LI Grad Interview: Homeschooled Farm Kid, City Councilman, Generation Joshua Mentor
Kirsten Holmberg
October 21, 2021
LI Grad Interview: Homeschooled Farm Kid, City Councilman, Generation Joshua Mentor
“My town was in desperate need of honest, careful, and principled leadership. So, I put my hat in the ring, ran the race as a local political unknown, and — by God's grace and a lot of hard work — won a seat on the council.” Meet Joel Grewe, Leadership Institute (LI) graduate and faculty, and Executive Director at Home School Legal Defense Association Action.I recently interviewed Joel to learn about his background, what drove him to get involved in local politics in Purcellville, Virginia, and his work as Executive Director at Home School Legal Defense Association Action. Can you tell me a little about yourself and your background?I am just a farm kid who doesn't like farming, has a strong justice streak, and cares about people who are hurting. I grew up in Spokane, Washington, got married in 2004, and now my wife and I have three amazing, rambunctious boys. I worked in demographic research and got interested in politics back during Newt Gingrich's Contract with America. My dad is a local lawyer, and my grandpa was connected with local politics, so I had a ring-side seat to the work of unseating House Speaker Foley. I've been involved in the conservative political movement ever since. Is it true that in the 6th grade you convinced your mother to homeschool you? Could you tell me a little bit about that?Absolutely! My mom is an awesome lady, though she was a bit intimidated at the idea of homeschooling me. At the end of 6th grade, I was bored in school, and I asked my mom to homeschool me. She said she thought she wasn't up to the task. I responded that I would homeschool myself if needed, but I desperately needed to be let out of that school building. We struck a deal, and I never went back. Homeschooling was an incredible advantage for me growing up. You're currently the Executive Director at Home School Legal Defense Association Action; tell me a little about that organization and why you decided to get involved.Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is the national legal defense and advocacy organization for homeschoolers—they help make homeschooling possible. HSLDA Action is the sister organization of HSLDA: we handle the federal advocacy, political work, two Political Action Committees, and Generation Joshua, our youth civics education and engagement program. As a homeschool graduate, I feel privileged to help ensure homeschooling is free and possible for future generations. What inspired you to run for city council in Purcellville? It was actually one of my Generation Joshua students, who, as I recall, is also a recipient of Leadership Institute training. My wonderful little town of Purcellville, VA, went through a cascade of scandals back in 2016, all the way through 2018. Purcellville ended up on the front page of the Washington Post—twice—and not for good reasons. As the scandals mounted and the problems facing the town grew, that student—now my friend—asked to chat with me. He came to my house with the copy of the Washington Post and asked me a question. He said, “Joel, you talk a lot about how important it is that good people be involved in government, and how if they don't, bad things happen.” I responded: “Yes I do.” He continued, “Well, considering the situation that Purcellville is in, is that just something you say, or do you actually believe it?” It was a blunt challenge, and it wasn't like I hadn't put my time in. I'd helped train more than 25,000 students and coordinated political efforts to reach more than eight million voters. But he was right: my town was in desperate need of honest, careful, and principled leadership. So I put my hat in the ring, ran the race as a local political unknown, and—by God's grace and a lot of hard work—won a seat on the council. How did the Leadership Institute (LI) training you received help you in running for public office?The first LI class I ever took was the Future Candidate School, back in 2008. The class was the crucial step I needed to think about what my life would need to look like in running for office: it gave me the perspective to understand what the commitment of campaigning for office requires. That was a crucial part of both assembling my team for office (with other LI graduates) and communicating what taking this on would mean for my wife and boys. I couldn't have done this without their support — and without a clear view of what it would take, we couldn't have been ready to weather the challenges we faced. I regularly quote lessons from my LI training to my interns, my policy staff, and myself. I have taken a host of LI classes, and although it does not make me, as the candidate, the expert in every part of my campaign, I understand what each part does, why it is important, and how to prioritize it and discuss every issue with understanding. Many people seem to be disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?I would first tell them that freedom is messy, that we don't get it right all the time, that we often don't get it right the first time, but that we never get it right if people don't engage. I know it seems like engaging our civic—well, I would say “discourse,” but that is too polite a word, so let's call it our civic “arena” — feels like it's fraught with peril. And that's not always a wrong assessment. It's messy and dangerous and rather vicious as of late. But in times like these we must engage – because these moments in history are when freedom needs its defenders the most. If you are ever going to get involved, get involved when the fighting is hot, and the need is dire. People who work for freedom only during smooth seas and fair winds are, at best, fair-weather friends of freedom. We need people committed to the virtue of freedom — the idea that it is better to be free than unfree, always — and who are willing to stand in support of it. Our country and our future deserve nothing less.This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. When you sign up for this newsletter, you get articles on the latest in politics, interviews like this one, and you'll be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities. Don't miss out! Sign up here.
How to be a Better Manager, a Conversation with Ben Woodward
Caleb Pascoe
October 19, 2021
How to be a Better Manager, a Conversation with Ben Woodward
I recently sat down with Ben Woodward at the Leadership Institute (LI) to discuss best management practices. Originally from the United Kingdom, Ben's track record of success at the Leadership Institute started when he joined LI as an intern during the summer of 2015.In Ben's five years at LI, he was promoted from intern, to Career Services Coordinator, to Deputy Director of Career Services, to his present role as Director of Communications Trainings. In his last few weeks at LI before starting a new position at Deloitte Insights & Solutions, Ben gave some important advice on how to be a great manager.Making the move from internship to management is a long track, but what are the biggest take-aways from your time as an intern, a career services coordinator, and a manager?You always learn how to be a manager even when you're not a manager.You observe bosses you have that are good and bosses that are bad. I learned some key things from different bosses that I had.When I was an intern, my supervisor had a real commitment to excellence. She taught me to pay attention to those small details that matter, and the importance of following the standards set by the organization.As a manager, one of the key things I learned was to set an example for your staff. If you're showing up late to work, your staff will start showing up late to work. If you start leaving early your staff will start leaving early. So, you've got to set the standards, because people will look to you for how they should behave.As I supervised more interns, I gradually learned a lot. Setting expectations early on is key. Also, learning what the author Kim Scott calls radical candor, which is being very honest in the feedback you give. You have to be kind, but honest. Being able to say, ‘here's what I liked about your project, here is what you should do differently.' Or, if there is time in an ideal world, you tell them what they should do differently, and you let them go away and fix those things for themselves.What recommendations do you have for people to overcome the fear of overseeing other people for the first time?Good managers do their subordinates no favors if they fail to be honest. You're their boss and their mentor, and your job is to get them up to the standards that the company expects of them.First time managers -- change your mindset about the nature of the work you are doing.As a manager, your job goes away from being the doer, and you now get things done through the people who work for you. Of course, there's a lot of work you still must do yourself, but where possible your mindset is now that you are accomplishing things through other people, and that's how you will be judged.How do you become a conductor and leader of the team you are managing so a project goes well?That's a big question. Let me tell you a few key things to start you on the right path.Identify what your team is good at and what your team is bad at. Be open minded about ideas, and the new innovative things that employees bring in, especially when they are new employees. They come in with fresh eyes, and they come up with their own ideas, where a manager may not see the possibilities.So, pivoting a little bit, what have you found in day-to-day life that has taught you do be a better manager? Observing my dad, for certain, was a big factor. He was self-employed and had a small business.He had two to three people working for him at any given time. I would get to observe him when I was younger, especially when I would go into his office and study, which I did frequently. I really enjoyed that, and I got to see how he worked as a manager.He was just brilliant because he was so calm even when I knew he was stressed. He was the epitome of a duck on water, calm and gliding on the top, even though he was franticly kicking underneath. That calming energy was instilled into his team, even when the going got rough. They knew that panicking was never going to be a productive activity.My dad was a calm, solutions-oriented person, and I really respect him for that.When you have an employee who has just flubbed the project, and maybe not even apologetic about it, how do you deal with a situation where you're trying to communicate that they have done something wrong and need to correct themselves?Number one, just as your staff should never surprise you, you should never surprise your staff. They should know the standards expected of them at all times.They should also know the strategic direction of the department you are running, and their role in it. Which means that they will know when they've flubbed it. If the employees don't know they have really messed up or that the standards haven't been met, then you really haven't done a good job setting the standards.I have always worked on the philosophy that you praise in public, and you criticize in private; and you should praise a lot more than you should criticize.If you are criticizing too much, you're a bad manager because your staff clearly can't do their jobs. Praise in public means that when someone does something good, you're sending all staff emails, and you're including the department head or the CEO.Praising in public is a big thing.There is absolutely no reason to criticize in public. I would suggest that when something goes wrong you bring it up right away. Don't wait. Explain what the problem is and why it's important. You want to be calm and in control of your emotions at all times. If there is a problem, you'll deal with it calmly and in a way that's professional. So, when things are going wrong, bring it up right away.Your first instinct should be performance improvement. Your staff are not disposable commodities; they're an investment, and the investment needs care.Just one more point; a good manager will plan for succession. Your staff should be so well trained and so effective that they should be able to function largely without you breathing down their neck. Most people, when they get promoted, are likely doing their bosses job in some way already. Too many managers let their egos get in the way, and they get defensive about the big juicy, high profile projects.A good manager will praise their staff constantly and will do so to leadership without seeking to take all the credit themselves. They'll look good because their staff looks good.Well on that note, Ben, thank you very much for taking the time today, and congratulations on moving on to a new position at Deloitte!Thank you! Very excited about the new challenge but will miss LI terribly. It's been a fantastic five years.If you would like to learn more about becoming a better manager, attend the Leadership Institute's online Management 101 training and sign up for more careers training at LeadershipInstitute.org/Training.
Your D.C. Internship: Three Tips from a Former Hill Intern
Dylan Craig
October 18, 2021
Your D.C. Internship: Three Tips from a Former Hill Intern
Back in the fall of 2019, I found myself blessed with the opportunity to accept an internship in the House of Representatives. At the time, I was attending college in the other Washington, the one with incessant rain (instead of incessant humidity) and towering evergreen trees (instead of towering marble monuments). Moving nearly 3,000 miles across the country into an unfamiliar city was daunting by itself; the stress of the move was only compounded by the fact I would be entering the nation's political frontlines during unprecedented political turmoil. In my first week, rumors of impending impeachment proceedings swirled through the halls of the Rayburn House Office Building. I quickly realized my internship in D.C. was much more than I had initially bargained for. Like many other interns in D.C, my first several weeks on the job were quite overwhelming. I had no option but to learn through trial and error. I fumbled important phone calls. I got lost in the belly of the Capitol building while giving a tour to a group of Air Force officers. One day, while waiting in line for coffee, I made small talk with the person behind me. After a cordial discussion over the improving performance of the Nationals, I asked him which Representative he worked for. He politely explained that he himself was a Representative.Despite these early slip-ups, and despite the abnormally politically charged environment of my internship, my time on Capitol Hill was easily one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. If given the chance to go back and do things over, I wouldn't do anything differently. However, one aspect of my experience did catch me off guard, an aspect which I wish I had been better prepared for. I didn't anticipate my internship to be a 24/7 experience. When you're interning in D.C., you're not done once you walk out of your office. If you hope to leverage your internship into a job, or if you hope to take full advantage of your time in D.C., you must take every opportunity that presents itself, both inside and outside of the office. There's your office internship, and then there's your D.C. internship. I hope these three tips on how to maximize your D.C. internship can help you as much as they would've helped me back in 2019. 1. Don't let your title limit youDon't be self-conscious as an intern. This was perhaps my biggest mistake. For most of my internship, I operated under the assumption that interns were inherently looked down upon due to their non-employed status, and this mindset sapped my confidence when it came to networking, both inside and outside of the office. Now that I've spent more time in D.C., I realize just how much that mindset was holding me back. Here's a fun game. Go to the website of your favorite think tank or congressional member. Randomly pick any staff member, then look at their LinkedIn. This person was almost certainly an intern at some point. Almost everyone in D.C. got their start as an intern. Almost nobody will look down on you as a lesser individual. They were in your shoes at some point. People in D.C. go out of their way to help interns grow, because they know exactly what it's like. Be proud of being an intern. 2. Expand your horizons beyond your immediate onesYou'll most likely become close with the interns you work with or live with. After all, proximity breeds familiarity, and familiarity breeds friendship. However, I've seen many interns opt to stick to what's familiar and exclusively spend time with their co-interns or roommates. They unknowingly cut themselves off from meeting new people. This isn't to say that the bonds you form with interns in close proximity to you aren't legitimate or that they're inherently lesser, it's just that many people make the mistake of seeking security in familiarity and don't push themselves to meet new people. Thousands of interns work in D.C., and the odds are high you'll meet life-long friends if you put yourself out there.3. Network naturally When I was a new intern, I kept hearing people use the term “networking.” Of course, I knew what the concept was, but I wasn't quite sure how to apply it in practice. If you treat networking like a chore, rather than treating it as a fun opportunity to form authentic connections with people, you'll come across as stiff and be a poor networker in the process. It's immediately apparent when someone you're talking to is merely looking for transactional relationships that they can use to open up a job or to get closer to someone they're hoping to meet. It's also immediately apparent when someone you're talking to wants to form an authentic connection with you, not just for professional purposes, but also cares about you as a human being and takes genuine interest in the lives of others. Network naturally!For more tips on how to make the most of your internship or for help with your next career move, including free one-on-one career consultations and a list of job opportunities, subscribe to the Conservative Jobs newsletter and find more career opportunities at LeadershipInstitute.org/Career/.
Mark Levin’s new book American Marxism
Morton C Blackwell
October 15, 2021
Mark Levin’s new book American Marxism
Here's a book you simply cannot miss. I read it very carefully. It's so powerful I encourage all my friends and fellow conservatives to read it as well. The book is the latest from my dear friend Mark Levin, the constitutional champion and radio personality. It's called American Marxism. And it couldn't be more timely.For many decades, Marxist tacticians and strategists have waged war against the timeless principles of America's founding. The lawlessness, censorship, and agitation you and I witnessed in recent years result from this decades-long plan to undermine all the good our country represents.In his new book, Mark exposes the Marxist roots of today's leftist activism. He details and denounces the academic, cultural, and political voices pushing our nation down this dangerous road.As Mark puts it: “The counter-revolution to the American Revolution is in full force. And it can no longer be dismissed or ignored for it is devouring our society and culture, swirling around our everyday lives, and ubiquitous in our politics, schools, media, and entertainment.” I strongly urge you to get your hands on Mark's new book today. It'll give you a solid foundation to explain to your friends, family, and loved ones how America got off the rails. And you'll see how you can fight back to help save our country.You can order a copy of American Marxism at the link below:https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/American-Marxism/Mark-R-Levin/9781501135972Thank you for standing for conservative principles and for our great nation.Morton Blackwell is founder and president of the Leadership Institute. Since 1979, the Leadership Institute has trained more than 239,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders on the skills and techniques of politics. Learn how to win for conservative principles at one of the many Leadership Institute trainings coming up. You can find those trainings listed at LeadershipInstitute.org/Training.
LI Grad Interview: Californian, International Communicator, Presidential Campaign Spokesman
Kirsten Holmberg
September 22, 2021
LI Grad Interview: Californian, International Communicator, Presidential Campaign Spokesman
“The world is run by those who show up…. America has plenty of critics. What the country needs are conservative men and women in the arena.”Meet Ron Nehring, Leadership Institute (LI) graduate, faculty, and Director of International Programs. I recently interviewed Ron to hear about his experiences running for office and his time as Spokesman for Ted Cruz for President. Last year in the 2020 general elections, Ron won local office in his hometown in California.Can you tell me a little about yourself and your background?Shortly after I became the President of my College Republican club at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, I learned of the Leadership Institute and Morton Blackwell. After attending seven LI trainings, I used those skills to become Chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, Chairman of the California Republican Party, Republican nominee for Lt Governor of California, Senator Ted Cruz's presidential campaign spokesman, and a local office holder. You were the national spokesman at Ted Cruz for President. What motivated you to get involved in the campaign?As 2016 approached, I wanted to be involved in the presidential election. Senator Cruz was a solid conservative and first-time presidential candidate. While more established candidates like Jeb Bush had large organizations already around them, there were greater opportunities with a candidate who was building his national organization, and I was motivated by his clear and unapologetic conservatism. Do you have any insightful stories from your time on the campaign or as a candidate? In politics, you get to define what victory means. If victory only meant winning the office, no one would run for any office where the odds are against him. But, the movement needs candidates who will step up for a battle that's uphill. When I ran for Lt Governor, the odds against me were overwhelming. And yet, the campaign further raised my profile and was helpful in my becoming Senator Cruz' California chairman, and later his spokesman. The benefits of stepping up for a campaign may not be immediately apparent. Yet a solid effort can open important doors in the future. How has the Leadership Institute helped you during your time in public service? I hold a Political Science degree, yet most of what I learned about winning a campaign came from LI — both as a student, and later as a faculty member. If you really want to master a topic, try teaching it. It forces you to delve much deeper into the subject and understand its relationship to other areas. When I ran for local office in 2020, the campaign was designed exactly to match what we teach at LI. The strategy was developed from the same methods we teach, and implemented using the same tactics. While victory can never be guaranteed, I'm grateful to the voters for the overwhelming support I earned through this effective campaign. You are the Director of International Programs at the Leadership Institute. Tell us a bit about your position.Leadership Institute brings literally world-class quality training in organizing and communicating to conservative leaders, parties, and groups around the world. Many of the leaders and potential leaders LI has trained have gone on to successfully win public office, and from there put conservative ideas of free markets and individual liberty into action. I work diligently to take proven techniques and adapt them to different countries, cultures, and political systems. Center-right organizations worldwide know when they need high quality training to improve their effectiveness, to call on the Leadership Institute. Many people seem to be disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?The world is run by those who show up. We are blessed to live in a country which welcomes political involvement. Americans of any background can be involved in shaping our government, and advancing ideas to improve the human condition. As Morton Blackwell has observed, being right in the sense of having the best ideas is not enough to win. America needs leaders who want to do something, not just be someone, to maximize their effectiveness with the skills necessary to win. Teddy Roosevelt put it this way: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."America has plenty of critics. What the country needs are conservative men and women in the arena. This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. When you sign up for this newsletter, you get articles on the latest in politics, interviews like this one, and you'll be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities. Don't miss out! Sign up here.
LI Grad Interview: Arizonan, Conservative, School Board Member
Kirsten Holmberg
August 26, 2021
LI Grad Interview: Arizonan, Conservative, School Board Member
“If we're going to maintain our republic, we must get involved in the political process and school boards are key to preventing the wholesale takeover of our country.” - Chris King, School Board Member in Vail, Arizona.Meet Chris King, Leadership Institute graduate. I recently interviewed Chris to hear about his election to school board. Last year in the 2020 general elections, Chris earned his seat on the Vail Unified School District Governing Board in Arizona. Can you tell me a little about yourself?I am a combat veteran and alumni of the University of Arizona with a Bachelors in Government and Public Service and a Masters in International Security. I attended LI's boot camp and Field Representative training while working on my master's degree and a campaign. You currently are a member of the Vail Unified School District Governing Board in Arizona. What inspired you to get involved with your local school board? As a conservative, I recognized years ago that if we're going to maintain our republic, we must get involved in the political process and school boards are key to preventing the wholesale takeover of our country. Prior to filing to run, I reached out to the board members who were up for reelection to see if they were running. I researched the other candidate who had filed and determined that he wasn't who we would want to represent our district and made the decision to run.What is one challenge you have faced during your time on the School District Governing Board and how did you overcome it?The largest challenge we have faced during my time on the school board has definitely been Covid and the subsequent issues surrounding it. Since before assuming my position on the board, I made my position clear in not supporting mandatory mask-wearing as I believe it should be an individual choice. I agree with former Justice Scalia in that it is not the government's duty to protect us. There have been many other challenges which have presented since my election, but most of them have stemmed from Covid.How has the Leadership Institute helped you during your time in public service? Leadership Institute was key in preparing me for several aspects of serving. Morton Blackwell's Laws of the Public Policy Process hangs in my living room and is referred to often. The ability to talk to others regarding sensitive issues was something LI helped me with. During LI's Field Representative training, I was assigned to gather signatures on a pro-life petition. This was by far one of my weakest skills. Since then, I have become more educated on this issue in addition to more vocal in my support for pro-life issues.Another area LI has helped me is the area of Social Media. The law of not arguing on social media has kept me from being pulled into the mud puddle of local politics.Many people seem to be disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?More than 90% of politicians/public servants self-select and are not recruited by a political party. When people say the party did this or that, I let them know that they ARE the party and they can make a difference if they get involved. Politics is a game with very confusing rules that seem to be designed to keep the average person out. Find a mentor, work with them to become knowledgeable, and donate one of the 3Ts: Time, Treasure, or Talent. That is how we can really make a difference. The grassroots folks who get involved, can and will eventually rise to the positions where they can make decisions on the direction of the parties.This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. When you sign up for this newsletter, you get articles on the latest in politics, interviews like this one, and you'll be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities. Don't miss out! Sign up here.
Conservatives focus on the nation’s school boards
By Ron Nehring
August 9, 2021
Conservatives focus on the nation’s school boards
The Leadership Institute today announces the launch of a new program to train the next generation of conservative candidates for the nation's school boards. “Radical leftists are promoting a radical agenda in schools, including the teaching of Critical Race Theory that holds our country is fundamentally racist and society must be completely re-engineered to align with leftist values,” said Leadership Institute President Morton C. Blackwell in announcing the School Board Campaign Training. “With this vital new program, the Leadership Institute will now prepare conservatives all across America to challenge the left's control over the nation's locally elected school boards.”Local school boards make important decisions concerning curriculum, staffing, and budgeting for the nation's public schools. Depending on state laws, school boards have a direct influence on the quality of education students receive. “Every student deserves a quality education. Efforts to inject political agendas and indoctrination into our schools comes at the expense of giving students the tools they need to go on to college or the workforce, and to be good citizens,” said Blackwell. SCHOOL BOARD CAMPAIGN TRAINING The Leadership Institute's new School Board Campaign Training launches today, August 9, 2021. This new training will consist of more than 11 hours of online training in every aspect of recruiting candidates and designing, waging, and funding a successful school board campaign, plus training and background information on the roles of school board members and the issues they face. Conservatives interested in running for school board, or supporting school board candidates, will be able to take Leadership Institute's training online, or attend one of several in-person training programs to be conducted over the next two years. Additionally, a new podcast series will provide subscribers with weekly episodes covering aspects of school board elections featuring guests with successful experience in the field. The faculty for the new program is drawn from conservative experts who have successfully served on school boards, or have directly contributed to school board campaign victories. This training is available now. For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org/SchoolBoard.
Leadership Institute Grad, Intern, University of Oklahoma Senior – Published in National Review
By Morton C. Blackwell
July 27, 2021
Leadership Institute Grad, Intern, University of Oklahoma Senior – Published in National Review
Your Leadership Institute's summer interns still have one month left in their program, but many of them already put their training to use.One intern, Kiara Kincaid, used her experience in LI's Political and Fundraising Training department to write an article for National Review's website.Kiara is a senior at the University of Oklahoma. In her piece, she exposes the censorship tactics used by leftist professors on her campus. As Kiara explains, many of the faculty at the university undergo training on how to shut down speech they disagree with in the classroom.Kiara's piece reveals that even at relatively conservative universities like hers, liberal bias undermines students' freedom of speech.You can read Kiara's National Review article here: https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/07/classroom-censorship-comes-to-the-university-of-oklahoma/Young conservatives like Kiara give me great hope for the future.Thanks to Leadership Institute donors' generous support, Kiara was able to expose leftist bias for a national audience and inspire other young conservatives to stand up for their principles.The Leadership Institute's donors truly invest in the next generation of conservative leaders and make a tremendous difference for America.
LI Grad Interview: Texan, Fire Department Volunteer, City Councilwoman
Kirsten Holmberg
July 20, 2021
LI Grad Interview: Texan, Fire Department Volunteer, City Councilwoman
Meet Mackenzie Kelly, Leadership Institute graduate. I recently interviewed Mackenzie to learn about her background as a fire department volunteer, her drive to get involved, and how the Leadership Institute's training helped prepare Mackenzie to become a member of the Austin City Council in Texas.Can you tell me a little about yourself?Before being elected to City Council, I served at the Round Rock Fire Department Training Division, Williamson County Emergency Management and with the City of Austin Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). In 2019, I was elected president of the 100th class of Austin Police Department's Citizen Police Academy. My close working relationship with the Austin Police Department gives me a rare perspective on local law enforcement and why it must be passionately supported and fully funded. I volunteered with the Jollyville Fire Department from 2005-2013, where I gained a profound respect for those who protect life and property in our capital city. While there, I completed a year-long fellowship through the Disaster Science Academy.Serving Austin's elderly population is another passion of mine, having worked in home health care for several years. I have also served as an appointee by then-Governor Rick Perry to the Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities. I am an advocate of good geographic representation, having run in the first city council election under the 10-1 plan in 2014. As for my greatest accomplishment, I am a mother of an inquisitive daughter, Rebekah, a student in the Round Rock ISD. I am happily married and am a 2005 graduate of Westwood High School (Go Warriors!).You currently are a member of the Austin City Council in Texas. How did you get involved with the City Council and what does your position involve?I have always had a love for public service. Before becoming elected, I was a volunteer firefighter for 8 years with the Jollyville Fire Department. After that, I was appointed to the Committee for People with Disabilities by former Texas Governor Rick Perry. I was then appointed by former Austin City Councilmen Don Zimmerman to the Women's Commission. I would also attend council meetings and speak during citizen testimony on pieces of legislation that resonated with my core values. What is one challenge you have faced during your time as a City Council member and how did you overcome it?One of the biggest challenges I've faced is being in a non-partisan role. The Austin City council is a 10-1 system or, 10 council members and 1 mayor. With 10 other Democrats on the dais and me being the only Republican, people may think that I'm isolated. What I've done in my role on council is open communication and collaboration with the other members so that I could find common goals to work on together. How has the Leadership Institute helped you during your time in public service?The Leadership Institute has prepared me with educational materials, mentorship, and resources to help prepare and equip me to be the best I can be in my role as an Austin City Councilwoman. Additionally, LI's Campaign Candidate School gave me the framework and confidence to run an effective grassroots campaign. This was not only vital to my success but the tools I have now allow me to keep a pulse on my constituency. Many people seem to be disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?I've learned in my role that it only takes one voice to make meaningful change. The best way to see change made in your community is by getting involved in any way you can, no matter how small it may seem. I started out by testifying before the council. As I got more and more involved, the more change I saw. Now, I'm in a role that will allow me to have a direct impact on the community.This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. You can be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities with an email delivered straight to your mailbox. Don't miss out! Sign up today.
Four Travel Tips for the New Traveler
Lee Jackson
July 12, 2021
Four Travel Tips for the New Traveler
My favorite part about my job at the Leadership Institute is traveling the country and working with young people who want to improve their communities. Growing up, my family frequently traveled by car, but jumping on a plane to your next destination is a very different experience. The first few times can be scary and overwhelming.I reached out to a few of my coworkers who travel and delved into my own experience to share with you four tips to plan a successful trip.1. Understand Your Flight and Travel DetailsOne lesson I always share with my students is that prior planning prevents poor performance. This alliteration is true for the classroom, on the campaign trail, and when you're traveling. Before you head to the airport, you should have your trip's logistics planned out.Get to the airport on time. The rule of thumb says to arrive at the airport two hours before your flight takes off. Most people do not realize they have to wait in multiple lines before they fly. Unless you're pre-enrolled in various programs, you'll have to wait in line to check your bags, to get to TSA, and then go through TSA.Plan by your flight boarding time, not takeoff. The time on your ticket is the time your flight leaves. Your flight probably boards 30-45 minutes prior. That means you must be at your gate and ready to go when your flight is boarding. Do not be the person who misses their flight because they thought they had an extra 20 minutes to kill at the airport Applebee's.Set up your airline app. I do my best to always fly with American Airlines (more about that later). The American Airlines app is incredibly helpful. The app has a copy of my tickets, tells me when it's time to check-in, tells me where I can pick up my checked bags, and much more.Have your hotel information handy. I always put my hotel information (address, phone number) in my phone's calendar. Having the hotel address handy will prevent you from having to dig through emails. There is also a small chance a bag gets delayed, and your airline will ask for your hotel's address to deliver your bag when it arrives. I also share the information with family in case someone has to get a hold of me.Figure out how you are getting to your hotel. I Uber multiple times a week for work. I love it. If you plan on using Uber, you should set up the app ahead of time. Uber's availability varies by city and the time of day. Your hotel may have a free shuttle that will pick you up.2. Pack Smart (and light) Make a list- check it twice. Packing for a weekend trip is an art and a science. Yes, you want clothes for every occasion, but traveling with extra bags is a pain, more expensive, and exhausting. I make a list of things I should pack (X number of undershirts, my apple watch charger, etc.). I have found it helpful to go through my schedule and make sure I have the right clothes for each part of the day. After I have a list that's way too long, I figure out what I can remove. I used to bring two suits for a two-day conference. I now bring one suit and two very different dress shirts, ties.Bring a steamer. Nine times out of 9 ½, a $25 steamer will perform better than a hotel iron. Honestly, sometimes a hotel iron does more harm than good. If you forget your steamer, you can hang your clothes in the bathroom while you shower.3. Pick an Airline (and do your best to stick with it)Like many companies, airlines reward loyal customers. Airline loyalty programs usually include free miles, upgrades, free checked bags, and more. If you plan to travel more than ten times a year, it could be worth it to book with one airline and start earning perks.Usually, the best airline for you is a combination of personal preference and which companies fly to your local airport. I picked American Airlines because they can get me to most cities around the United States and have a quick, direct flight to my home airport in Maine.4. Stay CalmThere's a chance something could go wrong. You could miss a connecting flight (always get a direct flight if possible), a storm could cancel your flight, etc. Remember, these things happen.The best thing to do is stay calm and work directly with your airline to solve the problem.If you have to reschedule a flight for any reason, remember your airline will have multiple ways you can contact them. If I'm at the airport waiting in a long line to speak to an agent, I'll also call the national customer service number, and direct message the company on Twitter.Doing this has allowed me to get the last seat on the next flight home when the people in line ahead of me are bumped to a much later flight.Bonus: One of my coworkers, Stephen Rowe, always watches YouTube videos about cities he and I are heading to before traveling. Because of this, Stephen is the go-to guy. He knows where to get pizza in Chicago and the best ribs in Memphis. Take a trick out of his book, and you'll not only enjoy your destinations more, your travel companions will too.Use some of your newfound travel skills at one of the Leadership Institute's trainings. You can travel the country and learn to win for your conservative principles. Click here to find some great training options.
LI Grad Interview: Mother of four, Politico, Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Board Chairman
Kirsten Holmberg
June 24, 2021
LI Grad Interview: Mother of four, Politico, Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Board Chairman
Meet distinguished Leadership Institute graduate Anna Clark.I recently interviewed Anna to learn how she got interested in Parks and Recreation, how her Leadership Institute training helps her serve in public office, and her take on the current state of politics.Can you tell us a little about yourself?My name is Anna Clark. I reside in Oro Valley, AZ, and have been a Republican my entire life. I have been married for almost 18 years and am the mother of four sons, ages 15, 12, 10, and 8.I am the Chairman of the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Board, the 2nd Vice Chairman of the Pima County Republican Party, and the 3rd Vice-Chairman of Arizona's 11th Legislative District Republican Party. As of 3 weeks ago, I am managing a Congressional Campaign for a candidate running in AZ's 1st Congressional District. You currently are a member of the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. How did you get involved with Parks and Recreation, and what does your position involve?I have lived in Oro Valley on and off since I was 16 and have been a permanent resident for six years. While I was in high school, I worked for the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Department as part of their Summer and Spring Break Camps. I loved working with the kids and learned that good Parks and Recreation programs are necessary for a thriving community. Fast forward 20-something years, and after being very involved in getting our mayor elected in 2018, I sought ways to get involved in my community. I chose the Parks Board because of my unique perspective.Not only did I grow up in Oro Valley and work for the parks department, but I have four sons who use the Oro Valley Parks systems and programs regularly. So, I know our community needs, and I wanted to bring my ideas to help create a robust parks and recreation plan that includes youth, retirees, and everyone in between that live in Oro Valley.I have been on the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Board (PRAB) since January 2019. In February 2021, I was elected as the Chairman of the Board. The most important responsibility we have as members of the Oro Valley PRAB is to advise the Town Council in matters pertaining to parks and recreation, parks design, open space, trail use, and recreation programs.What is one challenge you have faced during your time as a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member, and how did you overcome it?Being the Chairman of any board can present a myriad of challenges. This last year, our board was tasked with building and passing a 10-year parks master plan for the Town of Oro Valley. As you can imagine, this plan was full of some great ideas and some not-so-great ideas that had to be removed.The biggest challenge I faced was dealing with how to fund these parks projects. I believe that we should not raise taxes to pay for parks. It was challenging to get some of the other board members to vote for a master plan without any new taxes. With the team building and collaboration skills I learned from LI, we passed the Parks Master Plan last month with a 7-0 vote, a unanimous vote. This victory included recommending to the town council that we do not raise taxes to pay for the plan.How has the Leadership Institute helped you during your time in public service? You know that saying, "Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten"? Well, everything that I needed to know to be a successful candidate, campaign manager, and leader within the Republican Party and in my community, I learned from the Leadership Institute! I have taken so many classes through LI that have been invaluable to me. Many people seem disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?In December 2020, I was elected the 2nd Vice-Chairman of the Pima County Republican Party here in Arizona. As part of my new post, I hear Republicans complain quite a bit about not only the state of our nation but the state of things here in VERY liberal Pima County.The best advice I give them, whether they are complaining about the Democrats in control or elected Republicans they disagree with, is to get involved with the party. Complaining about things on social media or to your friends does nothing to help your cause. The first step is to become a precinct committeeman and get involved with the grassroots in your community. Unhappy with how things are going in your city or town? Run for office and be the change! Don't like what the Republican Party is doing in your county or legislative district? Get elected to a leadership position and be the change that you want to see within the party. The bottom line is the time for inaction is over. We must get involved and fight for the very soul of our nation! We see this across the state of Arizona. Since my taking office, our Precinct Committeeman numbers in Pima county alone have grown from 347 to 615 and counting. There are some months that we are outpacing the Democrats in Precinct Committeeman and voter registration! This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. When you sign up for this newsletter, you get articles on the latest in politics, interviews like this one, and you'll be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities.
LI Grad Interview: ‘It’s up to us,’ says new father, Southern Illinoisan
Kirsten Holmberg
May 28, 2021
LI Grad Interview: ‘It’s up to us,’ says new father, Southern Illinoisan
“You and I may face hardships in this country, and our political system may be broken, but we come from a long line of fighters willing to put it all on the line to stand up for what we believe in.” – David Blair, Executive Director of the Conservative Leadership PACMeet Leadership Institute (LI) faculty member and distinguished graduate, David Blair. I recently interviewed David to learn how he got interested in politics, his advice to young people, and his take on the current state of politics. He even announced a new little arrival on the way soon!Q: Can you tell me a little about yourself?I am originally from Southern Illinois, where my family has lived for more than a hundred years. I moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Leadership Institute in 2015 and am now the Executive Director of the Conservative Leadership PAC and the President of my consulting firm, the Blair Group. I live in Sterling, Virginia, with my wife Hannah (whom I met at LI). We are about to welcome our first born into the world in June and are very excited to be first-time parents. Q: What motivated you to enter the political world?My motivations to enter politics really stem from my sense of right and wrong. When something seems like it's not right or unfair, I find myself feeling a great deal of moral indignation about the situation. Seeing how our government operates and the total failure of many of our elected officials, I almost couldn't help gravitating towards politics. I can't see something being done poorly, recklessly, or hypocritically and keep my mouth shut. Sometimes this gets me into trouble, but it is what drove me into politics and what drives me to work for the good guys every day. Can you tell me a little more about the work you do as the Executive Director of the Conservative Leadership PAC and as President of the Blair Group, LLC?As Executive Director of CLPAC, I find talented, principled, and driven young people to act as Youth Coordinators on hotly contested election campaigns all over the country. Often in a very close race, a few thousand votes can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Candidates who employ our system of mass-based youth organizing (first pioneered by Morton Blackwell) find that they have a winning edge when it comes to the close races when compared to their colleagues who do not run serious youth efforts. In short, it is my job to find talent and make sure our coordinators win for the candidates we support. As President of the Blair Group, I act as a strategic consultant for candidates, non-profits, and for-profit companies who are interested in grassroots solutions for their causes. It is my firm belief that there is no better source of value in a campaign than a good grassroots movement. I work with my clients to earn media, contact voters, hold events, and gain support through true ground-up grassroots campaigns. I also am an active speaker on the virtues of grassroots organizing and mass-based youth organizing as a faculty member at the Leadership Institute. Your work focuses on mobilizing young people. What advice to you have for those who are just starting out in political work and campaigns?I have more advice for young people than I have space to write here. However, if I were to stress one thing to someone just starting out in politics, it would be to focus on the success of your principles. Don't let your ego, your vanity, or your pride get in the way of the greater mission. We are all working, or at least we should be, toward a cause greater than ourselves. Credit, fame, money, and all the things many young people see as “success” in politics amount to nothing if you aren't working tirelessly to make the world a better place than you found it. So don't get caught up in the number of twitter followers that you have; social media fame has its place, and we have some warriors out there, but you have to find where you add value to the movement and work at that with all of your heart. If it's hard, good. It should be. How has the Leadership Institute helped you prepare for the work you are currently doing? First as a student and now as a faculty member at LI, I've had such a fantastic opportunity to meet the next generation of conservative leaders in this country and abroad. When I speak to a class at LI or club on campus, I know I am speaking to a room full of tomorrow's leaders. My network has grown with solid, work-centered, movement conservatives whom I can call on to get the job done. When I need someone in a particular state for a tough job or for a Youth Coordinator on a campaign, I know I can look to the contacts I have made through LI to find the right connection. Many people seem to be disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?As Americans, we have the unique ability to profoundly affect our government in every election held at the Federal, State, and local levels. Today the cost of political involvement is historically cheap when compared to our nation's forefathers. The Declaration of Independence was essentially a signed death warrant for the Founding Fathers. Yet, motivated by their love of liberty and love for this nation, they willingly lined up to sign. You and I may face hardships in this country and our political system may be broken, but we come from a long line of fighters willing to put it all on the line to stand up for what we believe in. Americans must not abandon the legacy of freedom and the sacrifices of so many who came before us because we find ourselves in difficult times. America was founded in difficult times, forged in them, and will continue to persevere despite them as long as there are good people willing to work hard and stay in the fight. Voting, volunteering, activism, and old-fashioned hard work are what will cure our current political woes. With COVID coming to an end and the overreaches of Liberal politicians on full display, conservatives have a profound opportunity to make massive gains in 2022. You and I can take this opportunity by the horns and show the American people once again that conservatism is the way to go, or we can allow the opportunity to pass and allow the hard-won gains of our ancestors to fall by the wayside. It's up to us.This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. When you sign up for this newsletter, you get articles on the latest in politics, interviews like this one, and you'll be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities.
Texas Campaign Workshops Prepare 132 Texans to Win
Carol Wehe Cocks
May 27, 2021
Texas Campaign Workshops Prepare 132 Texans to Win
The Leadership Institute (LI) has already trained 132 Texas conservatives on the first two weekends of the 2021 Texas Campaign Workshop Tour. This summer, LI will host additional workshops in more than 25 cities across Texas.The Texas Campaign Workshop Tour helps current and prospective candidates, as well their teams and volunteers, identify the steps required to run successful campaigns.According to the attendees so far, it's working.“I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your very practical advice at yesterday's Campaign Workshop,” said Felicia Z of Harris County, Texas. “I was so motivated that after our session, I introduced myself to the Harris County GOP Chair and volunteered.”The Leadership Institute exists to train conservatives of all ages how to succeed in politics, government, and the media. Since 1979, LI has trained more than 234,942 activists, students, and leaders.Many more Leadership Institute graduates will come out of Texas this summer equipped to win for their conservative principles.Join the 2021 Texas Campaign Workshop Tour this summer. Find a workshop near you: LeadershipInstitute.org/Texas.
2021 Virginia Tour: conservative candidates, local leaders prepare for success
Dena Espensheid
April 29, 2021
2021 Virginia Tour: conservative candidates, local leaders prepare for success
This past weekend, the Leadership Institute trained 60 conservatives – including 29 candidates – at the 2021 Virginia Tour Campaign and Candidate Workshops in Manassas and Hampton Roads. LI will offer the program a third time in Richmond on June 12th.“To say I was highly impressed with the speakers, content, organization, enthusiasm and value to the participants in your candidate development workshop is a wild understatement,” stated Mike Augustine of Virginia Beach, VA. “The Leadership Institute is clearly one of the most valuable resources available to conservative candidates who want to win elections.” As a Virginia Tour sponsor, the Virginia Conservative Women's Coalition sent speakers to both Manassas and Hampton Roads to present on recruiting candidates and helping women run for office.The Robertson School of Government at Regent University also sponsored the Virginia Tour and provided classroom space in the Jefferson Amphitheater on the Regent University Campus. Former Congresswoman and current dean of the Robertson School of Government, Michele Bachmann, visited the Hampton Roads Workshop. Dean Bachmann spoke about how she got started and encouraged the attendees to persevere.To take part in the last stop on the 2021 Virginia Tour, register for the Candidate and Campaign Workshop June 12 in Richmond, VA.
LI Grad Interview: Rugby Coach, Politico, Syracuse Native
Kirsten Holmberg
April 28, 2021
LI Grad Interview: Rugby Coach, Politico, Syracuse Native
Meet Leadership Institute grad Maureen McInerney, and learn how she got interested in politics, her advice for candidates, and even more.Q: Can you tell me a little about yourself? My name is Maureen McInerney, and I am currently the Director of Development at Women's Public Leadership Network (WPLN). WPLN's mission is to educate, organize, and inspire center- and right-leaning women to enter public office across the United States.Before joining WPLN, I worked for the ReflectUS coalition and Republican political campaigns in Massachusetts at the local, Congressional, and state level. Prior to politics, I worked in public affairs for MassINC, a Boston-based think tank focused on state and local policy impacting Gateway Cities, k-12 education, and the criminal justice system.I am a Syracuse, NY native (Go Orange!), and an alumna of Northeastern University in Boston, and currently live in Alexandria, VA. I have three sisters, two of whom are in high school, and I have played and coached rugby for almost eight years. Q: What got you interested in politics? I didn't know anything about politics until late in my senior year of high school in Syracuse, NY. Through an Intro to Public Affairs class, I met elected officials at the local, county, and state levels and began to form my own opinions on policy.Though I originally went to college to study graphic design, I began to transition into studying communications more broadly and eventually graduated with a degree in Political Science and Communications (with a minor in art).My internships in college for Governor Charlie Baker gave me the opportunity to see the inside of government and to appreciate qualified, conservative leaders who work to be good stewards of our tax dollars.I began working in policy and advocacy, specifically focused on economic opportunity for Massachusetts' 26 Gateway Cities. When the opportunity came up to work on a Congressional race for the first time to represent Massachusetts' 9th CD (Cape Cod, the South Coast, and South Shore), I took it! Q: What issues are important to you, and why? My top issue is always protecting our small businesses, which support our local economies and enrich our communities. As I've often heard, "Amazon isn't sponsoring your little league team."Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the importance (and in some places lack) of business-friendly leadership and the need to have policies set at the local level that can be responsive to each community. Another niche issue I have grown to care deeply about is water quality - specifically stormwater and wastewater management. I briefly worked at a wastewater treatment plant in Syracuse, and it was a great experience. We worked to clean up our waterways and lakes by mitigating stormwater runoff through "green infrastructure".As folks see the effects of climate change, they jump to call for a "Green New Deal," when many communities are falling behind on the most basic infrastructure improvements which can transform our cities into more beautiful, sustainable places and mitigate flooding and pollution. Q: You currently are the Director of Development for the Women's Public Leadership Network. How did you get involved in the network, and what does your position involve?Women's Public Leadership Network (WPLN) is a great organization working to train women to run for office and create a network of support across the country. We specifically outreach to center- and right-leaning women who are underrepresented in office and within other women's political organizations.It's our hope to not only help women on the right who are already in politics engage with and support one another, but to bring women on the right into the fold by partnering with professional associations and community groups. We want women to recognize how qualified they are to serve their communities in public office. I began engaging with WPLN while working as a campaign manager on a Boston City Council race for a Republican woman candidate. We saw firsthand how women voters expressed their own fiscally conservative views but didn't know there were other women out there like them. I see working at WPLN as a way to change that.As Director of Development, I work to engage donors, sponsors, foundations, and potential partners to support our work and reach new audiences. We are a nonprofit, and I am extremely proud of the work we have accomplished in just over a year. Q: As a former campaign manager, what do you think is the most important factor in your campaign that helps your candidate win? Or, if your candidate didn't win, what are the lessons you have learned when working on a campaign?The message and the motivations of the candidate are so important. If you are trying to convince your candidate to be passionate about the issues, it's an uphill battle.I have been fortunate that the women candidates I have worked with are driven and know why they want to serve in public office, and they could answer that question from any angle. As a former communications director, that's a huge relief! In the Boston race, we had an incredible coalition of moms come out and support us as volunteers, donors, and voters. Even though we were not successful in our runoff election, getting there proved that voters care more about your passion and ties to the community than your party affiliation.In any campaign, there are countless lessons to be learned. I am always amazed by how many members of the community feel unheard by their elected officials - and I think the best way to ask them to support you is to show up for them, listen and understand their issues, and take action.Q: What advice would you give to someone who is considering entering the political arena? Since your organization focuses on recruiting women to run, any advice for women specifically?I think the most important advice I can offer is to stay organized. Get all of your contacts into an Excel sheet before you run. Your Christmas Card list is the first place you should turn to for donors and volunteers, but then spend some time each week dumping the business cards you collect into that sheet as well. Especially when juggling family and professional commitments, keeping a calendar is so critical. That calendar should include the time you need to cheer on your kids at their soccer games and go to their recitals, too. Don't let your campaign-self become too different from the woman who decided to run.Q: How has the Leadership Institute helped you during your time in public service? I can't say enough good things about the Leadership Institute. I think every operative should regularly take their training, especially since the digital communications landscape is always changing.I have also had campaign interns of mine sign up for LI trainings to get their vocabulary and understanding up to speed so they can support me and give me new ideas! LI has also been a great partner to WPLN, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate and support women candidates, appointees, and operatives at all levels.Q: Many people seem disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved? Start working to improve your community outside of politics - it will really start to break down your cynicism. Start small! I recently began coaching a youth rugby team to give back a bit to my community, and I have not had one discussion about politics.The coaches, administrators, and parents are all working together to create a safe and healthy environment for their children to develop athletic and personal skills. Those relationships - which are built on things other than partisanship - are stronger in the face of disagreements than the volatile relationships you form on Twitter.If a problem arises in your community, step up and be willing to work with anyone else to address it - the overuse of litmus tests and cancel culture are going to isolate us more and more. This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. When you sign up for this newsletter, you get articles on the latest in politics, interviews like this one, and you'll be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities.
How to Let Your Employees Grow and Go
Sarah Morrison
April 20, 2021
How to Let Your Employees Grow and Go
Good employees make your workdays run smooth and help you anticipate the unexpected. But what happens when your good employees outgrow their roles? Or when their goals lead them on another path? When you face this intersection, make the difficult decision to help them grow toward their goals, even if it means they leave their current role. Here are three suggestions to help you build an environment where your employees can grow and eventually leave to pursue their career goals. 1. Provide the Tools Your Employees Require to GrowThis might seem like common sense, but to build an environment to help your employees grow, you must provide them with the tools to do their job. Give them ample opportunities to learn and grow. Encourage them to attend trainings and webinars to help develop their skill set. I send my employees to outside training, as well as to the Leadership Institute's more than 47 types of training (online, on-demand, and in-person). Many of these trainings are great ways to continue employee education.Don't forget to ask your employees about what they think will help them grow too! Open communication lines help.2. Open Communications About Career GoalsCommunication is a key to success. That's why you should know your employees' career goals beyond their current job goals. This knowledge will help you build an environment to help your employees grow.When you invest in your employees and help them pursue their goals, there is a greater chance they will invest in your organization. Here are a couple of examples you can use to pair your employees' personal goals with their current job goals:If you have staff who want to be writers, but their main jobs are organizing events, let them become creative in marketing those events through email, blog, and social media content creation.If you have staff who want to work on Capitol Hill, put them in charge of projects that interact with people who work on the Hill. That way they can network and develop their own contacts. 3. Plan for Employees' Future DepartureWhile it may seem strange to plan for your employees' departure, it is important to be prepared for when they outgrow their role. In their last couple weeks, make sure you have your outgoing employees draft a Standard Operating Procedure Manual for the functions of their current role. Have them include all tasks, projects, and resources required for someone to pick up where they left off.To make it easy for your employees to put together their manuals, ask them to draft directions for different tasks as they perform those tasks. This will make their last few weeks as productive as possible.
More than 30 In-Person Workshops in Texas Campaign Workshop Tour
Carol Wehe Cocks
April 19, 2021
More than 30 In-Person Workshops in Texas Campaign Workshop Tour
The future of Texas may be decided by the next few elections. Have you thought about running for office or helping a campaign, but don't know where to start?“You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win,” says Leadership Institute founder and president Morton Blackwell.The 2021 Texas Campaign Workshop Tour helps current and prospective candidates, as well their teams and volunteers identify the steps required to run a successful campaign.“It was an incredible value,” Texas activist Christine McNamara said during the 2019 Leadership Institute Texas Tour. “I have learned so much more than I knew before.”Ideal attendees for the Campaign Workshop are individuals looking to become more politically active. Candidates, spouses, campaign staff, activists, and volunteers should attend.Attendees will learn how to:Structure a campaign and organize staffRaise fundsDevelop a winning messageFind the campaign workshop near you and register at LeadershipInstitute.org/Texas.
I had to talk to him
Morton C Blackwell
March 31, 2021
I had to talk to him
It's not often that a young person impresses me so much that I have to pick up the phone and call: but I had to talk to Ben Zeisloft.Ben studies Finance and Marketing at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. He's also my Leadership Institute's top Campus Correspondent -- among the 134 student journalists who expose liberal bias and abuse on college campuses.Ben is amazingly productive. Since he started writing for LI's Campus Reform website almost one year ago, he has published more than 300 articles on CRO!Ben's work so impressed me that I called to let him know how grateful I am for his dedication and powerful productivity.Ben was surprised to hear from me, as you might imagine. But he happily shared how writing for LI's Campus Reform benefits him. Campus Correspondents earn a modest sum for each article they publish. Would you believe Ben has earned so much by exposing liberal abuses that he's putting himself through college? Please check out some of Ben's articles on CampusReform.org. I think you'll be just as impressed as I was.In his most recent report, Ben exposed Cornell University for considering partnering with a Chinese university to offer a dual degree program. Even worse, Cornell officials claim this “partnership” would have no influence on academic freedom! Sure.You can read how Ben exposed the Cornell/China connection here: https://www.campusreform.org/article?id=17026.If like me you can't get enough of Ben's reporting, you can access the rest of his 300-and-counting articles here. Thanks to the generous support of LI donors, students like Ben share thousands of shocking stories with a national audience. They report what's really happening on college campuses. By exposing the truth, you and I score clear victories for freedom. Last year alone, Campus Reform reporting led to 36 victories over leftist bias and abuse. That's harmful policies changed, abusive professors and administrators punished or fired, and free speech upheld. As you can see, students like Ben drive real change on campus, thanks to the generous support of Leadership Institute's donors.
Creating Powerful Passwords
Emma Siu
March 10, 2021
Creating Powerful Passwords
Many organizations require passwords that are 15 characters long, include numbers and letters, and must be changed every few months. The question everyone has: why?What are the benefits of password requirements?They protect your data. When you have a simple password that is just a name or date, hackers can quickly and easily guess it, compromising all your data. When you use a variety of characters, numbers, and symbols, it does not make your password impossible to crack, but it makes it a lot harder. The harder your password is to crack, the more time it will take hackers to figure it out, and the more likely they are to move on to easier prey. Remembering passwords is too hard!Yes, it's hard to remember multiple long and diverse passwords, but your safety is worth it. If you use the same password for all your accounts, once a hacker gets your password from one location, the first thing they will do is try it on your other accounts. When all accounts use the same password, hackers will have access to much more of your data and can do much more damage if you get hacked. Not all websites have the same security. Organizations and banking websites usually have greater security that deters hackers, but some online gaming sites or online shopping accounts might not have the same protections. Therefore, it is important to have different passwords for different accounts.If remembering these passwords gets hard, try using a password manager to keep track of your passwords. Some popular password managers include LastPass, 1Pasword, and Dashlane. Create a powerful password that is easy to remember Pick a phrase about something you like. For example: I love Leadership Institute. Take away the spaces and this will be the base of your password (IloveLeadershipInstitute).Next add a variety of lower case and capital letters (iLoveLEADershipInstitutE). Then add in symbols and numbers to replace a few letters. Using L33t, a method of replacing numbers and symbols with similar-looking letters, can make remembering your password even easier. Some examples of L33T are: o can become 0, i can become !, S can become $, and so on. In this example, we have gone from I love Leadership Institute to iL0veL3ADersh!pIn$titutE. This password creation method will make your passwords easy to remember and much more secure.Store your passwords safelyNever write your passwords down in a journal or sticky note. When passwords are written down, it makes it easier for hackers to physically steal or memorize your password.Never share your password with others or let someone log into your account. When memorizing isn't an option, pick a password locker that is well rated and known to be secure. With those few steps, your online presence and password protection will become more secure than ever before.
Tech Trends: Market Research
Emma Siu
March 9, 2021
Tech Trends: Market Research
Data is gold in the age of technology. Finding trends in data allows organizations to create more targeted ads and products. This is all possible thanks to the work of market researchers.Where does the data come from?Market researchers collect data through surveys, phone calls, focus groups, and social media. This data can also be bought from different companies or collected in-person. Surveyors play an important role as they develop questions that will extract key decision-making data from consumers.Market researchers then use statistics and data analysis to find important trends in the data and predict how a consumer group or industry will react to an event, service, or product.Where does it go?Most of these trends and predictions are sold to advertising companies, campaigns, or organizations' Research & Development (R&D) or marketing departments. With this valuable information, organizations can create content, products, and advertisements that will have a greater impact on their consumer base.What's changing?In the past, market researchers had a heavier reliance on physical data-gathering. Since the emergence of the internet and social media prominence, market research companies are investing in large data processing technologies.Market researchers have more data to sift through than ever as more organizations shift to online platforms. Market researchers now collect key information from a website's homepage to develop even more accurate trends and predictions.What's in store for the future?Market research companies will continue to rely on data processing technology to sort data and develop useful trends and predictions.As data security and ownership are more openly discussed, there might be significant changes in how easily market researchers can collect these large quantities of data as legislation is implemented.That's something both consumers and market researchers can expect to shift current marketing trends and data collection for the future.
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