Beauty Queen Liberates Millennial Ladies
Jessica Yu
April 8, 2014
Beauty Queen Liberates Millennial Ladies
Classy fashionista Gabrielle Jackson shows beauty even in politics. “I can still remember my first Leadership Institute training as a 15-year-old in California,” Founder and President of The Millennial Solution Gabrielle Jackson, now 25, said. “My mom drove me two hours to Stanford University from my hometown in Sacramento after hearing about the Youth Leadership School training program.” “Even at that age, I knew that politics was how I wanted to make the world a better place and I was hungry for training to use my passion and excitement to advance the conservative movement,” she said. Now, Gabrielle works in the Washington, D.C. area as the director of external partnerships at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics. In this role, Gabrielle develops strategic relationships with individuals and organizations and provides opportunities for them to partner with the organization to advance freedom and fulfillment. “We reach evangelicals in America who may not understand the connection between their faith and a free economy, and empower them with the knowledge and resources they need to bring about flourishing in their spheres of influence,” she said. She's also the current Miss Fairfax County United States and first runner up at Miss DC United States, and this past weekend Gabrielle was crowned second runner-up at the Miss Virginia United States 2014 pageant. “I encourage young women to stay true to themselves. It may sound cliché, but in order to be successful you really need a strong sense of identity and be able to answer: who are you? what are you most passionate about? And, what do you have to say that the world needs to hear? If you can answer those questions, you will be able to better navigate life's big questions- like job offers and relationships,” Leadership Institute graduate Gabrielle Jackson said. This coming Saturday, April 12 Gabrielle will be speaking at the Liberated with Truth Conference at Langley High School in Northern Virginia. She'll discuss the power of cross-generational collaborations as well as how millennial women can become ambassadors for truth. “The media would have us believe that there is a ‘war on women' waged by the right. This weekend's Liberated With Truth Conference will address the mythical war, and expose the real war that women are fighting in America today. It will bring experts together to address the real history of the feminist movement, the connection between breast cancer and the pill, and the story of what abortion has done to women's rights. In order to reverse this trend and address the lies circulating today, we must come together across generations,” Gabrielle said. Additionally, she is also the founder and president of the Millennial Solution. Her entrepreneurial idea began as a college thesis paper on millennial conservatives. Gabrielle wanted to find the connection between the millennial affinity for volunteering, justice, and entrepreneurship and the pro-liberty movement. “I discovered not only the clear correlation between millennial characteristics and conservative principles, but also the science and solutions behind what makes millennials tick,” she said. Her organization was formed to aid conservative managers to optimize the skill-base and talents of their generation Y employees to excel in the workplace and beyond. The organization focuses on providing collaborative strategies to help managers and the millennial generation succeed and connect the interests of multiple generations so they can work together effectively. Gabrielle recently released her new book, 5 Millennial Myths: The handbook for managing and motivating Millennials. Watch her promotional video here. “My book is a quick-guide for anyone curious about who millennials are and how our unique passion and preferences are changing the way organizations and businesses work. In it, I break down the five main stereotypes floating around about millennials: we are entitled; independent; disloyal; addicted to technology; and unmotivated. This is particularly helpful for non-profits, one of the largest employers of millennials,” she said. Before moving to DC, Gabrielle was selected as a senate fellow in the Capital Fellows Program in 2010. She was also former legislative aide to the Californian State Senate where she worked for two years, from 2010 to 2012. She has a Masters of Arts in Government from Regent University and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from William Jessup University. “LI has been such an incredible resource for me as I have honed my skills as a young professional and in helping me in the direction I am looking to take my career,” she said. “Everything from Morton's reading list, to the in-person training I have received, to the networking it has provided me—I can confidently say the Leadership Institute is the one organization that has been most committed to my personal and professional success.” Gabrielle has taken seven LI trainings as various as the Introduction to Television Techniques Workshop, On-Camera TV Workshops to the Youth Leadership School, the International School of Fundraising twice, and the Women's Leadership Training. “The Leadership Institute is the premier boot-camp for young conservative activists who have a passion to change the world, but still need the training to make it happen. I would encourage anyone who wants to learn more about conservative activism, involvement, and action to get plugged into one of the many amazing programs the Leadership Institute offers and get the tools and training they need to make it happen,” she said. Please congratulate Gabrielle Jackson for a wonderful weekend at Miss Virginia United States and for finding her passion of bridging different generations, especially women, together to advance the conservative movement. 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, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Liberty Magic
Jessica Yu
April 1, 2014
Liberty Magic
“Get off your butt and do something! Stop complaining about the size of government and be proactive about our problems. We can't afford to just sit around and talk philosophy with each other. If you want to make a change, stop reading and start doing,” Leadership Institute graduate Brandon Cestrone who is the northeast regional director for Young Americans for Liberty said. “At some point books only become a crutch,” he continued. “People would rather read political theory than learn practical application. Don't make this mistake. Take what you learn and put it to action. That's where the magic happens.” Brandon Cestrone has made significant contributions to advancing liberty through youth activism. He's helped start 50 college Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapters at universities stretching from West Virginia all the way to Maine. Originally from western Pennsylvania, Brandon attended Slippery Rock University and earned a Masters of Arts degree in History. While in college, he cofounded the YAL chapter at Slippery Rock University. “Cofounding the YAL chapter at Slippery Rock University has open doors that I never knew existed! Without having started my chapter I would not be where I am today,” he said. “It afforded me the chance to prove my commitment to the liberty movement and YAL's mission.” Brandon has trained existing YAL chapters on recruitment, leadership development, and fundraising as part of his duties. His other responsibilities include management of the organization's database, YAL University, and some fundraising. “I owe a lot to the Leadership Institute,” Brandon said. “They helped me start and plan my first semester as a YAL chapter. With the Leadership Institute's (LI) guidance, and the help of my chapter members, we grew to be a mighty voice for liberty on campus.” You too can get help from LI's Campus Leadership Program. Click here for all the free resources you may have. Brandon has taken LI's Youth Leadership School, On-Camera Television Workshop, and the Campaign Management School. “The Leadership Institute has been a great resource for my professional journey by offering training, guidance, and a helping hand,” he said. YAL is hosting 12 state conventions across the country where young people can attend a one-day training and networking event designed to build stronger state cooperation, improve activists' effectiveness, and inspire attendees to do even more to advance the cause of liberty. Conventions that have already taken place include: New York, Idaho, Arkansas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Florida is coming up this weekend. LI is partnering as a Gold Sponsor at all 12 YAL conventions and will host grassroots activism and messaging training during the program. For more information about these YAL conventions and to sign up, please click here. After college, Brandon worked at a major retail store as their sales manager and “was on the fast track,” he says. There, he sharpened his public speaking skills and learned to build relationships with customers, which he believes “are two key components to effective grassroots activism.” “But, my passion has always been to advance liberty. So, I took a chance interning for YAL and it paid off big,” he said. YAL Founder and Executive Director Jeff Frazee also got his start through the Leadership Institute, where he worked prior to starting the organization. YAL Director of Programs & Operations Ed King also worked at the Leadership Institute before moving over to YAL. “The Leadership Institute is an organization dedicated to helping you succeed not only on your campus as a political activist, but also in your professional career. With a large variety of training courses and resources, you don't need to look anywhere else for help,” Brandon said. To register for an Leadership Institute training like Brandon, click here. Please congratulate Brandon Cestrone for advancing liberty among young Americans, 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, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Arizona Stateswoman Makes Waves in the West
Jessica Yu
March 11, 2014
Arizona Stateswoman Makes Waves in the West
Being a woman in leadership is beneficial to the conservative movement, former Arizona State Senator and Leadership Institute graduate Lori Klein said. “Women need to put themselves out front, get elected, and hold their ground as a conservative,” she said. Lori has a powerhouse of experience with 18 years on Capitol Hill and seven years as the director of public relations for the Washington Times. Her most recent contribution was coordinating the Western Conservative Conference, which was held a few weeks back in Phoenix, Arizona. As a young woman in Washington, D.C. from 1976 to 1994, Lori learned of the Leadership Institute (LI) and began taking LI trainings. After taking the Leadership Institute's Television Workshop, former Senator Klein says LI was beneficial to her when she worked in radio and television as well as when she campaigned for office in the Arizona State Senate in 2010. “The Leadership Institute was a real help and assistance to me in my career,” she said. Former Senator Klein took office in January 2011. During her tenure in office she successfully worked to repeal legislation that impeded businesses and she worked to reduce their tax burdens. Her achievements in office have subsequently encouraged growth and increased employment in Arizona with a 2.8 percent drop in the unemployment rate – 10.8 percent in January 2010 to 8 percent in January 2013 at the end of her term in the Senate. Unemployment Rate: Arizona, National. – Department of Numbers. Former Senator Klein passed SB 1598, The Regulatory Bill of Rights, in 2011 which streamlined government licensing. The bill assisted businesses to grow and to flourish without unnecessary government intervention. With the legislature having just finished its second session with a structural balanced budget, the bill provided an additional $450 million in surplus. Lori said, “It is tremendously important to have the Leadership Institute around to train and mentor candidates and grassroots activists so that we can be effective getting our message out. LI serves an invaluable service to up-and-coming leaders.” The former Senator encourages women to run for office. “Women actually have an advantage if they're running against a man,” she said. “Women get a five percent bump in the polls. But as a woman, you still need to be professional. You still need to be articulate and you need to understand your values as a conservative and be able to communicate effectively because the future of our country is at stake.” With the future of the country at stake, as Lori says, why not register for one of LI's upcoming Women's Leadership Trainings? It's taught by female leaders and intended to assist women. Register here for the March 29 program. Please congratulate Lori Klein for her coordination of the Western Conservative Conference and her contributions to the conservative movement at large. 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, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Communist Escapee & LI Graduate Now Trains Conservatives Worldwide
Jessica Yu
February 11, 2014
Communist Escapee & LI Graduate Now Trains Conservatives Worldwide
Communism is real for Zeljko "Zed" Zidaric. A Croatian by birth, he escaped communism and grew up in Canada. “As an escapee from communism with family left behind in Croatia, I know firsthand what communism is about,” he said. “I heard from my family about the hardships and the fear. I knew that communism was a flawed system that benefitted only a few. I was fortunate to have escaped and felt that it was my duty to stand against communism and fight to defend the freedom that we in the West cherish.” So he attended Royal Military College in Canada and became an officer. “I was fortunate that communism collapsed and I did not need to go to war, but I did volunteer to go and protect the new democracy in Croatia as it struggled to escape the shackles of the former communist Yugoslavia,” Zed said. Although Zed grew up in Canada, he was born in a small village near Zagreb, Croatia. His love for his homeland prompted him to develop the Civic Innovation Incubator in Croatia. “I want to take what I have learned and bring it to Croatia so that young Croatians do not need to leave Croatia for a better life, but they can build a better life for themselves and create a better future for Croatia,” he said. His group empowers and supports Croatian youth ages 18 to 35 to have faith in their ability to develop new conservative solutions to the problems that plague the nation. Members of the Conservative Party of Canada recommended Zed look into the Leadership Institute's political training. So he came to LI's Campaign Management School in February 2011. He returned for LI's International Leadership Training School in December 2012, and later he attended LI's Future Candidate School and International Fundraising Training in 2013. “The courses that I took at the Leadership Institute helped me apply what I learned in the corporate space to the civic activism space,” he said. In the fall of 2013, Zed came to work at the Leadership Institute. He volunteered in LI's International Programs department. “While working in LI's International Programs department I met many great people and realized how many of us are fighting for liberty,” he said. “Knowing that there is a large support base and that you are not alone is very empowering. I now have friends that I can contact for just a conversation or help with a problem all over the USA and around the world.” Zed met his sweetheart Alma Ortega, also volunteering in LI's International Programs department. They recently became engaged and are now planning a wedding. “As others told me, I will tell others: The Leadership Institute is the place to go if you want to learn how to be a successful conservative activist and want to meet others that share the same passion,” he said. “When you become a part of the LI network, you are no longer alone.” Please congratulate Zeljko Zidaric for finding his passion to mobilize Croatian youth to advance the conservative movement. 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, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Freedom to be a fan
Lauren Day
February 4, 2014
Freedom to be a fan
On Sunday, millions of Americans watched the Super Bowl and some had the privilege to watch live in person, after buying tickets. But what if your tickets came with restrictions? “If you go back in time three years, no one had heard of restricted tickets,” Fan Freedom National Manager of Partnerships & Outreach Alex Johnson said. “But restricted tickets existed.” Fan Freedom protects the rights of live event ticket holders, including their right to exchange tickets. They believe that all fans have basic rights as ticket holders, and the organization supports legislation and promotes activism to protect those rights, including: When fans buy tickets, they own them. Fans have the right to buy, give away or sell their tickets however they choose, anytime they choose, in any way they choose, at any price they choose, states Fan Freedom's website. Alex's work at Fan Freedom helps enthusiastic fans who vote across the political spectrum understand the importance of the free market by using a real life example that matters to them: live-entertainment ticketing. The organization works in states across the country to block and repeal anti free-market regulations that stifle freedom among fans of music, sports, and other hobbies. “The primary successes we have had can be measured by earned media, the amount of supporters we have gained, and the legislative battles we have won,” Alex said. And winning legislative battles they have done. Their national campaign has blocked anti free-market legislation in California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey, New York and Oregon. “Our 250,000 supporters have been the backbone of our organization. With their help and the help of other free-market organizations, we have been able to defeat every anti free-market bill we have faced. I personally think this is our biggest victory as an organization,” Alex said. Fan Freedom has been able to educate low-propensity voters on the values of the free-market and get them engaged in the political process through letters to the editor, OpEds, and even by testifying at legislative hearings. “Studies have shown that if the anti free-market legislation we oppose is enacted into law, the average cost of a ticket will increase by $100 in the closed market,” he continued. “Our job is not only to prevent that from happening, but also to educate voters on how they benefit from the free-market system.” The reason Alex got into politics was because of his grandfather. “When I first got to college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so my grandfather told me to take a political science course,” Alex said. “He did this because he was not only a staunch conservative, but he also lobbied for the candy industry during the 1970s.” And Alex's love of sports is what propelled him further into politics. “I took his advice and took Introduction to American Politics. My professor at the time would use the 1985 Chicago Bears as an analogy for everything,” he said. “As a diehard Bears fan, I immediately fell in love with politics.” While in college, Alex was active with the University of Iowa's College Republicans chapter. His senior year, Alex managed a winning City Council race and defeated a six-term incumbent. After graduation, Alex moved to Florida to sell “yachts up until the economy tanked,” he said. “When that happened I was laid off from my job and decided to get back on the campaign trail, where I worked as political director on a congressional race in Illinois. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with politics.” In addition to working at the Republican Jewish Coalition and the polling firm, Wilson Research Strategies, Alex has worked on eight campaigns. These eight campaigns have ranged from U.S. House and Senate races to local city council runs to even the presidential race to the White House. He encourages conservatives looking for employment on campaigns to look through the Leadership Institute's Conservative Jobs website. “I have found several great positions through Conservative Jobs and I highly recommend it to everyone,” Alex said. Alex's boss encouraged him to take Leadership Institute training. “I first learned of the Leadership Institute (LI) from a former boss,” Alex said. “I was a junior staffer and wanted to learn more about campaigns so he told me to take an LI course. I took the little savings I had and flew to Arlington for the Campaign Management School and attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC),” Alex said. In February 2010, Alex took LI's week-long Campaign Management School. “I have taken numerous LI trainings since then and will continue to do so. The Leadership Institute is a phenomenal organization that is truly the backbone of the conservative movement.” Alex has taken LI's week-long Campaign Management School in February 2010, Activist Workshop in January 2011, Fundraising Workshop in January 2011, Public Speaking Workshop in March 2013, Issues That Unite: Latinos & Conservatism Communications Workshop in June 2013, and attended many LI events. “The Leadership Institute has not only helped me improve myself as a professional, but having taken courses at LI and having it on my resume is a door opener,” he admitted. “The Leadership Institute has alumni throughout the country and when you see a resume that has LI on it, it is an immediate qualifier that shows you know what you are doing because you were trained by the best.” Campaigns are Alex's priority and passion in life. “Even though I am busy with Fan Freedom, I am always working with various organizations, candidates, and consultants to help get true conservatives elected to office. My main passion is, and will always be, campaigns,” he said. “With DC the way it is today, I personally believe that we need to start recruiting and electing more conservative candidates that will vote their conscience instead of the party line to help bring this country back to the way it was under President Reagan.” Alex urges all conservatives to work long and hard for their values. “Work as hard as you possibly can and then work even harder,” Alex said. “Life is not easy and politics is one of the hardest industries out there. It is up to us to knock on every door or tally up every vote to make sure we win. We have seen what happens when we lose - we get Obamacare rammed down our throats. It is up to us to make sure that this never happens again. If that means you may not get any sleep for a month, you have to do it. The country is depending on us as conservatives and libertarians to unite and take the country back from the extremists on the left.” Please congratulate Alex Johnson for his work to educate live-entertainment fans about the value of the free market through Fan Freedom, and please applaud him for receiving LI's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award. “The Leadership Institute is the foundation to a successful future. You can learn so much from LI and apply it to all aspects of your life, not just your career,” Alex said. “With the lessons you learn from the Leadership Institute, you are put ahead of others in the political field and are given the tools to be as successful in politics as you can possibly be. It is an amazing organization filled with even more amazing people and provides individuals a place to learn things that you cannot learn anywhere else in the world.” 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.
Generation Screwed
Sam Larson
January 28, 2014
Generation Screwed
“Lower taxes, less waste, and more accountable government” is what the Canadian Taxpayers Federation fights for daily. Aaron Gunn, Canadian Taxpayers Federation's director of special projects, has been handed the reins to a new initiative called Generation Screwed. Generation Screwed is “a campus-based movement aiming to raise awareness and solicit action from young people across Canada on issues of government debt, deficits and unfunded liability,” Aaron said. The Generation Screwed campaign currently has 17 campus coordinators working with Aaron to help increase awareness of the rising national debt across Canada. “Our campaign was launched only at the beginning of September so we still have a long way to go. That being said, we are very happy with our progress so far. It can be quite challenging to get an organization like this of the ground,” he said. Aaron grew up in Victoria, British Columbia in “a very stable, middle-class family,” he explained. He spent three years serving with the 5th Field Artillery Reserve Regiment (similar to the United States National Guard) in Victoria, BC under the belief that “everyone should give back to their country and previous generations that have given us so much today.” At 15, Aaron developed skills in public relations and video production through a company he and a couple friends started. This venture helped Aaron pay his way through college and set him up with his current full time position. Aaron first learned about the Leadership Institute (LI) from his current boss and former LI employee Troy Lanigan. Following his recommendation, Aaron enrolled in the December 2013 Portland, Oregon Youth Leadership School (YLS), the department that trained 950 young activists across the globe in 2013. As LI's flagship school, the YLS also known as the ‘boot camp of politics,' is an intense two-day training that focuses on teaching students effective techniques to organize and lead mass-based youth efforts for candidates and causes of their choice. The training specifically focuses on building effective student organizations, getting out the vote, and developing a public relations strategy. Already, Aaron has implemented his training with LI into positive gains for Generation Screwed. “Since LI's Youth Leadership School, I have used the knowledge I gained to better lead the Generation Screwed campaign,” Aaron said. “We have five events planned in January alone, which compares to eight planned throughout all of last semester. I couldn't be happier with the results.” Aaron continued, “I would describe the Leadership Institute as an organization committed to assisting the conservative movement through the dispersion of its vast knowledge of political technology to future conservative leaders.” Please congratulate Aaron Gunn on his work to help build a mass-based youth effort for a smaller government in Canada, 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, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Working for the right to work
Mitch Nozka
December 17, 2013
Working for the right to work
“If it wasn't for the Leadership Institute, I would not be where I am today,” National Right To Work Committee and National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix said. Across all 50 states Mark and his staff fight leftist laws that require union membership as a condition for employment. Their organization believes that all Americans must have the right to join a union if they choose to, but no one should ever be forced to affiliate with a union in order to get or keep a job. In college, Mark met a person at James Madison University who changed his life. “I walked to the student union and there was a table. Someone stood in front of the table, reached out his hand, said there was a meeting of conservative students that night, and asked if I'd like to come,” Mark said. “Sure enough, I had been recruited by someone who used Leadership Institute training to get me to attend that meeting.” In the 1980s, Mark took Leadership Institute (LI) training himself and learned how to be a strong conservative activist. “I probably have more diplomas as a graduate of Leadership Institute schools than just about anybody,” he said. Mark has taken LI's Youth Leadership School, Legislative Project Management School, Capitol Hill Staff Training School, and many media trainings. After LI training, he landed a position with National Right To Work (NRTW) in 1986, running grassroots campaigns for state legislators. In 2003, Mark became NRTW's president, a position he still holds. Since 1999, Mark has served as a volunteer faculty member at LI where he shares his 27 years of conservative activism experience with LI students. “Government has infringed on every area of our lives. We must stand in the way and say ‘stop.' We can only do that by understanding the nature of politicians and what we can do to change their behaviors,” Mark said during LI's Holding Elected Officials Accountable Workshop earlier this year. Mark shared the secrets of his success at NRTW with more than 50 LI students who learned how to mobilize conservative citizens and activists to put maximum and effective pressure on elected officials. Unprincipled politicians respond to two stimuli – political pleasure and pain – and Mark taught students “the six steps of getting a politician to do what you want.” From 1981 to 1995, NRTW generously housed the Leadership Institute in its building. As time passed, LI grew from a single desk to several rooms on several floors. At the point where LI had outgrown available space, it purchased its own headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. “But the Leadership Institute's success is about more than bricks and mortar. It is about the thousands upon thousands of conservative activists LI has trained. National Right To Work continues to reap benefits from our employees who are talented Leadership Institute graduates,” Mark said. In April 2013, NRTW hired two of the Leadership Institute's Spring 2013 interns, Faith Doyal and Carmela Martinez. “From my days as a Leadership Institute student, to my work now teaching as a member of the faculty at LI trainings, the Leadership Institute has made me more effective,” he said. Please congratulate Mark Mix for his work to keep America free, 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. The next award recipient will be featured the week of January 19.
National Secretary for College Republican National Committee (CRNC)
Daryl Ann Dunigan
December 3, 2013
National Secretary for College Republican National Committee (CRNC)
“I still appreciate a good bow tie, but I think I have found my calling." For Katie Thompson, her first love was bow ties. A born-and-raised southerner, she began at the University of South Carolina as a fashion merchandising major, but life had other plans for her. A friend convinced her to run for a seat in the student senate. After winning the election, she changed her major to public relations, added a political science minor, and joined College Republicans. Her political career was launched. "I first learned about the Leadership Institute at my very first College Republican meeting," she said. After attending an August 2010 Leadership Institute Grassroots Workshop that covered communications, fundraising, and get-out-the-vote tactics, Katie was elected student body vice president on campus. While browsing LI's ConservativeJobs.com website, Katie saw a posting for a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) intern at the American Conservative Union. "In addition to the trainings, LI was how I found my first DC internship,” Katie said. “That (CPAC) internship was the springboard for my entire political future. Without the Leadership Institute, I know I would not have made it up to DC." After interning for CPAC, Katie went on to intern with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, working to create "Twitter Action Teams" to influence social media in key states. “Going to school, working on campaigns, and going to Leadership Institute trainings are all very important steps to developing your talents and deciding where in politics you want to fall. But my biggest advice to conservatives looking for employment is to take an internship that may be outside of your skill set,” Katie said. “When I came to DC I first took an internship with the American Conservative Union as their CPAC intern to learn about large scale conference planning and then I came back to our nation's capital to work in the digital shop at the NRSC,” she continued. “Those internships dropped me straight into the deep end in areas which I wasn't entirely comfortable with. Both experiences challenged me immensely, but I learned more in those collective eight months than I ever had in a classroom. Take the plunge and try something new, you'll surprise yourself about what you're capable of.” She also has worked for the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit, Joe Wilson for Congress, and as the public relations director of NextGen Journal. Three years later—in February 2013—Katie attended another LI training: the Youth Leadership School (YLS) held in Wilmington, NC. “LI's YLS in February taught me so much about youth engagement on races. From recruiting campus reps all the way down to how to carve your candidates name in the grass on the side of the highway. The amount of information we received in that training added exponentially to my campaign knowledge,” Katie said. “The South Carolina students who came with me are now pros in how to canvass. Thanks, LI!” This past May, Katie was elected national secretary for the College Republican National Committee. “It was truly an honor to be elected as national secretary for the CRNC this past May along with Alex Smith and her team. She's the first woman chairman in the organization's 125 year history. The College Republican National Committee is entering a new era both within our organization and how we reach out to young voters. For the Virginia's gubernatorial race, the CRNC ran a little ad called “Terryfish,” she said. “Terryfish coupled with the hundreds of college republicans from across the country who came to Virginia to knock on doors won Ken Cuccinelli the 18 to 24 year old vote,” she said. The youth effort for the Cuccinelli for Governor campaign was led by three full-time youth coordinators who also took LI's Youth Leadership School and activism trainings. They facilitated youth participation at the grassroots level and were placed by the Conservative Leadership PAC, founded by Morton Blackwell, also president of the Leadership Institute. Katie is looking forward to helping win the youth vote in the 2014 elections and in growing her foreign policy knowledge and experiences. "I would describe the Leadership Institute as one of the most important resources to any budding young conservative. LI trains up-and-coming campaign managers, congressmen, and leaders,” she said. "The Leadership Institute for decades now has been producing young stars who will change the world. I could not be more thankful for LI's role in my political future and my vision to change politics as we know it." Please congratulate Katie Thompson for finding her calling in youth politics, 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, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Determined Student Now Leads National Conservative Women’s Network
Anna Swick
November 26, 2013
Determined Student Now Leads National Conservative Women’s Network
“Ten years ago, when a woman stepped on campus she found chapters of the National Organization for Women, women's studies departments full of campus feminists, and women's centers not open to supporting all women,” Network of Enlightened Women Founder Karin Agness said. “At the time, there were no women's groups specifically catering to conservative college women.” That's not the case anymore. In 2004, with no help from her university and being turned away from The Women's Center at the University of Virginia, Karin Agness decided to start the Network of Enlightened Women, a network for conservative university women that has grown into more than 20 chapters nationwide. Karin formed the organization after spending the summer of 2004 interning in Washington, D.C. “Rather than throwing out Republican and Democrat one-liners, my female colleagues (during my internship) were eager to talk about nuanced arguments behind legislative proposals and how the issues of the day affected women. It was exhilarating to hear speakers and staffers explain how a 500-page bill would affect me as a young woman,” Karin said. “I returned to the University of Virginia for my third year of college, and I set about to find some semblance of the environment from which I'd just come.” Unfortunately, Karin's search came up empty. “All of the women's college groups at UVA were dedicated to promoting a liberal agenda,” Karin said. So she went to The Women's Center on UVA's campus for help starting the first conservative women's club. “I asked, ‘Would the women's center be interested in cosponsoring a group for conservative young women?' The women's center faculty member looked at me like I was crazy, chuckled and said, ‘Not here',” Karin said. But that didn't stop her. Karin went on to create the Network of Enlightened Women (NeW) in September 2004. The organization, which was started as a book club, aims to advance the intellect and leadership abilities of conservative university women while adding to intellectual diversity on campus. Now, Karin gives her expertise back to aspiring young conservative leaders as faculty at the Leadership Institute. She's taught at six LI trainings, including the Youth Leadership School (YLS), which she took herself in 2006. Through the six trainings she's taught at—the YLS in Georgia, Missouri, South Carolina, and Texas as well as at two Future Candidate Schools in Arlington, Virginia— Karin has taught 165 young conservatives. Most recently, NeW hired former LI Intern Coordinator Alyssa Condrey as their director of programs. "We were pleased to hire Alyssa, who not only founded a chapter of NeW at James Madison University, but also had experience in student programming through her job at the Leadership Institute. She had the opportunity to take on a lot of responsibility (at LI) and grow professionally. Her work with students has helped prepare her for this role,” Karin said. Alyssa said, “I hold the Leadership Institute in high regards because I am so thankful to have started my career at such a principled organization. LI staff truly follows Morton's principle of building a conservative movement and not an empire. The Leadership Institute is a vital component of the conservative movement as they are willing to collaborate with other organizations to advance conservative principles more so than their own agenda.” Karin believes that conservatives must make reaching women a priority. “Those running national campaigns and leading issue groups on the right should be rethinking how to reach women. The left has a seemingly endless supply of cash, organizations and leadership feeder programs,” Karin said. “And we must identify a local niche that is not being filled and fill it.” To join NeW and become a part of their network, please go here. Please congratulate Karin Agness for her determination to start a conservative women's network and advance conservative thought among young women, 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, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day, at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Rep. Jim Jordan’s advice to me: Go to LI
Adam Sprecher
November 19, 2013
Rep. Jim Jordan’s advice to me: Go to LI
“Getting to know the people I work with in the conservative movement and their amazing stories have probably been the high point of my career,” said Caleb Parke, a recent college graduate and summer 2012 Leadership Institute intern. “Campaigning with Rep. Jim Jordan, getting a hug from Sarah Palin and meeting Glenn Beck was awesome," Caleb said. "Rep. Jordan called me a champ, Sarah Palin told me I was bold, and Glenn Beck smiled and said, ‘God Bless.'” Experiences like these coupled with skills gained through Leadership Institute trainings allowed Caleb the opportunity to become an important contributor in the pro-life cause. Caleb works in media and development at Live Action. He also works on Live Action's magazine The Advocate to prepare and equip pro-life activists with the proper tools to fight the abortion industry. Live Action was founded in 2003 by Lila Rose, who at the time was 15 years old. Like Caleb, Lila is also a Leadership Institute graduate. She has taken LI's Student Publications Workshop in 2006, the advanced version in 2007, Effective Television Techniques Workshops in 2007, Grassroots Preparation Workshop in 2008, and LI's Communications Workshop in 2009. Live Action, one of the leaders of the pro-life cause, focuses on ending abortion by exposing the ugly truths of the abortion industry. The Advocate, a national magazine targeting college students, is one of the most powerful weapons in Live Action's arsenal. The Advocate's strives to win over new pro-life supporters and also strengthen old ones. Before joining Live Action, Caleb started his D.C. career at the Leadership Institute. He first heard of LI while interning in the district office of Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, who took the Leadership Institute's one-on-one TV training in 2008. While on the way to a campaign event, Caleb asked the Congressman for advice in the next step of his career. “[Congressman Jordan's] first recommendation was the Leadership Institute,” Caleb said. Caleb was accepted as one of 12 summer LI interns and worked in the Career Services Department where he edited resumes and cover letters, blogged, maintained the Leadership Institute's job bank website, and assisted in LI's social media programs. Caleb has attended 12 LI trainings, including: the Youth Leadership School, Public Speaking Workshop, the Written Communications Workshop, Conservative Career Workshop, Public Relations School, and Campaign Management School, among others. Register for upcoming Leadership Institute trainings here. “I have learned so much from LI trainings and from the team at the Leadership Institute. I gained a great deal of confidence from knowing that I am not alone, and the most important piece of LI training would probably be the networking that takes place,” said Caleb. “I believe that LI is the best internship in all of D.C.” Please congratulate Caleb Parke on his work to advance the pro-life cause across America through Live Action, and please applaud him for receiving the Leadership Institute'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.
The Walking Miracle
Adam Sprecher
November 12, 2013
The Walking Miracle
Spina bifida is a medical condition that affects the spine and nerves for newborn babies like James Christophersen, now 26, and about 1,500 babies each year. Doctors told James' mother that she should end his life before it began. If allowed to survive, they said, James would not walk on his own or even live to adulthood. Now, more than two decades later, James is a conservative leader fighting against the very same mindset in today's medical community. James works at Students for Life of America as the director of Med Students for Life and Law Students for Life. James connects physicians who understand the sanctity of life with thousands of med students at more than 100 campuses across the country. “I hope to abolish abortion by eliminating the lazy attitude which allows physicians to casually discard children they are afraid they cannot help, and to inspire those same physicians to instead acknowledge the humanity of those children,” James said. He works as a director of the National Pro-Life Physician Speaking Tour, the flagship program of Students for Life of America. This program allows doctors to speak to students about the importance of “giving children a chance” and “taking on the hard cases,” as James puts it. Before working at Student for Life, James worked for almost three years as the executive director of the Judicial Action Group, an organization that works through accountability, appointments, and prayer for the return of the judiciary to its proper, and noble, role of deciding cases and not legislating from the bench. “By returning the judiciary to its proper role of deciding cases and not legislating from the bench, the Judicial Action Group will re-empower Congress, the States, and the People to make laws that favor life, marriage, decency, private property, religious freedom, and other vital American values,” their website states. James attended the Leadership Institute's High-Dollar Fundraising School in September of 2011 and several LI events and networking activities in the past several years. The LI fundraising training focused on the importance of building coalitions to advance the candidates and causes of each attendee's choice, and for James, the pro-life cause. The faculty taught attendees to think past previously-established boundaries and to find unlikely allies to advance their particular cause or campaign. “This principle (of identifying unlikely allies) helped separate me from many in the political movements I have formerly participated in,” James said. Learn these techniques and others at LI's next High-Dollar Fundraising School February 18 and 19. So register now by contacting Carol Wehe. “The Leadership Institute is widely known as the place for conservative political candidates and non-profit employees to up their game,” James said. Please congratulate James Christophersen on his work to advance the pro-life cause among physicians, and please applaud him for receiving the Leadership Institute's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award. You can follow James on Twitter @ChristophersenJ and his organization @Students4LifeHQ. 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.
RNC Co-Chairman: More Women in Politics!
Lauren Day
November 5, 2013
RNC Co-Chairman: More Women in Politics!
“The best way for women to be better represented in America is to have more women representatives—from the town council, to the governor's mansion, to the Senate floor, to the White House,” said Leadership Institute 2001 graduate and now Republican National Committee Co-Chairman Sharon Day. “Party politics aside, I like seeing more women involved,” Co-Chairman Sharon Day continued. “We want more women in the political process. More importantly, we need them…we need their voices—whether in elective office or as activists.” Sharon Day, the Texas-born Indiana businesswoman turned Florida political activist and grandmother of five, was elected in January 2011 as co-chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) to serve with Chairman Reince Priebus. In January 2011, they were both reelected for a second term to lead the Grand Old Party (GOP). “People should get involved with Republicans to advocate for smaller government, less regulation for small businesses, less spending and less taxation, and for school choice,” Sharon shared with me. “No child's education should be based on their zip code or their economic status.” Before politics, Sharon and her late husband Larry built several businesses in the insurance and marketing industry and created jobs for hundreds of individuals and families. “The first business I created was out of convenience and being able to set my own hours,” Sharon shared with me. “As a mom, I wanted to have more time with my son and to be a hands-on mom. So, in order for me to spend as much time as I could with him as a young person I created a job that allowed me to do just that.” The businesses that Sharon and Larry created – Stop Loss International and SLI-Re – were created for two separate reasons. “Stop Loss International was created because we saw a need for small businesses to have the same opportunity as large businesses to self-fund their health and life insurance as well as give insurance companies as an opportunity to broaden their insurance possibilities,” Sharon said. “Our second business was created to control our destiny and growth. So, we formed and built our own re-insurance company, SLI-Re, enabling us to set our rates, successfully underwrite, and adjudicate our block of business as the lead underwriter,” she said. “We saw an opportunity to build an important niche market,” Sharon shared with me, “and then as many entrepreneurs do, we decided to fill that need.” Since then, she's been using her success in the private sector to advance conservative principles. Before her leadership role with the RNC, Sharon served the Party in various capacities. For the past 20 years, Sharon has worked to advance the Party's grassroots efforts in Florida – where she calls home. Since 1994, she has been a member of the Broward County Republican Executive Committee and, since 1996, she's been the state committeewoman from Broward County. Sharon was appointed as chairman of the Broward County Housing Authority and has served as commissioner of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. In 2004, she was elected Florida's national committeewoman to the RNC. In 2006, Sharon was elected as one of eight members of the Site Selection Committee for the 2008 RNC Convention, for which she was also selected as chairman of the Convention's Special Events. She was appointed to the Committee on Arrangements for 2008 and was instrumental in getting the 2012 Convention in her home state of Florida. From 2009 to 2011, Sharon served as secretary of the RNC. Sharon has recruited many victorious candidates and worked closely with party activists and supporters to spread the conservative message. “I learned about the Leadership Institute (LI) through the activist grapevine,” Sharon shared with me. “With all the great work LI does, it seems almost impossible to not know about the Institute. Everywhere I go it seems everyone brings up the great work that LI does.” In January 2001, Sharon took the Leadership Institute's Grassroots Activist School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Reflecting, she said: “The Leadership Institute helped provide me with a foundation to build my political activist career on. The whole training from the Leadership Institute was fantastic and taught me things I use every day as a political activist and co-chair of the RNC. I most enjoyed how LI's training put me in a room with like-minded activists and reminded me that I am not alone in the fight for a better America.” Come surround yourself with “like-minded activists,” as Sharon states it, so we can build a better America. Learn how to win campaigns and be an effective activist from the Leadership Institute. Register for LI training here. “The Leadership Institute provides people with an opportunity to learn for professional and personal growth, and is an organization that can assist with your success,” Sharon said. Please congratulate Sharon Day on her work to advance conservatism across America, and please applaud her for receiving the Leadership Institute'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.
State Representative Matt Krause:  A Deep Heart in Texas
Mitch Nozka
October 29, 2013
State Representative Matt Krause: A Deep Heart in Texas
“I would not be where I am today in the Texas House of Representatives if it were not for the Leadership Institute's training,” Texas State Representative Matt Krause said. “The Leadership Institute gave me the tools to succeed in the political world.” The fourth-generation Texan grew up the son of a pastor, grandson of two pastors, and great-grandson of a pastor. “Being in full-time ministry was a legacy in our family,” said Matt. “But, from an early age, my father helped me see I could have an impact in whatever field God called me to.” In high school, Matt worked as a church's custodian to pay for basketball camps and car insurance. “This experience taught me hard work, discipline, and the importance of budgeting,” he said. Matt's basketball abilities attracted the coaching staff at Christian Heritage College (now San Diego Christian College) in California, and by the time he graduated Matt had earned a full scholarship for both his athletic and academic abilities. Matt met his wife-to-be Jennie his freshman year of college and they married at the end of their junior year. “As a college senior, I had to balance being a new husband to my beautiful wife, carry a full load of classes, serve as student body president, play basketball, and work 30 hours a week,” he remembered. After graduation, the newlyweds moved to Lynchburg, Virginia, so Matt could study law at Liberty University. He graduated third in his class and opened Liberty Counsel's Texas office in 2007, where he specializes in constitutional litigation. “I got involved in politics because of Barack Obama's election,” Matt said. “I now have three kids and a fourth on the way. I didn't want to be the generation that didn't leave a better country to my children and grandchildren than those who came before me.” So, Matt decided he would run for office. But first, he attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2009. “At CPAC, I visited the Leadership Institute's booth and was impressed with all they offered,” he said. “When I started my run for office, I signed up for LI's Future Candidate School.” He continued, “Attending the Leadership Institute's Future Candidate School was instrumental in my political career. Up until that time, running for office seemed like a big mystery. But at LI, I learned the nuts and bolts of campaigning – from how to raise money, to how to dress appropriately, how to deal with the media, and even the best handshake to use when speaking with voters. It was an A-to-Z guide for candidates.” In 2010, Matt ran his first campaign, hoping to win a seat in the Texas legislature. “I ran against a well-known incumbent who heavily outspent me in that election. My campaign didn't have enough money for a campaign manager. I lost, but with the tools I learned at the Leadership Institute, I garnered 42.5 percent of the vote which shocked a lot of folks – especially considering I served as my own campaign manager,” Matt said. “I would not have done so well if it had not been for the Leadership Institute's training.” The 2010 loss didn't stop Matt. “I learned that hard work, strategy, and lots of prayer can outperform money in an election,” he said. “I also learned what not to do during my first campaign.” So in 2012 Matt ran again and won a three-way primary without a runoff vote. Later, he won the general election to become the state representative for Texas' 93rd district. Less than a year into his term, conservative groups already recognize Matt's value in the Texas House. He is ranked the third most conservative member of the entire 150-member House and has been named one of the “Top Five House Courageous Conservatives” by the Texas Conservative Coalition. He has also received the second-highest score from the Young Conservatives of Texas' scorecard, and he received perfect scores from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and Texas Eagle Forum. Matt also cares for youth and the future of America. As executive director of the Torch of Freedom Foundation, Matt works to shape the next generation of policymakers. Torch of Freedom Foundation runs a Patriot Academy to train future leaders in the political process. During the academy, students act as governors and state representatives and debate bills on the actual legislative floor of state capitols. “It's a perfect complement to what the Leadership Institute does,” Matt said. “If students want to apply all they have learned through trainings at the Leadership Institute, the Patriot Academy is the place to do so in a real-world legislative setting.” The 33-year-old gave his life to Christ on Easter Sunday in 1987. Matt's faith has shaped his life as an honest, responsible, and hard-working Christian conservative. “I take comfort in the fact that God is the one who ‘raises up kings and removes them.' Even when we have bad leaders, God uses us in the political process,” Matt said. “I encourage conservatives to patiently rely on the Lord, but not to be timid. As John Quincy Adams said, ‘Duty is ours. Results are God's.'” Duty is ours; register for Leadership Institute training here. “The Leadership Institute gives you the tools to maneuver in the political world. No matter which area of politics you feel drawn to, the Leadership Institute has a training to help you succeed,” Matt said. Please congratulate Matt Krause on his work to advance conservatism in the Texas legislature, and please applaud him for receiving the Leadership Institute'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.
Student Exposes Bullying Professor
Anna Swick
October 23, 2013
Student Exposes Bullying Professor
It was a normal Wednesday when sophomore Evan Schrage went into his literature class at Michigan State University (MSU) – until the lecture and questioning turned vicious. His professor, William Penn, veered off track in the creative writing class with a rant about “dead white Republicans” who had “raped this country.” Evan videoed the diatribe and posted it online at the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform news site, where the video went viral. (Watch it here.) Campus Reform, which has had more than three million unique visitors this year, is the web's number-one source for news about college campuses. “I really honestly couldn't believe what was happening at first,” Evan said, “[He] was using his position as a professor to indoctrinate students into thinking [in] a way that was pleasing to him.” “It was a little unnerving to hear that from somebody who's trying to teach me how to think,” Evan continued. “I'm paying… for a class on literature and I shouldn't have to hear political rants and hatred of certain individuals, whatever it is, right or left.” At one point in the video, Professor Penn asked a student, “You look like you're frowning. Are you frowning?” “He tried to antagonize me,” said Caroline Freeman, the student Professor Penn questioned. "He was talking about how Christians are dumb and don't know what they're talking about…It had nothing to do with class." Two days after the video was posted on Campus Reform, the university removed Professor Penn from the classroom. "Evan should be commended for standing up and exposing what is really going on in America's college classrooms," said Leadership Institute Vice President of Campus Programs Bryan Bernys. "As more and more student whistleblowers like Evan come forward to expose liberal indoctrination and bias in the classroom, we will move closer to true intellectual diversity in the classroom." When Evan learned of Professor Penn's dismissal, he decided to go public. “I had to involve myself more than just being behind the camera,” Evan said. “The Leadership Institute offered to train me, which was especially welcome considering I had never been interviewed on TV before, much less national television.” The calls for interviews immediately started “flowing in,” he said. The highlight was an interview on Bill O'Reilly's The O'Reilly Factor. (Watch it here.) Evan found out about the Leadership Institute (LI) and Campus Reform through a College Republican meeting at MSU. “The Leadership Institute has been very influential in promoting conservatism to college students…[It] is a great avenue for young people to get involved with politics and make their mark on the world,” Evan said. Three weeks ago, he met with Josiah Ryan, editor-in-chief of Campus Reform, for an LI Student Publications Workshop at MSU. The intensive, four-hour training teaches students how to start their own campus publication, from defining a mission to recruiting staff to raising money. (Learn more or request a Student Publications Workshop at your school.) When asked what advice he could share to other young conservatives, Evan said, “Never be afraid to stand up for what's right…Though the slings and arrows may seem overwhelming, what matters is that you stay true to yourself.” Please congratulate Evan Schrage for his bravery in exposing his professor, and please applaud him for receiving LI's Conservative Leader-in-Training Award. To take advantage of the training Evan received before his national interviews, sign up here for LI's On-Camera Television Workshop. If you are interested in learning more about LI's other communications trainings, click here. 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.
Millennial on the Move
Anna Swick
October 15, 2013
Millennial on the Move
Who says that Millennials are the “go-nowhere” generation? Jessie Markell doesn't fit that description. The 21-year-old is working hard as the youth coordinator for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli—a 2005 graduate of Leadership Institute grassroots activist training. Previously, Jessie was the state chairman for Young Americans for Liberty in Florida, his chapter's president, and an intern for multiple organizations—all while putting himself through college. Jessie got his start in politics while studying economics. “I quickly realized I was much more interested in economic policy than economic analysis, so I switched majors to political science and got involved in campaigns,” Jessie said. After helping with Ron Paul's presidential campaign, Jessie found Young Americans for Liberty in Florida, which is when he discovered the Leadership Institute. “I first learned of the Leadership Institute (LI) after getting involved on campus and starting my Young Americans for Liberty chapter at the University of Florida,” Jessie said. “I was approached to attend LI's student activism conference and Youth Leadership School in the summer of last year.” Soon after graduating from LI's Youth Leadership School, Jessie was recruited to be a part of LI's internship program. As an intern in the Events department, Jessie earned valuable hands-on experience and had access to all of LI's trainings. He went on to take 11 trainings, including the Activist Workshop, week-long Future Candidate School, and the Advanced Campaign Bootcamp. He finished the internship in December 2012. “Everything I know about campaigning has come from Leadership Institute-taught skills,” Jessie said. “The Leadership Institute has been, and will continue to be, the foundation for any young politically effective activist. The Institute is the epitome of one of its own teachings, ‘You owe it to your philosophy to learn how to win'—that is, you owe it to your philosophy to come and learn from the Leadership Institute,” he explained. In July, Jessie accepted his first full-time job as youth coordinator for Ken Cuccinelli's gubernatorial campaign in Virginia. When asked if he could have pictured himself in this job five years ago, Jessie answered, “At only 21, I probably couldn't have imagined myself in this position two years ago, let alone five or 10. Getting involved with the Leadership Institute has propelled my conservative career to heights that I never could have imagined and I will forever be grateful to LI for that.” Jessie will graduate from the University of Florida this December. Please congratulate Jessie Markell on his important work as a youth coordinator for an exciting gubernatorial race, and please applaud him for receiving LI's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award. If you want to take one of the LI trainings that launched Jessie's conservative career, go here to sign up and you'll not want to miss LI's Campaign Management School the first week in December. 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.
Strong Families, Strong Economy
Lauren Day
October 8, 2013
Strong Families, Strong Economy
Two days from now social conservatives across America will gather in Washington, DC for the annual Values Voter Summit, organized by the Family Research Council. Throughout the two-and-a-half days, attendees will hear from notable speakers, attend breakout sessions, network with their fellow Americans, and receive information from conservative organizations. “Social conservatives bring a lot to the conservative movement, as they stand strong for protecting the sanctity of human life and promoting traditional family values,” Family Research Council (FRC) Web Editor Krystle Gabele said. “A strong family is the key to a prosperous society and ensuring that future generations have an even better America to look forward to.” Krystle started at FRC in December 2008 as its web editor. She's responsible for maintaining FRC's online content and distributing alerts. She writes for the organization's blog, manages its email campaigns, and contributes to FRC's daily radio commentaries. You can find her work on the Washington Update and on the Social Conservative Review. This weekend's Values Voter Summit will be held from Thursday through Sunday -- October 11 through 13 -- at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in DC. The Leadership Institute is partnering with FRC for the conference, and will have a booth in the exhibit hall and host Saturday's career fair -- which is free for attendees. Click here to pre-register for the career fair. Last year at the Values Voter Summit's Faith, Family, and Freedom Gala, the Leadership Institute's President Morton Blackwell was honored with the 2012 James C. Dobson Vision and Leadership Award. Krystle said, “I am looking forward to hearing Sen. Rand Paul speak at the Values Voter Summit, and I am also excited to interact with the various bloggers who will be there covering the event as well. The straw poll is also a lot of fun, and it is amazing to see the energy from participants during the three days of the summit.” Krystle, a small-town girl from Taneytown, Maryland, grew up in a loving family that “placed a high value on faith and trusting in God no matter what life may throw at us,” she shared when discussing what most shaped her. One of her “major goals” was to be the first person in her family to graduate with a college degree. In 2004 Krystle's dreams came true: she graduated with honors from Western Maryland College (now known as McDaniel College) with a degree in social work. In college, she interned for former Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) in his district office and for Carroll Lutheran Village, a continuing care retirement community between classes, homework, and exams. “After graduating college, I went to work for a social services agency in Pennsylvania,” Krystle said. “I decided after observing the bureaucratic processes of the foster care system that my talents were better suited to fight for the conservative values I believed in, so I took an internship in the personal office of former Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-IL). It was great to see how my degree could be implemented in the public policy process.” At the conclusion of her congressional internship, she took a position as the executive assistant to the Executive Director Alex Mooney at the National Journalism Center (NJC), a program of the Young America's Foundation. In that role, she recruited and placed interns with news outlets in the DC metro area. Later, Krystle went to work at the National Right to Work Committee as its director of communications. “I first learned of the Leadership Institute through Alex Mooney, my former boss at the NJC. Alex spoke highly of LI's programs and recommended that I take a few courses through the Leadership Institute to help me develop skills that would be beneficial to my career and the conservative movement,” Krystle explained. Krystle has taken eight LI trainings: the Public Speaking Workshop and advanced version, Broadcast Journalism School, and Public Relations School in 2006; Campaign Management Workshop in 2007; and the Blogging Workshop, Advanced Public Relations School, and the New Media Workshop all in 2008. “In terms of LI's Public Relations Schools, I learned how to write press releases and how to handle things during a crisis. This definitely proved beneficial during the events at FRC of last August,” Krystle said, referencing the tragic shooting at FRC's office in August 2012. “The Leadership Institute has been extremely helpful to me over the years. I found most of my jobs through LI's ConservativeJobs.com, and the tips I received from LI's Employment Placement Service have been especially beneficial in my professional growth,” Krystle said. “One thing that I would credit LI and Morton Blackwell with is the encouragement to read conservative authors and to become well versed in public speaking. I never realized how my public speaking skills needed to be refined until I attended the Public Speaking Workshops and Broadcast Journalism School. Life is all about learning and growing. There is no doubt that I would not be where I am today career-wise without the assistance and support of the Leadership Institute,” she added. In her spare time, Krystle has her own blog: Crystal Clear Conservative. She started it on Christmas Day 2007 as an outlet for “my frequent venting about the state of affairs,” as she termed it, though she is now on sabbatical from political writing and focused on other passions: running and fitness. If her blog returns to politics, it may be to focus on raising awareness of human trafficking, an issue she cares about deeply. “The Leadership Institute helps shape conservatives by providing them with the essential training to be leaders,” Krystle said. “LI has taught me to become an effective communicator and become active in making my community a better place. LI can help you as well.” We hope to see you at Values Voter Summit! Register here. Please contact LI's Career Services Coordinator Aynsley Harrison at 703-247-2000 for information about the employers recruiting at the career fair or for help pre-registering. “The Leadership Institute helps shape conservatives by providing them with the essential training to be leaders,” Krystle said. “LI has taught me to become an effective communicator and become active in making my community a better place. LI can help you as well.” Please congratulate Krystle Gabele for advocating for life, strong families and healthy societies. Congratulations Krystle on receiving LI's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award! “As Christians and conservatives, we should always remain strong and steadfast for these core values without bowing down to what society thinks. There will be attacks, but they build character and amazing backbone,” Krystle said. “Always persevere and work hard for advancing the issues we are passionate about. I firmly believe that we should also pray for those who persecute us. Ephesians 6:13 says it best, ‘Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.'” 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.
Student Travels 6 Hours to Sharpen Political Arsenal
Anna Swick
October 3, 2013
Student Travels 6 Hours to Sharpen Political Arsenal
You care about your cause, but do you have the tools to make change happen? Scott Gibbons of Blowing Rock, North Carolina now has the knowledge and tools after traveling six-and-a-half hours to attend the Leadership Institute's Tactical Warfare Workshop last month – with more than 150 other conservatives Scott traveled to Arlington, VA to add to his political arsenal to fight the left. Students began their first lecture on Tuesday, September 17 with a crash course on the history of the left from Chris Doss, LI's Deputy Director of Grassroots Programs. Chris explained to students that understanding history will help them strategize more effectively. Attendees then learned Saul Alinksy's thirteen “rules for radicals” to better understand what to expect from the left. “Applying Alinksy's Rules for Radicals and Sun Tzu's Art of War to the political battlefield was brilliant,” said Joshua Parrish, southeast regional director for Young Americans for Liberty. Chris wrapped up his lecture by giving students six specific lessons for conservatives trying to advance their cause. Day two of the Tactical Warfare lecture was equally engaging. Greg Mourad, vice president of legislation at the National Right to Work Committee, taught attendees about “kill zones” and the finer points of pushing a bill through Congress. “I loved how he used politics to relate to the art of war,” said Robert Kenyon. Joshua Parrish added, “I really enjoyed getting an inside look at the winning legislative techniques used by the Right to Work Committee.” Campaign for Liberty's Senior Consultant for State Operations Kirk Shelley spoke next. “The more tools you have in a tactical toolset, the bigger your vision is going to become,” Kirk explained as he took attendees through various political battle maneuvers. Attendees learned various reasons to avoid battle and tactics for maneuvering once engaged in battle. Kirk encouraged conservatives in attendance to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses as well as those of their enemies. At the end, Greg Mourad said, “This was a great LI training. Kirk Shelley's lecture on tactics is just incredible material that's extremely helpful for anyone involved in the political process.” Attendee Scott Gibbons shared that he plans to apply his new tactical tools not only to political activities but also to “broader organizations and institutions.” To see photos of the week-long training, check out the pictures on Facebook here. Activists can also hone their skills at the Leadership Institute's Debate Workshop on Friday, November 8—go here to learn more and sign up. To see additional trainings LI offers, go here to see the upcoming schedule.
Do the Right Thing
Anna Swick
October 1, 2013
Do the Right Thing
Dave Wallace's father always told him to do the right thing— “No matter how hard it is, do the right thing.” Dave, a small business owner, husband, and father of three, has spent his life trying to do just that, including using the profits from his business to promote the message of liberty. “I've always loved freedom,” Dave said. From the time he was a youngster, growing up in a “postage-stamp-sized yard” in Maryland, he realized the importance of liberty. “I would play with my ball in the yard, and if it ever went over the fence into my neighbor's yard, the neighbor would yell, ‘Don't you touch that ball; it's in my yard now. You'll get it back when I'm ready to give it back.'” Dave was thrilled to move to another house without fear of the menacing neighbor. This life experience reminds him of the type of government that he fights today as an adult. Dave graduated from college with a degree in biology, but went in a different direction when he decided to open his own small business selling cabinets. Soon, Dave began to invest the money that his business made in a conservative radio talk show and a foundation called Restore America's Mission. Dave, a tea party leader in his area, founded both projects, and has since extended Restore America's Mission to a website that provides conservative news. Dave has also dedicated his time to grassroots efforts for Ron Paul's presidential campaign, on a U.S. Senate race, and even ran for Congress himself. His drive to promote economic freedom doesn't end on the campaign trail. He promotes freedom in his small business, Chesapeake Kitchen Wholesalers. When asked how he ran for Congress while managing his business, Dave credited his employees, whose productivity is a by-product of the freedom they are given. “It's all about setting up protocol…That way, anyone who steps into the position can do the job. Then, that person can use his own talents to better the job.” In order for employees to flourish and grow, they must be given freedom. The same is true for American citizens. In the fight for freedom, Dave's advice to other conservative activists is to "talk to the heart. Value the person that you're speaking to and realize that nothing is more important than the person that you've got in front of you. Treat them with respect." Dave credits his Leadership Institute communications training with helping him. "LI's communications training helps you become successful. I came because I'm a conservative and want to advance the conservative message in my community," Dave said. Dave has taken 10 Leadership Institute trainings, ranging from the Public Speaking Workshop, fundraising training, Future Candidate School, to the Written Communications Workshop. Sign up here for one of LI's upcoming communications trainings, including the Public Speaking Workshop being held on Thursday, October 16 at LI's offices in Arlington, Virginia. Please congratulate Dave Wallace on his work in the conservative movement in Maryland, 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, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Lauren Day at Lauren@LeadershipInstitute.org
State Chairman of Florida College Republicans
Lauren Day
September 18, 2013
State Chairman of Florida College Republicans
Stephen McDuffie, a 24-year-old born on a U.S. Air Force base in West Germany just months before the Berlin Wall fell, is now state chairman of the Florida Federation of College Republicans (FFCR). “My role is to lead and be the face of the College Republicans to our state,” Stephen explained. As chair – a role he started in April – he manages the executive board and officers and represents FFCR to all external entities, including the media, the Republican Party of Florida, the Republican National Committee, and the College Republican National Committee. “The College Republicans strive for liberty and small government that is accountable to the people. With our conservative leadership, we show that personal responsibility, sound fiscal policy, and a passion to succeed are the guides to our future success,” Stephen said. Stephen explained that the FFCR's role is to bring together Republican college students to work as a group and support the party's activities. The group does this by promoting Republican principles to college students in Florida and presenting the views of the college community to the party leadership. FFCR also provides aid to the party in elections. This summer Stephen interned for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-26) in her Miami field office, where he assisted policy staff. “Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has pushed me to pursue bigger and better things,” Stephen said. "Senator Marco Rubio is also a great inspiration to me. He teaches at my school and is an honest conservative leader." During the spring 2013 semester, Stephen served as president of the College Republicans at Florida International University, the college he transferred to in the fall of 2011. “I led the College Republicans at FIU,” Stephen said. “I grew the organization from 100 to 160 people and l led the fight for conservative principles on a liberal campus.” Stephen is also a member of the Miami-Dade Republican Executive Committee. He received the Most Patriotic Award and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for his community service from Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen. Before politics, Stephen worked at Wendy's, Food Lion, Dot Foods, and Walmart. “These past jobs taught me how to work,” Stephen said. “Each job I had served as a learning experience showing me how to incorporate different skills into my professional and personal life. Each job was always a stepping stone to the next great job, which would lead to another opportunity.” At 21, Stephen married his wife (pictured right). “It was the greatest decision of my life!” “I first learned of the Leadership Institute from working on some 2008 campaigns and again during the 2012 campaigns,” Stephen remembered. At the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), he took his first training. “I attended the Leadership Institute's How to Land a Job and Internship Workshop, the Elected Officials Accountability Workshop, and the 2013 CPAC Job and Internship Fair where I got to meet with employers,” he said. LI's Job and Internship fair connected more than 480 jobseekers like Stephen with 39 employers in the conservative movement and the private sector. Employers advertised openings, took resumes, and interviewed candidates. Stephen shared, “I learned from these different LI training sessions how to make a professional resume, how to dress, how to speak and show confidence, and much more. I also learned how to keep our elected officials accountable to the people!” He's even registered for LI's upcoming Issues That Unite: Latinos and Conservatism in Miami, Florida on Thursday, October 10. “The Leadership Institute has helped me push for what I want, and helped me be a better leader for my College Republicans organization. LI has also pushed me to start my own business as well,” Stephen said. Stephen hopes one day to start his own communications firm that specializes in campaign consulting, marketing, advertising, and grassroots organizing. “I also want to run for political office in the future to help bring the nation back and give my children and others a future,” he said. The Leadership Institute will be hosting its intensive, week-long Campaign Management School the first week of December. Hope you'll be able to join so you can learn how to effectively run a campaign. “The Leadership Institute is a premier organization that teaches those willing to become leaders,” Stephen said. Please congratulate Stephen McDuffie on receiving the Leadership Institute's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, and please encourage him in his political pursuits. You can follow him on Twitter @StephenMcDuffie. There will be no feature article next week; however, this series will resume the week of September 30. 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.
Liberty Isn’t Free: It Must Be Fought For
Lauren Day
September 10, 2013
Liberty Isn’t Free: It Must Be Fought For
Teri Capshaw, a homeschooler from South Dakota, worked as a TV and local newspaper reporter during college. After graduation, she was hired as an evening news producer in Boise, Idaho, where she met her husband -- before starting her own sewing business. Now, she takes her professional background and understanding of the challenges that come with owning a business into meetings with donors and potential partners for Campaign for Liberty, where she serves as the donor relations officer. “I grew up training horses, participating in rodeos, raising small animals, and learning about the small businesses owned by my parents and grandparents. As a result, I brought a unique perspective to the news business—and thoroughly enjoyed reporting in my home area,” Teri said. “Now, I have a huge amount of respect for our donors at Campaign for Liberty, and I think a big part of that is knowing just how much work it takes to make money in a small business.” The Leadership Institute helped Teri launch her career. “I got my job at Campaign for Liberty (C4L) as the result of Leadership Institute training, so I certainly appreciate what you do,” Teri said. “I asked the main instructor from my Legislative Project Management Class, Mike Rothfeld, for advice on finding a job with an organization that would operate ethically and effectively. He interviewed me and recommended me to John Tate, the president of Campaign for Liberty.” Teri's husband Jesse accepted a job in 2009 that brought them from Idaho to Manassas, Virginia – just 45 minutes from the nation's capital. That's when Teri began working for Campaign for Liberty. In October 2009, she started working in the Outreach Department. Three months later, Teri assumed her current position as the donor relations officer in the Development Department. Some of Teri's responsibilities include working with donors interested in supporting C4L's key projects, like its effort to pass legislation to audit the Federal Reserve, its candidate survey program, and its ongoing effort to fight an Internet sales tax. “At C4L we have an incredibly committed base of nearly 750,000 members willing to lobby their elected officials to limit the federal government to its proper constitutional role,” Teri said. “By partnering with our donors we are able to provide the communication and organizational structure necessary to mobilize that membership base. I am also working with the wonderful sponsors we have lined up for the third annual Liberty Political Action Conference from September 19 to 22 in Chantilly, Virginia. I am excited to have the Leadership Institute join us as a sponsor again this year!” The Leadership Institute will have a table in the exhibit hall with several staffers, so please stop by! Also, LI President Morton Blackwell will take the stage Friday, September 20 at 2 p.m. LPAC tickets are available here. “The Liberty Political Action Conference is an opportunity to encourage, energize, and further equip a grassroots army focused on stopping government overreach into our lives,” Teri said. “I absolutely love the camaraderie this event brings out in an extremely diverse crowd. Conservative, libertarian, and constitutional speakers, activists, organizations and businesses all come together to celebrate the principles that made America great—and train for future success,” Teri explained. Teri's background working in media and covering local and state politics shaped the work she does now. “My perspective allowed me to see how often, political decisions are driven by fear, incentives (for those willing to seek power), and a sense of futility. Even elected officials in relatively powerful positions—and whom I respect on a personal level—often seem to be only gears in a powerful system. Feeling frustrated by that and looking for an alternative to politics-as-usual led me to take the Legislative Project Management course at the Leadership Institute. Being introduced to the concept of confrontational politics was an incredible experience,” Teri remembers. “Much of our current political process—of which the media plays a predictable part—rewards politicians for saying popular things to get elected, but then allows them to benefit key donors who lobby for government favors. Confrontational politics short-circuits that system by holding elected officials accountable for their actions.” To learn how to put pressure on elected officials and force accountability, register right now for LI's newest training: Tactical Warfare. Like many, Teri found out about the Leadership Institute through word of mouth. “I asked an elder from a church I used to attend for advice on finding a job in politics with an organization that wouldn't compromise its principles,” Teri remembers. “He suggested that I introduce myself to the Leadership Institute's President Morton Blackwell and ask him for advice. I wasn't quite brave enough—so I did the next best thing and signed up for the Legislative Project Management School.” “I have used most of what I learned during LI's Legislative Project Management School,” Teri said. “Learning how to lobby effectively and use a grassroots approach has been useful both when I help with special projects and when donors ask for things they can do in addition to supporting C4L financially.” In addition to the Legislative Project Management School, Teri took LI's On-Camera Television Workshop. “The Leadership Institute provides excellent resources to help conservatives become effective in the political arena,” Teri said. “I recommend that others who truly want to make a difference for their cause get educated at LI. There are many traps in the political world that can make us feel effective while accomplishing very little. It's crucial to ensure that we are really on the right track to have a lasting impact.” Sign up now for LI's week-long Comprehensive Fundraising Training. You'll learn how to make a lasting impact, or at least the funds to program your initiatives. Topics to be discussed include how to solicit major gifts, what makes a direct mail package most effective, and how to move into raising funds online. Contact Carol Wehe at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org for more details. In 2010, Teri and Jesse's daughter was born in Manassas, Virginia. Last summer, Jesse's job took their family back to Boise “just in time for our son David to be born in September.” “Today I work from home,” Teri said. “We have a one-acre lot inside the Boise city limits where we are allowed to keep goats and a small flock of chickens—so life at our house is always interesting! I occasionally blog about those adventures at thisblessedlibertylife.com.” Please congratulate Teri Capshaw on receiving the Leadership Institute's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award and please spread the word about the upcoming Liberty Political Action Conference. 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.
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