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