LI Graduate of the Week Katie Collins, 14: “LI training has influenced the way I think, work, and relate in politics”
Lauren Hart
October 17, 2011
LI Graduate of the Week Katie Collins, 14: “LI training has influenced the way I think, work, and relate in politics”
Fourteen-year-old Florida native Katie Collins, the Leadership Institute's Graduate of the Week, took LI's October 2008 Youth Leadership School in Sarasota, Florida. “I was only 11 at the time, but I remember learning so much about politics and campaigning from you.” “The Leadership Institute inspired me more than anything,” Katie recalls. “They gave me the tools I needed to believe I could successfully launch a political campaign. They continued to add fire to my dream of being a political activist. I learned how to make a difference around me and I have used these skills in many ways.” Katie has been active in public policy the past three years since she attended LI's YLS. “I left LI with an armful of books, inspired by what you said, and have since worked on several campaigns. However, with age, my projects have gotten increasingly bigger, leading up to my current project, overturning Roe vs. Wade.” Katie helped organize the September 20th rally in partnership with Faith2Action to “influence those who remain ‘undecided' in the Senate” over the Heartbeat Bill (H.B. 125) in Ohio. Katie has assisted several pro-family conferences, including: the 2007 Values Voter Presidential Debate in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida as a student assistant; the 2009 How to Take Back America Conference in St. Louis, Missouri as a personal assistant to Faith2Action's Director Janet Porter; and most recently, the 2011 Heartbeat Bill Rally in Columbus, Ohio as the homeschool/youth coordinator. “My job was to contact as many young people in Ohio as possible and get them excited about the bill and involved in the process. I plan to continue to make myself available to help Faith2Action pass the Heartbeat Bill, the most protective piece of pro-life legislation in America through the Ohio Senate,” Katie said. Katie, her brother Sam, and their parents frequently travel, as homeschooling allows a more flexible schedule. The picture right shows Katie in front of the Piazza del Duomo in Milano, Italy. “I was pretty excited about the LI class, but nervous because I didn't know too much about it. In the evening I stayed up well past midnight with the other kids working very hard on all of our assigned homework. The LI teachers taught us to have fun while we worked hard,” Katie remembers. “I worked with other kids during class competitions and even won a contest! I learned specifically how to write press releases, draw bubble pictures for 'campaigns', etc. I go back to my class composition book time and time again,” Katie says, “as I consider how to reach people effectively. I suppose that was the lecture that meant the most to me in how to reach people effectively with a list of a dozen or so ways. And of course, each way had a fun name to remember it by!” What does 14-year-old Katie have her eye on next? “God has given me a gift of communication. Many people have told me that. He has also given me a love of the political arena, in the sense that I feel a calling to be involved in pro-life and pro-family/marriage movements,” Katie said. “I don't want to be a politician! I just want to fight for the issues dear to me, more like a political lobbyist.” Katie says that she has “recommended the Leadership Institute to many of my friends. LI was extremely beneficial to me as a young woman with political interests. LI training has influenced the way I think about politics, the ways I go about working in politics, and the way I relate to others about politics. I hope many others will continue to learn from the teachers at LI,” Katie said. “Maybe someday I'll even be able to go back and take some other classes myself!” Want to be trained as an effective conservative activist like Katie? Check out the full schedule of LI's upcoming trainings. For more information on LI's Youth Leadership Schools, please go here. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Craig Copland, LI’s Graduate of the Week, Converts to Conservatism and Creates Useful Political Tools
Lauren Hart
October 11, 2011
Craig Copland, LI’s Graduate of the Week, Converts to Conservatism and Creates Useful Political Tools
Retired Canadian entrepreneur Craig Copland, the Leadership Institute's graduate of the week, created tools for conservatives involved in the public policy process after attending LI's Campaign Management School in December 2010. “The programs offered by the Leadership Institute are by far the most cost-effective and time-effective ways of learning how to be a conservative activist,” Craig said. “The Campaign Management School was an exceptional program that provided quantity and quality of useful information, expert and inspirational instruction, and supportive and convivial interaction with fellow conservatives. And it was a lot of fun.” “My week at LI changed my life,” Craig said. “This is no mean feat when one is over sixty. I realized that while I had no interest in personally running for elected office, I could actually do something significant that might help other conservatives win elections. I perceived two needs in the conservative movement that I could respond to: 1) A simple handbook that laid out what you had to do and not do to win elections; and 2) A way of using the Internet so that conservatives could share with each other their stories and lessons learned about election campaigns.” And less than a year later, Craig has done just this. “I work on projects that will, I hope, help advance conservatism in Canada and the U.S.,” Craig said. “In addition to the 2012 Conservative Election Handbook and the ConservaWiki.com site, I have just started a Conservative Buyers Club that will serve as a fundraising tool for conservative organizations, churches, and political campaigns while saving individual conservatives hundreds, perhaps even, thousands of dollars.” “We cannot afford to ‘re-invent the wheel' during every election campaign. Conservatives must learn from each other if we want to win consistently. The Leadership Institute has been foundational in this process,” Craig said. “We, the privileged graduates of LI, must expand and share the lessons learned not only directly in our local communities, but also through the limitless resources of the Internet, a medium which we must confess the liberals have been much better at making effective use of than we have . . . so far,” Craig continued. You would think Craig was a life-long grassroots conservative. However, it took him working in five developing countries caught up in major crises before Craig came to understand that government isn't the solution—it is the problem. Born and raised in Toronto, Craig says, “Whatever I may be today is primarily due to the influence of a loving, conservative, Christian family and a very conservative local church and Christian summer camp.” Although he grew up in a Christian family with conservative political views, he strayed in graduate school. “I admit to having voted for the Canadian socialist party when I was a grad student. As a young man,” Craig said, “I was an ardent liberal do-gooder and extensively involved in the early days of the environmental movement.” After graduate school, Craig spent more than 20 years travelling the world, working in international development, child care, and humanitarian aid. He assisted with aid programs during the Ethiopian famine of the mid-1980s, the civil war in Sri Lanka, the disasters of Somalia and Rwanda, and the innumerable miseries that affected Haiti. “It was during this period of my life that I was ‘mugged by reality' and came to understand that ‘Government is not the solution to the problem. Government is the problem.' Slowly, perhaps even reluctantly, I turned right,” Craig explained. “Since then I have become quite involved in conservative politics as a volunteer and consultant for election campaigns and conservative organizations,” Craig said. When not working at his consulting and marketing firm, Craig spends time as a volunteer for charities—Habitat for Humanity International and the American Foundation for Children with AIDS, to name a few—that are active in Eastern Europe and Africa. Craig also enjoys spending time with his three daughters and three “gorgeous and perfect grandchildren.” Craig, a believer in free markets, desires to expand the conservative base by electing more to office. “Except for a very few rare anomalies, all senior elected officials in America began their political careers down ballot,” Craig reports. “If we want to conserve America, in depth and breadth, we cannot do it by winning only one, big elected office. We need to win 600,000 elections.” His creations—the ConservaWiki.com and the 2012 Conservative Election Handbook—are a pursuit toward this goal. “Neither of these accomplishments is perfect or anywhere close, and no doubt they will be improved on by others more capable than I,” Craig says, “but these were two things I could do to help, now.” You too can make a splash for the conservative movement. Come get Leadership Institute training like Craig. Check out the full schedule of LI's upcoming trainings. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Congressman Huelskamp’s Chief of Staff Jim Pfaff: A Career Conservative
Lauren Hart
October 3, 2011
Congressman Huelskamp’s Chief of Staff Jim Pfaff: A Career Conservative
For many, Leadership Institute training marks the start of a lifelong career advancing conservative principles in politics. So it is for Jim Pfaff, chief of staff for Congressman Tim Huelskamp and LI graduate of the week. Jim's political career stretches nearly three decades. He's been president of grassroots organizations, led winning statewide campaigns, served as a campaign manager and consultant, and even worked as a talk radio host. “LI has produced an amazing list of graduates like me who have gone on to have a great impact on the national and state levels,” Jim said. His first Leadership Institute training was in 1984. Jim was an English major and political science minor at Indiana University after graduating high school from The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. It was a “one-week grassroots training,” Jim recalled. In that same year, he interned at LI, and worked with Ralph Reed to start Students for America, a pro-life political action committee. “My LI training experience in 1984 was a fundamental part of my political career, which includes various statewide campaigns, public policy efforts, a political consulting business for nearly 20 years, and ultimately my coming to Congress this year as a Chief of Staff,” Jim said. As a campaign consultant, Jim helped elect eight conservative candidates and later managed George Witwer's 1996 campaign for Lt. Governor of Indiana. He also served as administrative director for the Opportunity Project of Indiana, which gave $90,000 to fiscally conservative candidates for state legislature in 1994. In the private sector, Jim served as president and chief executive officer at Innovative Research and Data Solutions, LLC (IRDS) for 13 years. The company's work matched his background, offering consulting in public policy and public relations; business research; media strategies; and even on-the-ground consulting for political campaigns and grassroots organizations. In 2005, Jim managed a highly successful conservative grassroots effort in Kansas to pass a traditional marriage amendment -- which received 70% of the vote. He worked for Focus on the Family Action and started several organizations: Colorado Family Action; the Colorado Family Institute; and Americans for Prosperity's Colorado state chapter in 2008. He also led a successful effort to pass a similar marriage amendment in Colorado though outspent nearly six to one by opponents. Jim's work garnered praise from Erick Erickson of RedState, who called him a "nearly indespensable person in social conservative grassroots politics." Social conservative leader Ralph Reed said Jim was "one of the greatest grassroots organizers in the country." Jim still finds time to teach lessons he once learned at the Leadership Institute to conservatives across the country. He's been a faculty member at 12 LI campaign, fundraising, and communications trainings, from the Institute's Steven P.J. Wood Building in Arlington, Virginia to Grand Forks, North Dakota. "As an LI trainer, I could do nothing less," Jim explained. "I decided to dedicate some of my time to help with LI trainings because I believe they fill an important need in the conservative movement to prepare effective grassroots, media, and campaign strategists." Please congratulate Jim Pfaff as this week' Leadership Institute graduate of the week. Jim is the chief of staff for Congressman Tim Huelskamp, who will speak at LI's Wednesday Wake-Up Club Breakfast on October 5. Please join conservatives and Institute supporters for breakfast with Congressman Huelskamp. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI Graduate of the Week and New Mexico Businesswoman Kelly Fajardo Says, “I don’t think I would have ever taken the step to run if not for LI.”
Lauren Hart
September 26, 2011
LI Graduate of the Week and New Mexico Businesswoman Kelly Fajardo Says, “I don’t think I would have ever taken the step to run if not for LI.”
Kelly Fajardo does it all. She is an entrepreneur, businesswoman, community blogger, mother of three, web designer, and now a candidate in New Mexico for county clerk in Valencia County. Born and raised in New Mexico, Kelly family moved to California with her family for high school. “But it wasn't too long before we moved back to New Mexico,” Kelly said. "New Mexico is my home!” Now Kelly is on the ballot for her local elections. “Running for office was never on the list of the things to do,” Kelly said. “I was helping a friend of mine during his 2010 campaign and several people asked when I was running. My answer was always, ‘Never, I'm a behind-the-scenes person.'” “I wanted to get involved in politics to make a difference and stand up for my conservative values,” Kelly explained. “The information, training, and skills I learned through LI helped me have the confidence to know that I can run a successful campaign.” Kelly credits LI training for getting her ready to run. “I don't think I would have ever taken the step to run if not for LI," she said. Kelly has attended six LI trainings. She first learned of the Institute in April 2010 when she traveled to the Steven P.J. Wood Building in Arlington, Virginia for the Campaign Manager School. “I attended Leadership Institute training because I wanted to get more involved in politics and had no idea where to start,” Kelly said. “A friend of mine heard about LI and was already planning on attending the week-long Campaign Management School, so I tagged along. It was a life-changing week!” “When you ask what I learned, I learned EVERYTHING," Kelly explained. "I was so new to politics, still am, and knew nothing. One of the things that stood out to me was that there was never a boring lecture. The speakers were so dynamic, so real, and I absorbed everything they said like a sponge. I left feeling confident that I could really help make a difference back home.” In August 2010, Kelly went online to TeaPartyTraining.org to receive additional LI-sponsored training. Then in December 2010, she attended the Youth Leadership School in Flagstaff, Arizona. When Institute training came to Rio Rancho, New Mexico, she was there for the Travel Campaign Management School -- both the regular class and the advanced workshop -- and, last month, in August 2011, she attended another Youth Leadership School in Albuquerque which New Mexico Lt. Governor Sanchez visited. Below: Lt. Governor Sanchez, Kelly, and other YLS graduates “lean right” in Albuquerque. “At the Youth Leadership School our instructor told us to attend every [political] meeting, ‘You never know what will happen,'" Kelly said. "I have taken his advice, and I can honestly say it has benefited me tremendously. I attend as many community events and meetings as I can. In order to have a ‘reason' to attend, I started writing my own blog. I did it for the benefit of one or two friends who wanted to know what was going on in the meetings, but the readership has grown." “I am still surprised when someone I don't know tells me how much they appreciate the blog,” Kelly said. “Not only has attending these meetings and writing about it helped me to stay on top of the pulse of the community, but I have met so many people and I've gained a great network of friends and business associates. I now tell people that 90% of getting involved in politics is just showing up!” What drives Kelly to be so engaged and active in public policy? “My ‘ministry' is the youth,” Kelly explains. “I served for years in youth ministry at our local church and in the last couple of years this has morphed into helping young people get more involved in politics. After all, it is their future we are spending.” When LI's Youth Leadership School came to Albuquerque, Kelly evenrecruited others to join her. “I had the privilege of being the point person in hosting a YLS in New Mexico,” Kelly says. “I encouraged everyone I knew to attend, and I have heard nothing but great feedback. I now have a whole new crop of young people trained and ready for 2012! It's great!” Married for 15 years to Larry Fajardo, Kelly and her husband have three boys. Kelly had worked for the family business in accounting, payroll, and billing. Her parents started the business more than 20 years ago "from nothing," Kelly remembered. But a year ago, a tragic fire destroyed the company; "there was no way to rebuild," she said. “Looking at the economy and knowing I had to do something for my family, I began my own business nine months ago," Kelly explained. "Having the experience of web design for the last 10 years, I started by own web design and social media consulting business [named KKF Media]. I love what I do." “I especially enjoy working with non-profits and campaigns,” Kelly said. “I teach organizations the benefits of social media and how to run successful campaigns using the social media tools available, including fundraising techniques.” New Mexico State Representative Alonzo Baldonado, aother LI graduate, used KKF Media for his successful campaign. “KKF Media was a game changer in our campaign," he said. "She was able to get our site up, running, and looking great. Now that we won our election, they were able to plug us into our voter base and keep us in front of the action.” Kelly is a strong advocate for LI training, recruiting students for upcoming schools and seminars. “I just happened to speak with a gentleman the other day who is considering a run for State Legislature. It is his first time being a candidate, and the first thing I told him was to attend LI's Campaign Manger School. I assured him the information and training would be the best investment he could ever make in his campaign. (Glad to say, he is registered for October).” You too can receive the “best investment in your campaign” by registering for LI's monthly campaign training. The next campaign training is next week--October 3-6. For more information and to register, please click here. To nominate someone for Leadership Institute Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Meet LI’s Fall Interns
Lauren Hart
September 21, 2011
Meet LI’s Fall Interns
September 21, 2011, Arlington, VA—The Leadership Institute has a tip-top class of fall interns this year. Obed Bazikian • Rutgers University • Weehawken, New Jersey • Youth Leadership School Obed Bazikian graduated from Rutgers University in 2010 with a degree in political science. He was a member of the College Republicans, an assistant in the ESL graduate program, and involved in the Rutgers Telefund. Obed also studied at the Christ For the Nations Institute in Dallas, where he served as a resident assistant. He volunteered on the Chris Christie gubernatorial campaign in New Jersey and interned for World Information Transfer, an NGO for which he served as a representative at many United Nations meetings. Obed has also done international relief work in both India and Mexico. 1. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? My duties as a Youth Leadership School Intern are to call potential school attendees for recruitment, gather and mail event materials, and enter information received from each YLS student into our databases. At the end of the internship, my project will be to organize and facilitate an entire school. This does not mean to teach every class for the school, but I will be responsible for all the planning and logistics for the event. 2. What are you most excited about in this internship? Being an intern for YLS is both challenging and exciting. I hit the ground running in the department and I had to learn a lot in a short amount of time. With that said, my supervisors are excellent at what they do, and it has been so helpful to learn from their demonstrated skills and experience. The skills I am learning at YLS are sharpening me to become more confident in myself and my God-given abilities. It is this aspect of my job that is exciting for me. 3. What are your future plans? My future plans are to serve on staff for a public official, work in the executive branch, and run for public office on a federal level. I would also seek to have more experience in International Relations; therefore a position in the state department for a time would be desired. Thomas Cloud • University of Washington • Gig Harbor, Washington • President's Office Thomas Cloud graduated from the University of Washington in June 2011 with a double major in economics and history. He was a regular contributor to his university newspaper, The Daily. He is now a contributing writer to NextGenJournal.com, where he writes editorials on politics, current events, and college life. Thomas also completed an internship at The Peninsula Gateway, his hometown newspaper. He served as a student assistant in the University of Washington's economics department. In 2011, Thomas was a finalist for the William F. Buckley Jr. Fellowship. He has been involved in Young Americans for Liberty and the Washington Policy Center. 1. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? Both Morton and Cathy are very busy, so I act as a sort of catchall for everyday odds and ends. I help process Adam Smith Tie orders, file, make sure the mail gets out on time, research, and keep the jelly bean jar full among other things. 2. What are you most excited about in this internship? Learning the ins and outs of maintaining and growing a successful conservative movement through LI's schools and my co-workers is both exciting and refreshing. 3. What are your future plans? My plans are always in flux but for now I am determined to write. Someday I hope to be a syndicated columnist writing on politics and whatever else piques my interest. Charles Creitz • Temple University • Schnecksville, Pennsylvania • LI Studios/Online Pr. Charles Creitz graduated from Temple University in May 2011 with a degree in broadcast journalism. He recently completed an internship with the Charles G. Koch Foundation, through which he was placed with the Leadership Institute's development department. He completed an internship in Philadelphia with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, where he aided in recruitment efforts, made phone calls, and went door-to-door for candidates. Charles is a city committeeman for the 20th Ward Republican City Committee of Philadelphia. In 2009, he volunteered in the office of Representative Gary Day. He is also an Eagle Scout. 1. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? I will edit and produce clips and larger projects for LI Studios using Final Cut and other programs. Additionally, I will write scripts, assist with technical production of webinars including prompter, key grip, and other important positions. 2. What are you most excited about in this internship? I am most excited about the possibility of honing skills and gaining experience through work and LI schools so that I can finally find a full time job in the conservative movement. 3. What are your future plans? Find a job. Then I can work on the more extensive plans. Mikayla Hall • University of Washington • Gig Harbor, Washington • Recruitment Mikayla Hall graduated from the University of Washington in June 2011 with a double major in political science and communication. She is the northwest regional director for Young Americans for Liberty, having previously served as the Washington state chair. While at the University of Washington, Mikayla was the College Republicans vice president, a public speaking and speechwriting tutor, and public relations advisor for the Invisible Children chapter. She has also served as the Washington State College Republican Federation's communications director and a youth mentor in the St. Joseph Youth Ministry program in her hometown. 1. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? My job duties are: running the Twitter account; strategizing more effective/efficient means of new media communication; data entry; and assisting in general outreach activities. 2. What are you most excited about in this internship? I am most excited about the opportunity to practice the communications skills I learned in college in a real workplace environment—and further the conservative movement in the process. 3. What are your future plans? My career goal as of now is to become a speech writer. Thus, I hope that post-internship I can find communications jobs that further allow me to hone in on my writing, editing and speaking skills. Laci Lawrence • Texas Tech University • Lubbock, Texas • Employ. Placement Services Laci Lawrence graduated from the Texas Tech University School of Law in 2011 with a biosecurity law certificate. While at Texas Tech, Laci was the student editor for the Journal of Biosecurity, Biosafety, and Biodefense Law. She was vice president of the Family Law Society, worked in the Legal Aid Clinic, and helped to bring Students for Life back to the Texas Tech campus. She was also a fellow at the Texas Tech Center for Biodefense, Law, and Public Policy. Laci earned a degree in sociology with an emphasis in criminal justice from Abilene Christian University. She has volunteered at the Regional Crime Victim Crisis Center and the Taylor County Child Advocacy Center in Abilene. 1. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? I will be helping with marketing ConservativeJobs.com to a broader audience, specifically college students around the U.S. who attend LI trainings and schools. Each day I help Andrea search for conservative jobs, post them to the website, and broadcast the newly-posted opportunities via Facebook and Twitter. 2. What are you most excited about in this internship? The most exciting part of this internship is living in D.C. and meeting new and interesting people. My dream was to work in D.C., so now I need to find a way to stay. 3. What are your future plans? My plans include working for a federal agency or think tank on national security issues and public policy. Frank Manning • University of Nottingham • London, England • Development Frank Manning graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in European politics. Frank is a researcher for Big Brother Watch, a civil liberties and privacy campaign think tank in London. He has been published in numerous media outlets including Conservative Home, The Commentator, the European Journal, and Wikiminster. After completing his degree, Frank spent a year as a trainee quantity surveyor with Ward Williams Associates in Cornwall. He then enrolled in a Spanish language school in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Upon his return, he worked at his family's hotel and restuarant. In October 2010, Frank spent two weeks in Westminster to gain a better understanding of Parliament. 1. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? I will be working with the Development team to learn as much as possible about donor relations, including direct mail, phone calls as well as face-to-face meetings. I also hope to ascertain whether the department may benefit from the expanded use of email marketing such as a weekly roundup of events for supporters of LI and easier online donations. Having used them for a campaign group that I previously worked for I think they could be very useful. 2. What are you most excited about in this internship? The opportunity to experience working for a hugely successful training organization in America will give me a fresh perspective on how to operate when back in the UK. Washington is also a fantastic city to live in and I hope to make excellent contacts for the future by networking at a number of events. 3. What are your future plans? After completing my internship I will return to England to work as the Campaigns Coordinator for the Young Britons' Foundation. I will utilize everything that I have learnt over the course of my three months in the Development department here at the Leadership Institute to expand the organization and attract more funding from conservative supporters in Britain. Eventually we hope to open a training center in the style of the Leadership Institute in London. Fredrick Mckinley • Belhaven University • Jackson, Mississippi • Political Training Fredrick Mckinley graduated from Belhaven University in April 2011 with a degree in history and a minor in political science. Since January 2011, he has served as an aide in the elections division for the office of Mississippi Secretary of State. He worked on the campaign to elect Jeff Weill as Circuit Court Judge. In this role, Fredrick communicated with the candidate about how to respond to the needs of the people in the West Jackson neighborhoods. He worked with youth groups in Mississippi and Alaska, where he developed curriculum, delivered speeches, and led programming. Fredrick also served as a runner for the Watkins, Ludlam, Winter, & Stennis law firm and worked at Lifeway Christian Bookstore. 1. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? My duties include assisting in the planning and implementation of Political Training Schools like the Campaign Management, Future Candidate, Online Activist, and Conservative Career Schools. I assist with the closing of schools through data entry and reports for evaluations and blue sheets. 2. What are you most excited about in this internship? I am most excited about this internship through growing professionally, developing new relationships, and learning more about the conservative movement. 3. What are your future plans? My future plans are to find a job in political training or grassroots organization. Angela Mitchell • Liberty University • Hedgesville, West Virginia • Events Angela Mitchell graduated in May 2011 from Liberty University with a degree in history. She was a member of College Republicans, where she worked with local campaigns and voting polls. She also served as a campus liaison for Concerned Women for America, informing women on campus about public policy issues and ways to get involved, and promoting CWA events. Angela has extensive experience in customer service, having worked in telecommunication at In-Service America and catering and marketing at Chick-fil-A. 1. What are your job duties within your department and what projects will you be working on this semester? Throughout the semester I will be working on preparing LI offices and guests for the Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfasts, the staff Christmas Party, and prep work for each of the upcoming schools. 2. What are you most excited about in this internship? I am mostly excited for the experience I will learn at LI. I believe it is invaluable to whatever my future career may be! Not only am I excited about the positive, conservative work environment, but also the amazing opportunities and events that we as interns are able to attend. I am blessed, and excited at the thought of all that I am able to learn about the conservative movement as a whole throughout the course of my internship, and working with those at LI. 3. What are your future plans? Although I am still forming a clear plan on what I would like to do, my future plans are definitely to establish myself with the non-profit sector. I love what I am doing at LI with events and working with the public, and would love to achieve success in event planning and/or possibly work in development. Please welcome each LI intern! Please click here for information on LI's intern program.
Florida GOP Political Director is LI Graduate of the Week
Lauren Hart
September 19, 2011
Florida GOP Political Director is LI Graduate of the Week
September 19, 2011, Arlington, VA—Meet Brian Swensen. He is the political director for the Republican Party of Florida. Brian is this week's LI Graduate of the Week. He manages the 2012 grassroots and field operation for the state. “I also am in charge of managing the delegates and guests for Florida's straw poll, Presidency 5, which will be held this week. Prior to that, I was the 2010 Victory Director for Governor Rick Scott. I managed his statewide field operation of 16 offices and more than 200 staff,” Brian said. Brian is no stranger to LI training. He has attended six: Grassroots Get-Out-The-Vote Workshop in October 2008; Public Speaking Workshop 2 in July 2008; Public Speaking Workshop in July 2008; Campaign Manager School in December 2007; the High Dollar Fundraising School in September of 2007; and the Field Program's Youth Leadership School in August 2007. “I had not yet managed a campaign when I took these schools and since then, I have managed three,” Brian said. “When I got involved in the campaigns I hit the ground running and knew what I was doing in part because of my training from LI,” Brian said. “The schools I got the most out of were the Youth Leadership School and Campaign Manager School. I have been able to utilize many of the diverse topics I have learned from LI and put them to use.” How has LI training helped Brian be more effective in Florida politics? “I learned how to effectively build and mobilize a grassroots operation. In addition, I learned how to effectively care for and manage volunteers,” Brian said. “Some of the best stuff I learned which I applied in Governor Scott's election were some of the basics people overlook, such as: room size in comparison to crowd size; how to make a crowd look more alive and fun then it may actually look; and manage a true grassroots staff from door to door, to phone banking, and GOTV.” Originally born in Yonkers, New York, Brian lived in St. Croix, Virgin Islands and Middletown, New Jersey. He moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1997 and attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Later, he attended Florida International University (FIU) where he was heavily involved in Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and student government while working toward his public administration degree. After college he moved to Arlington, Virginia and worked at LI for 1.5 years. Since then he has lived in several places in Florida and is now residing in Tallahassee. Brian continues to spur on the conservative movement through teaching as a distinguished faculty member for LI at more than 55 trainings (Youth Leadership School, Student Publications Workshops, and others) around the country. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with other young conservatives. This week LI will travel down to the Sunshine State for the American Conservative Union's CPAC-FL conference to train more conservatives in grassroots activism. Please stop by our booth Friday to say hello and make sure to attend at least one of our three afternoon trainings. CPAC-Fl is being held in the South Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center. The address is 9899 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. See you there! To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate for LI Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI Graduate of the Week Jake Frank: No Ordinary High School Student
Lauren Hart
September 12, 2011
LI Graduate of the Week Jake Frank: No Ordinary High School Student
Jake Frank is no ordinary high school student. Along with his busy schedule of class, studying, and extracircular activities, Jake interns for Assemblyman Paul Cook (CA-65). Jake attends Yucca Valley High School where he is active in the Leadership (ASB) class. Through this class he met Mariya Swella, sister to Meghan Swella, LI's Youth Leadership School Coordinator. Mariya encouraged Jake to attend LI's Youth Leadership School (YLS), and he did in September 2010 when the YLS came to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. “The training I received at the Youth Leadership School taught me how to run youth-oriented campaigns on college campuses. I applied a scaled-down version of the election strategies to my school elections. The Youth Leadership School gave me an insight into politics that most 17-year olds do not understand, allowing me an advantage,” Jake said. After LI training, Jake decided he wanted to increase his political activism. “After attending [the YLS], I resolved to become more involved in government," Jake said. "I began asking various people I knew who were already involved where I should start. From there I received an application from Assemblyman Cook's Field Representative Dawn Rowe and applied for the internship." The YLS “taught me different ways of looking at problems, helping me become more creative when it comes to getting my foot in the door," Jake explained. "I have applied the techniques I was taught to write my intern application and to fulfill reports.” As an intern, Jake is responsible for representing and staffing the assemblyman at community events. “The tasks I am called on to complete usually take place around the community here in California's Morongo Basin," Jake said. "Most of my projects have been public-appearance oriented. When the assemblymen and his field representative cannot be present at a function in our area I am called on to attend.” If you would like to learn how to be an effective youth activist like Jake, please contact YLS Coordinator Meghan Swella at MSwella@LImail.us. Also visit LI's training schedule to know when LI training is coming to your area. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the weke, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI’s Graduate of the Week Cindy Chafian Gives Voice to Concerned Moms
Lauren Hart
September 6, 2011
LI’s Graduate of the Week Cindy Chafian Gives Voice to Concerned Moms
September 6, 2011, Arlington, VA—Almost every interest group is represented by a PAC or lobbying group, so why shouldn't mothers have such a group? Leadership Institute Graduate of the Week Cindy Chafian has made it her mission to support fellow mothers through her new nonprofit—The Mommy Lobby—which raises awareness and advocates for issues conservative moms feel every day. A native of Southern California, Cindy and her Navy officer husband moved to Virginia 12 years ago. “For the past 15 years I have been a stay-at-home mom. The demands of doing just that hindered my ability to really get involved with what was happening in politics,” Cindy said. “I was so busy taking care of my kids that I simply didn't have much left over at the end of the day.” “At the end of the Bush Term, I really began to get concerned with what was happening and since my children were slightly older, I was able to start researching, reading, and getting more involved,” Cindy said. “After working with a couple of conservative activist groups, I did not feel like they were reaching the ‘mom demographic.' I felt like I knew what my calling was and The Mommy Lobby was born.” Enter the Leadership Institute. “Not having a background in politics,” Cindy says, “I turned to the one place I felt could best equip me for working within the field I was venturing into. The Leadership Institute provides amazing training courses, and while I am not done learning, I am far more knowledgeable now than I was before taking the courses.” Cindy has taken six LI trainings this year: Online Fundraising Workshop; Youth Leadership School; Public Speaking Workshop; Public Relations School; Advanced Public Speaking Workshop; and Grassroots Campaign School. Cindy goes on: “Anytime I suggest LI to anyone, I always tell them this is an invaluable training organization that supports the goals of the conservative movement. In a world where it feels like everyone around you is far-left liberal, it's wonderful to be around those who share your values and vision for the country we are all so blessed to live in. I look forward to enrolling in more LI courses to help guide me.” The Mommy Lobby is “a political/social advocacy group with the goal to engage, inform, and activate everyday moms to get involved and take the collective voice of the American family to those who make the decisions for our children's future.” For more information on this group, please go to their website www.themommylobby.org If you would like to learn how you can start an effective campus group, lobbying group, or other political groups, visit LI's upcoming training schedule. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate for LI Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI’s Graduate of the Week is Honorable Brenda Stedham
Lauren Hart
August 29, 2011
LI’s Graduate of the Week is Honorable Brenda Stedham
August 29, Arlington, VA—For Brenda Stedham her life-long dream was to hold public office. She made that dream a reality in 2008 when she was elected as the Presiding Circuit Judge in the Family Court Division of the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Alabama. As Brenda's youngest daughter approached the end of high school, Brenda seized the opportunity and reached for her dream. “One of the people I met as I began considering my political future was Vicki Bailey, a campaign consultant, who felt strongly that I attend the LI's week-long candidate training,” Brenda said. Vicki is also a LI graduate, having attended six trainings. Brenda goes on, “I applied, was accepted, and was glad for the opportunity to go to the Leadership Institute.” Brenda made the trek to Arlington, Virginia for LI's Future Candidate School the week of July 23, 2007. In addition to LI's Future Candidate School, Brenda attended LI's Grassroots Campaign School the month prior. “The training I received that week was amazing! I learned how to prepare a campaign budget, how to organize a finance committee, how to do grassroots campaigning, how to work with the media, and how to present myself in a way that would be successful,” Brenda said. Brenda began her activism right away by getting involved with the local and statewide political scene. She founded the Cheaha Republican Women's club where she served as the first president and represented the club at the statewide meetings at both the Alabama Federation of Republican Women and the Alabama Republican Party. “I also became an active member of the Calhoun County Republican Executive Committee,” Brenda remarks, “making even more connections. Because of the connections I made with the AFRW and the Calhoun County Republican Executive Committee, in 2008 the State Republican Chair, Mike Hubbard, appointed me to serve as a member of the State Republican Executive Committee!” Brenda continues: “When the Republican nomination for Calhoun County Family Court became open in the summer of 2008, I was ready to apply. I was able to prepare an impressive resume, listing my training with the Leadership Institute as well as the other political activities that I had been involved with as the direct result of my training at LI.” Brenda is now more than half way through her third year as Presiding Circuit Judge. She says, “I handle cases from Calhoun and Cleburne Counties, which are both in the State's Seventh Judicial Circuit. Caseload includes divorces, divorce modifications, delinquency and dependency cases, adult abuse and neglect, and protection from abuse cases.” Brenda received her B.A. in political science from Birmingham—Southern Alabama, graduating cum laude. She went straight on to earn her J.D. from the University of Alabama, where she was on the editorial board for the Law & Psychology Review. Previously, she was an attorney-at-law and solo practitioner from 2001-2009. She was also a staff parish committee member for the Anniston First United Methodist Church. Brenda encourages candidates and staff to attend LI training: “I would strongly recommend that anyone who is considering a political campaign, whether at the local, state, or national level, sign up for LI training immediately. It prepares candidates the right way to organize a campaign and avoid many of the pitfalls that can doom a campaign.” Interested in getting political training like Brenda? Visit our website for a list of our upcoming trainings. The Leadership Institute welcomes Honorable Judge Brenda Stedham as LI Graduate of the Week! To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate for LI Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Graduate of the Week: Judge Jim Richard, Defending the Constitution in Court
Lauren Hart and Mariya Swella
August 22, 2011
Graduate of the Week: Judge Jim Richard, Defending the Constitution in Court
August 22, 2011, Arlington, VA--As more and more courtrooms across the country “legislate from the bench” and infiltrate a largely liberal bias into the court systems, it's a good thing we have justices like Honorable Jim Richard who uphold the Constitution and defend liberty. Leadership Institute Graduate of the Week is awarded to Judge Jim Richard, who serves the Justice Court, Pct 4, of Fort Bend County, Texas, and receives between 7,000 - 12,000 cases per year. Jim's “court resolves civil cases, eviction cases, small claims cases, misdemeanor class C cases, traffic citations and juvenile cases. Additionally, I handle emergency mental commitments, request for arrest warrants, magistrations and inquests. I also receive a few other types of cases,” Jim said. “I like to tell people that I do what the other courts don't want to handle.” Jim has stood four elections and is currently serving the first year of his fourth term in office. “LI training taught me to develop a plan and to work the plan. I am on that journey,” Jim said regarding his next election coming up in the March 2014 Republican primary. Jim graduated from LI's Campaign School (level 2) in 2009. “The training taught me to focus on a process,” Jim said. “Since the course, I have already produced the first draft of a campaign plan and a plan I call a preliminary voter contact plan.” As a native born Texan, Jim received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his law degree from the University of Houston. He served as a prosecutor for 10 years and served in the Army for 20 years, six of which were active duty. He was a JAGC prosecutor and magistrate from 1988 until 2008. He served two overseas tours of duty and spent 14 years in the reserves. One of Jim's proudest contributions was “In 1998, when I wrote a law that allows state funded women's shelters to collect from batterers in domestic violence cases. I submitted that law to a State Representative that carried the bill,” Jim said. “I went to the legislative session in 1999 and testified in support of that bill. Then, Governor George W. Bush signed the bill into law.” Jim goes onto report, “Since the [LI ] course, I have joined the American Legion and become a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I have accumulated 900-plus facebook friends and have performed 16 live auctions as auctioneer for non-profit charities.” For the past six years, Jim has served on the board of directors for the Fort Bend County Women's Center and currently serves on the advisory board. He serves on “all Fort Bend charities and non-profits as an auctioneer for their live auction fundraisers,” Jim said. When asked how he would describe LI training to others, he responded with one simple word: “Essential!” The training is so essential that Jim has decided to return to LI for more as he gears up for his next campaign. “I intend to take another LI course in two years to re-sharpen my focus and learn any updated information.” For his dedication to upholding the Constitution, we welcome Judge Jim Richard as this week's LI Grad of the Week. If you would like to attend LI trainings like Jim Richard, visit our website for a list of upcoming trainings. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know for Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
What former LI intern was on USA Today, the Drudge Report, and Rush Limbaugh today?
Lauren Hart
August 16, 2011
What former LI intern was on USA Today, the Drudge Report, and Rush Limbaugh today?
Today Ryan Rhodes, an LI graduate and former intern, found himself at the center of national media attention. On Monday, August 15, at an Iowa town hall, Ryan asked President Barack Obama how he could call for more civility when -- as Ryan said -- "your vice president is calling people like me, a tea party member, a 'terrorist.'” (Watch Ryan's full conversation with President Obama online.) Within a day, Ryan was interviewed by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and others. His story was in USA Today, on the Drudge Report, and in other media outlets across the country. Live on air with Rush on Tuesday, Ryan told listeners, "I was trained at a great place called the Leadership Institute, and I was Morton Blackwell's intern. He helped me with the tools to get out and make a difference and be able to get active in this and I'm doing the best I can to use them." Rush's response was simple: "You worked there with a great guy, Morton Blackwell." (Listen to Rush's full interview of Ryan Rhodes online.) Ryan's first training was a May 2007 Student Publications School, which teaches students how to publish independent campus publications. Months later, Ryan traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada for a Youth Leadership School, LI's flagship training, which he finished as a top graduate. In spring 2008, Ryan interned for LI. At the Institute, he took as many trainings as he could -- 13 in total. The schools ranged from LI's Campaign Management and Future Candidate Schools to its Blogging and Public Speaking Workshops to all levels of its Television Workshops. When he returned to Iowa, his home state, Ryan ran for office. He lost the race, but not his drive to be a conservative leader. Using techniques learned at LI, Ryan organized a 4,500-person Tax Day Tea Party and a 3,000-person Independence Day rally in Iowa. In summer 2009, he organized thousands of Iowans to attend Sen. Charles Grassley's town hall meetings. Sen. Grassley summarily withdrew from healthcare negotiations with the White House. The success was noted in Iowa and in DC. Washington Post called Ryan "the leader of the tea party movement in Iowa." This past summer, Ryan served as chairman of the Iowa Tea Party Bus Tour, co-sponsored by LI. The bus stopped at 17 Iowa locations to train more than 600 activists in the caucus process. Ryan now trains for the Institute too. He's an LI faculty member at grassroots activist schools, passing on the knowledge he once learned at the Institute to other conservatives. After Ryan appeared on Rush Limbaugh's show, he emailed Morton Blackwell, LI's president, a short note: "I can't forget who gave me the tools and Rush Limbaugh sang your praises as well. Keep up the great work at LI. We can't save our country without the Leadership Institute." Learn more about Leadership Institute training. Review LI's 2011 training calendar online or contact Lauren Hart to learn more.
FreedomWorks’ Brendan Steinhauser is LI Grad of the Week
Lauren Hart
August 15, 2011
FreedomWorks’ Brendan Steinhauser is LI Grad of the Week
August 15, 2011, Arlington, VA—While Americans are fed up with high taxes, government control, and personal freedom restrictions, they often times, do nothing except complain. However, Brendan Steinhauser is an exception. He is a constant voice advocating for liberty through action. Brendan currently works as the Federal and State Campaigns Director for FreedomWorks, an organization that “recruits, educates, trains and mobilizes millions of volunteer activists to fight for less government, lower taxes, and more freedom.” He spends most of his time organizing their 1.2 million grassroots members around the country to fight for less government control and more freedom. Brendan attended the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School (YLS) in 2005 before joining FreedomWorks. He had the opportunity to learn from the LI's President Morton Blackwell during the school. “I learned a ton from Morton that weekend about organizing and I still use many of the lessons from the YLS in my activism today. I found Morton to be very encouraging, and genuinely interested in the students that were at the boot camp.” “I think the most important thing I learned at the YLS,” Brendan says, “was that campaigns need to be organized early and systematically planned in advance to be effective.” The use of YLS tactics didn't stop there! Not only does Brendan apply these lessons at FreedomWorks, but he has served nine times as a guest faculty member for LI at various Youth Leadership Schools across the country. “LI training is the best in the business when it comes to youth politics. One of the first things I look for in our interns or potential new hires is whether they have attended LI schools, especially the YLS.” Originally from Flatonia, Texas, Brendan studied International Relations and American and European History, graduating from The University of Texas at Austin in 2004. He was very active there, helping rebuild the UT chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas. He founded Students for American Values and co-founded Students for a Colorblind America at UT, and was subsequently awarded the Free Republic Collegiate Eagle Award. Brendan also wrote a book, The Conservative Revolution: How to Win the Battle for College Campuses, which is a student activism guide. Brendan's blog -- http://theconservativerevolution.com -- focuses on his “wanderings around the country in defense of freedom” and “chronicles my journeys through the country, meeting people, organizing events and campaigns, and having a blast while getting paid a living wage.” For Brendan's commitment and dedication to liberty, we welcome him as our Graduate of the Week. Are you interested in attending a YLS and learning how to run a successful youth campaign like Brendan? Check out our schedule of upcoming YLS trainings! Our next school in our Arlington, VA building is August 22-23, details below. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know for Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI Grad of the Week: President of New Mexico think tank
Lauren Hart and Mariya Swella
August 8, 2011
LI Grad of the Week: President of New Mexico think tank
August 8, 2011, Arlington, VA—Paul Gessing, president of New Mexico's free market think tank—the Rio Grande Foundation—is the Leadership Institute's Graduate of the Week. “LI has been a big part of my success within the free market/conservative movement,” Rio Grande Foundation President Paul Gessing said. “LI gives some of the best training in politics, public policy, and campaigns of anyone (regardless of ideology) in the nation.” The Rio Grande Foundation is “a research institute dedicated to increasing liberty and prosperity for all of New Mexico's citizens. We do this by informing New Mexicans of the importance of individual freedom, limited government, and economic opportunity,” their website says. A native from Ohio, Paul moved to the Washington, D.C. area to work in public policy in 1997. He recalls, “I was a liberal when I came to DC, but through self-reflection and a lucky connection with a Ron Paul staffer, [I] became much more liberty-minded.” Paul spent most of his professional career in DC working in government affairs at the National Taxpayers Union; however, after 8.5 years in DC he was ready to move on. “There happened to be a think tank leadership opening in New Mexico, which I took since I had significant family in the Albuquerque area,” Paul said. Paul has attended 6 trainings at the Leadership Institute. They include: Internet Activist Workshop; On-Camera Television Workshop; Public Speaking Workshop 2; Public Speaking Workshop; Grassroots Communications Workshop; and another Public Speaking Workshop in 2004. When asked how LI trainings have helped him, Paul said, “I've always been a good writer and have never struggled putting ideas on paper, but public speaking and on-camera speaking were never my strengths. I learned how to be much more poised and use [LI] techniques to make my points stronger. These techniques helped me interview for my current job and help me very day as I attempt to communicate the message of liberty to a New Mexico audience.” “The Leadership Institute is the granddaddy of conservative training organizations,” Paul said. “If you ever want to run for office, work for a political campaign, volunteer for a candidate, or want to maximize your effectiveness in working with a political party, be sure to attend [one of their trainings].” We welcome Paul Gessing as LI's Grad of the Week! Thank you for all you do to defend liberty in New Mexico. If you would like to learn public speaking and TV techniques like Paul, visit our schedule of upcoming trainings. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know for Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
South Carolina State Representative Bill Taylor: “My campaign success was fueled by enrolling in LI’s Future Candidate School”
Lauren Hart
August 1, 2011
South Carolina State Representative Bill Taylor: “My campaign success was fueled by enrolling in LI’s Future Candidate School”
August 1, 2011—Arlington, VA— Bill Taylor was never driven to run for public office. He does admit to having a keen interest in politics since his youngest days as a television news reporter. But it wasn't until he put his 40-plus year media career behind him that he discovered a true desire for public service. He credits the Leadership Institute to helping him make his full commitment to the political process. “I've always viewed life as a glorious adventure where opportunities are seized,” Bill said. “I've never felt like I worked a day in my life because I've always chosen to do what I love. Therefore, work was never drudgery; it was an exhilarating challenge.” Bill spent the first decade of his broadcasting career as a TV news reporter, producer, news director and anchorman. He covered anti-war protests and the civil rights tumult of the 60's and even interviewed Martin Luther King. He admits to being most fascinated by various politicians having had the opportunity to cover President Johnson and President Nixon and interview Hubert Humphrey in the back seat of his limo on the campaign trail. Most memorable was the 70th birthday of famed Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen. Bill went to Dirksen's home in Pekin, Illinois, where the Senator played his piano and sang for Bill on camera. For more than three decades, Bill was a media consultant. He was co-founder and CEO of media research and consulting firms based in Dallas, Los Angeles, and London. As a news consultant, he worked to maintain his political neutrality saying, “It was right and proper; I only wish fairness existed into today's media.” Bill did serve George H.W. Bush's White House as a consultant in 1991-92, but his focus was not political. He helped develop the President's Points of Light initiative which honored volunteerism. After retiring from consulting, Bill says his personal, political road trip began in January 2009 with the initial inkling he might run for the South Carolina General Assembly. Bill says, “It was an itch that needed scratching and like many conservatives I was troubled by what I saw coming from President Obama and the Democrats running Congress. It was not ‘Change' I believed in.” Bill spent the next seven months carefully considering his options and opportunities. Enter the Leadership Institute. “My campaign success was fueled by our enrolling in LI's Future Candidate's School; it was a most valuable experience. It's essential to be as knowledgeable as possible and prepared for the twists and turns of a political campaign. LI smoothed our political road to success. For that we are most thankful,” Bill says. A pivotal moment came in August 2009 when the political road led Bill and his wife, Donna, to LI's headquarters in Arlington, VA. Bill says, “My wife and I enrolled in LI's Future Candidate School. We weren't certain what to expect, but we knew we were in this political thing together as we have been during every major endeavor in our forty years of marriage. We weren't disappointed!” “We were well fed by LI, but the real nourishment came in the many hours we spent in the classroom listening and learning from the knowledgeable political experts from both inside LI and the outsiders brought in to stoke us with their knowledge and expertise,” Bill recounted. A strong family man, Bill told his adult children about the decision to run for office in October of 2009. He officially announced his candidacy in January 2010. Applying LI tactics, Bill and his wife formed a campaign team, equipped with a full-time campaign manager, volunteers and a seasoned political consultant. They canvassed door-to-door for nearly three months, walking most neighborhoods in his large House district. “I learned at LI that retail politics is essential; looking voters in the eye, discussing issues important to them, and asking for their vote is how one gets elected,” Bill said. “Besides, I found canvassing exhilarating and I couldn't wait to knock on doors most evenings.” “It paid off; we found success in the June 2010 primary election. With the help of many, I defeated the 8 year incumbent 57% to 43%. He was the establishment candidate who had lived in Aiken County all his life. I was the outsider having moved to South Carolina less than a decade ago,” Bill says. “I was endorsed by the three Aiken County Tea Parties. He was backed by the establishment. I was seen by many as bold, fresh, and accessible,” Bill says in looking back. Bill implemented the tactics and strategies from the LI's Future Candidate School on his campaign and found victory. For this, we welcome State Representative Bill Taylor as LI's Graduate of the Week. If you are considering running for office, come to LI's Future Candidate School next week. Learn more and register here. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know for Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI Graduate of the Week: Annette James, campaign manager for Virginia House of Delegates Candidate Mike Watson
Lauren Hart and Mariya Swella
July 25, 2011
LI Graduate of the Week: Annette James, campaign manager for Virginia House of Delegates Candidate Mike Watson
v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} Normal 0 false false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:.5in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} The Leadership Institute's featured graduate of the week is Annette James, who works as the campaign manager for Virginia House of Delegates Candidate Mike Watson in the Williamsburg, Virginia area. The two met each other at LI's Campaign Manager School in December 2010 and decided to team up for Mike's campaign. “LI is one of the best things that you can do if you are interested in politics,” Annette said. “The amount of information you receive is a bit like ‘drinking from a fire hose.'" She continued, "The experience at LI was amazing. Not only did I learn more than I could retain, I was thrilled to spend the entire week around people who were proud to wear the political junkie label, as was I. It was an entire room full of people that you could relate to and share stories with. "One of those people was Mike Watson. The first time we had a chance to talk I thought, ‘This guy should run for office.' When I asked him if he had considered it, he said he had, but it was not time yet. "Over the next couple of months Mike and I stayed in touch, bemoaning Washington politics and speculating on the upcoming 2012 presidential candidates. When redistricting put Mike into an unexpected district, it was a natural move for him to file the paperwork and run for office, as his heart was already in it. “Because Mike felt comfortable with my background,” Annette said, “and the common ground we had from LI, he made me an offer to join the campaign as his campaign manager.” Annette, from Florida, moved to Virginia to campaign for Mike. She's prepared to manage his campaign thanks to Institute training. Annette has attended five trainings at the Leadership Institute varying from the Event Planning Workshop, the Travel Campaign Management School, the Public Speaking Workshop, the Youth Leadership School, and the Campaign Management School. “Of course," Annette said, "for obvious reasons, the part of LI that I value the most is the networking. You will never find a whole room of people more similar to you in their political drive than at LI." To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI Grad of the Week: Senator Jim DeMint’s Senior Communications Advisor & Speechwriter Amanda Carpenter
Lauren Hart
July 18, 2011
LI Grad of the Week: Senator Jim DeMint’s Senior Communications Advisor & Speechwriter Amanda Carpenter
July 18, 2011, Arlington, VA--Amanda Carpenter, in her mid-twenties, has accomplished more professionally than many do in a lifetime. Now, as the senior communications advisor & speechwriter to Senator Jim DeMint, she continues to write regularly as she prepares the senator's speeches. “Without the Leadership Institute, I may have never gotten involved in the conservative movement,” Amanda says. “I came to a workshop on a whim, hoping to meet some people who were as interested in reading and writing about politics like I was.” The first Leadership Institute (LI) training Amanda attended was a Student Publications Workshop in July of 2004. Since then, she has attended 10 trainings at LI. “I was told I should start a website and start pushing my ideas out to my college campus! I met all kinds of other students who were running their own media publications on campus. They made it look easy. So, I went for it. “One thing led to another. The news stories I was writing about on wasteful spending at my college caught the eye of professors and local media. I got the bug and then desperately wanted to come to Washington to write about wasteful spending in the government. “The Leadership Institute gave me an internship that allowed me to make the move and generate some writing samples that helped me get in the door to my very first job as a Capitol Hill reporter for the leading conservative weekly magazine Human Events.” Amanda then on to work for Townhall and the Washington Times. “I've had dream jobs—blogging, reporting, and discussing my pieces on radio and TV. Now, I'm a speechwriter and communications advisor for Senator Jim DeMint. And, all the credit goes to the Leadership Institute. I can't thank Morton Blackwell enough.” Amanda has made a difference on her college campus for the conservative cause and now is making a splash on Capitol Hill in the Senate. We welcome Amanda as LI's Grad of the Week! Amanda will be one of several notable faculty at LI's Written Communications Workshop tomorrow and Wednesday evening. Act today! Register for your spot now. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:.5in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know for Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI’s Youth Leadership School Last Weekend—“Encouraging, enlightening, and excellent”
Noelle Huffman and Lauren Hart
July 15, 2011
LI’s Youth Leadership School Last Weekend—“Encouraging, enlightening, and excellent”
Each summer hundreds of competing weekend events and excursions fill the time of DC students and interns. Instead of hitting the beach, an amusement park, or one of the many local DC attractions, 129 conservative students spent two full days and nights learning how to become more effective conservative activists at the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School. Leah Courtney of the University of West Florida said, “You learn more in two days than in the four years it takes to get a political science degree.” Students representing 74 colleges, 30 states, 20 Capitol Hill offices, 19 conservative organizations, and four countries heard from excellent speakers, networked with their classmates, earned a pile of conservative books and literature, and most importantly, left with the tools needed to advance their values. The Youth Leadership School is a two-day, intensive training designed to teach young conservatives how to effectively organize young people for conservative candidates and causes. Students gained a wealth of information that prepared them for leadership, building an organization, handling media and public relations, holding mock elections, and staging a candidate's campus visit. San Jose State University student Nithin Mathew founded a conservative group on his campus and said, “If you are serious about being effective on campaigns or college groups, LI is the boot camp to attend.” In addition to hearing from experts, students engaged in various exercises to implement some of the newly learned techniques. One exercise placed students in a hypothetical crises situation and encouraged them to work with each other on composing a political strategy in a brief amount of time. “I plan on implementing the strategies I learned at LI the next time I work on a campaign,” explained Alicia Powe, a former student at John Jay College and founder of a conservative college club. “I would describe [the training] as a political boot camp worth every moment. It helps you build skills that you can take with you no matter what profession you are in.” James Sturch, a student at University of Arkansas - Little Rock, described the training as, "The best training I've ever had- encouraging, enlightening, and excellent." LI hosts more than 30 Youth Leadership Schools throughout the country each year. If you would like to organize a Youth Leadership School on your campus, please contact LI's Youth Leadership School Director Kent Strang.
LI Graduate of the Week—Illinois State Representative Campaign Manager Drew Veeneman
Lauren Hart
July 11, 2011
LI Graduate of the Week—Illinois State Representative Campaign Manager Drew Veeneman
We've all heard the old adage that everyone is at most just “6 degrees of seperation” apart from others. This is all too true for Illinois State Representative Tom Morrison and his Campaign Manager Drew Veeneman. Drew and Tom first met in 2005 at the Leadership Institute's Public Relations School in Arlington, VA. Tom recounts, “I was a future candidate who needed a manager and vice versa. Of course, when we found out that we were both from Illinois we knew that we should team up.” “Thanks to training at the Leadership Institute, my campaign manager and I beat an incumbent Illinois state representative in the primary, and we went on to win in the general election by 24%,” Tom said. “We were outspent in both elections nearly 2-1. Thank you for all of your good work. I've told dozens of people about your outstanding programs, and that you all were the key to my success.” Tom's first class was a Grassroots Workshop that the Leadership Institute hosted in Chicago, Illinois – not far from Tom's hometown of Palatine. A few months later, he came for more training: the Public Relations School, where he met Drew, the Campaign Management School and the Future Candidate School. Drew has attended four LI trainings: Campaign Leadership School, Grassroots Activist School, Public Relations School, and Youth Leadership School. Tom said that Drew, his campaign manager, is a “brilliant political consultant who had to work through Christmas to win the February primary.” Drew is LI's Grad of the Week, and currently works as a political consultant in Illinois “with a strong emphasis on media.” He has also started a video blog called Political Mechanics. Drew said that Tom's “campaign provides some much needed inspiration for conservative candidates in Illinois. Beneath the congressional surface, politics is very tough here in Illinois.” Tom is not your typical “Good ol' boys club” politician. He developed his strong work ethic from a young age by lifeguarding like his role model President Ronald Reagan. Tom attended Hillsdale College where he graduated with a bachelor's degree and pursued a career in broadcast media in Iowa; however, he quickly realized his heart's desire lied elsewhere – in Illinois. Tom taught fifth grade for six years at the Christian Liberty Academy. Tom's entrepreneurial spirit surfaced, and he and his brother entered a SERVPRO franchise, a disaster cleanup and relief company. Tom publicly declared his candidacy for Illinois state representative in September 2009, realizing he could make a difference in his state, and because of his diverse background, he knew he could apply his experience in the state legislature. Tom and Drew are both notable grads because they took their life experiences and applied them to public service. Conservatives are more closely connected than the “6 degrees of separation” and can certainly be acquainted with one another at training grounds like the Leadership Institute. If you are seeking great conservative connections, get plugged into LI's network through our trainings, campus programs, and through ConservativeJobs.com. For more information on LI's Grad of the Week Drew Veeneman, please visit his website. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know for Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Graduate of the Week: Raymond Johnson, a Political Newcomer’s Path to Victory
Lauren Hart and Mariya Swella
July 5, 2011
Graduate of the Week: Raymond Johnson, a Political Newcomer’s Path to Victory
July 5, 2011, Arlington, VA— Despite having no political family connections or a deep-pocket money purse, Raymond Johnson has shaped political campaigns in Northeast Florida in a very tangible way. He started Campaign Consulting Enterprises, LLC, a company that seeks to place Christian conservatives in public office, and has launched Biblical Concepts Ministries, a non-profit Christian ministry that teaches Biblical concepts of government in church and political groups nationally. Raymond also serves as the Northeast Florida chairman of United Christians of Florida, a statewide PAC. Raymond, like many other Americans, got involved in politics during the transition from the Bush Administration to the Obama Administration. Raymond recalls, “As a conservative Christian I saw the need to involve more Christians in the process and elect Christians to office.” Since completing the Leadership Institute's Campaign Manager School in 2008, he has won 4 of 7 campaigns he's worked on. Raymond worked on Matt Schellenberg's campaign for city council district 6 in Jacksonville, FL and says, “I credit LI for teaching me the needed skills applied to defeat our sitting city council president here in Jacksonville, FL.” Mr. Schellenberg ran against the incumbent city council president Jack Webb and won by a 6-point margin with just a difference of 1,005 votes. “I assumed the role of field and faith-based director for Schellenberg's campaign and applied some unique strategies, some of which I learned from LI [at their Grassroots Activist School in December 2009].” Raymond says, “During this campaign I actually experienced a situation discussed at LI. The campaign coordinator of our opponent—council president Jack Webb—was caught in the act of stealing our commercial campaign signs and dumping them in a retention pond. I was able to draw from the LI school as I knew catching a suspect and getting media coverage was a must.” “I was able to find a witness, get the witness to file a witness statement in addition to the police report, and get the witness to tell his story to the media. We had several stories aired and one written,” Raymond said. Raymond prides himself on assisting conservative Christian candidates. He works a faith-based outreach campaign that allows him to reach out to churches and Christians in the state of Florida to endorse these candidates. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know for Graduate of the Week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.
Graduate of the Week—Aspiring Politico Hilary Ranieri
Noelle Huffman
June 27, 2011
Graduate of the Week—Aspiring Politico Hilary Ranieri
June 27, 2011, Arlington, VA— For college senior Hilary Ranieri, the high school debate team sparked more than just an increased interest in politics. It launched a young career in politics. Hilary first learned of the Leadership Institute when she attended the Youth Leadership Training Conference the summer after her junior year of high school. “I just loved being in Washington, D.C., speaking with and listening to members of Congress, participating in a mock Senate, and learning more about the political arena,” she explained. The conference piqued Hilary's interest in politics, law, and the media, which led her to intern for law firms, the American Association of Christian Schools, and Senator Jim DeMint (SC), by whom she is currently employed. When Hilary learned of LI's June Public Relations School, she jumped at the chance to attend. “I thought it looked and sounded very interesting and educational.” Hilary's hopes for the school were more than met. “I am really glad I attended! I learned so much and now know more of what I should do when participating in an interview or even if I'm ever in a media crisis. The lecturers at the school were very knowledgeable and kept my attention,” she said. “I'm really thankful that LI has these kinds of opportunities available, especially for interns,” Hilary added. “They're extremely helpful.” As Hilary looks forward to her future – her last year of college and beyond – she finds many opportunities on her horizon. “After a few years of working on [Capitol] Hill, I'd like to go to law school,” Hilary said. “Afterward, I'd like to either continue working on the Hill as a legislative correspondent or assistant, possibly running for political office, or practicing law as a prosecuting criminal attorney.” To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know for Graduate of the Week, please contact Lauren Hart, LI's External Affairs Officer.
Total: 210