A Blog Can Be Great For Your Career
Ben Woodward
July 2, 2017
A Blog Can Be Great For Your Career
When people think about blogs, they usually dismiss them as a prehistoric way of getting ideas into the public realm. Today many people prefer a 140-character tweet to a well thought out, self-published article that takes a lot of work to compose and publicize. However, when it comes to your career, demonstrating passion for your field is critical. Writing a blog, which is accessible to recruiters, could be what secures your next big opportunity. Here are 5 ways writing a blog can benefit your career. You can establish yourself as a thought leader Recruiters will expect to see that you have knowledge of your field and show an active interest. By writing a blog directly related to the professional area in which you want to progress, you can illustrate your interest and your ability to lead others. By communicating with readers in such a way that offers leadership, you are showing that you are a strong communicator and an innovative thinker. You can reach an audience directly Individuals who have not yet established themselves in their field do not interest most publishers. By writing your own blog, you cut out the intermediary and go directly to your chosen audience. When you write your blog, get your friends to share it, publish it on your social media and in relevant group chats, even tweet it to respected individuals in your field. That way you add validity to your work and show recruiters that readers respect your opinion. You have writing samples to show recruiters Good writers are in high demand, so not only will writing a blog refine your ability, but it will also give you examples of your writing you can show to recruiters. When you build your following and established people share your work, your blog posts gain validity as writing samples in job applications. In addition, by establishing a digital footprint you will have ‘Google Insurance.' This means that when a recruiter Googles your name they will see links to your blog. This shows you are engaged in the current trends of your industry and will significantly improve your likelihood of getting an interview. You can build a community of people interested in your field Building a following among your readers will get you noticed by others in your field. Taking an active role in the discussion will help you make connections. For example, if you are interested in foreign policy, blogging about it, and having your writing shared by those currently working in foreign affairs will get you noticed by potential recruiters. When you write a blog, remember to put links to your social media and personal website so readers and recruiters can find you easily. Your employer may value contributions Many employers in the conservative movement are looking for contributions to their websites and social media. By writing blog pieces you not only help your employer create content for their website and social media, but you also publish pieces through your organization which increases the validity of your writings. Successful workers take initiative. By writing a blog, you show employers you take an active interest in your work. If you have a significant following, use your blog to attract attention to your organization's successes. That way you can assist your employers beyond your day-to-day work. If you are interested in learning more about successful written communications for your career, please register for the Leadership Institute's Written Communications Workshop.
3 Effective Ways to Boost Your Facebook Engagement
Stephen Rowe
June 28, 2017
3 Effective Ways to Boost Your Facebook Engagement
You may notice a pattern every time you scroll your newsfeed. It starts with a relevant update, then an advertisement, and it doesn't take long before a video starts auto-playing. The biggest question on people's minds when they see this pattern is, “How do I get my content to appear first in everyone else's newsfeed?” Here are three things you can start doing now: 1. Go Live Creating a video is one of the quickest ways to grow your online presence and spread your message. Between 2015 and 2016, video consumption on Facebook increased 800% (from 1 billion views to 8 billion views per day). Now that's a big boost. Making things even better, Facebook gives precedence to videos over other pieces of content. Facebook even sends push notifications when friends “go live.” It's very easy to use Facebook live. You just update your status as usual, click “Live Video”, make sure everything is ready in preview, and click “Go Live” (pro tip: get a stabilizer for your iPhone or camera and a microphone for less than $35). Even if you're camera-shy, Facebook Live can still be for you. You can create live Facebook polls very easily with free sites like MyLivePolls. Then ask your audience relevant questions and watch your engagement soar. Video is king. Start using it! 2. Great visuals = Great social media Almost no one will stop scrolling for a huge chunk of text. But an engaging image will get you everywhere! Your Facebook page posts should have high-quality photos. People love great visuals more than they care to read. You don't have to be a design expert to create compelling visual graphics. Check out Canva.com if you are new to the design world. It's a free and simple graphic design tool website. Learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator at the Leadership Institute. The next Digital Creative Workshop: Design is just around the corner. 3. Posting frequency “How often should I post on Facebook?” You should post on Facebook as often as you have quality content. Just ensure your posts are spaced out at least an hour. If you have tons of content, then posting up to 15 times per day is a good thing. However, 95% of people don't have the quality content (or time) to post that much. Let your content dictate the frequency of your posting. Do your best to craft a content schedule and make it consistent. The marketplace will let you know if you're posting too much if you're getting poor engagement on your posts. If you're getting a solid number of likes, comments, and shares then try increasing how often you post. 4. BONUS: Check out the Leadership Institute's online Facebook for Activism training! If you liked the tips above, you will love this training. The Leadership Institute's Online Training: Facebook for Activism will show you how to use Facebook to build a movement around the candidate, campaign, or cause you're committed to. You will leave this training with strategies you can use to accomplish your goals, whether it's starting chapters, recruiting volunteers, building your meetings and events, or even just connecting your friends to each other. Specifically, you'll learn: how to prime your Facebook for success to activate people in your online community; best practices to create conten­t that your supporters will respond to and want to share; and a proven, five-step process to build relationships with your supporters. Learn more about Facebook for Activism here. Let me know what you think. Have you used any of the resources/tactics above? Leave a comment below.
Interns Learn from Successful Conservative Leaders at Conservative Intern Workshop
Annamarie Rienzi
June 26, 2017
Interns Learn from Successful Conservative Leaders at Conservative Intern Workshop
Interns from across the conservative movement came to the Leadership Institute on June 21 for the Conservative Intern Workshop. The 94 interns who attended, representing the White House, Congress, FreedomWorks, Young American's for Liberty, and more than 32 other organizations. They learned how to make the most of their internships in DC beyond simply showing up to work every day. These interns learned from Steve Sutton, the Leadership Institute's Vice President of Development, about his method of impressing supervisors by understanding the philosophy and politics surrounding their roles. Next, the Young Americans for Liberty Director of Mobilization Justin Greiss spoke about how to best highlight their experiences by writing clean and consistent resumes. Justin also talked about the best way to communicate enthusiasm to potential employers by writing outstanding cover letters. During lunch, participants networked with each other and learned about new organizations. Dante Kari, an intern in the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School was especially excited to meet with other interns. “I met folks interning for conservative organizations I didn't even know existed,” he said. Next, the Leadership Institute's Director of Digital Training, Abigail Alger, spoke about how to reach savings goals while living in as expensive a city as D.C. Andrew Magloughlin, the Economic Research Intern at FreedomWorks, said, “I learned how to apply my philosophy of fiscal conservatism to my own expenses and goals while flourishing.” Following Abby's presentation, the Leadership Institute's Stephen Rowe spoke about Social Media Branding. He taught attendees how to draw attention to their digital profiles in pursuit of full-time employment. The training continued with Networking to Find Jobs, a lecture from Lauren Bouton, a Public Policy Associate at Facebook. The interns found this information particularly useful because it emphasized that the point of networking is to meet and make meaningful connections with other interns. Katie Wilson the Leadership Institute's Technology Intern said, “I had no idea that it was acceptable to end a conversation with someone if it's gone on a bit too long! I really needed clarification on that point. Now I know that the point of networking is to meet many people!” The last session of the day was a panel with Leadership Institute's Director of Career Services Patricia Simpson, Americans for Prosperity's National Recruiting Manager Haley Pike, The Heritage Foundation's Recruiting Associate Kyle Bonnell, and Charles Koch Institute's Alumni Relations Coordinator Kasey Darling. Attendees were thrilled to hear from recruiters from such high profile organizations. Giovanni Triana, an intern for the American Legislative Exchange Council said, “The Job Seeking and Networking Panel at the Leadership Institute's Conservative Intern Workshop played a significant role in preparing me to be bold and effective in my outreach efforts. I learned tips and techniques from the experts themselves and I can honestly say that I am more confident in the way I approach networking after hearing from the seasoned panelists.” The day ended with a complimentary headshot photo shoot at Leadership Institute in the Steven P. J. Wood Building lobby. Attendees said the Conservative Intern Workshop was an extremely valuable training. Sarah Persichetti, an intern for In Defense of Christians, said, “Everyone that LI brought in to speak to us was so knowledgeable and passionate! I could really tell they were dedicated to helping conservative interns navigate the intimidating world of networking and professionalism.” The Leadership Institute's Career Service Department will hold its next event on July 11. To register for the Professional Development Workshop please follow the link here.
The Leadership Institute’s Think Tank Opportunity Workshop
Ben Woodward
June 20, 2017
The Leadership Institute’s Think Tank Opportunity Workshop
On July 13 and 14, the Leadership Institute held the very first Think Tank Opportunity Workshop. Eighty-six conservatives attended to learn how they can successfully build a career in this field. The workshop contributes to the Leadership Institute's mission to increase the size and effectiveness of conservative activists because conservative think tanks are only effective in influencing public policy if they have principled conservatives, passionate about quality research, working for them. The first day covered the career opportunities within think tanks. Our first speaker, Lori Sanders who is the Associate Vice President of Federal Affairs at the R Street Institute discussed the types of think tanks currently operating in the movement and the routes in which people take to secure a career. The second speaker, Helena Richardson, Director of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation taught attendees about the different career paths within think tanks such as events, marketing, development, and more. Helena also discussed how to go about finding the first job and internship in a think tank. Finally, Michael Bowman, Vice President of Policy at the American Legislative Exchange Council taught attendees how to be a leader in their field and establish themselves as an expert. He also taught attendees what senior recruiters are looking for when hiring and the importance of being passionate about their chosen field. The second day placed a focus on research and influencing public policy. The first speaker, Trevor Burrus, who is a Research Fellow at the CATO Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies, taught attendees how to research and compose policy proposals that make an impact and are easily readable. The Hon. Becky Norton Dunlop followed Trevor; she is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. She covered how a think tank uses its research to influence decision makers and public opinion as a whole. Finally, Karen Czarnecki, Vice President for Outreach at the Mercatus Center, concluded the workshop by teaching attendees how think tanks build coalitions and how they can collaborate with organizations to maximize the effectiveness of their research. Following the workshop, feedback was overwhelmingly positive with one attendee remarking; “An excellent program with generous speakers and staff. All speakers were willing to network with students involved and were very willing to invest in our futures!” Due to the success of the Think Tank Opportunity Workshop, the Leadership Institute will be holding another on November 6 and 7, 2017.
Five things you should do in your first week at a new job
Ben Woodward
May 22, 2017
Five things you should do in your first week at a new job
Starting a new job is among the most daunting experiences in our professional lives. After all, you only get one chance at a first impression. As well as trying to wrap your head around your new responsibilities, learn the office culture, make friends, and demonstrate your ability, you're also trying to keep your feet on the ground and build a successful future for yourself. It is natural to want to keep your head down and not draw attention to yourself, like a mouse among sleeping cats. This is a mistake! Here are five things you should do in your first week: Ask your supervisor (and employees) to lunch By asking your supervisor to lunch, you are showing your new boss that you are confident in your new role and you are serious about learning the ropes. I would advise you to keep this lunch just the two of you if possible, as other employees may dominate the conversation. It is also an effective way to get to know your supervisor on a one-to-one basis, outside of the formal office environment. It is important for them to get to know you. This is your chance to tell them what you want out of this job and where you would like to go in your career. If you're a manager, take your staff out to lunch, either in small groups, or one-to-one if possible. This is your chance to understand what makes these individuals tick, and establish what you expect from them. Introduce yourself to everybody in the office You will be spending lots of time with the people in your department and organization over the next few months and years. So be sure to take some time to introduce yourself to everybody in the kitchens, boardrooms, or even by visiting their workspace. Understanding the office culture is critical to success. You will likely need to collaborate with other departments on a multitude of projects, so make friends with them quickly to establish your relationship. Too many new employees fail to integrate themselves into the social side of a new office and get left out in the cold. Learn about all of the current and upcoming projects Fully brief yourself on all of the current projects in your department. Wherever possible, you should do your research, but do not be afraid to ask smart questions. It is in your colleagues' interests to help you succeed, as your work will affect theirs. Try to establish what other people are working on and where you can be of assistance, but also what scope you have for innovation. Every employer is different; some will let you pursue your projects, whereas others prefer a top-down approach. Learn about the location of your office Being successful at work requires you to be happy in your job, and comfortable in your environment. However moving to a new place, especially if you have moved away from home or college for the first time can make you feel isolated and unsettled. This is not conducive to success in your new job. Ensure that you learn the area quickly. Where are the best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops? What activities are happening locally? With whom in your office do you share hobbies? This will help you to settle quickly into your new environment, and even take the lead in your office's social life. Reconnect with former colleagues It is easy when you start a new job to be swept up in your new professional life. As a keen networker, try to get into the habit of keeping in touch with your old colleagues quickly. You never know when you will need a referral, or when your new job requires a connection from your past. Remember to keep those professional relationships alive.
Your 5-point guide to writing an op-ed
Autumn Campbell
April 20, 2017
Your 5-point guide to writing an op-ed
With the Leadership Institute's Building Your Brand Workshop around the corner, here are some pointers to give you a head start on building your brand through op-eds. You have something to say. But sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. How do you get your voice out there? A good place to start is blogging. I know, I know, everyone has a blog. But there's a reason for that. You can practice putting your thoughts and arguments down while getting feedback from friends and peers. Through practice on your blog, you can begin to harness your thoughts and build a framework for your field of expertise. So you've been blogging – but you're ready for more. It's time to write an op-ed. An op-ed is an article or piece with an opinion and written with a strong point of view. Here's why you'll shine in an op-ed: You'll show your expertise Develop your argument Learn to use facts to back up your argument And establish your credibility Follow these general guidelines for your op-ed: Limit your word count to about 700 words or less Open with a strong lead Make your argument quickly and concisely Remember, you cannot submit a piece that's already been published Be patient and don't give up You'll find many informative websites on how to submit your op-ed. Here are a few links with guidelines for DC area news sources to get you started: Washington Examiner Washington Times Washington Post Politico The Hill Now go write! (And remember me when you're a rich and famous expert.) Still want more insight? Take LI's Building Your Brand: From Op-ed to On-camera Wednesday and Thursday evenings, April 26-27. Register here!
Check here for updates on the Leadership Institute’s office hours and trainings.
Leadership Institute
March 13, 2017
Check here for updates on the Leadership Institute’s office hours and trainings.
Updates on the Leadership Institute's office hours and trainings. The Comprehensive Fundraising Training is still scheduled to begin Tuesday, March 14. Digital Creative Workshop: Design - Cancelled All Online Training will start on time. If you signed up for housing, the dorms are also available for check-in tonight. Any further changes or announcements will be posted here. Please monitor local weather reports and travel safely. The leadership Institute will grant 100% refunds for any cancellations this week.
CPAC – A Family of Conservatives and a Chance to Learn
Ben Woodward
February 13, 2017
CPAC – A Family of Conservatives and a Chance to Learn
The conservative movement is formidable -- why? Because we're a family. Our organizations work together, share ideas, collaborate on events, and promote each other's staff and interns. Anybody who works in the movement will be able to list their many friends in think tanks, non-profits, lobby groups, and on the Hill. And, like any family… we have our challenges. We don't always cooperate the way we should, and we don't always speak with one voice. But we have a common purpose, and it drives us in the same direction. If the conservative movement is a family, then CPAC is Christmas dinner. The time when we all come together to catch up with old friends, celebrate our victories, commiserate our losses, trade ideas, network, and discover new opportunities. In this blog, I want to talk to you about the opportunities at CPAC, because CPAC is about so much more than big speeches, and selfies with members of Congress. CPAC is a chance to learn new skills! The Leadership Institute will run a Campus Activism Bootcamp, to teach you the core skills to fight liberal bias on campuses, draw attention to your activism, create student groups, change policy, and expose biased professors. Top lawyers will teach you the laws of academic freedom so you know when your rights to freedom of expression are breached. You will also learn how to draw attention to your activism and events through digital and social media efforts that have made many conservatives famous, and also given a platform for ideas mainstream media won't discuss. In addition, the Leadership Institute will run a Career Bootcamp to give you the skills you need to secure your next job or promotion in the movement. Learn to network with top conservatives, boost your resume, and stand-out at interviews. There will also be panel discussions with major recruiters from the movement, private sector, and beyond. Those of you serious about your futures should not miss out on this chance to question them and learn what you can do to work in the movement. To help you with your current job search… the Leadership Institute will be running Career and Resume Consultations throughout CPAC. Come find us! A few things to remember: Don't neglect ‘horizontal networking.' By this, I mean networking with people who are at the same professional level as you are. They are future leaders; they are also your connection to partner organizations who can help you in your endeavors. Get your business cards ready, and make sure you follow up with every person you meet. You never know whose recommendation will secure your next opportunity. Also, CPAC's true opportunities are waiting for you outside of the main conference hall. Go to as many lunches as you can manage, and as many after conference dinners as possible. The best networking happens in relaxed environments. CPAC is also a place to learn new skills and ideas. Go to the panel discussions, and learn from the experts in the areas of policy you agree with, and those you don't. CPAC is a chance to broaden your mind! The movement is growing, and CPAC is a great opportunity to put your foot on the door. Morton Blackwell, says in his Laws of the Public Policy: “Never miss a political meeting if you think there's the slightest chance you'll wish you'd been there.” This is one event you're not going to want to miss. I look forward to meeting you at what promises to be an eventful CPAC 2017! Find out more about Leadership Institute's six CPAC events at LeadershipInstitute.org/CPAC. Register for CPAC here.
Halloween, Fear, and Public Speaking
Mariah Bastin
October 27, 2016
Halloween, Fear, and Public Speaking
Halloween is fast approaching and everyone's abuzz with excitement for the holiday -- costumes, haunted houses, and more! For me, haunted houses and other such Halloween thrills rank on the same level as fear of public speaking. In fact, did you know that 75% of the world's population fears speaking in front of an audience? So, how can we help remedy this large and far-reaching issue? In this post, I will teach you not only how to face your fear, but also how to successfully create and to execute a memorable, strong speech. Facing your fear of public speaking comes down to mindset -- plain and simple. In fact, it is scientific. Bruna Martinuzzi, president and founder of Clarion Enterprises Ltd., explains in an article how our brain doesn't process fear in different manners. “Understanding that our brain can't tell the difference between a real threat (a pack of wolves about to attack you) and an imagined threat (a group of your peers watching you present) is the first step to overcoming the fear. This awareness can help you manage the ‘false alarm' that happens in the absence of real danger.” Martinuzzi goes on to explain how you can train yourself to fend off the “false alarm” by doing something as minute as taking a deep breath and reminding yourself that this is just that: a “false alarm.” Once you have done this (and have slowed your heart rate down), you are ready to begin telling your story -- your speech. The first step in formulating your story is to know your audience. No preparation in the world will be worth anything if you don't know your audience. The style, length, expectations, and flow of the speech depend on your knowledge of the audience. Know your target demographic, understand the expectations of the speech (length of time given to speak, possible outcome or lesson learned, etc.), and what amount of creativity may be deemed acceptable (PowerPoint presentation or other forms of media). After you have analyzed your audience, you may now prepare your content. Your content should, at the very minimum, accomplish the expectations of your audience. At most, your content should exceed the audience's expectations. But, how do you go about accomplishing this? Tell a story! Now, you may be thinking “I won't be talking to a kindergarten class;” but, don't think about it in that manner. Instead, realize story-telling is how the world's history has remained alive. See the value in stories. Boundless.com correctly points out how “stories are universal in that they can bridge cultural, linguistic and age-related divides.” If that hasn't convinced you, think about the lectures and conversations you remember best. You remember the professor who began with a stark sentence and attracted everyone in; only to proceed with a well-flowing body and a “killer” ending. You remember a story! Write your main points and statistics out and memorize them, but let the rest flow. You don't want to have learned your speech. Word for word, only to freeze midway. Remember, stories (just like your speech) should feel natural. Now, go out and conquer your fear. If you wish to learn more about how to conquer your fear, attend Leadership Institute's upcoming Public Speaking Workshops. LI also offers a Public Speaking, Advanced Workshop. To register for these workshops, please click here.
Digital Communications Workshop Fills F.M. Kirby Training Center
Jami Averwater
September 6, 2016
Digital Communications Workshop Fills F.M. Kirby Training Center
Eight seconds. That's all. Either my email grabs the reader's attention, or I've lost them. Without a doubt, one of the best perks of being a Leadership Institute intern is the convenience of high-demand classes like “Digital Communications Workshop: Email Marketing.” In one full day, I learned from presentations filled with information on email communication by top strategists in the field. When done properly, email marketing has the potential to have forty times more return on investment than that of the major social media outlets, one speaker told us. If that announcement alone wasn't enough to convince me to pay close attention to the lectures which followed, the biographies of the speakers would do the job. Aidan Quinlan-Walsh, a Client Strategist for Engage, spoke on the topic of email acquisition. He taught us how to evaluate an offer to rent or purchase an email list; practice for acquisition campaigns; and measure the effectiveness of gathered analytics. His main goal of the presentation? Ultimately, he showed us how to take advantage of the platforms available to us in order to reach people successfully. Carolyn Kincaid, a copywriter, taught us how to cultivate subscribers using effective content. To do this, she recommends ditching the traditional “newsletter style” email blasts and capitalizing on the excitement of the person on the receiving end of the email. My fellow workshop attendees packing the classroom included non-profit employees from Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas, college students from multiple regions of the U.S., and many Leadership Institute staff. As always, the list of lecturers at this workshop impressed me. Together, the speakers brought perspective, energy, and a combined experience of over six decades. I left the workshop that day feeling like I could tackle the world of digital communications, and I found myself using many of the tools I learned during the weeks of my summer internship. Jami Averwater was a summer intern in the External Affairs Department for the Leadership Institute. Find more digital workshops you can attend by visiting the Leadership Institute's Digital training page. The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,619 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 175,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Conservatives Learn Data Skills for Campaigns
R. McKinley
August 11, 2016
Conservatives Learn Data Skills for Campaigns
Early this summer, I was among 40 students who attended the Leadership Institute's first-ever Campaign Data Workshop. Since liberals began using data driven technology in 2004, conservatives have put themselves at a disadvantage by stubbornly sticking with inefficient paper walk books. Their campaigns have suffered the consequences. During the evening workshop, attendees heard topics ranging from general campaign advice to specific data applications in case studies. “Data driven technology acts as a force multiplier and data can help campaign managers make key decisions," said Joshua Fimbres, a Business Intelligence Analyst at Freedom Partners. Joshua specifically spoke on data and why it is important for campaigns. He showed various companies who provide data services to campaigns, and strategies to use voter data within the different phases of a campaign. “In fact,” Joshua went on to say, “I would even go as far as to say that all campaign structure exists to implement these data driven decisions." He also covered examples of strategies he implemented in California and Maryland where voter data was used to effectively map out campaigns. Chris Stolte, Director of Campaign Accounts from i360, followed with a practical exercise on how to use their i360 app. Students downloaded the company's app during the lecture and practiced its use by generating a mock call list and walk book. One student in the workshop raised his hand to vouch for the application. As an employee at uCampaign, the student had previous experience with the program while placed on the Ted Cruz campaign. He also added valuable insight on how their application helped the Ted Cruz campaign effectively reach and mobilize voters using the freshly updated data provided by the other users. Many of the students' own campaign experiences shone through during a group exercise which provided an opportunity to create questions to identify potential voters. Laughter, discussion, and flying pens brought a sense of camaraderie as attendees shared different voter ID questions with the class. Thomas Bingham, Political Training Coordinator at the Leadership Institute, closed out the evening training workshop by emphasizing the winning difference on close campaigns. "Comparing a campaign with no technology at all going full throttle, to one with a smaller staff using technology and data to make decisions on their campaign, it can make a difference in performance of anywhere from 5% to 8%," he said. As a former campaign volunteer myself, I can tell you there is a night and day difference between the paper walk book system and the modernized system. The paper system often leaves you with frustrated volunteers, missing data, and wastes time, while data technology provides up-to-the-minute updates to headquarters, making it easy for volunteers to see their own progress and succeed. Learning how to effectively collect and use voter data is essential for anyone who is serious about winning a modern election; attending the Campaign Data Workshop gave many campaigns a head start. The next Campaign Data workshop is to take place on August 17 in Arlington, Virginia. R. McKinley is an intern in the Political Training department at the Leadership Institute. Click here for more information on upcoming trainings. The Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, works with more than 1,643 conservative student groups, and helps employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 175,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
What You Missed at CPAC 2016
Natalie Tuttle
April 4, 2016
What You Missed at CPAC 2016
Each year, the Conservative Political Action Conference is a gathering of conservative leaders looking to network, advance conservativism, and learn from some of the greatest minds in the movement. This year, speakers like Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina rallied conservatives together. Above the stage read “Our time is NOW,” taken from Ronald Reagan's CPAC speech in 1981. At the conference, Leadership Institute sponsored, staffed, and organized of 5 conference events, including the job fair and boot camp training sessions. 1. Activist Boot Camp On day one, the Leadership Institute partnered with the American Conservative Union and with American Majority to train 383 conservatives. Attendees were trained in student activism, community activism, and campaign technology. The Leadership Institute's Steve Sutton, David Blair, and Summer Ratcliff were among the boot camp faculty. Speakers from American Majority, Americans for Prosperity, FIRE, the Blaze, and the Franklin Center also trained activists and conservative leaders. 2. ConservativeJobs.com - Career Consultations After the official CPAC kickoff on Thursday, Leadership Institute's Conservative Jobs organized recruiters from LI and other conservative organizations to critique CPAC attendee's resumes and offer one-on-one career consultations. Recruiters from LI, Cato, The Heritage Foundation, the Charles Koch Institute, and Americans for Prosperity sat down with 133 conservatives. 3. CPAC Jobs and Internship Fair Once again this year, the Leadership Institute organized the CPAC Job and Internship Fair. Over 250 job seekers connected with 40 conservative employers. Organizations who recruited at the fair included grassroots organizations, media groups, think tanks, and policy foundations. Groups like Turning Point USA and Americans for Prosperity recruited field representatives while organizations like Townhall Media, Red Alert Politics, and Campus Reform looked for writers to hire. 4. Campus Reform In the exhibit hall, referred to by conference attendees as “the Hub,” Leadership's Institute's Campus Reform held an on-camera contest for students. Entrants were asked questions about issues on “live” camera by LI staff and competed for cash prizes. More than 100 students participated in the competition over the course of three days. All participants are eligible to be selected as Campus Correspondents, which will increase the number of conservative students exposing liberal bias on college campuses around the country. 5. Young Activists Happy Hour During CPAC, young activists from around the country network with each other. Swapping stories, discussing recruitment strategies, and just socializing with like-minded individuals are just a few highlights of the CPAC experience. To encourage networking among young conservative leaders, the Leadership Institute and seven other organizations hosted a Young Activist Happy Hour. Almost 400 attendees packed the bar and formed a line to the end of the block to spend the evening networking. Recruiters and staff of organizations like Young Americans for Liberty, Future Female Leaders, and the Charles Koch Institute mingled with activists. At the Happy Hour, the Leadership Institute welcomed many new activists to the Campus Leadership Program network. Almost a Every year, CPAC is a new experience. Conservatives from all over the country (and from around the world) come together for a week of idea sharing, activist training, and coalition building. This year was no exception. With hundreds of new conservatives plugged in, trained, and employed conservative principles have a stronger voice going into election season. The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,759 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 172,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Future Candidate School: Training Conservatives to Win
Natalie Tuttle
March 6, 2016
Future Candidate School: Training Conservatives to Win
If you knew the formula for winning, would you run for office? In January, thirty-four individuals attended the Leadership Institute's Future Candidate School. Some of them were declared candidates in their state or local races. Others were planning congressional runs and the remaining few had just begun to contemplate a run in the future. If you haven't considered running for office, you should. Running doesn't require thirty years of political experience or a few million dollar donors willing to sponsor you. With the right tools and training, anyone can learn to win at LI's Future Candidate School (FCS). For four days, attendees focus on building a base, raising funds, identifying voters, and recruiting volunteers. The faculty roster included political consultants, media coordinators, fundraising gurus, and even a current U.S. Congressman. The intensive training also focused on personal and political preparation for a career in elected office. Day 1: Are you ready to run? Because running for office means more than showing up to events with a smile and a wave, FCS started out with a session examining your ability to enter a race. George Landrith, president of Frontiers for Freedom, helped students examine their past and present, looking for signs of trouble. In the second session of the day, attendees learned that running for a higher office can be a full-time job with plenty of overtime and candidates have to be sure their finances are stable at home. To help candidates decide if running is right for them, Congressman Alex Mooney answered questions candidly about the role and responsibility of the candidate. The rest of the day focused on preparing your network and recruiting volunteers to your cause as well as making sure you have a positive media presence on the day you announce your candidacy. Day 2: So you decide to run. Now what? So now that our candidates have decided to run, they should develop a persuasive message. Leadership Institute Vice President of Development Steve Sutton worked through recent election messaging to demonstrate the impact proper use of messaging can have on a campaign. Nancy Bocskor reiterated the importance of messaging during her presentation on storytelling, emphasizing communicating effectively. In addition to crafting your message and sharing it with your voters, you also should reach out to existing groups and coalitions in your constituency. These coalitions may be able to provide volunteers and maybe even connect you with good candidates for campaign staff. Quality campaign staff do vital work to ensure your campaign is functioning efficiently and legally. Day 3: Getting in isn't even the hard part. Winning the race is the goal of every campaign, but what about staying in the race? You can't win the race if you can't pay your bills. Make sure you have the budget to remain a viable candidate. Competitive candidates have had to suspend their campaigns because they lacked the funds to keep the lights on. Don't be one of those candidates. Future Candidate School teaches candidates that their number one responsibility is fundraising. Staff and volunteers can get your name on the ballot and they can rally the voters, but only the candidate can raise money from donors. Day 4: Acting the part. On the final day of Future Candidate School, Dr. John Shosky, president of Roncalli Communications, Inc, spent the entire day with attendees, coaching each student through communication and messaging techniques. Beginning with introductions and ending with elevator speeches, students were led through a series of exercises to increase their confidence and improve their interpersonal skills. To be successful, candidates have to be versatile. Different situations call for different communication styles. Students were given tips on everything from posture to intonation. After drafting rough speeches, Dr. Shosky gave each student short critiques and advice to take away from the training. These guidelines are meant to improve the impression that a candidate will make in the first three seconds of meeting a potential volunteer, voter, or donor. Those thirty-four individuals walked away from the Leadership Institute's Future Candidate School with the formula to win. Will they run? Time will tell. To learn more about the Leadership Insititute or to sign up for a training go to LeadershipInstitute.org.
Candidate to Congressman: Rep. Alex Mooney shares his story at Future Candidate School
Cameron Douglas
February 25, 2016
Candidate to Congressman: Rep. Alex Mooney shares his story at Future Candidate School
As an intern at the Leadership Institute and a recent college graduate, I attended LI's Future Candidate School. Though it isn't something I know much about, the thought of running for office has crossed my mind and I want to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more. One of the best parts of the internship is the access to training programs staffed by outstanding faculty in relevant fields. During this Future Candidate School a member of Congress joined the list of expert faculty. Who better to lead a discussion on running for office than a sitting Member of Congress? Leadership Institute alumnus Congressman Alex Mooney (R-WV) came to LI's Future Candidate School to teach attendees how to successfully run for, and win, public office. Congressman Mooney's lecture drew on his extensive experience in campaigns at both the state and federal level. He won three elections to the Maryland State Senate, where he served from 1999 to 2011. Then, in 2014, he ran for and won a seat in the US House of Representatives in West Virginia. For me, Congressman Mooney's presentation was valuable in two big ways. First, he gave a frank, clear-eyed assessment of both the upsides and the downsides of running for office. Second, he provided a great deal of practical knowledge about how to campaign. Rep. Mooney emphasized the importance of fundraising for successful campaigning. He advised 80-90% of a candidate's time should be spent raising funds, which reflects Leadership Institute founder Morton Blackwell's saying, “You can't save the world if you can't pay the rent.” The Congressman also stressed the importance of having a clear, simple message, and taking that message directly to voters by picking up the phone and knocking on lots of doors. The part of Rep. Mooney's presentation which stayed with me most was not anything he said; rather, it was the way he presented himself to us. He's a sitting member of Congress, and none of the students at the school live in his district. Yet, he came out to share his experiences with us. To me, his candid yet friendly way of presenting himself was a prime example of the attitude a candidate for office should have while campaigning. To learn more about Leadership Institute training go to LeadershipInstitute.org/training and register to attend one or more trainings.
Hoosiers take on a Race for Congress
Angel Chitnatham
December 14, 2015
Hoosiers take on a Race for Congress
Even campaigners with years of experience can stand to learn from the Leadership Institute. Earlier this month, Jadan Horyn participated in the Leadership Institute's Campaign Management School and came away with enough knowledge to give an edge to his congressional campaign. Jadan is currently the campaign manager for Jim Pfaff, a candidate running in Indiana's 9th Congressional District. “It all started when I was 13 years old,” said Jadan. “During the Bush/Gore 2000 election, I stayed up all night to watch election results. Pretty much from then on, I was fully enveloped in politics.” A 2012 graduate of Liberty University, Jadan dedicated years to build up his College Republicans group; work with the State Central Committee, the governing body of the Republican Party of Virginia; and serve on the College Republican state board. Jadan would go on to co-host his own talk show called “Rude Awakening” at Liberty University, hosting guests like Senator John McCain and Governor Mike Huckabee. After graduating, Jadan integrated his media background and his interest in political campaigns working for Laura Ingraham on her FOX News appearances, followed by three years of working in congressional communications. It wasn't until he started working in Congressman Tim Huelskamp's office did he meet Jim Pfaff, then Chief of Staff for Congressman Huelskamp. Jim Pfaff would then ask Jadan to be his campaign manager in his race for congress in his home state of Indiana. “I told him I'd take the job but that I needed to go to LI to fill in the missing pieces.” said Jadan. The week-long Campaign Management School provides the students with a run-through on the know-how and tools required to establish and build up their campaigns. “First day, we learned opposition research. It was the how, the methodology, was what I didn't know.” On the first day at the training, Jadan texted his staff how and where to look for the potential weaknesses of their opponent. “By 4:00 p.m. that day, I had an entire document from my campaign researcher about questionable votes made by our opponent. If I had never come to this training, I would have never had that ammunition to use on them.” When asked what advice he would give future candidates and campaign managers now that he's completed the Campaign Management School, he said “Sit them down and hold them accountable….and make sure they follow through on their goals.” Join the Leadership Institute in thanking Jadan for his dedication to conservative principles and congratulate him for receiving LI's Conservative Leader-In-Training Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,761 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 170,266 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Launch into 2016 as a Campaign Manager
Thomas Bingham and Angel Chitnatham
November 19, 2015
Launch into 2016 as a Campaign Manager
This has been another good year for conservatives who took Leadership Institute (LI) training. In 2015 alone, 161 conservative activists took a Campaign Management School. These graduates are people looking to get involved in their community. They want to be leaders and make changes to their cities, counties, and states by winning elections -- for conservative principles. After hours of lectures, these graduates left with the ability to organize a campaign -- from the moment the campaign begins to Election Day. Better yet, LI grads learned what they have to do from day one to win and affect the public policy process. “I will be forever grateful for the knowledge and specialized training I have received at the Leadership Institute. LI is at the forefront of the current conservative revolution and I am proud to be a part of it,” said Florida resident James White, a recent Campaign Management School graduate. Tori Whiting of Michigan said the March training was “a great way to get conclusive and in-depth training on campaigning.” Ron Ferguson of Ohio said his June participation in LI's Campaign Management School was “the launching pad to being prepared for a campaign." These graduates understand in order to win being trained by the experts is the key to success. But 2015 isn't over yet. There is one last chance to attend a Campaign Management school in 2015. There is still time to join these graduates and get prepared for your next campaign. Mistakes happen, but Leadership Institute graduates know how to respond because they have training. They know how to have an effective strategy. The Campaign Management School teaches just that. And regardless of your political experience, the expert faculty will get you ready for day one of your next campaign. Each training day brings on a new lesson plan that will equip you with the basics to achieve success. Day 1: “Develop a winning campaign plan and strategy” Day 2: “Target and identify your voters effectively” Day 3: “Learn how to raise funds for your cause” Day 4: “Develop effective ads and protect your candidate's image” Join LI next month at the Campaign Management School, December 1st through December 4th and learn how to run your own campaign big or small. End the 2015 season with some inspiration and the know-how to take your race to the next level. Email Angel at AChitnatham@Leadeshipinstitute.org for more information on the training or register for the December Campaign Management School here. The Leadership Institute offers over 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,582 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 165,206 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI’s Future Candidate School Trains Emerging Conservative Candidates
Kyle Baccei and Carol Wehe
July 10, 2015
LI’s Future Candidate School Trains Emerging Conservative Candidates
You don't have to be seasoned politician to win. With proper training and a plan in place, anyone can learn the tools to win. Most beginners struggle with the basics and make common mistakes. There are ways to avoid these mistakes, but it takes learning from the veterans who have been through it all before. It takes training. Bill Taylor has been a South Carolina State Representative since 2010 and credits Leadership Institute's (LI) training for his campaign success. “I defeated the eight-year incumbent 57% to 43%,” Bill said. “My campaign success was fueled by enrolling in LI's Future Candidate School. It was a most valuable experience. LI smoothed our political road to success.” In April 2015, LI trained 48 attendees from 17 states and Canada at the Future Candidate School. They learned from veteran candidates and campaigners how to put together a future campaign and win. Douglas Arnold of Maryland said the April training taught him “excellent essential information for creating a winning campaign theme and strategy.” Past graduates of the Future Candidate School have gone on to win their elections. “This was my first time running for office, and it was against a political veteran,” said New Mexico State Representative Alonzo Baldonado. “It was a tough race, but LI gave me the education needed to run a successful campaign.” The school also trains attendees how to define and polish their message, build strong grassroots support, raise funds, and develop the attributes of effective candidates. Theresa, another attendee of LI's April Future Candidate School said, “I wish I could teleport the people in my area down here for these classes so they could stop blaming each other for conservative losses, and actually know how to start running winning campaigns. #winningby workingtogether” Each day of the Future Candidate School features one of Morton Blackwell's Laws of the Public Policy Process. Day 1: “Sound doctrine is sound politics.” Successful candidates must define themselves to the public before their opponents do, so attendees learn to develop and effectively communicate an engaging message. Day 2: “Build a secure home base.” The second day of training teaches future candidates how to join coalitions and build organizations. Each attendee learns the basics of building contact networks, working with existing factions, and starting new groups. Day 3: “You can't save the world if you can't pay the rent.” To survive, a campaign must be funded. On the third day, attendees learn the techniques of effective fundraising. Fundraisers from around the movement come together to show candidates how to put together successful fundraising events and persuade high dollar donors to fund your campaign. Day 4: “Personnel is policy.” A campaign is only as good as the people it hires. In order to form the right team, you have to understand what kind of personnel you should have around you, and the structure the campaign will have in order to win. The school puts together those pieces for candidates and shows them the best way to organize a campaign. The Real Nature of Politics states, “Being right, in the sense of correct, is not sufficient to win. The winner in a political contest is determined over time by the number and effectiveness of activists on the respective sides.” Leadership Institute graduates know how to win. You can become a Leadership Institute graduate. There's another chance to learn how to become a successful future candidate at LI's last Future Candidate School of 2015, and also learn how to run a winning campaign at the Campaign Management School. Before you even start putting your campaign together, you have to ask yourself, should you be a candidate? Some candidates get into the race without answering this question and are blindsided. Capitol Hill veteran Steven Sutton addresses this question every year with activists who want to get more involved in politics. On Tuesday, July 14, 2015, Steven discusses what it takes to run for office during LI's FREE live webinar, fittingly titled Should You Be a Future Candidate? Watch the webinar here. The Leadership Institute offers over 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,582 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 165,206 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
LI’s Sacher Multimedia Center Gets a Makeover
Danielle Saul and Stephen Rowe
July 7, 2015
LI’s Sacher Multimedia Center Gets a Makeover
For more than 15 years, the Leadership Institute's Sacher Multimedia Center has been a resource for the conservative movement. In 2015, the studio team upgraded the space to include a brand new studio classroom and lobby. The Sacher Multimedia Center now features the Norma Zimdahl Master Studio, a control room, a dedicated edit suite, and the new multi-purpose James Fishback Boreham Studio Classroom. During Construction New Studios and Classroom This new state of the art technology will allow more media trainings to take place than ever before. Attendees of this training receive expert feedback from a media coach to tailor their message before going on television. Live from LI's studio, Leadership Institute's Campus Reform team regularly reports on liberal abuses and bias on college campuses as guests on national news networks. In the same studios, LI's campus programs staff create engaging videos for college students to learn the skills to become activists on their campuses. The Sacher Multimedia Center even offers a FREE live webinar series which empowers conservative activists to take action in their communities. All of this is possible thanks to the support of the Leadership Institute's generous donors. Find out how the Leadership Institute's Studios can help you! Contact LI Director of Studios Aaron Reese. The Leadership Institute offers over 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,581 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 165,050 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Conservatives Learn to “Harness Legislative Hearings Effectively to Promote Their Principles”
Jacob Weaver
May 29, 2015
Conservatives Learn to “Harness Legislative Hearings Effectively to Promote Their Principles”
Over the past two days, the Leadership Institute (LI) successfully completed the launch of its new Effective Legislative Hearing Training. “Liberals push their big government ideas using congressional hearings,” Morton Blackwell, the President of LI, stated in an email. “Conservatives must learn to harness legislative hearings effectively to promote their principles.” This new school adds to the already impressive diversity of LI's forty-four political trainings. Day 1 Morton spoke during the introduction, asserting conservatives must learn the legislative hearing process and use it to their political advantage. Thirty-four people in the audience, made up of everyone from members of prominent think tanks to Capitol Hill staff, listened intently as Shant Boyajian from the Committee on Environment and Public Works presented an overview of the entire committee and hearing process. He finished by including all participants into a simulated legislative hearing, assigning character roles and pitting team against team. Katy Talento, a member of Sen. Thom Tillis's office, ended the night, energetically explaining how to prepare for a hearing on the Hill. Even at 9:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, she had everyone laughing throughout her presentation. Day 2 The second day of LI's Effective Legislative Hearing Training brought the same excitement as the first. After a networking dinner, Neil Siefring of Hilltop Advocacy, LLC, began an energizing presentation on how to prepare a Member of Congress for a hearing. Neil stressed how legislative hearings allow each Member of Congress to: showcase expertise in the subject area, demonstrate understanding of current issues, and display active support for constituencies. Katy Talento then returned for her second night. With her usual energy, she taught the audience how to prepare witnesses and the difficulties a minority party faces. Katy brought her years of experience to life, revealing fantastic ‘tips and tricks of the game.' The night ended as Bruce Fein, a constitutional lawyer at Bruce Fein & Associates, Inc., held the class in awe with his vast knowledge of the constitutional issues that now plague America. He explained the importance of Congress checking the power of the executive branch, hearings being the primary way Congress achieves this goal. At the end of the training, all who participated left prepared to take on the challenge of a congressional hearing. The school equipped each student with a better understanding of the committee process, and ultimately fulfilled LI's mission to “increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process.”
Building the Young Conservative Movement
Elizabeth McCullough
March 31, 2015
Building the Young Conservative Movement
Leadership Institute partners with TeenPact to train Christian high school youth Seventy dedicated Christian youth aged 14-19 spent five days at the Leadership Institute to train for a lifetime of activism and leadership. With a strong commitment to advancing faith and freedom through community and civic engagement, these students came from 41 states for their annual adventure known as ‘Back to DC' – a program run by TeenPact. Founded in 1994 and based out of Richmond, Virginia, TeenPact is a dynamic, hands-on leadership school for Christian students. TeenPact works to train youth to understand the political process, value their liberty, defend their Christian faith, and engage the culture. The Leadership Institute has partnered with TeenPact for 19 years to help these students achieve those goals. Five intense days of training at the Leadership Institute During the five-day program in October, experienced Leadership Institute faculty taught students political lessons, including: The Real Nature of Politics Campaign Structure and Organization Developing Effective Speeches and Literature Voter Outreach Media and Public Relations “Every year, this is the only group of students that intimidates me,” said Steven Sutton, the Leadership Institute's Vice President of Development. “They're razor sharp and brilliant.” After addressing the group, Steven asked if there were any questions – nearly every hand in the room went up. “Each student showed a level of maturity and intellect well beyond their years,” said Steven. “They process information quickly, add context from their personal experiences, and extrapolate to the next level. You can practically see their brains growing right in front of you.” TeenPact's training program also included several visits to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress and visit the institutions that comprise America's constitutional government. Turning campaign knowledge into experience Students participated in campaign exercises where they applied their political lessons to run mock presidential campaigns – complete with press conferences, letters to the editor, and targeted voter outreach. The culminating activity was a presidential debate where each team uniquely and creatively put their theories into practice. Five Leadership Institute and TeenPact judges rated six teams based on performance in all areas of their campaigns. Outstanding young graduates win elections Several outstanding Leadership Institute graduates got their start through TeenPact, including: Jessica Koehler – After an internship and several trainings with the Leadership Institute, Jessica went home to manage her father's campaign – and propelled him to election victory to the Ohio House of Representatives this past November. Jennifer Sullivan – This 23-year-old took the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School and learned how to organize volunteers for campaign victory. Jennifer is now the youngest woman ever elected as a state representative in Florida. Youth already putting their training into practice TeenPact students filled the Leadership Institute's classroom with energy, enthusiasm, and determination to make a difference – ready to apply their training in their communities. “I learned so much this week and I'm really motivated to become more active in my state's government,” said Rachel Bass. “I've already started helping on my lieutenant governor's campaign for re-election in 2016. I wouldn't have gotten involved in the campaign if it hadn't been for TeenPact and all the Leadership Institute speakers we heard from.” Donor support makes this exceptional teenage training possible and allows the Leadership Institute to cultivate conservatism in teens before they meet with the onslaught of liberal bias and indoctrination on college campuses. The Leadership Institute offers 44 types of training programs, working with more than 1,602 active conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 162,508 conservative activists, students, and leaders have been trained. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
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