5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
St. Joan of Arc Atrium Room
5856 Heatherdown Blvd.
Toledo, OH 43614 Map
"The Leadership Institute made it possible for me to learn how to run a campaign, how to craft my message, how to speak effectively in public, and how to handle the media.
Above all, I learned how to win.
Today, I stand in a long line of conservative leaders who owe a debt of gratitude to Morton Blackwell and to the Leadership Institute.
“This is the best training I have ever gone to (political or professional) over all the years I have been involved. People need to understand what a big deal this is." -
Melanie Grammar, Fannin County Chairwoman, Rockwell County Campaign School
"I can't forget who gave me the tools. Keep up the great work at LI. We can't save our country without the Leadership Institute!"
After completing the 2020 Marine Corps Marathon, Dena Espenscheid knows the truth behind the cliché, “Campaigns are like Marathons”. There are plans, deadlines, and expenses. There are worn-out shoes, blisters, pain, exhaustion, joy, energy bursts, and mile-marker accomplishments. The big day comes and before it is over you swear off running ever again; you want to quit. Then you cross the finish line. Success feels fantastic! The next day, after a good sleep, you are out on a trail, ready to do it all again!
Over her twenty years of professional experience, Dena held a variety of positions in public policy organizations, advertising agencies, and political campaigns including, Coalition for a Strong America, National Ballot Access, American Majority, Open and Clean Government, Vote Yes for Life, and the National Abstinence Clearinghouse. Much of her work has been focused on grassroots organizing, and training volunteers and fellow staffers.
Dena is a veteran of political campaigns as small as city council and as large as a presidential campaign. She has served in most campaign positions, including volunteer coordinator, regional field director, political director, and statewide spokesperson. She has overseen ballot qualification, volunteer recruitment and training, and get-out-the-vote efforts. She has formulated communication strategies, organized events, and done personal solicitation. In campaign and public policy, Dena is a “Jill of all Trades”.
Dena has returned to her roots as a coalition builder and is margining it with her campaign and training experience as the Senior Director of Coalitions at the Leadership Institute. In this position, she travels the country, meeting with groups who have special interest goals. She learns about the services and resources they offer and the needs they have. She introduces like-minded groups so they can build their community. Where needed and when possible, she develops new trainings to assist these center-right special interest groups win their public policy fights.
Dena graduated from Thomas More College in Northern Kentucky with degrees in Biology and Speech Communication.
Dena's favorite presentations are on persuasion. She knows that people want to stay consistent with the image they project. If you tell someone they are generous before soliciting a donation, they are more likely to give. To keep herself moving, Dena is ending this bio by stating that she still runs in Quantico, Virginia where she lives with her houseplants.