Building Coalitions in the Conservative Movement
Ben Woodward
November 21, 2018
Building Coalitions in the Conservative Movement
I love Thanksgiving. Being from the UK, I had not celebrated this wonderful holiday until moving to Washington, D.C. two years ago. The sentiment of this holiday is important; being with family, learning to appreciate the opportunities we have, and of course, forgetting about calories for the day!In your professional life, the sentiment of coming together is important too. Professionals depend heavily on each other as do organizations to assist each other to accomplish mutual goals. Your ability to build coalitions can make you an asset; here are four steps to building coalitions. 1. When you start your next project, identify potential coalition partnersThe best way to do this is to break down the various aspects of your project. Figure out the steps you need to take to complete the project and dimensions of the job you can do yourself. For work you can achieve internally, you probably want to avoid burdening others. For work where you require another person's expertise, first look internally within your organization before approaching partner organizations. Identify your coalition partner based on those who are most helpful, organizations closely aligned with yours, and professionals who you know you can work with. 2. Figure out what exactly what you need from your coalition partnerBefore you approach your coalition partner, know your ask. You want to avoid a situation where the coalition partner agrees to something without knowing exactly what is expected of them. You should be clear from the start.Some of the reasons you might approach a coalition partner are for their expertise, and perhaps they specialize in an area of policy you do not understand. Other times you might require the use of their workspace because it is in a prominent location. Most of the time when I approach a coalition partner it is for the use of their connections. Other times, you may want their sponsorship for an event. Whatever it is, make sure you know what you are looking for. via GIPHY3. Make a convincing pitch to your coalition partnerYou can do this by phone, email, or meeting (usually it depends on the nature and size of the ask). The key to a good pitch is a clear focus on how the partnership will benefit their organization. Perhaps you will sponsor one of their events in exchange; you'll give them name recognition, it doesn't cost them anything, you'll provide them with an email list, etc. When making your pitch, lay out a clear plan, timeline, budget, whatever your coalition partner needs to assist you. It's essential that you are easy to work with so that organizations want to help you again in the future. Also, be ready to answer questions or follow up with relevant information. If your ask requires a financial commitment, prepare to negotiate. via GIPHY4. Follow through with your plan and keep a clear line of communication If your coalition partner agrees to assist you, open a group chat on whatever platform you like best where you can share information and list out the respective tasks and dates for completion. This will keep all parties updated on the progress of your mutual project. You may also wish to schedule more meetings and phone calls to strategize and keep everyone on track. Make sure you follow through on whatever you agreed to in exchange for their help. If you decided to pay them, share contact information, etc. you should be prompt in your delivery following the completion of your mutual project. Finally, coalitions are a necessary good in your professional life. They strengthen the bond between organizations and the movement is better off for it. Make sure you uphold your organization's reputation as a reliable partner.via GIPHY
Meet the Youngest Vice President in The Heritage Foundation's History
Ben Woodward
November 5, 2018
Meet the Youngest Vice President in The Heritage Foundation's History
Just over a year ago, I spoke on a panel about non-conventional jobs in the conservative movement. Our task: to educate young professionals about the wide variety of career paths available to them.I was struck by the quality of my fellow panelists and, even as a panelist myself, how much I could learn from them.Among the speakers was Andrew McIndoe, a highly-talented development professional from The Heritage Foundation who served as Director of Donor Relations. Andrew had previously served as Morton Blackwell's intern, an experience that helped shape his career for years to come.Today, Andrew is Vice President of Development at The Heritage Foundation, a position he was promoted to just a few weeks ago. Andrew is the youngest vice president in Heritage's history and, with his more than 50 staff, is responsible for ensuring Heritage has all the resources it needs to advance conservative principles in the public policy process.I asked Andrew what advice he could offer young people hoping to follow his example:“I'd tell people not to try and replicate the success of another professional; instead, strike out on your own. Exemplify a strong work ethic, eagerly take on any task that comes your way, and do what you say you are going to do.”Andrew went on to say much of his success was because he invested in his professional development. Andrew attended many Leadership Institute trainings, interned at several conservative organizations, and networked and followed up with everyone he met. Most importantly, Andrew worked hard to build his reputation as a results-oriented and dynamic leader.When asked what he most looked forward to in his new role, Andrew said he was excited to partner with thousands of Heritage donors, committed patriots who are deeply concerned about the future of their country. Andrew enjoys his role as a “philanthropic consultant,” who can hear the dreams and concerns of donors and match them with Heritage's vision and mission.Going back to his early days as a Leadership Institute intern, Andrew remembered how working for Morton influenced his career: “My favorite memories are the many meaningful interactions I had with Morton. Whether it was something as simple as going over a project, or more in-depth conversations, I always left with a pearl of wisdom. Morton exemplifies many of the qualities I try to embody as a leader; humble with a selfless commitment to conservative principles.”In addition to this, Andrew has fond memories of living in the Fred Sacher House, the National Fourth of July Conservative Soirée, and the long-lasting friendships he made. In his free time, Andrew enjoys spending time with his one-year-old daughter Lottie and his wife, Haley. The McIndoes live on Capitol Hill and mentor Heritage interns as Resident Advisors in the E.W. Richardson Building. Andrew enjoys spending time in the kitchen with food and wine, playing golf, and travelling. In addition, Andrew just received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and looks forward to bringing a business/private sector ethos into his new role.
5 Ways to Prepare for Your First Day of Work
Rachel Gill
October 31, 2018
5 Ways to Prepare for Your First Day of Work
You made it through the grueling process that is the job search, you went to interview after interview until finally you landed the job!All your hard work doesn't stop there. It's a new company with new people and you want to make sure you make the right impression on the first day. Here are some tips to make your first day go as smoothly as possible.1. Eat breakfastYou don't know the office culture yet and you might find yourself taking a later lunch than usual. Avoid getting “hangry” and making a bad first impression by giving yourself enough time in the morning to eat breakfast. As a bonus, you'll hopefully be more awake by the time you reach the office!via GIPHY2. Dress to impressIt is much better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. You don't want to show up looking too casual. When you put effort into your appearance it shows that you care how you represent yourself. Companies are interested in employees who will represent themselves and their company well. Being under-dressed will garner attention from your superiors for all the wrong reasons.via GIPHY3. Plan out your route to work ahead of timeMaybe you moved to a new city and there are new traffic patterns. Use Google Maps to estimate how much time it will take you to get to the office. You don't want to be late because you got lost. Your boss will probably be forgiving because it's your first day, but you don't want to start off wasting their time.via GIPHY4. Arrive EarlyBecause you planned out your route ahead of time, you can make sure to arrive early. It shows that you took the initiative to prepare and are ready to hit the ground running and get to work -- which is exactly what you were hired to do! Live by the rule that “10 minutes early is on time and on time is late.”5. Come prepared with your own materialsMost offices will have a desk set up with pens, notepads, and sticky notes. On the off chance that you aren't set up with these things right away, it's always better to have than have not. Make sure you have a notepad to take notes on. The first day is usually full of onboarding information, so be sure to write (or type) it all down.via GIPHYBonus: Ask questionsIn my first job in college, I learned that it was much better to ask questions than do something wrong. Your supervisor will appreciate you asking for clarification before you make a mistake that costs them time and/or the organization money.There's no guarantee that your first day will be a smashing success, but by implementing these tips you can give yourself a fighting chance. Most of the time that's all you'll need to crush your first day.via GIPHY
Pros and Cons of Full-Time School and Work
Matthew Patterson
October 29, 2018
Pros and Cons of Full-Time School and Work
“Do I work or go to college?” Most of us ask that tough question of ourselves at some point. However, there is a third option -- do both!via GIPHYNot many people pick this route, and for good reason. However, some people either don't have a choice or it becomes the preferred option with the increased financial support. Here are some benefits and costs of being a full-time employee and student you should consider:Pro: You will get a head start on other graduates! Many people wait to get started in their career or gain experience until after they graduate, and this can prevent them from achieving their desired job right away. Most employers look for both education and work experience.via GIPHYCon: A full-time school schedule and full-time workweek require good time management, especially when simultaneous. It can be a daunting task to find time to do all your school work while maintaining your work ethic on the job, which can lead to undue stress. Pro: Time Management! Once you get it down it can be one of your most valuable assets. Time management is one of the most fundamental and productive skills you can master, and nothing will do it like taking on two full-time obligations.via GIPHYCon: With papers, work projects, and assignments piling up, something will have to give and it's often your social life. This doesn't mean you won't be able to go out and have fun; you will have to put those time management skills to work and find time to cut loose!via GIPHYPro: You will have unique experience. Not many people work and go to school full time. As Robert Frost said, taking the road less travelled makes all the difference. When you are applying to your next job, being able to handle all this work will make you stand out as a motivated multitasker!Con: In the same way it's difficult to find time to go out and have fun, you can also find it difficult to cook a healthy meal or go to the gym. With proper planning and a 24-hour gym nothing is impossible, but it will take a bit more dedication than it would otherwise!As someone who chose to pursue a career and school at the same time, I can say for myself the pros far outweigh the cons. While I occasionally miss going out with my friends or sleeping in after a long day, the payoff is more than worth the temporary lack of comfort.via GIPHY
Balance a Busy Work Schedule with a Healthy Lifestyle
Ben Woodward
October 15, 2018
Balance a Busy Work Schedule with a Healthy Lifestyle
Since moving to Washington, D.C. just over two years ago, I have been in denial about my worst habits. You can probably relate; it is a poor diet, lack of exercise, and an overall unhealthy lifestyle. Why use a careers blog, however, to talk about health? Taking care of yourself is beneficial to your productivity in the workplace. A poor diet, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, and excessive drinking can result in fatigue, reduced thought clarity, and higher stress levels. With a busy work schedule, it is easy to let your health slip, causing a vicious cycle. Here are three ways you can balance a busy work schedule and a healthy lifestyle.via GIPHYMeal Preparation Breakfast and dinner are less likely to be unhealthy because you have the distinct advantage of eating them at home. Often people make the mistake of either skipping these important meals or eating out due to lack of time or energy. Lunch is even trickier because it is the one meal you're almost guaranteed to eat at work. Often, this leaves you subject to the food served locally. It is rarely healthy for your body or your wallet. By preparing meals beforehand, you can control your meals and make healthy choices. If like me, you are too tired or lack time on weekdays, find an hour during the weekend to plan and execute your meals for the next five days. If at lunch you still want to join your colleagues, buy a soda with them but eat lunch at your desk in advance.via GIPHYGo to Bed at a Reasonable Hour A good night's sleep has many advantages. First, you will be far more energetic and productive at work if you are sufficiently rested. Beyond the obvious, by going to bed in good time, you will find it much easier to wake up earlier and allow yourself more time to eat breakfast, go to the gym, or arrive to work earlier and get a jump start on the day. If like me, you enjoy watching television and surfing your phone before bed, you should consider reading instead. You are not going to be roped into one YouTube clip after another or be sucked into a Facebook debate. By reading instead, you will relax your mind and find it much easier to fall asleep at the intended hour. Avoid Temptation The workplace is an obstacle course of temptation. Whether it's food left over from an event, a colleague who bakes, a happy hour, or a special occasion, there is always something! This is where your previous meal preparation will come in most helpful. If you have food scheduled or something to appease your appetite like a healthy snack, you are less likely to indulge. The other key here is communication. Make sure your colleagues are aware of your intention to live a healthier lifestyle; they can hold you accountable rather than be part of the problem. via GIPHYBy improving your lifestyle, you will see the results in your work. Your career requires you to be your best every day, so make sure you are setting yourself up to succeed. via GIPHY
Capital in the Capital
Matthew Patterson
October 1, 2018
Capital in the Capital
Do you want to work in the Capitol or Capital? Many people often confuse the two words; with one letter of difference, it's an easy mistake. Whether you want to work in the capitol building or capital city, you should know about the different types of capital, each of which has a unique impact on your life.Social CapitalYour network is your net worth. We have all heard this phrase or a variation of it, particularly if you are in the D.C. area, and it cannot be truer. Not only does knowing more people expand your available opportunities when searching for a job, it can also make you more valuable to the job you have now. If you can pick up the phone and completely bypass the chain of command, you will be invaluable.via GIPHYOne of the most common issues people run into is how to effectively build your social capital and expand it outside of the workplace. One thing you should remember is that everyone you want to have a connection with is a person too. They have (fairly) normal lives, going out to eat, shopping, to the park, so on and so forth. Meeting people at these places, outside the office, can help lead to a great network in the Capital.Human CapitalLiving in the Capital can be a change of pace for those not used to the D.C. scene. As someone coming from a small town in East Tennessee, it was certainly a change for me. One aspect of your capital that can be left on the back burner during this transition is your human capital.via GIPHYYour human capital is your health, and with all the great places to grab a bite to eat or get a drink, it can be easy to not pay this much mind! However, those couple nights out and networking lunches can catch up with you. To help with this, D.C. offers many ways to help with your day to day health, including parks, trails, health food stores, and too many gyms to choose from! Its also important for your human capital to get some adequate sleep; you should never fall asleep at your office because of that Capital night life!Financial CapitalIf there is one thing everyone living in D.C. can agree on, it's not cheap! With some of the highest rent and cost of living in the country, it can be easy to find yourself on a strapped budget. It's important to save money, but up in the Capital it can be hard to justify putting that capital back in the bank.via GIPHYThe little things can help make this a lot easier such as taking the metro or bus instead of Uber, or shopping at Trader Joes instead of Whole Foods. Sure, it might not be as glamorous, but the pay off will be when you're not worried about those plane tickets home or that anniversary with your significant other.
Four Tips to Land a Paid Campaign Position
Matthew Patterson
September 14, 2018
Four Tips to Land a Paid Campaign Position
Full disclosure… political campaigns aren't glamorous; they require long hours, low or no pay, a thick skin, and a lot of stress.But if you can handle all that, working on a political campaign can be one of the most exciting and rewarding careers in the conservative movement. You'll travel, talk to new people about your cause or candidate, be part of a dynamic and close team, and if you win, you'll effect change!Many conservatives hope to work on campaigns, but most of us can't afford to go without salary. With only a handful of paid jobs to go around, I'll give you four tips to land a paid position on a campaign.1. Strike while the iron is hotTo get involved in a campaign, try to find one early in the election cycle. By looking for a campaign early on, you can narrow down your pick of what kind of race you want to work, and in what capacity.Check Election Commission filings to find which candidates are raising funds for the race. The more money a campaign has, the more it can pay. While it may be more exciting to work for an underdog, unless they are self-funding or raising comparable amounts to their opponents, it may be difficult to get that paycheck. via GIPHYThe main advantage to finding a campaign early is that they likely don't have all their positions filled, which means they are hiring!2. Humble YourselfUnless you have previous election experience, or extremely relevant experience, the campaign may not bring you on immediately for a paid position.However, by offering to come on as a volunteer or intern you can show the staff and the candidate that you believe in their campaign and are willing to get your hands dirty. This will go a long way when time comes to fill permeant positions, so hold tight and pull your weight.via GIPHY3. Make your intentions knownCampaigns are generally tight with their budgets, spending every dollar where it will have the most impact. If the campaign team does not know you are seeking a paid position, it may never come.Be honest with the campaign manager, let them know you are seeking a paid role on the team. If you cannot afford to pay your bills, you won't be able to do much help for the campaign.By letting the campaign manager know your intentions, it will allow them to give you more specific tasks to gauge your aptitude for your desired role. This will help show the campaign staff that your pay would be money well spent.via GIPHY4. Always Be ClosingThere is no sleep during election season. Whether it's yard signs, flyers, events, or meetings, there is always an opportunity to get more votes.Always be closing on your goal, be the “3:00 AM type”.Be the person who will put out yard signs all night, walk in four different parades the next day, and still make it to that public speaking engagement that evening. Motivation and passion are what you must demonstrate to the campaign team.Make yourself vital, and that paid position won't be far behind!via GIPHY
LI Alumni Advice: Mariah Bastin – Never Stop Learning
Stuart Monk
August 27, 2018
LI Alumni Advice: Mariah Bastin – Never Stop Learning
Last week, I had the privilege of sitting down with one of Leadership Institute's alumni, Mariah M. M. Bastin, who now works as a Public Affairs Specialist at the Department of State. Mariah is both a graduate of LI's intern program and a former staff member, hired after finishing her internship. She shared with me some of the keys to her career success and some of the wisdom she has gained in her journey. First, you need to know something important about Mariah: she's a rockstar.By the time she was twenty-two, Mariah was fluent in three languages, earned a Master of International Affairs, and worked at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Considering that, you would think she would have gone right to the State Department out of graduate school, but she didn't.Mariah applied to a highly competitive program, the Presidential Management Fellows Program, and then packed her bags to fly to Washington, DC for the first time. The application process and subsequent placement took nearly two years.It was during that time Mariah learned about LI.Mariah had gotten involved in politics only in her last year of graduate school, so she didn't know much about the conservative movement when she arrived. I asked Mariah what drew her to the Leadership Institute and to apply to its intern program. For her, it was the opportunity to learn.“If you really want to learn and understand what the conservative movement is, not just kind of go through life claiming to be part of it, then LI is the place to go,” said Mariah.While at the Leadership Institute, Mariah interned in the Communications Trainings department. I asked her what she took away from that experience, and she said she learned a long time ago that everything comes down to communications: relationships, projects, life in general. In her internship, she learned how to communicate well and to teach others.Her advice for young professionals when it comes to communication: learn to write a proper email and use appropriate etiquette in person. Your first impression when meeting someone for coffee isn't your smile or handshake; it's the emails you sent to arrange the meeting, so learn to communicate well by email.Also, learn how to be cordial in all conversations. While you can share jokes and relax around some colleagues, some people expect you to be professional 24/7. It's important to know the difference.Mariah lives by the philosophy that everyone should be a lifelong learner. Something her parents taught her from a young age is that “there is always something to learn from an experience.” Everything you learn has an impact, even if you don't know how it will in the future.“Take things moment by moment, day by day, experience by experience.” Mariah did just that and now has her dream job, working at the State Department.The philosophy of lifelong learning is more than just gaining knowledge. It is about equipping yourself to thrive not just in the here and now but also in the future. Mariah's approach to life is to learn from everything: the great experiences, the bad ones, and all the small things in between. She continues to do that every day.I'll leave you with Mariah's final and most important piece of advice: “Always seek out where you can be of assistance and where you can make someone else's life easier, either professionally or personally.”The Leadership Institute (LI) has trained more than 200,000 activists, leaders, and students. Like Mariah, many of those graduates have gone on to do remarkable things.
Sail Through Your Phone Interview
Ben Woodward
August 20, 2018
Sail Through Your Phone Interview
With many great applicants applying to work in the conservative movement, more and more recruiters rely on phone interviews to save time and determine whom they want to meet in person. Many jobseekers overstress to the detriment of their preparation. However, if you have a phone interview, you already have reason to be happy; the recruiter would not waste their time if you did not show potential.For phone interviews, you don't have to worry about finding the location or presenting the right body language, and you can have all your notes laid out in front of you. Take it seriously, however, and prepare in the same ways you would for an in-person interview.via GIPHYBefore the Phone InterviewPreparation is everything! In the early stages of screening, the interviewer will expect you to establish why you're qualified for the role, an appreciation of the organization and its mission, and proof you're a normal human being.Research the organization's website, social media, annual reports, and recent news; use that information to establish why you're motivated to work for the organization. The recruiter will expect you to know the fundamentals of what the organization does and the contribution it makes to the movement.Research yourself. This might sound strange, but it's important to know your employment history and what you've accomplished in previous positions. This research will serve as your validation when asked why you're qualified for the job and what value you can create for the organization.Find a quiet place where you can lay out your notes, and not be disturbed. You should notify anyone who might interrupt that you're doing an interview. If you're so inclined, wear business attire to get in the right frame of mind.via GIPHYDuring the Phone Interview Answer the phone confidently as you would at work and introduce yourself. Take notes as the interviewer is speaking about the details of the interview and their name so you can use it in conversation. Listen carefully to the interviewer and be careful not to cut them off in conversation. When you speak, do so confidentially, and emphasize the tone of your voice to convey friendliness since the interviewer can't see you. Keep your answers succinct. If the interviewer has to cut you off, it probably means your answers are too long. Also, if you're asked a tough question, don't be afraid to ask for a moment to think about your answer. This shows you're conscientious and is far better than rushing in unprepared. Finally, at the end of your interview, you should be prepared with questions. Ask the interviewer their favorite thing about working for the organization and what the dynamics of your team would be like.After the Phone InterviewSend a thank you note to the interviewer. Immediately after your interview, write one and be sure to include details which evidence it was written personally for them, i.e., what you enjoyed about the interview. Have it in the mail that day. If you doubt the letter will get there on time, send an email.Play the waiting game. This is arguably the hardest part of an interview and can be frustrating if the recruiter takes too long. If there was no indication of a timeline given to you by the interviewer, send a polite email a week after the interview requesting a status update. If you receive no response, move on.Phone interviews can be hard, but if you know how to handle them, you'll easily impress recruiters and move on to the in-person interview. Good luck! via GIPHY
10 Myths of Leadership
Carmen Diaz
August 6, 2018
10 Myths of Leadership
Last year, 85% of employees reported dissatisfaction with their jobs, placing much of the blame on supervisors and bosses. The majority of Americans are unhappy with their superiors, yet the majority of employees are unwilling to change their circumstances and invest in their own professional development.Leadership becomes ineffective when it is mistakenly defined by title rather than conduct. Failing to recognize every person as an accountable leader leads to over-reliance on superiors, whether they're managers, coaches, or government officials.Too many brilliant and competent people don't pursue leadership roles because they think they don't fit the mold. It's time to redefine leadership and reveal the potential hiding behind these myths.Myth 1: Leaders aren't followersLeadership potential is often revealed in diligent followership. You can earn both respect and trust by being both a coach and a team player. via GIPHYMyth 2: The leader is the loudest person in the roomArrogance and ego are a recipe for short-term success. Don't earn the reputation of dominating conversation, bragging, or shouting people down.Myth 3: Employees aren't entrepreneurial You don't need to start your own business to apply entrepreneurial principles to your work. Always show initiative and guide decisions to contribute to the improvement and innovation of your organization.Myth 4: Extroverted leaders are preferredExtroverts are more likely to network and eagerly seek opportunity, resulting in the misconception that introverts are less desirable candidates. Introverts tend to be introspective and observant, naturally making them thoughtful listeners. These are valuable traits to managerial roles, which require conflict resolution and human resource management. Identify your comparative advantage to develop your own leadership skill and style.Myth 5: Leaders don't ask for helpSimple overseers are less likely to ask for help and perceive doing so as weakness, but competent leaders will delegate and show that they trust their team.via GIPHYMyth 6: I'm not qualified to be a leaderEarning multiple degrees and a wealth of influence are conventional ways to gain credibility, but they don't guarantee competent leadership. Leadership in practice, rather than degrees, proves you're qualified.Myth 7: Leaders know all the answersThe President of the United States needs an entire Cabinet of advisors. No one has all the answers.Myth 8: Leadership is determined by titleChief roles and managerial titles aren't available for everyone, but anyone willing to develop and act as a leader will be respected and considered as such.Myth 9: The leader's idea is bestAs managers move up the ladder, they become more reliant on others to focus on day-to-day operations, allowing the true leader to better specify areas for improvement and explore ideas for innovation.Myth 10: Leaders don't take breaksEven the most ambitious, competent, and enthusiastic leaders need time to relax. Constantly checking email during weekends and vacations is one habit likely to cause you to burn out.Leadership isn't limited to special roles or just reserved for specific personality types. The perfect opportunity isn't waiting behind an academic degree and new promotion.Wherever you are in your career, leadership is a skill, a practice, and a choice. via GIPHY
200,000th Conservative Trained
Eddie Stamper
July 15, 2018
200,000th Conservative Trained
This weekend, the Leadership Institute (LI) trained its 200,000th conservative activist at the National Youth Leadership School on July 15 at LI's Steven P.J. Wood Building in Arlington, Virginia.Since 1979, the Leadership Institute has worked to increase the number and effectiveness of youth activists in the public policy process. To achieve this goal, LI offers 47 types of training schools, workshops, and seminars; a free employment placement service; and a national field program that trains conservative students to organize campus groups.Shekinah Hollingsworth, LI's 200,000th graduate, is a Maryland Campus Correspondent, and reports liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. She studied political science at Salisbury University and works for the Black Conservative Federation.As an intern at The Heritage Foundation in 2016, Shekinah was asked to appear on Fox News about the “Pyramid of White Supremacy” used by a professor at her alma mater.She brought the same passion against liberal bias shown in this interview to the boot camp of politics, the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School. Shekinah and more than 130 other activists there learned best practices for organizing a youth-based campaign including tabling techniques, how to conduct a campus canvass, and how to recruit and retain volunteers.If you would like to join the ranks of Shekinah and thousands of other conservative activists, register to attend an LI training here.
10 Common Mistakes at Job Fairs, Trainings, and Networking Events
Carmen Diaz
July 6, 2018
10 Common Mistakes at Job Fairs, Trainings, and Networking Events
Last month the Conservative Partnership Institute held an Executive Branch Job Fair on Capitol Hill. I had the opportunity to work this event. More than 1000 job-seekers registered! I met men and women who drove hours and flew into D.C. that morning. Events such as these are fantastic opportunities to build your network, and who knows, maybe even secure a job. Unfortunately, many people make needless mistakes that leave a bad impression. Below are the top 10 common mistakes you should avoid.1. Not coming at allIf you can't afford to attend, or you're worried you may be underqualified, contact the manager of the event. Trust me, they want high attendance! Financial and travel resources may be available for students and interns. Similarly, if you registered but are unable to attend, it is thoughtful to notify managers beforehand.2. Incorrect name tag etiquetteName tags should be provided at events, but feel free to have a printed one always on hand. A tag should be placed on the upper right side of your chest with both your first and last name. 3. Dressing inappropriatelyIf a training doesn't specify dress code, business casual is the general rule of thumb. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed. Your next interviewer could be in the room.4. Typing your notesIt is proven that handwriting notes helps retain more information. For the sake of professionalism and to prevent distraction, avoid using your laptop and phone completely.5. Being afraid to ask questionsTake full advantage of the time you are given with experts. Write notes and questions throughout the lecture so your memory is fresh for the Q&A period. via GIPHY6. Not introducing yourself to staff and speakersI always remember friendly attendees who introduce themselves and shake hands. Saying a simple thank you shows respect to event organizers and speakers who've made the effort to be there.7. Sitting next to a friendInterns of the Leadership Institute are encouraged to attend as many trainings and workshops possible. There is only one rule: don't sit next to each other. Socializing with the guy you recognize from last week is a waste of a networking opportunity.8. Not completing evaluationsYou've invested time and money into attending an event hoping to learn something new. If you're unhappy or have suggestions, you owe it to yourself and your peers to give honest feedback. Organizers review comments carefully so programs continually improve.9. Treating this as a coffee dateNow is not the time to either share your life story or recite your resume. To a speaker who may be in a rush to another event or staff member who is busy managing the event, this is rude and will definitely be remembered for the wrong reasons. Introduce yourself, collect contact information, and follow up with an email.10. Not following upLike networking events, you haven't made a connection until you follow up. You may now schedule a personal meeting with your new contacts and ask the rest of your questions - but perhaps still refrain from sharing your life story.via GIPHY
Celebrate July 4th!  NEW Soirée Location, Occoquan, VA
Abbey Lee
July 2, 2018
Celebrate July 4th! NEW Soirée Location, Occoquan, VA
From its humble start as a small gathering of conservative friends, the National Fourth of July Conservative Soirée has a long, rich history bringing together important members of the conservative movement. It began in 1972 with Morton Blackwell, Lee Edwards, Robert Polack, and John L. Ryan who organized a party on the July 4th for a few of their close conservative friends. It struck them that this party had great networking potential. Over the years, this small party transformed into a highly anticipated part of the conservative calendar.“It's a chance to actually meet people who have been a part of the conservative movement for years and hear their stories,” said Ben Woodward, Leadership Institute's Career Programs Coordinator. Today, the Soirée offers something for the entire family. From barbecue, bluegrass music, and conservative speakers, to field games and a moon bounce, conservatives of all ages will find something they enjoy. The event even has a wine and beer garden for the adults this year! Kristin Dobson, National Field Director of the Leadership Institute's National Field Program, may be one of the Soirée's biggest proponents. “The Soirée gives you a sense of community, an event centered around a common cause of conservatism.”The Leadership Institute partners with highly influential organizations such as Americans for Prosperity, Young Americans for Liberty, the National Rifle Association, The Heritage Foundation, and National Right to Work among others to present the 47th National Fourth of July Conservative Soirée! “DC can feel big and impersonal, but the Soirée knits the conservative family together,” said Stephen Rowe, the Leadership Institute's Deputy Director of Digital Training. So join your conservative family on Wednesday, July 4 in Occoquan Regional Park to network, enjoy family fun and good food, and celebrate our nation's independence!
Conservative on a Budget
Carmen Diaz
June 25, 2018
Conservative on a Budget
When you seek out a new job or internship, it's important to find a position that will value your time, education, and experience. While it never hurts to practice your negotiation skills, many people new to the workforce fail to realize it's not how much you make, it's how much you keep.Budgeting is often a foreign concept to students and young professionals, who mistakenly think money management requires either an accountant or mathematician. Today, resources for all levels of financial education are available, and I suggest you discover a method that is realistic and suitable for you. via GIPHY Here are three easy ways to manage your budget.Grab a calculator, and recall a conservative's favorite word: F.R.E.E.Fun (15%)For the sake of our own sanity, we all want to use our salary for fun. You work hard, and you deserve to indulge yourself. Remember, part of a successful internship is to enjoy your experience in a new city. Just be smart about it; an intern salary can disappear quickly.Return (5-10%)Set aside 5-10% of your income to “Return”, or give back, to your community. Give to your church, or find a cause personally significant to you. Within the conservative movement alone, there are countless foundations whose efforts rely on generous donors.Emergency (10%)10% of your earnings should be placed in a savings account, investment fund, or used to pay off existing debt. If your car suddenly needs a repair or you have a medical emergency, you will be grateful to have a fund readily available.Essential (65-70%)Calculate 65-70% of your monthly income to cover all your “Essential” expenses. Presumably, the majority of your income will go towards your groceries, housing, transportation, phone bill, etc. Acknowledge your financial weaknesses, and determine how to overcome them.Figure out how much those daily coffeehouse visits, lunches, dinners, etc. are costing you, and identify ways you can save money.Prepare your meals the day before; learn to love the office coffee; and find free events where food is served. Perhaps your comrades influence your lavish spending. Communication is key; inform your peers about your new habits and you should not only gain their respect, but may also encourage them to establish wise spending habits of their own.via GIPHY Create separate bank accounts for separate purposes.I recommend you have at least three separate bank accounts. At the beginning of each month, calculate your expenses i.e. food, rent, bills, and more. Remember, most of the money in your account has already been spent on essentials, so make sure your current account is an accurate portrayal of your spare income.Place 10% of your overall income into a separate savings account you can use later. You'll be glad it's there when an unexpected expense arise or you need a vacation. You third and final account is your current account, the money you really have left to spend on yourself this month. Start to develop responsible spending habits now to prepare your future self for any possible circumstance. No matter how impressive your income is, you'll find yourself financially struggling if you spend irresponsibly and don't keep track of where your hard-earned cash is going! Wise money management can determine your financial future as much as your income, so remember conservatives, live F.R.E.Evia GIPHY
Who is making those incredible graphics?
Patricia Simpson Rausch
June 20, 2018
Who is making those incredible graphics?
Enjoy getting to know Melanie Aycock, LI's new Graphic Design Coordinator. This is an informal interview series with employees of the Leadership Institute to let you get to know us beyond our trainings. The questions ask them to describe what makes them tick and their experience with LI at various levels. What made you want to work at the Leadership Institute?I was first attracted to LI after learning about its mission and impact on the conservative movement. I love how the organization is action-oriented, but not hysteric. But after hearing about the company culture during my interviews, I knew LI was for me!What unique skills and background do you bring to your new position and how do you hope to utilize them? I earned degrees in both Graphic Communications and Political Science, so this position at LI is the perfect intersection of my interests and skills. During my time in school, I also interned in the Creative Department of the Heritage Foundation and served remotely as a Graphic Designer for YAF. I hope to use the skills I learned from these experiences to help communicate LI's message effectively and—well—make things pretty??If you moved here from another area, how does the DC area differ from your hometown?I am originally from the Suburgatory of metro Atlanta (Suwanee), but I spent the last four years in the middle-of-nowhere, South Carolina (Clemson). As you can imagine, DC/Arlington is certainly a change of pace—more exciting and much louder!Who has had the most impact on your political philosophy?I know they often get a bad rap, but my professors honestly had the most impact on my political philosophy. I fully exhausted Clemson's selection of political theory courses, so I have those professors to thank for teaching me the fundamentals of politics and law while encouraging me to think for myself.What is the last book you read and how would you describe it to get others to read it?Atlas Shrugged. Who is John Galt?What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?I love trying new things—exploring the city, trying unique food, attempting (key word) random work-out classes, and signing up for activities I've never tried before (…softball…). I also love running, hiking, and walking (I'm kind of like a dog).If you could visit any destination in the world, where would it be and why? Vienna, Austria. Because who wouldn't want to visit Hayek's hometown?If you got to choose a group lunch outing, what type of food would everyone be eating?MediterraneanWhat is your favorite family tradition? Every Thanksgiving, my entire family goes down to my aunt's farm in Dublin, Georgia (the middle-of-nowhere… are you noticing a pattern?). We eat a ton of food, go on nature walks, and shoot guns (of course).What are your thoughts about pineapple on pizza?Keep your fruit off my pizza.
Fighting for Free Speech -- One Campus at a Time
Abbey Lee
June 15, 2018
Fighting for Free Speech -- One Campus at a Time
Free speech on campus has been an issue growing in prominence over the last decade. University administrations shut down conservative speech and apply safe spaces and speech codes banning phrases like “third world,” “thug,” and “politically correct.” A politically correct list of words that bans the phrase “politically correct...” With the Leadership Institute's (LI) efforts to help conservative students on campus both with the Campus Leadership Program and Campus Reform, both LI staff members and attendees of the June Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast were more than ready to hear the perspective of a conservative professor, Dr. John McAdams. John is a professor at Marquette University in Wisconsin where he teaches American Politics, Public Opinion, and Voter Behavior. That experience has given him a front row seat to the rapidly changing culture on college campuses. From banned words to safe spaces, John has been progressively more and more shocked by the suppression of ideas by his colleagues all over the country. Though he is behind enemy lines, so to speak, John has not been left out of the discrimination against conservative speech on campus. Marquette University itself has policies against verbal conduct that creates any harm or mental discomfort. “Isn't a college education supposed to create some mental discomfort?” he exclaimed.He offered some insight into the origins of liberal bias in higher education. John says it began in the 1960's, with fascism making itself a significant presence on campuses. It became acceptable for liberal students and teachers to yell at conservatives and occupy buildings, not allowing them to host events. Some of these leftist activists happened to pursue careers in education and began imposing their political beliefs on young students who often lack the real world experience to refute their professors' faulty logic. Though it's uplifting to know there are a few professors out there like Dr. John McAdams, the fact that Americans are fighting to protect our free speech on campuses across the country is truly shocking. The first amendment already protects our free speech. As engaged conservatives and libertarians, it's my responsibility and yours to take action for the next generations and do what we can to restore this right on college campuses. You can view the archived video of this speech on facebook.To hear more about the urgent issues you and I face as conservatives and libertarians, come to the Leadership Institute's next Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast on August 1st. We'll hear from Larry Pratt, Executive Director Emeritus of Gun Owners of America.
7 Deadly Sins in the Workplace
Carmen Diaz
June 11, 2018
7 Deadly Sins in the Workplace
Being a good employee and colleague requires a lot more of you than being competent. Luckily, most people understand life is not an episode of House of Cards and opportunities come your way from being both competent and likeable. We could all be guilty of the seven deadly sins in the workplace. However, with all the free food at LI trainings, it can be hard to avoid gluttony!Here's how you can avoid the seven deadly sins at work:AngerInterpersonal conflict is inevitable in any profession. Exhaustion, deadlines, and something as small as skipping lunch are factors that add to stress and tensions. However, it is never appropriate to be temperamental or disrespectful. Conscientious employees understand how to communicate their concerns maturely. If you find yourself getting overly frustrated, take a walk or temporarily switch to another project.via GIPHYEnvy Are you envious of your colleagues' talents and achievements? Resisting envy is difficult because it forces you to identify your own shortcomings. Highly successful people are often competitive, a trait that can powerfully fuel ambition as well as self-doubt. Admire your peers' successes in recognition of your own potential. The conservative movement is full of amazing opportunities to progress and you will succeed by focusing on self-improvement. GluttonyPolitical movements such as campaign and nonprofit work rely heavily on donors and volunteers to support their efforts. Because resources are often limited and circumstances unpredictable, those who know how to create and implement budgets and spend resources frugally bring value to their organization. SlothA valuable employee practices self-discipline, masters time management, and works efficiently. The “sloth” is someone who arrives late, browses social media at their desk, and takes long lunch breaks. If you are struggling to motivate yourself at work, learn to set realistic deadlines and complete the tasks you dislike intermittently with tasks you enjoy.via GIPHYGreed Sharing and even giving credit to your coworkers is the hallmark of a mature employee who is focused on the good of their organization and not their own advancement. Conservatives focused on their mission best serve the movement.By delegating interesting projects and giving up your time to help other colleagues, you will prove yourself a leader in the movement. LustLusting after other jobs or more money is natural, and you should be ambitious for your career. However, this should not come at the expense of focusing on the here and now. Focus on doing your current job well; when you have paid your dues, you will be rewarded. Also, keep your eyes open for great opportunities. They will present themselves!Pride You should take pride in your work and your accomplishments. However, do not allow your pride to prevent you from receiving criticism and using feedback to improve the quality of your work in the future. Your humility will earn you respect and trust.via GIPHY
Who is LI? Meet Ron.
Patricia Simpson Rausch
May 31, 2018
Who is LI? Meet Ron.
Ron NehringHometown: San Diego, CATitle: Director of International Training, Leadership InstituteYears at LI: 3Q. What is your position at the Leadership Institute and what is the easiest way to describe what you do to those who might not be familiar with LI?A. I'm the Director of International Programs for the Leadership Institute. I work with today's and tomorrow's conservative leaders around the world and help them to improve their skills in organizing and communicating. We take the Leadership Institute's proven techniques global.Q. Did you have a different position when you first started at LI? How did you harness what you learned in that position to succeed in your current position?A. Seventeen years ago I started lecturing as a volunteer expert faculty member for the Leadership Institute. It was rewarding way for me to support LI after LI did so much to help me get started in my career, starting with the first LI program I attended in college nearly 30 years ago.Q. What is your favorite part about your job?A. As a lecturer, you can really tell when people in an audience are tuned in and really listening to what you're teaching. Those are the future leaders – conservatives who have the right philosophy and really want to get the skills to win. When I'm presenting around the world, and the participants are dialed in and start asking great questions, you know they're going to put their new skills to work.Q. Is there something you've been able to do while working at LI that you never, in a million years, would think you would be able to do? What was it?A. My team developed a presentation on how the Russian government engaged in information warfare directed at both the United States and our allies around the world. As a result of giving that presentation, I've been contacted to testify before the parliament of a close American ally to shed light on how the Russian intelligence agencies and troll farms operate. Q. What makes LI different from other places to work?A. LI is mission oriented. I have the flexibility to take advantage of new opportunities to share proven public policy strategies and tactics.
Enthusiasm Alone Does Not Establish Credibility
Carmen Diaz
May 29, 2018
Enthusiasm Alone Does Not Establish Credibility
In my hometown of Los Angeles, California, I stood out for caring about politics. I was taught politics was a controversial topic to avoid out of politeness. This made debate simple, since my remarks generally went unquestioned or ignored by my politically apathetic peers.via GIPHYHowever, everyone in D.C. is as politically outraged as I am. Now I must decide who is worth listening to. Enticing speech may attract and entertain an audience, but it does not guarantee a compelling message. The conservative movement seeks leaders beyond fans, and a wise audience can see through charm.As Morton Blackwell said, "Moral outrage is the most powerful motivating force in politics." Address your outrage to expand your knowledge, strengthen your personal and professional skills, and sharpen political tools beyond your energy.While you may have discovered your natural enthusiasm, here's how to establish credibility:1. Credentials establish credibilityWhile credentials alone do not make a person trustworthy, experience speaks for itself. Within your position and organization, constantly ask for new and more challenging tasks to list on your resume. Search for online programs or classes with flexible schedules to earn training outside of your full-time job. Education goes beyond a college degree, as is evident in politics. Read relevant books, research unfamiliar topics, and attend lectures and trainings. Identify proper mentors as you bond with fellow and senior leaders in the conservative movement. No matter your age, position, or title, continuously expand your knowledge.2. Avoid defensivenessDefensiveness is a reaction to nervousness. Even in the heat of an argument or when desperately trying to prove a point, maintain professionalism. If you know the facts, there is no need for a defensive attitude. Defensive communication reveals vulnerability and immediately weakens your message.via GIPHY3. Don't pretend to know more than you doThe most talkative person in the room is not necessarily the smartest. Whether you are debating onstage or at the dinner table with your liberal cousin, do not improvise facts. Admit when you need clarification or do not know an answer, and note that you will need to do further research. Assume that everything you say will be researched and repeated.4. Prepare to support every opinion with factIn the world of politics, small talk can turn into a debate anytime and anywhere. People will observe casual remarks and subtle reactions and ask you to elaborate. If you do not have any facts or rationale to support an opinion, do not share it aloud.via GIPHY5. Have thick skinWhen you are personally connected to your causes, you are more likely to be discouraged by minor setbacks. Do not let personal or professional obstacles distract or discourage you from your goals.Ultimately, both personal and professional attributes form a person's credibility. Enthusiasm inspires and incites action, but relying on that alone will not achieve a long-term successful career. The most effective leaders in the conservative movement are those with a lively presence and the credibility to back it up.
Madeline Rainwater -- 2012 Intern Back at LI
Patricia Simpson Rausch
May 23, 2018
Madeline Rainwater -- 2012 Intern Back at LI
Enjoy getting to know Madeline Rainwater, LI's new Junior Systems Technician. This is an informal interview series with employees of the Leadership Institute to let you get to know us beyond our trainings. The questions ask them to describe what makes them tick and their experience with LI at various levels.1. What made you want to work at the Leadership Institute? It's actually more a question of what's kept me from working at the Leadership Institute. After I interned at LI in 2012, I knew I wanted to come back in some capacity, but I just didn't have the right skillset at the time, and wasn't sure what I wanted to do long term. I've spent the last few years in a variety of different workplaces, and have since discovered that I love technology and I still love LI. I'm very happy to be back!2. What unique skills and background do you bring to your new position and how do you hope to use them? I have a background in communications and customer service, both very applicable for a junior technician. It's easy to get lost in technological terms and concepts, and I hope to be a guide and resource to everyone at LI.3. How does the DC area differ from your hometown? I used to live in Chico, California, which is in a lot of ways the polar opposite of DC. It's mostly agricultural land and more of a Mediterranean climate. 4. Who has had the most impact on your political philosophy? Frederic Bastiat. The Law was nothing short of a total shift for me and how I thought of government policy, and also was my first real introduction to libertarian-inclined philosophy.5. If you could visit any destination in the world, where would it be and why? New Zealand – the scenery alone would make the trip worth it for me!6. What is your favorite family tradition? Every year after Thanksgiving, my parents buy a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, and asks that everyone help to complete it before New Year's day. It's a great way for people to engage in an activity together without making things overly structured, and it's so satisfying to play a part in something with the whole family.7. What are your thoughts about pineapple on pizza? A quality Hawaiian pizza can be hard to find, but if you pretend that the sweet-tart pineapple and salty Canadian bacon doesn't work well together, you're just wrong.
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