest in being able to serve others and be an advocate for others. Since I was a young girl, I knew that I wanted to be an attorney and be able to use my skills to help people in the public sector,” said Chelsi. And she has definitely succeeded. Chelsi uses her voice to advocate for others through prayer, entrepreneurship, and political involvement. Chelsi stays busy promoting conservative values within and out of the political arena. She has started three businesses and organizations aimed at raising up and empowering others. Chelsi supports homeless and women's shelters with her business CP Couture. She fosters a supportive, praying online community for others through her website AlwaysPraying.com. On top of all that, or possibly because of her service, you'll find Chelsi on the 30 Under 30 list for 2014 and nominated as an RNC rising star. Back when she attended the University of North Florida, Chelsi led as part of her student government, and also had the opportunity to learn about farming communities while she studied in Belgium. “Campuses are mini-incubators of what goes on in politics,” she said, explaining her decision to run for Supervisor of the Duval County Soil and Water Conservation district. During her run for office, Chelsi came across the Leadership Institute. “The Leadership Institute is an amazing organization that provides valuable information to citizens that want to have a more active role in the political and public policy process. LI trains you to be an effective leader!” she said. Chelsi participated in LI's Communications and GOTV Workshop as well as the Grassroots Campaign Workshop. “Never give up an opportunity to learn from the experts at the Leadership Institute,” said Chelsi. “The workshops were very informative. Both provided an in-depth understanding of how grassroots and communications function in a political campaign. It was great for me because I had recently run my own citywide campaign and learned different strategies I could use in future campaigns,” she said. Duval County voters elected Chelsi in 2010 and made her Jacksonville's youngest elected woman. During her time in office, Chelsi focused on natural resources conservation education and awareness. “Let your passion lead you,” Chelsi said. And she does. Chelsi's professional success and personal achievements speak volumes for what a young person can achieve when she seeks out experience and training to further the conservative movement - to make a difference in the lives of others. Please congratulate Chelsi P. Henry 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 40 types of training programs, working with more than 1,441 conservative campus groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 143,000 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
Biggest Upset Since 1899
Damian Arias
September 13, 2014
Biggest Upset Since 1899
Campaign Manager Zachary Werrell orchestrated one of the greatest upsets in political history at the age of 23. Despite being outspent nearly 40 to 1, Zach's candidate Dave Brat defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor with 56% of the vote in the Republican primary. This was the first time a sitting House Majority Leader has been defeated since the position was created in 1899. His success is thanks to an overwhelming grassroots campaign and effective political activists. “It wasn't some establishment machine kind of political campaign, but it was the people doing it,” he said. Watch this video to see the full story. Zach credits most of the techniques he used to pull off this upset to his Leadership Institute training. “There is nothing like baptism through fire to fully appreciate the Leadership Institute training. I went through LI's Campaign Management School, and I took copious amounts of notes. The amount of knowledge and resources that were gifted to me by that school gave me the tools and the tool box to harness volunteers and activists to get the message across,” Zach said. Zachary, pictured below in the Leadership Institute's Campaign Management School, put his training to good use. He was not the only campaign staffer trained by the Leadership Institute. “We had an army of hundreds of volunteers, all of whom were trained by or under command of someone who has taken, in some form or fashion, the Leadership Institute training,” he said. The defeat of Representative Cantor was not Zach's first success story. In November 2013, he successfully ran a campaign to unseat incumbent Delegate Larry Yates of Virginia's 29th district. Zach has a bright future ahead of him, and there is no sign of stopping this political activist. In addition to LI's Campaign Management School, Zach is also a graduate of the Political Voter Mail Workshop and Communications Workshop. “At the end of the day what I learned is that money talks, people vote, and effective activists persuade,” said Zach. Join LI in applauding Zachery Werrell 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 (winners will have an article written about them), please contact LI's Digital Media Manager 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 150,000 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.
Fresh Voice in FL as 23-Year-Old Woman Takes Office
Leah Courtney
September 5, 2014
Fresh Voice in FL as 23-Year-Old Woman Takes Office
At only 23 years old, Jennifer Sullivan just won her election and became the youngest woman ever elected to the Florida legislature. Jennifer's fresh face will join the Florida House of Representatives in January. Jennifer won the Florida House District 31 seat, despite being criticized and outspent by the opposition. Opponents ran ads critiquing her for being “too young” and “lacking experience.” She also recalls being outspent by 2-1 or 3-1 depending on the candidate, but that wasn't enough to stop Jennifer Sullivan. “Part of that was really just putting myself out there, and doing the hard work of making those cold calls, being willing to sit down and call people to ask for money,” Jennifer said. Jennifer was motivated to run for office because she couldn't sit back and watch the country fall apart any longer. “I mean I was working, and I'm paying taxes. I'm affected by local, state, and national policies. I think that oftentimes people don't realize how much it really does affect them,” Jennifer said In November 2013, Jennifer attended the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School in Winter Park, FL. “LI was helpful in giving me a sense of where to go, and making opportunities readily available for training. You're going to walk away with information that you haven't gotten anywhere else,” she said. At LI's Youth Leadership School Jennifer learned that a large part of running a successful campaign requires building relationships. “If you are willing to serve people and work hard there should be no ceiling to what you can accomplish for your community and for your state,” said Jennifer. Jennifer also learned the importance of sticking to a “plan to victory.” Before she even filed, Jennifer wrote out her campaign plan. Some changes were needed here or there, but Jennifer and her team stayed faithful to their core victory plan. “We knew at the end of the day exactly what we needed to do,” said Jennifer, “and we had a plan to accomplish it. It would only be a matter of working hard.” Jennifer was born and raised in Central Florida. She began getting involved in politics at 14 years old, and she participated in extra-curricular programs like 4H and Girl's State. When asked if she had any tips for young activists looking to run for office, Jennifer simply replied, “There are enough people that are in it for the power. We need to get people that are principled and conservative that are going to be in it for the people; because that is the only way we are going to get our country back on track.” Jennifer has served at the national headquarters for TeenPact Leadership Schools, the organization responsible for introducing her to the Leadership Institute. She is also a member of the Lake County Republican Executive Committee. Please join LI in congratulating Jennifer Sullivan for receiving LI's Conservative Leader Award, and in wishing her the best of luck as she serves District 31 in the Florida House of Representatives. 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 Digital Media Manager 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 150,000 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
Millennial Inspires Young Conservatives
Ali Kudlick
August 27, 2014
Millennial Inspires Young Conservatives
Just a few years ago, Elliot Echols was an economics student at Berry College in his home state of Georgia, and now he is the RNC National Youth Director. Elliot's advice to other hardworking young conservatives aspiring to make a difference is surprisingly simple. “The best way to get a job in politics is to show up,” he said. “Go to your local county meetings, join conservative groups and volunteer. People notice those who work hard and are selfless. I was able to get my job here at the RNC by showing up and letting my previous work speak for itself.” He also encourages friends and colleagues to attend a Leadership Institute workshop or training. “LI is the basic training for the conservative movement,” said Elliot. “We need more conservative warriors and the Leadership Institute is the place that creates them.” Elliot's own conservative career started as a college student at an LI training. “I really started to form an ideological identity in college, where as an economics major I began to understand how the free market is the best tool for creating wealth and lifting people out of poverty,” said Elliot. His strong belief in conservative principles is what led him to DC. “While I was in college,” said Elliot, “my economics professor encouraged me to get involved in politics through the Leadership Institute.” Acting on his professor's advice, Elliot ventured to DC to attend LI's “How to Land a Job on Capitol Hill” training. “Grassroots conservatives are fortunate to have LI training activists on how to have the greatest positive impact possible,” said Elliot. “The grassroots are the true heartbeat of conservative politics—without the grassroots fighting tirelessly for the values and principles we all treasure, America wouldn't be the greatest country in the world.” As his interest in politics grew from a hobby to a passion, Elliot started working in the conservative movement, first as State Chair of the Georgia College Republicans, then for Congressman Tom Graves, and later as a Regional Political Director for the College Republicans in the Southeast US. Now, at the RNC, he works every day to “engage Millennials and get them involved in the political process.” “Millennials are a high energy generation, who want to change the world. I am most looking forward to helping direct that energy to fighting for the conservative principles that will put our country back on the right track,” said Elliot. Elliot has worked tirelessly to make a difference in the conservative movement and his efforts have not gone unnoticed, but he attributes much of his success to his parents. “They instilled values like work ethic, determination, honesty and other traits that have made me who I am today,” said Elliot. Please congratulate Elliot Echols on his work as RNC National Youth Coordinator and please applaud 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 where they will have an article written about them, please contact LI's Digital Media Manager 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 150,000 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
15 going on Fearless
Ali Kudlick
August 14, 2014
15 going on Fearless
“Make a start. It can be daunting, but everyone can make a difference,” Live Action Founder and President Lila Rose said. As a freshman in college at the University of California Los Angeles, Lila recognized the lack of knowledge of abortion, the “greatest human rights injustice of our time.” At 15, she decided to do something about it. So, she started the group Live Action. Live Action uses investigative journalism to shine a light on the atrocities of the abortion industry, exposing the threats against innocent children. One of her first projects was the creation of what is now the nation's most prominent pro-life student publication, The Advocate. Leadership Institute provided her with grants to start the Advocate while she was in school and LI's Campus Representatives assisted her with getting the publication off the ground. Lila has attended several Leadership Institute (LI) trainings including the Student Publications Workshop, the Effective TV Techniques Workshop and the Communications Workshop. “The Leadership Institute was really helpful in helping me start The Advocate. They are a wonderful resource to students to become equipped as leaders on campus and for their country,” said Lila. Live Action releases regular investigative pieces exposing the harsh realities of Planned Parenthood, including their facilitation of sex and race-based abortions, their cover-ups of child sex trafficking and their provision of late-term abortions. She works to uncover the true inhumanity of the abortion industry that much of the media prefers to ignore. Lila regularly appears on national TV segments including Sean Hannity's nightly segment on Fox News. She is a tremendous force in bringing the pro-life message to people in a way that is relevant and captivating. Live Action is unique in its use of undercover videos to hold the abortion industry accountable. It is hard to deny the war that abortion clinics such as Planned Parenthood have waged on children and their mothers with video footage. Lila's incredible success is commendable on its own, but it is even more incredible that she has accomplished so much at such a young age. Lila's path to success was by no means easy. She endured years of liberal bias and scrutiny at UCLA and continues to fight back against the bias in the media today. Lila's advice to young people looking to make a difference comes in two parts, “strengthen your conviction and educate others.” She acknowledges the importance of “diving deep into the philosophical underpinnings of your beliefs” and encourages young people to then start getting active on campus. “You've done your research. You've done your studying. You have to share what you have learned,” she said. Lila draws strength in her mission to advocate for life from the first words of the papacy of Pope John Paul II, “Be not afraid.” Please congratulate Lila Rose on her work with Live Action, and please applaud 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 where they will have an article written about them, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Canadian Taxpayers
Ali Kudlick
July 29, 2014
Canadian Taxpayers
“I'm a believer that impacts are made outside the partisan process,” said Troy Lanigan, president of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and vice chair of the World Taxpayers Association. Troy is an influential figure on both a national and international stage. Like many others in the conservative movement, he claims humble beginnings at the Leadership Institute. Troy has been naturally inclined toward politics since he was young. His interest in conservatism was sparked by the works of authors such as Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Thomas Jefferson and Ayn Rand. As the son of a union leader, these beliefs were constantly challenged and his convictions were consequently strengthened. After attending the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School in 1988, Troy entered the conservative movement full force. He was invited to run a youth campaign in New York. Later, he came to LI's Candidate Development School in July 1990 and the Direct Mail School in August 1991.Shortly after, he came to work for the Leadership Institute in 1991 as the director of education. LI became his launch pad to begin working for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the same organization that he now heads. In his role at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Troy has been able to make a significant impact on policy and public opinion. “The role of these [advocacy] groups may be less glamorous than achieving public office but their importance in moving broader public opinion is critical,” he said. One of Troy's proudest accomplishments has been the student internship program he created after becoming president in 2009. His time at LI highlighted the importance of getting young people involved and giving them opportunities to start their career paths in fields that influence public policy and opinion. “Fourteen young people will have gone through the internship program by the end of this calendar year. Many are now working full-time in public policy positions,” said Troy. A group of Troy's former interns created a campus-based organization called Generation Screwed, which aims to provide alternatives to the welfare state and is funded by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Skills matter. Effectiveness matters. To my knowledge no one does this work as comprehensively or as well as the Leadership Institute. To my knowledge, no one in the movement has impacted as many lives as the Leadership Institute,” Troy said. Troy has been a consistent advocate for economic liberty and prosperity throughout his career and he has been an advocate for young people looking to fight for these principles. Please congratulate Troy Lanigan for the work the Canadian Taxpayers Federation does, and please applaud 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 where they will have an article written about them, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI-trained candidate for Maryland Senate defeats incumbent
Ali Kudlick
July 22, 2014
LI-trained candidate for Maryland Senate defeats incumbent
“I could not just sit back and watch tax-and-spend liberals destroy my home state of Maryland,” the newly Republican-endorsed candidate for Maryland's State Senate Michael Hough said. On June 24 he beat Senate Minority Leader David Brinkley (R-Frederick), the incumbent, by more than 2 to 1 in the Maryland state senate district 4 primary election. “I believe this race is important because Republicans in Maryland must have a clear contrast with the Democrats,” Michael said, “and we are hurt by politicians like Brinkley who claim to be conservative, but then vote for taxes and wasteful spending.” His devotion to public service didn't just begin; he's been long at it. He served in the United States Air Force as a Minuteman III Missile technician, and later graduated from Towson University with a bachelor's degree in political science. His first job in politics was as a legislative aide to Maryland State Senator Alex Mooney, also a Leadership Institute graduate and standing behind Michael in the picture to the right. “Alex Mooney had attended Leadership Institute classes and encouraged me to do the same,” Michael said. Michael has taken seven trainings including the Future Candidate School and the Campaign Management School. “The Leadership Institute (LI) is the best place to learn how to run a grassroots campaign and the best place for conservatives to learn how to effectively communicate,” he said. “I have constantly relied on my LI training. I used it to run a successful reelection effort for a state senator as a campaign manager in 2006 and I've used LI training as a candidate in 2010 and 2014,” Michael said. In 2010, Michael first ran for state delegate. He defeated the liberal Republican incumbent with 69 percent of the vote and has been serving in the General Assembly for the past three years. When not serving the people of Maryland, he's a husband and father to three children and also works at the American Legislative Exchange Council, the nation's largest nonpartisan organization of state legislators. He's their director of special projects. “The Leadership Institute gave me the knowledge I needed to win my campaigns. I recommend the training to all conservatives,” Michael said. Please congratulate Michael Hough on his successful grassroots campaign and commitment to conservative principles. Please applaud 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 where they will have an article written about them, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Advancing Conservatism through Business
Ali Kudlick
July 17, 2014
Advancing Conservatism through Business
Ashlyn Adelman, the rising college junior at Bucknell University, has taken her Leadership Institute (LI) training into the world of business management. “I believe conservatism is at the heart of business and I have found that many businesses agree with me,” Ashlyn said. She's proof that conservative principles extend far beyond politics and policy. And, she has found a way to apply her conservative beliefs to the field she is passionate about. She's currently a project coordinator intern at BrandPoint Services Inc., which is a property maintenance and property-based capital expenditure re-branding and re-imaging company. Ashlyn attributes much of her growth as a conservative leader to an early mentor Peggy Grande, who “helped save me from the liberal California public education system's indoctrination.” Peggy was President Ronald Reagan's personal assistant for more than a decade, and is a regular faculty member at the Leadership Institute. Read her connection to LI here. Peggy encouraged Ashlyn to attend the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School in the fall of 2012. “LI's Youth Leadership School really helped kick-start putting my beliefs into actions. I was no longer just a college kid with opinions, but I felt like I had the power to make a real difference on campus,” said Ashlyn, founder of Bucknell University's Young Americans for Liberty chapter. The following summer, Ashlyn interned at the Leadership Institute in the Events department where she helped plan the annual Fourth of July National Conservative Soiree and assisted with dozens of other events at the Institute. “I owe much of my success to the Leadership Institute. LI helped guide me in my conservative beliefs and showed me the applicability of those beliefs in the business realm,” she said. Ashlyn has taken seven Leadership Institute trainings including the Youth Leadership School, the Public Relations School, the On-Camera TV Workshop and the Conservative Intern Workshop. “Overall, LI taught me it's not about sitting around and discussing what you believe, but how to put those beliefs into action to accomplish real goals,” Ashlyn continued. Please congratulate Ashlyn Adelman on her success in promoting conservative principles on her campus and in her developing career, and please applaud her 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 where they will have an article written about them, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Alabama Pastor for Conservative Principles
Lauren Day
June 4, 2014
Alabama Pastor for Conservative Principles
The 43-year-old life-long Alabama citizen Jody Trautwein, also a Leadership Institute graduate, is very active in his community. He's a father, pastor, former educator and candidate for local office. “Psalm 11:3 states, ‘If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?' Our religious liberty is under daily assault and we must fight to protect it,” Jody said. Jody is an associate pastor at House of Grace Church and an ordained minister by the Fresh Oil Fellowship of Churches International. He also serves as the director of operations for a statewide alliance of pastors, ministry leaders, and marketplace influencers called the Alabama Alliance for Reformation. “The preservation of faith, family, and financial conservatism directly determines how well we will be able to protect our increasingly eroding freedoms as American citizens,” he said. “With faith as the cornerstone, the family unit is built squarely on its shoulders,” he said. “At the core of family must be the fundamental right to life,” Jody said. “Our family values also contain the preservation of traditional marriage between one man and one woman especially in the face of a current legal attack against the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment Act here in Alabama.” He continued, “I was privileged to serve as the executive director of an Alabama coalition that worked to see this amendment pass in 2006 by a margin of 81 percent to 19 percent.” In April 2009, Jody took the Leadership Institute's Campaign Management School. He especially likes The Laws of the Public Policy Process. “I have the framed copy of the 45 Laws of the Public Policy Process by Morton Blackwell displayed on our mantel as daily reminders,” he said. He's used these laws while on previous campaigns too, be they gubernatorial, city council, state supreme court, state senate, and other state representative races. He and his wife Sunny and their three-year-old son Joshua live in Helena, Alabama. “When I think about the future for our three-year-old son and his generation, it evokes the deepest sense of duty I can fathom to battle for the soul of our nation,” he said. In addition to faith and family, Jody is also a proponent of financial stewardship. “As a current pastoral staff member and financial manager for two churches, I am responsible for the daily oversight of multi-million dollar budgets and thus, must model fiscal conservative principles every day,” he said. He continued, “As Americans, we must rein in spending, reduce debt, eliminate waste, create smaller, more efficient governmental systems, and ask three questions of every line item budget expense: Is it Constitutional? Do we need it? Can we afford it?" As a former teacher, coach, and Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) president at his alma mater, Huffman High School in Birmingham, Alabama, Jody believes parents hold the primary responsibility for training their own children. “I am in favor of heavy local control with a great deal of parental involvement in the educational process,” he said. He's taught at public and private schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels as well as with college-age students, and even as a church youth pastor. “Parents and local authorities must no longer allow our God-given responsibility to educate and train our children to be usurped by increasingly bigger government with a desire to indoctrinate with an ideology that is hostile to our founding principles and based upon revisionist history,” he said. Jody recently lost his primary for state representative in Alabama, but he's received several accolades for his community involvement. He was honored with a Hidden Hero Award by the Birmingham Mayor's Office for his work improving the lives of youth and was also voted as one of Birmingham's 100 Most Influential Men by Woodlawn High School. “The Leadership Institute has given me the practical knowledge, the tools, and the subsequent confidence that comes from being well-equipped to lead,” Jody said. “Strong problem-solving, leadership, and marketing skills taught at LI have helped me in the operations, outreach, and advocacy sides of ministry.” When it comes to successful youth, Jody says strong family is pivotal. “The most pressing issues for young students today all find their common root in one general area: the lack of fully functioning, consistent, loving fathers,” Jody said. “The breakdown of marriages and the resulting insecurity of family life and structure are tough for kids. The questions swirl in their minds, ‘Will somebody love me? Will somebody lead me? Will somebody believe in me? Will somebody fight for me?' The National Fatherhood Initiative sites fatherless statistics dating back over 50 years. The numbers do not lie. As fatherlessness increases, so does poverty, promiscuity, poor education, incarceration, and emotional disorders just to name a few.” In 1995 when Jody was 23 years old and just graduating from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a bachelor's degree in business management, his father died from a massive heart attack. “I quickly discovered that God truly was my heavenly Father,” he said, “and then I developed a deep desire to show and tell a generation of young people at my high school alma mater that even though their earthly fathers may not be functioning in their full fathering roles, their heavenly Father loves them, would lead them, believes in them, and fights for them.” After many years in education, Jody left it to enter full-time ministry. “I did eventually leave education as a profession because I was able to be an influence only in the lives at that campus. As a full-time pastor, I have the ability and flexibility to reach out to many students at multiple campuses thereby potentially affecting greater societal change,” he said. Jody has worked through the church, the schools, out on the field, and through public policy to strengthen society. “I would recommend the Leadership Institute for those currently in office, seeking office, considering candidacy, those working with current elected officials, potential candidates, or those interested in the public policy process,” he said. Register now for a LI training. Please congratulate Jody Trautwein 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 Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
College Conservative Runs State GOP, Activating many into Politics
Lauren Day
May 21, 2014
College Conservative Runs State GOP, Activating many into Politics
New Orleans will host the annual Republican Leadership Conference May 29-31. The Republican Leadership Conference has “become one of the premier Republican events in the country – it attracts key activists, consultants, elected officials and donors from across America,” conference organizer Charlie Davis, also a Leadership Institute graduate and faculty member said. The conference will host many notable politicos including: Rick Perry, Reince Priebus, Phil Bryant, Ron Johnson, Marsha Blackburn, Bobby Jindal, Donald Trump, Haley Barbour, Ted Cruz, David Bossie, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mike Lee, Allen West, Tony Perkins, Michele Bachmann and Elbert Guillory, their website states. The Leadership Institute will host four trainings for conference attendees. The topics include: Engaging the Youth - tactics to get your voice heard Increasing your Online Presence - tips and techniques Conservative Comeback: how video activism is making a difference Building Your Sphere of Influence – growing your organization But Charlie's relationship with the Leadership Institute didn't begin here. It goes way back. While in college at Louisiana State University, Charlie took the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School, the flagship training nicknamed “the bootcamp of politics” in 1995 or 1996, he says. At this training, Charlie learned how to organize a mass-based youth campaign for the candidates and causes of his choice. “I often tell others that the Leadership Institute is one of the most important organizations in the conservative/liberty movement today. There is no doubt that Morton Blackwell has had a profound impact on the majority of political organizations in our country and therefore the Leadership Institute and its graduates are shaping the future of America,” Charlie said. Shortly thereafter, he became state chairman for the Louisiana Federation of College Republicans. Later, Charlie ran for national chairman of the College Republican National Committee in 1997 and then moved to Washington, D.C. That's when Charlie took a job at the Leadership Institute as the director of the Campus Leadership Program. He developed a plan to establish conservative student-run organizations on college campuses across the country. Check out all the resources LI's Campus Leadership Program offers students now. Shortly after, he became the executive director and deputy chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana. And, he's been organizing the Republican Leadership Conference since 2010. More recently, Charlie served as the Louisiana state chairman for Ron Paul during the 2012 presidential election and led the effort to win more than 60% of the delegates elected to the state convention. “I hope the various factions in the party can get together,” Charlie said. “I think it not only makes the most sense philosophically but it is also probably the only way to win.” Currently, he's a partner at Gatorworks, an award-winning digital advertising agency in Louisiana, and since 2000, he's been president of Liquid Ventures, an association management and strategic consulting firm that specializes in mass-based organizing, major events, media relations, technology and fundraising. “I've worked for numerous conservative and liberty organizations over the years and I even met my wife while she was an intern at the Leadership Institute,” Charlie said. His wife Ellen is equally impressive. She's worked as the political director of GOPAC and the executive director of the Republican Party of Louisiana. But now, she spends most of her time homeschooling their four children: William 6, Sarah 5, Anna 3, and Charles Jr. 10 months. “I think that the Leadership Institute is one of the most important organizations in the conservative/liberty movement today,” Charlie said. “I rarely meet a senior person on a campaign who hasn't been through one of Morton's classes.” Register now for a LI training. Charlie has two pieces of advice for young activists looking to make a difference in politics: “First, go to every LI training you can. Second, choose the positions that offer the best opportunities to learn new things and meet new people,” he said. “The lessons that I learned on campaign technology have had a huge impact on my business ventures and political causes,” he said. Please congratulate Charlie Davis for his consistent efforts in activating conservatives into the political process and please applaud 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 Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Last weekend: Young Republican Leadership Conference
Lauren Day
May 6, 2014
Last weekend: Young Republican Leadership Conference
This past weekend leaders from Young Republican clubs all across the country descended on the nation's capital for the biennial Young Republican Leadership Conference, organized by the Young Republican National Federation (YRNF). “Young Republicans (YRs) are the oldest political youth organization in the United States,” the YRNF website states. “Important to the growth of the Republican Party, the YRs reach out to registered Republicans, 18 to 40 years of age, and provide them with better political knowledge and understanding of the issues of the day.” The YRNF Chief of Staff Rich Counts, also a Leadership Institute graduate, helped plan the conference with other executive board members and volunteers. “The conference has become known as a must attend event for up-and-coming young conservatives and libertarians,” Rich said. “The goal of the conference is to bring in Young Republican leaders from across the country for three days of networking, political trainings, and meet and greets with Republican lawmakers and party leaders.” The three-day conference began Thursday with YR club officers visiting lawmakers from their state and others on Capitol Hill and an afternoon visit to The Heritage Foundation with a networking reception that evening. The Leadership Institute (LI) was invited to train their attendees Friday. LI hosted five workshops in morning and afternoon sessions: Campaign Communications Workshop, Campaign Management Workshop track one and two, Campaign Fundraising Workshop, and On-Camera Television Workshop for club chairmen. The evening offered attendees a visit to the Republic of China (Taiwan) embassy. Saturday was used for break outs of various committee and regional meetings, a lunch panel about minority engagement with Leadership Institute staffer Paulo Sibaja, and a formal gala to conclude the annual conference. Rich was appointed chief of staff in July 2013 to “represent the organization here in DC and to help facilitate partnerships with like-minded groups both in DC and around the country. The chief of staff also works as a liaison between the chairman of the YRNF and YRNF committee chairmen,” he explained. Rich grew up on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. But, he spent many summers enjoying the slightly cooler temperatures of Michigan with his father's family. He went to college at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he majored in political economy and minored in engineering science. After his May 2007 graduation, Rich moved to DC because he says he “had become passionate about politics and wanted to get more involved,” and that's when he learned of the Leadership Institute. “When I first arrived in DC, Marcus Skelton, chairman of the DC Young Republicans at the time, mentioned that I should definitely attend training at the Leadership Institute. I took his advice and I certainly saw the benefits,” Rich said. “In addition to providing me with best practices and political knowledge, the Leadership Institute really prepared me to grow from an entry-level kid right out of college into a professional,” he said. “The training was invaluable, not just for me, but for several of my friends and colleagues.” So just a few months after moving to DC, Rich enrolled in LI's Grassroots Campaign School in August 2007. “LI was way ahead of the curve when it came to social media,” Rich said. “I still remember a class that Chris Malagisi taught in the Grassroots Campaign School that was instrumental in helping us develop what became an effective social media strategy for DC Young Republicans.” In March 2010, Rich was elected chairman of the DC Young Republicans club and served until March 2011. “Running DC Young Republicans was a great experience. It really gave me the opportunity to learn and grow as a leader at a young age,” he said. “We had an amazing team of activists. By the end of my term, we deployed more than 400 volunteers to 16 cities in nine states, increased membership by 300%, and most importantly, changed the culture of the organization to help members grow professionally and socially through our campaign deployment trips, networking events, and weekly e-letters.” Two months into his chairman position –in May 2010—Rich came back for more LI training. This time it was LI's Campaign Workshop. “LI's campaign schools really prepared me to develop "DCYRs on Tour," the DC Young Republicans volunteer deployment program,” he said. “It taught me how to plan efficient and effective GOTV deployments, but to also make sure that the activities were exciting and enjoyable for all participants. Getting out the vote is hard work, but it was always a goal of ours to make it fun work as well.” In January 2011, Rich became the co-director of the popular networking event, “It's First Friday,” a monthly networking hub for Capitol Hill conservatives that has spawned similar events in other states. “It's First Friday has had many special guests, including Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist, S.E. Cupp, and John Boehner, but the best thing about First Friday is that it is a place where conservative and libertarian politicos can kick back with like-minded folks and connect not just over politics, but form long-term friendships as well,” he said. In addition to providing voluntary leadership to Young Republican clubs across the country, Rich works full time for Townhall Media, a subsidiary of Salem Communications. Salem Communications is America's leading radio broadcaster, Internet content provider, and magazine and book publisher targeting audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content and conservative values. Townhall Media is the parent company of five of the country's leading conservative websites, including: HotAir.com, HumanEvents.com, RedState.com, Townhall.com, and Twitchy.com. Altogether, the Townhall Media network receives more than 100 million page views per month, Rich says. As the senior account executive, Rich “works to bring in revenue to support our various editorial and marketing endeavors,” he said. “The majority of revenue has traditionally come from advertising and email marketing, but some also comes from sponsorships to support events like the RedState Gathering held annually in August,” he continued. The RedState Gathering, an event the Leadership Institute frequently sponsors, will be held in Fort Worth, Texas this year August 8 -10. Rich was featured by The Hill as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People for 2011, received the DC Republican Committee's "Up and Comer" award in 2010, was selected as a DC delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention, and served as DC Campaign Co-Chair for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign. “There are many different think tanks in this city, but the Leadership Institute has for years trained conservatives on how to make things happen on the local, state, and national levels. LI doesn't just tell people to do more; the faculty train and guide conservatives on how to get it done,” Rich said. Rich has graciously offered his time and expertise to serve as volunteer faculty for the Leadership Institute, where he lectures and shares his acquired knowledge with other young activists. Register now for a LI training. “The Leadership Institute offers invaluable trainings on the key issues for people who are serious about pushing themselves both politically and professionally,” he said. Please congratulate Rich Counts for his consistent efforts in activating young conservatives into the political process and the whole YRNF leadership team for a successful conference this past weekend. Please applaud 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 Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute is classified by the IRS as a 501(c)3 non-partisan, not-for-profit organization. LI does not endorse or oppose political parties, candidates, public officials, or legislation. All programs are open to the public.
An Academic in Action Teaches Conservatism
Mitch Nozka
April 22, 2014
An Academic in Action Teaches Conservatism
"I'm extremely proud of my time at the Leadership Institute,” said Young Conservatives Coalition President Chris Malagisi, also an adjunct professor at American University. “It might be cliché, but Morton Blackwell and the Leadership Institute (LI) changed my life," he continued. "In the past decade, I have regularly interacted with LI staff both personally and professionally.” Chris is president of the Young Conservatives Coalition (YCC), a Washington, D.C.-based young professionals' leadership, educational, and networking organization. YCC organizes the Young Conservative Leaders Fellowship – a six-month program to equip young conservative leaders with conservative philosophy to apply those principles in the political battlefield. In March, the 2014 fellows class launched with 13 rising leaders within the conservative movement that work on Capitol Hill, in think tanks, media, nonprofits, and the private sector. They also represent various branches of the conservative movement – economic, social, national security and constitutional conservatives. Just last week the class met with historian Dr. George H. Nash, as seen in the photo to the right. Previous speakers have included former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, and columnist and author Jonah Goldberg. Chris seeks to preserve the America his grandparents sought when fleeing communism in Greece. “I was the beneficiary of the American Dream my grandparents had, and that sentiment stayed with me growing up,” he said. “I think conservatism is a natural extension of the American Dream. Its goal is to conserve the uniqueness that made America the exceptional nation my grandparents left their home country for.” In high school, Chris made the most of it. He served as a congressional page in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998, getting to run errands for Members of Congress and have floor access. In college, Chris pursued a B.A. in Political Science at American University in Washington, D.C. His studies included a semester in London with visits to over a dozen European countries, and a semester at sea around the world. Back stateside, Chris interned in the Bush White House in 2001. After obtaining a Masters of Public Administration at Syracuse University in 2004, the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) hired Chris to be their Ohio youth director. “I was in charge of the student outreach field program in the lead up to the presidential election,” he said. “To prepare for this challenging position, I went for training at the Leadership Institute.” Chris discovered once he became involved with the Leadership Institute, the relationship would continue throughout his career. After he attended several Leadership Institute trainings, LI hired Chris as a grassroots coordinator to train conservatives across the country on how to win campaigns. Later, Chris became LI's director of political & new media training where he taught activists how to develop a message, speak in public, debate, build coalitions, and manage a campaign as the campaign manager and even as the candidate. Along with recruiting attendees, Chris recruited top-notch volunteer faculty to teach at more than 200 trainings. “I'm proud that during my time at LI, we trained more than 5,000 candidates, activists, and organizational staff across the country,” he said. Later, Chris joined the American Conservative Union as the director of national CPAC & external relations. The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is the nation's largest gathering of conservatives nationwide. The Leadership Institute partners at CPAC and hosts various trainings and events during the conference. In 2014, LI engaged with 1,216 attendees through six trainings and events. Next, Chris joined the Leadership Institute's Conservatism 101 project to teach conservative students the history and philosophy of conservatism. Since 2008, Chris has taught the History of the Conservative Movement class at American University in Washington, D.C., and a class on voting behavior, elections, and campaigns. Every semester, Chris' version of the Conservatism 101 class has a waitlist of students who clamor to get one of the maximum of 30 spots available. LI's Conservatism 101 project establishes for-credit courses on college campuses to balance the overwhelmingly-liberal course curriculum most colleges tout. The Conservatism 101 project acts as a compliment to LI trainings. Whereas LI's 41 unique types of training schools teach conservatives how to win against the left, Conservatism 101 teaches students how to articulate their conservative beliefs. The Leadership Institute also recruited Chris to help launch an online component of the Conservatism 101 project to reach students nationwide. Chris joins conservative figures such as Wall Street Journal columnist Stephen Moore, author and radio talk-show host Mark Levin, Leadership Institute president Morton Blackwell, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz to teach students conservative principles through online lectures. Go here to view these lectures for free. Himself a recognized conservative leader, several publications and news programs such as Washington Examiner, American Spectator, Washington Times, Fox News, CNN, and CSPAN have tapped Chris for his political analysis. He's also been awarded the Rising Star award by Campaigns & Elections. He has high hopes for the 2014 and 2016 elections. “Barack Obama has turned out to be a great gift for conservatism as he's helped reboot a movement that strayed in the latter Bush years,” Chris said. “With presidential scandals and perceived legislative failures piling up, conservatives stand to gain ground in 2014 and are well-positioned to have a strong presidential candidate pool to choose from in 2016.” Through his teaching and training, Chris strives to teach conservative principles to the next generation – and restore a prosperous and free United States of America. He credits the Leadership Institute with much of his success. “Whether attending LI trainings as a attendee, working as Leadership Institute staff, training others as a faculty member, or keeping in touch with some of the best friends I've made in DC, there is no way I would have been prepared to run CPAC and YCC, give political consultation, and teach at the university level without the Leadership Institute,” he said. “I'm honored to have worked with Morton Blackwell and other LI staff, and can't thank them enough for their guidance and support along the way. If you want to win, go to the Leadership Institute.” Please congratulate Christopher Malagisi on a great start to the second annual Young Conservative Leaders Fellows Class of 2014 and please applaud 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 Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
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