Social Conservatives “must win in politics”
Abbey Lee
October 25, 2017
Social Conservatives “must win in politics”
“Politics is a shaping part of culture. It's where we determine what's good, what's true, what's just, what's right, what's moral, and it's where we determine what's beyond the pale and acceptable.” On October 4, Terry Schilling visited the members of the Leadership Institute's Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast to speak frankly about progress in the social conservative movement. Terry, the Executive Director of the American Principles Project, has worked in many areas of the nonprofit world, including communications, development, and grassroots. An Illinois native, he has worked with several state and local candidates, among them his father, Rep. Bobby Schilling. Addressing the attendees, he spoke from experience in the work he has dedicated to the cause. He has witnessed how abortion has become more and more acceptable in American culture simply because it has been made legal. Terry urges those who stand for traditional, conservative values to support and invest in those causes. “Social conservatives are in danger of losing everything, and it's because we've abdicated our duty and responsibility to invest in politics,” Terry said. For too long, the right has merely defended themselves against attacks from the left. Social conservatives must do more than educate themselves and vote. It is their duty to play offense and invest in the future of the conservative movement to maintain the traditional values held dear. He parts with impactful words, saying, “Not only can we win, but we must win in politics because the future of America depends on it.” Leadership Institute's Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast hosts conservative speakers and attendees for breakfast on the first Wednesday of each month. To become a breakfast club member, visit this link.
Your elevator pitch -- 20 seconds to make an impression
Kate Lipman
October 16, 2017
Your elevator pitch -- 20 seconds to make an impression
Picture the scenario; you are an intern or junior staffer in the elevator of your work building, and a Vice President walks in… what do you do? Do you burst into tears, fall on your knees and beg for a job? Or do you seize the moment and deliver your elevator pitch? This brief but persuasive 20-second pitch is your chance to engage a potential employer in conversation in a confident but respectful way. By using this opportunity correctly, you can make a strong impression and turn them into a lasting connection. Here are some tips for your elevator pitch. Be natural. If you try to hero worship them, they won't take you seriously. Likewise, if you deliver the speech like you've been practicing it in the mirror, they won't take you seriously. Be respectful but confident. If you want a job working for them somewhere down the line, you have to earn their respect. A great way to do this is to bring up a topic of mutual interest. Perhaps you saw them speak, or read one of their articles. Draw from that to start a conversation. Instead of “Wow it's amazing to meet you, I'm a huge fan of… and I've always wanted to work there.” Try “Hi… my name is… and I work at… I attended your recent talk on… and you made some really interesting points.” Don't ask them for anything. Most executives are experienced enough to separate those legitimately interested in them and their organizations from the users simply trying to find their next job or promotion. Just like with any networking opportunity, the goal is to establish a relationship and then you can work on turning them into a connection. Be genuine and show a legitimate interest in them. By getting their business card, you can follow up and ask them for coffee later. Instead of: “I saw that there's a vacancy at… I'd like to apply; would you give the recruiter my resume?” Try: “How did you come to work in…? I am interested in pursuing a career in this field and would value any advice you have.” Let them talk. Most people enjoy talking about themselves, which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. By letting someone talk about himself or herself, you are demonstrating a legitimate interest in them and allowing the conversation to flow naturally rather than simply pitching yourself. The disadvantage of this can be that by letting them do all the talking, you don't get the chance to impress. Try to establish a connection with what they're saying and something you have accomplished. For example, if they talk about public policy, try to contribute to the conversation and offer an informed opinion. Instead of: “That's interesting… yes… I understand.” Try: “That's a good point; I have recently been working on a similar project to…” Swap business cards and follow up. If possible, you should aim to swap business cards at the end of the conversation. Remember, it is more important to get their business card than it is to give them yours. By getting their card, you give yourself the opportunity to follow up and turn a chance encounter into a real connection. Instead of: “Here is my business card, if you're free for coffee sometime I'd love to learn more.” Try: “Do you have a business card on you? I would be very interested to follow up with you can continue this conversation at your convenience.” When chance encounters occur with your role models, it can be a daunting experience. If you show confidence, sell yourself, and show a legitimate interest, you will be able to use the opportunity to secure a lasting connection.
Christian Libertarian Environmentalist Capitalist Lunatic Farmer Fights Big Gov't
Abbey Lee
September 21, 2017
Christian Libertarian Environmentalist Capitalist Lunatic Farmer Fights Big Gov't
The first Wednesday of September, conservatives from all backgrounds gathered to hear Joel Salatin. Joel, a self-proclaimed Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer, offered a refreshing perspective at the September Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast. He shared stories about his own issues with government intervention as a small-scale Virginia farmer. “Food, the water we drink, and the air we breathe are in common.” Often, conservatives and libertarians focus on individualism, but Joel, co-owner of Polyface Farm, argues that food freedom and the danger of government intervention in small farms and businesses is of concern to us all. He shared one story about a time when friends and neighbors urged Joel to create and sell what he called “Polyface hot pockets” or meat pies made from livestock on his farm. When the inspectors discovered he didn't have a bathroom in the industrial kitchen designed to make the hot pockets, he was told he couldn't sell them at all. Joel explains, “Whenever a regulatory context is prejudicial against ‘small,' it is a bad regulation.” He has a product, and consumers who are willing to buy the product, but government regulations halt progress in its tracks by forcing him -- a small business owner -- to build a $30,000 bathroom. Joel witnesses firsthand how regulations discourage entrepreneurial spirit and keep consumer-desired products out of the market. Watch Joel's entire talk here and join us at our next breakfast with Terry Schilling, the executive director of American Principles Project, on October 4.
Caught Between a Job Offer and a Job Offer!
Ben Woodward
September 18, 2017
Caught Between a Job Offer and a Job Offer!
If you're searching for a job and finding the process difficult, I'm willing to bet that the prospect of competing job offers would be a dream come true. Let's be honest, it's hardly a bad situation to find yourself in. When the situation arose for me, I regret how I handled it. Fresh out of university, I was desperate to get a job in the UK Parliament. When I successfully got to the final round of interviews I was excited. My instincts told me the interview had been a big success. We even bonded over our mutual love of F1 racing. After being told to expect a decision within a week, I was contacted at the same time by a friend offering me a different opportunity. With my heart set on Parliament, I waited. Four weeks later I received the dreaded email telling me that I had been unsuccessful. The alternative opportunity my friend had sent me was now being advertised. Thankfully I got the job. But I made a bad first impression by failing to be honest and talk to both parties. Here is what you should do if you're ever caught in this position. Get yourself a written job offer. The job offer is not technically made until it's formally written out. If you're given a verbal job offer, thank them and tell them how excited you are at the prospect of working for them. Then ask them to put the offer in an email. Explain the situation. Once you have the written offer, be honest. Tell them that you are very excited about the opportunity but that you have another interview scheduled and would like time to weigh up your options. If they tell you they need an answer urgently then you'll have to decide whether it is worth the risk. My advice is to take the job offer if it's an opportunity you think you would still enjoy and benefit from. If you have more time, explain the situation to your other potential employer. You may find that the interview for the next job helps make your decision before you have to discuss other offers. You will likely get a sense of your success, whether the organization is somewhere you want to work, and whether you think the other offer provides a better opportunity. If you find that your instincts were right, and you do want to work at the second organization, tell them. At the end of your interview, be honest and explain that they are your preferred choice however you have another offer pending and see whether they can commit to a decision in a shorter amount of time. One last thing... It's not an easy situation to find yourself in. Ultimately, you will have to decide whether the risk is worth compromising your current offer. By taking these steps and being honest and respectful to the competing employers, you can help mitigate the risks and hopefully give yourself the time you need to secure both offers.
LI Graduate Makes a Difference for D.C. Kids
Autumn Campbell
August 25, 2017
LI Graduate Makes a Difference for D.C. Kids
Ashley Carter set the bar high in 2016. As the only Republican D.C. elected last year, she is also the only Republican woman elected to this at-large seat in D.C. history. Ashley's passion for her community combined with her upbeat personality set her on track to win last election season. Ashley Carter is a long-time graduate of the Leadership Institute. I followed up with Ashley after she took LI's TV Workshop, On-camera. Since she won the election, Ashley has addressed educational issues through her three-pronged approach: (1) Raise the graduation rate; (2) Push for more career training and technical education resources; and (3) Add more trained volunteers and nonprofit resources to the classroom. School choice is a priority for Ashley. Over the next four years, Ashley plans to push for excellence in education through more school voucher opportunities. Ashley credits her success to listening to the members of her community. “It's less about party and more about the community,” Ashley says. If implementing conservative education policy isn't enough, Ashley stays active through her volunteer work, training for a half marathon, and serving as Director of Coalitions at the Independent Women's Forum. Ashley offered advice to conservative activists: “You're going to face adversity, but you just need to keep going. Had I stopped, I wouldn't be where I am today.” While Ashley continues the conservative fight for Washington, D.C.'s education, what's her challenge to fellow conservatives? “Don't shy away from your beliefs!” This is an update on LI's August 24, 2016 blog post. Read this blog post here. The Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,876 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 188,000 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.
Dr. William Murphy -- When LI Grads Succeed, Conservatism Succeeds
Ben Woodward
August 23, 2017
Dr. William Murphy -- When LI Grads Succeed, Conservatism Succeeds
Often in politics, there are doers, and there are thinkers. The doers knock on doors, build organizations, and lobby for their movement. The thinkers research and compose policy proposals; they're academics who shape the way we see the world. Both are assets to the conservative movement, and both are necessary to succeed. Dr. William Murphy encompasses both qualities. A Professor at the New England Institute of Technology, Dr. Murphy specializes in U.S. foreign policy and national security. He is a veteran, Harvard graduate, former President at Peak Performance Technology Partners, and was Finance Director at Bateman for Congress in 1992 where he first met Leadership Institute President, Morton Blackwell. But it's his next project that's potentially his most exciting yet! After discussing his plans with Morton, Dr. Murphy intends to establish an advocacy based organization which will campaign to make Congress more efficient at requesting information from the executive branch. Good Government Now will promote four key proposals for strengthening legislative oversight and investigative capabilities: Rule of information requests and subpoenas, create inherent contempt enforcement procedures, resurrect and reinvigorate criminal contempt enforcement, and increase civil contempt enforcement statute. Dr. Murphy says that the Leadership Institute has been invaluable in his career. Not only through the skills he has learned in the many trainings he attended, such as LI's Television and Digital Communications Workshops, and Fundraising Training, but also because he can network with LI's expert faculty who have provided him with the guidance to succeed. “I have benefitted immeasurably from LI's outstanding training programs. LI's presidential transition support operations, as well as the excellent coaching and career services it offers, are invaluable resources." Besides the army, Dr. Murphy says that there is no organization he feels such loyalty for than LI. “Everyone there is unselfish and dedicated to the cause,” he said. The Leadership Institute is proud to call Dr. William Murphy a graduate. Countless successes have been won by the Leadership Institute's 189,476 graduates. Some have been elected to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, others work for the Administration, lead nonprofits, and are winning for conservatism across the world. When LI graduates succeed, the conservative movement succeeds. Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, works with more than 1,878 conservative student groups, and helps employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 189,476 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.
Dress for Success
Annamarie Rienzi
August 14, 2017
Dress for Success
On Monday, August 7, more than 30 women came to the Leadership Institute (LI) to network, shop, and learn how to dress for success. Partnering with the Independent Women's Forum and the Ladies of Liberty Alliance, LI gathered enough professional clothing for each attendee to take home at least one outfit. In addition, attendees heard from Sonya Gavankar, former Miss D.C., and multimedia host and content creator. Her lecture was filled with great tips and tricks to help young ladies navigate professional fashion without being overwhelmed. She broke down a lot of misconceptions about office fashion choices and entertained the audience with her anecdotes. Here are three key lessons learned about professional dressing for women. Be honest with yourself about what looks good on you. Sometimes what you think looks good may not, in fact, be the most flattering. Wearing tight clothes runs the risk of not being taken seriously in the workplace. Whereas wearing baggy clothes runs the risk of looking sloppy. You should find clothes which are work appropriate and also give you confidence. While shopping, surround yourself with friends who are honest and frank with you. Take turns trying on new work outfits and giving feedback. You don't have to sacrifice personal style to look professional. As long as your clothes are work appropriate, certain liberties can be taken to tailor clothes to your style. An excellent example of this is to dress professionally but look for ways to incorporate a splash of color into your outfit. This may be an accessory or wearing a brightly colored jacket. Don't dress for work how you'd dress for the weekend. Dress codes are more relaxed at organizations than they used to be, which means there's some ambiguity about what women can wear. Because you never know when a meeting may be sprung on you, make sure you don't overstep the boundary between smart casual and casual. If in doubt, look for a female executive at your organization who you admire, and who dresses well. Use her for inspiration. Attendees were grateful to hear Gavankar's advice. They were especially thankful for her time as she stayed during the “shopping” period and reviewed the ladies' outfit choices as they tried on clothes. The unclaimed clothes were donated to the not-for-profit organization, Dress for Success, which provides professional development and attire to women.
How to Communicate With Your Liberal Friends and Neighbors – Without Alienating Them
Autumn Campbell
August 3, 2017
How to Communicate With Your Liberal Friends and Neighbors – Without Alienating Them
We've all been there. We've been unfriended on Facebook during the 2016 election cycle, forced into an awkward political discussion over Thanksgiving dinner, or attacked on Twitter for making a political comment. Yes, the current political climate is hostile; but there is a way to communicate effectively without losing all of your friends. Keep your point clear and concise. Rambling will get you nowhere in a heated discussion. Instead, stay clear-headed and stay on the topic at hand. Use personal stories and experiences. Many you converse with will find it hard to argue against your personal experience. Tie your experience in with why you believe what you believe. You can then back up your experience with facts and statistics. Meet emotion with emotion. Do not shy away from empathy. You can stand your ground while being empathetic to the concerns of the other person. Although these three steps seem simple, you'll be surprised at how calm and level-headed you'll feel at the end of the conversation. Who knows? Your friend may even see your point of view! Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, works with more than 1,868 conservative student groups, and helps employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 187,207 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.
The Walls Have Ears
Ben Woodward
July 31, 2017
The Walls Have Ears
You may be surprised to learn that the number of staff working each day to advance the conservative movement is small. In Washington, D.C., it's a few thousand at most. This is great for your career! Working in the small DC conservative movement, it is easy to get to know the influential players who can support your career advancement. But reputations are made very quickly, and for those less savvy who don't mature quickly, simple mistakes can be destructive. One of the worst mistakes anyone can make in Washington, D.C. is to bad mouth their boss or their organization. You can avoid these three common mistakes. Speaking badly of your employer on social media It is surprising how frequently profe ssionals will speak negatively of their bosses on social media. Remember that not only will this be seen by colleagues, and very likely your employers, but your future employers will read your social media. Ranting about your boss today could risk alienating your potential boss tomorrow. After all, no one wants to hire someone who may badmouth them in future. Speaking badly of your employer during an interview “What did you like least about your last job?” We've all been asked this question during an interview, and I have struggled to answer. By falling into the trap of badmouthing your former boss, you convince the interviewer that they may be the next target of your public scorning or worst case scenario, your last boss may hear about it. Instead, you should answer the question by saying: “While there were many aspects of my previous job which I enjoyed such as…, I would have liked to have had more of an opportunity to… which is why I have applied for this job.” Speaking badly of your employer during networking events We've all been there. It's been a rough day, perhaps you have been frustrated by your supervisor, but there is a time and a place to complain about your work, and it's not at networking events. You run the risk of alienating conservatives who may know your boss. In the worst case scenario, your comments could get back to your employer, and your career will suffer. So what should you do instead? There is a time and a place to address your concerns at work. So instead of complaining about your boss, consider how you can constructively approach the situation. Ask for a private meeting Never criticize your boss in front of colleagues. It will damage their authority in front of the team and is more likely to frustrate them than anything. Have your conversation in private if you believe your boss should be taking a different approach to a project. Know what you want to say Consider writing down your specific concerns and what you want to say in advance. Structure your feedback positively, instead of “I don't agree with your decision…” say “I think we could consider approaching the project this way…” If your boss agrees with you, then great! If not, respect their decision. Ultimately it's their call. Ask a mentor If you find you do need to express serious concerns about your employer, find someone you can trust to give you sound advice and keep it confidential. This person is perhaps a close friend or family member, or another professional who exercises sound judgment. Use them to guide you in your decision making. Know your organization's procedures In the worst case scenario, where you feel mistreated, figure out your organization's formal complaints process and use it. Your relationship with your employers, past and present, can be a positive one if you maintain your professionalism. By keeping your employers on your side, you can rely on strong references, potentially great mentors, and a support base for your career in the conservative movement.
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.
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.
Cubicle Conservatism
Grace Tarr
March 15, 2017
Cubicle Conservatism
We all know that person. You know what I mean, that person who chews loudly, talks incessantly, or – my personal bad habit – leaves sticky notes everywhere. These attributes can quickly lead to tension within an office. But tension really begins when political views come into play. How do we know when to defend our values and when to respect a professional environment? As a current intern at the Leadership Institute, I have the privilege to work alongside like-minded, passionate individuals. However, past work experience taught me three important lessons about respectful political conversation with the people I see at the same cubicle every day. Don't spike Punchy political one-liners may be funny around other conservatives, but they quickly shut down any valuable conversation between opposing viewpoints. Always promote discussion. It is respectful conversation that changes a person's mind. In good conversation, each person is like a volleyball player “hitting” the conversation back and forth. If one player spikes the ball, the conversation – and opportunity to convince someone – is over. Pick your battles Don't fight every issue every time. Sometimes in an office it is simply inappropriate to talk politics. Read the situation and practice discretion. I know, it is hard to stay silent. But picking your battles means that when you do engage, it is more meaningful and your coworkers will not be exhausted by constant political banter. It's not about you The Leadership Institute works hard to promote a movement and not build an organizational empire. Conservatives must be team players committed to principles. If we enter a conversation trying to prove that we are right, we will always lose. This is not a time to prove how smart we are. It is not enough to be right. We must also be tactful. Well-timed, respectful conversations can change minds and influence movements.
Ready, Aim, Fire: LI Graduate Speaks Out at CPAC 2017
Angel Chitnatham
March 1, 2017
Ready, Aim, Fire: LI Graduate Speaks Out at CPAC 2017
You may recognize Antonia Okafor from her many guest appearances on the Blaze, NRA TV, and Fox News. She is also a Campus News Correspondent for Independent Journal Review where she works to expose liberal bias and abuse on Texas college campuses. Her official website AntoniaOkafor.com has the following blazed across the top: Black, Armed, and Conservative. Antonia knows she doesn't fit the “normal” stereotype of a conservative gun activist but she's getting her message across to the media regardless. “There's definitely a lot of shock factor as I'm not the ‘typical conservative'. It's opened a lot of doors with being able to have people listen. Whether it's plain curiosity or genuine interest, I think being someone who is contrary to the typical conservative helps people want to listen.” Antonia is currently a student at the University of Texas at Dallas but aims to bring new female perspective to gun rights and regularly advocates for campus carry policies. Her own passion for campus carry often brings her into the cross-hairs of feminism and right to self-defense. “For me it's an empowerment issue. Being a feminist came first and the gun rights issue came after. I became so passionate above advocating for campus carry and the right to self defense because I strongly believe every woman should have the choice to decide which form of defense is right for them. That includes guns." Most recently, Antonia co-headlined the Armed and Fabulous panel at CPAC 2017 with fellow female gun rights activists Kimberly Corban, Ashlee Lundvall, and Kristi McMains, moderated by Townhall's Katie Pavlich. Before her rising success and spotlight in the media, starting in 2015, Antonia attended twelve different Leadership Institute trainings including the Youth Leadership School, Future Candidate School, Comprehensive Fundraising Training, Digital Communications Workshop, Television Workshop and more. “The Leadership Institute is what inspired and equipped me to be a successful advocate and voice for the campus carry movement. I knew how to relay my message effectively because of their generous Campus Reform student journalism program and their media training.” Antonia was later inspired to start a Network for Enlightened Women chapter in Texas because she attended LI's Women's Leadership Workshop where she met Karin Agness, founder of NeW. “Before then, I had no idea that the conservative values I hold dear could be an effective way to empower women who are turned off to the radical leftist feminism movement of today. Because of LI, I can 100% say that I am effective today because of them. I will forever be grateful.” When asked what advice she would give to young people in the conservative movement, Antonia paused for a second to think. Her answer that followed was resolute. “Network. Get to know people. Go to conferences and meet people. You never know where you will be a year from now, and a lot of times, it's people you meet that will give you that opportunity you want so much.” The Leadership Institute thanks Antonia for her dedication to conservative principles and congratulates her for her nomination for 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 Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,887 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 182,000 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.
Senator Jim Banks -- His Campaign's
Mari Vogel
September 13, 2016
Senator Jim Banks -- His Campaign's "Secret Weapon"
Jim Banks has shown a dedication to service throughout his life. As a father of three, a state Senator, and a Navy Reservist, he has proven himself a strong and value-oriented leader. “There is a lot of pressure to go along with the majority sentiment, but I will not go back on the pledge I made to my constituents,” said Senator Banks. As the State Senator for the 17th district of Indiana, he has continually been a voice for conservative principles. Next, he hopes to continue his service to Indiana as a member of Congress. While in the senate, Senator Banks has served on numerous committees, most notably the Senate Veteran Affairs and the Military committee. He believes this experience, coupled with his military service, could provide a unique perspective to the Congressional Armed Services Committee if elected in the fall. Senator Banks fought in a hotly contested primary this spring due to the number of other well-funded candidates and the coinciding presidential nomination which drew in many more voters. However, due to his knowledgeable volunteers (several Leadership Institute graduates) and lean campaign strategies, he was able get his message out and win the election. Another thing which helped now Senator Banks through the election was his family, which he referred to as the campaign's “secret weapon.” His wife, Amanda, was able to play a unique role in the campaign because of her own political experience. As a Navy Reserve Supply Corps officer, Jim was called to Afghanistan from 2014 until 2015. While Jim was serving in Afghanistan, Amanda took over his seat in the state Senate. During her time in office, she worked on the Veterans Affairs committee and the Education committee, where she helped author and sponsor many bills. She also co-authored several bills in defense of the unborn. “Public servants cannot separate who they are from what they do,” she says, “so the various vocations I have in life as a mother, a military wife, and a conservative activist all come to the forefront when considering the issues facing our state." If he wins the election in November, Senator Banks is ready to fight for conservative values in Congress. “I believe we need to go back to our roots and start building support around conservative solutions for our current public policy challenges,” he said. Instead of being the “opposition party,” he sees the importance of bringing conservative proposals and ideas to the table. Jim credits the Leadership Institute with providing a solid foundation for him as he began getting involved in politics. Thanks to the Grassroots Activist School and Youth Leadership School, he made connections which allowed him to work with a member of Congress and run a Mayoral campaign very early in his career. “The LI program didn't just provide me with the knowledge and skills I would need to make a difference on behalf of candidates I would work with," said Senator Banks, "but it helped me connect with people who would have an important role in my career down the line.” Mari Vogel was a summer intern in the Grassroots Department for the Leadership Institute. 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.
A Different Type of Activist
Natalie Tuttle
March 14, 2016
A Different Type of Activist
What do you think of when someone says that they're an activist? Do you picture scenes like supporters sign waving at the annual March for Life? Do you remember watching demonstrators on the steps of the Supreme Court waiting for a controversial decision? Meet Jason Jones. Jason is a conservative, pro-life activist who uses filmmaking to spread his message. His goal is to navigate through (and counter) morally challenged Hollywood. Known for films that promote a humane society, Jason is the president and founder of Movie to Movement, a project of his larger organization HERO (Human-Rights Education and Relief Organization). Through Movie to Movement, Jason targets a broad audience and tells stories that allow people to acknowledge the value of life at all stages. His films have won international attention for addressing tough issues that transcend generations and cultures. Published projects include the film Bella, winner of the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. When asked about the reception of conservative principles in the left-leaning film industry, he said, “I don't fish from a bucket [of conservatives]. I fish on the lake and put the fish I catch in the bucket.” Jason and his team offer an alternative to the cultural norms Hollywood accepts and encourages. Jason tailors every project to promote the value of humanity in Hollywood. Even in Hollywood, he finds support. “I don't believe any areas are shut off. Regardless of ideology, we agree on more than we think we do. Everyone want the best education, the best healthcare, the best world… we just have radically different ideas on how to get there.” Jason hopes that projects like Bella communicate with people on an emotional level. While each project has its own underlying focus, the mission of Movie to Movement is “to promote the incomparable dignity and beauty of the human person through the power of film.” Much of the work he has done, he has attributed to the Leadership Institute. Jason moved to the Washington DC area in the year 2000. He attended Institute workshops on fundraising, TV presence, and non-profit organization management. He read every book Morton Blackwell recommends in “Read to Lead” and went to as many Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfasts as he could attend. Jason has adapted techniques employed by aspiring politicians for use in making and promoting films. For example, Jason transformed LI's precinct captain strategy into a “theater captain” program by assigning volunteers to advertise and advocate for Movie to Movement on the local level. This and other techniques learned in the classrooms at LI have helped Jason advocate for conservative principles in Hollywood. The Leadership Institute isn't just about learning techniques, it's about a network of conservative activists. While learning how to win at LI, Jason met his best friend. Jason has stayed in contact with many at LI, including Morton Blackwell. During his most recent visit to the Leadership Institute, Jason told staff members that because of LI, he knows how to do more than vote. Jason encourages everyone to take an active role in changing politics and culture. “If you think all you have to do is show up to vote, you're a D student,” he told the Leadership Institute interns. Jason champions party involvement and volunteering for causes and campaigns. To learn more about Jason and his project Movie to Movement visit www.movietomovement.com. The Leadership Institute thanks Jason for his dedication to conservative principles and congratulates 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 Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,750 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. 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.
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.
Leadership Institute grad elected second-youngest legislator in the United States of America
Mitchell Nozka
January 21, 2016
Leadership Institute grad elected second-youngest legislator in the United States of America
She's 19. She's conservative. She's in college. And she's an elected official. Yvonne Dean-Bailey was fed up with the leftism she encountered at her college. She decided to do something about it – and enrolled in Leadership Institute training. Yvonne went from conservative student to Leadership Institute graduate to campus activist to state legislator in less than a year. A cesspool of liberalism: Mount Holyoke College LI's campus field staff recruited and mentored Yvonne – a student eager to fight the left at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Through the Leadership Institute's campus watchdog news website, CampusReform.org, students like Yvonne expose leftist bias and indoctrination to make an impact on their own campuses. Frankly, Mount Holyoke College is a cesspool of liberalism. Yvonne's articles on CampusReform.org showed how the college: Held an event to shame white students on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for their so-called “white privilege” Cancelled a theatre production of the “Vagina Monologues” – not because it was disgusting, but because it didn't go far enough to promote feminism and wasn't “inclusive of transgender students” Encouraged students to participate in a protest against a grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for defending himself against Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri In response to Yvonne's articles, leftists at Mount Holyoke College slandered Yvonne on message boards all over the campus, calling her “hateful, transphobic, homophobic, and racist.” Shockingly, leftists encircled and harassed Yvonne in the college's cafeteria. But Yvonne responded, “Despite this, I will continue to be an independent and active voice on campus until all sides are considered.” Yvonne enrolled in the Leadership Institute's Student Activism Conference, Television Workshop, and One-on-One Media Training. Then, Yvonne took her conservative activism to the next level. She ran for elected office in her home state. Yvonne takes her activism to the next level through Leadership Institute campaign training Yvonne ran courageously as a conservative in New Hampshire's 32nd state district. “If I'm elected, I'm going to focus on fiscally responsible principles and conservative principles,” she said. “Some legislators think about tax dollars as just a number, when in actuality this is people's money.” Most observers didn't expect much from this 19-year-old young lady. But Yvonne had a crucial advantage. “Through the Leadership Institute,” Yvonne said, “I learned how to fundraise, how to handle the media, and how to organize a grassroots effort in a rural New Hampshire community.” With a record voter turnout in May, Yvonne defeated her leftist opponent with 52.4% of the vote. Donors train young conservatives for a lifetime of activism Today, Yvonne is the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the New Hampshire state legislature – and the second-youngest state legislator in America. “The Leadership Institute gave me the tools I needed to beat an experienced liberal Democrat. Their training makes young leaders successful in organizing campaigns,” Yvonne said. “I'm so thankful for the donors who helped LI train me to win.” Yvonne not only serves as the field director for a presidential candidate's campaign, but she now studies at the University of New Hampshire where she continues to fight campus liberals and hold them accountable – both as a Leadership Institute campus correspondent and as a state representative. Yvonne is one of the thousands of Institute-trained graduates who will fight to protect America's founding principles for many years to come.
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.
Fighting for the Farm
Jacob Weaver
July 2, 2015
Fighting for the Farm
How did a small family-farmer transform into a national headline? Why did she join the 2015 Congressional Property Rights Caucus Roundtable, and become The Property Rights Foundation of America's “Nation's Grassroots Property Rights Leader”? It started with a young girl's childhood dream. Martha Boneta grew up in Mount Vernon, Virginia. She attended George Mason University for both her undergraduate and law degree, later studying Alternative Dispute Resolution at the prestigious Strauss Institute of Pepperdine University. After school, Martha worked in government relations at ICS, then became a strategic account executive at Reed Elsevier. Martha's childhood dream became a reality when she purchased Liberty Farm. Unfortunately, her American Dream quickly deteriorated into an American nightmare. Her farm became the epicenter of attacks from extreme environmental groups. Using agencies ranging from the Virginia Department of Transportation to Animal Control, these groups subjected Martha to many abusive inspections. This exploitation culminated in zoning violation charges for the farm's hay rides, birthday parties, on-site sale of farm goods, and pumpkin carving in the pumpkin patch. The penalty? A $15,000 per day fine if she did not immediately cease all operations. “The experience was crushing, and I was heartbroken,” Martha said. Refusing to endure this violation of their property, Martha and her family began to fight back. Agreeing with George Washington, she believed that “freedom rests on the shoulders of property rights.” Martha proceeded to attend three Leadership Institute (LI) trainings -- the Future Candidate School, the Crisis Communication Training, and the Public Speaking Workshop -- where she learned the valuable grassroots skills to combat overbearing government. “The Leadership Institute was able to provide significant insight into overcoming obstacles and having the courage and network of resources available to create coalitions and legislation,” Martha said. The strength of these bipartisan coalitions devastated the liberal opposition. More than “7,000 Virginians wrote petition letters, made phone calls, and attended rallies and General Assembly hearings in support of legislation to protect family farmers,” Martha said. This activism led to the passage of the Boneta Bill I and II, which limited government's ability to overregulate small farmers, allowed farmers to engage in on-farm activity to attract customers, and provided consumers better access to locally produced farm goods. The new documentary Farming in Fear produced by Sean Malone of Honest Enterprise depicts Martha's nine-year battle to save her livelihood. The film premiers at the Anthem Film Festival on July 11. When asked about the film, Martha responded: The message people walk away with is hope. The idea that even though government and powerful special interests so often seem unbeatable, and that it's pointless to even try to defend your rights against those kinds of odds, it is actually possible to succeed if you persevere and stand strong for truth, justice, and the American Dream. Martha also plans to speak at the 44th National Fourth of July Conservative Soiree hosted at Bull Run Park (Centreville, VA) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All who attend receive free admittance to the food, the fun, and the great company of other conservatives! Though the fight for her farm ended, Martha knows she must continue to promote freedom, declaring: My heart will always be on the farm, but I have a great passion for community engagement and grassroots organization. If we are not zealously and passionately protecting our freedom, we will no longer be free. This experience has taught me to never, ever give up on the American Dream. It is my hope and prayer that others will be inspired by my family's journey to stand strong to keep the flame of liberty burning bright. The Leadership Institute thanks Martha for her dedication to conservative principles and congratulates her 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 Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. 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.