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

The next award recipient will be featured the week of January 19.