At 22, Amir Farahi Takes Action to Help His Community in Canada
Gordon Arnold
July 7, 2017
At 22, Amir Farahi Takes Action to Help His Community in Canada
At the age of 22, Amir Farahi has run for local office and has established a think-tank in his hometown of London, Canada. His family fled Iran's totalitarian government in the 1970's, which would later inspire him to run for City Council. Amir became the youngest person to run for office in his hometown. His campaign was a pivotal force in spurring millennials to make an impact on the political process. “I would have never guessed ten years ago that I would run for the City Council,” Amir said. Although he lost his first attempt at public office, Amir wanted more in-depth political training. After receiving positive recommendations from his friends, Amir decided to attend Leadership Institute's Campaign Management School. The four-day training provided him with the tools and knowledge to put together a successful campaign plan. “The Campaign Management School's hands-on exercises were useful and resourceful, as they accurately demonstrated the process of putting together a campaign and doing research,” Amir said. “I have taken forty pages of notes and I still have a whole day left of the training!” Amir aspires to be a civic leader who “provides plans and solutions to enhance the standard of living and improve people's lives.” To fulfill this ambitious task, he organized Canadian think-and-do tank, The London Institute. This organization works to bring people together to solve problems and spur economic development. Amir doesn't know what his future holds, but he has no doubt the Leadership Institute equipped him to succeed in politics. “The Leadership Institute has taught me the best process to pursue in order to put together a campaign plan and do the necessary research in the most thorough way possible. Additionally, I learned this week about the hands-on skills that I need in order to put on fundraising events, campaign events, and similar staples of a political campaign. The Leadership Institute even spent time detailing social media skills in a thorough way.” The Campaign Management School, in Amir's words, took “what could have been a complicated campaign machine and broke it into smaller pieces to help us understand how it operates.” As a recent graduate from Western University with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Economics, Amir nonetheless proclaimed, “The past four days were a better and more useful educational experience than the entire four years of my degree program in Political Science.” Whether Amir ultimately holds elected office, manages a campaign, or expands his think-tank, he says his experience at the Campaign Management School gave him the skills to be a “leader of his community.” When asked for his advice for newcomers to the political arena, Amir said: “If you are looking to get involved in politics, then the Leadership Institute should be your first stop. It is the one place where you can gain the practical skills to know how to effectively campaign.” Join me and congratulate Amir on his innovation and persistence to make a difference in his community. If you're interested in the Campaign Management School Amir took, you can learn more here. Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,868 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 186,207 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.
Celebrate Independence Day with LI at the National Fourth of July Conservative Soirée
Carol Wehe
July 3, 2017
Celebrate Independence Day with LI at the National Fourth of July Conservative Soirée
Since 1972, conservatives have celebrated Independence Day at the National Fourth of July Conservative Soirée. Join the Leadership Institute and other sponsoring conservative organizations for the 46th annual Soirée — the best family party of the year! Enjoy delicious , live bluegrass music, a patriotic program, and fun for the kids. Who: Dick Black, Nicolee Ambrose, and other conservatives like you! What: Barbeque, bluegrass music, patriotic program, and fun for the kids When: Tuesday, July 4, 2017 | 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Where: Bull Run Regional Park Pavilion, Centreville, VA Bring a side dish to share. It's Soirée tradition! RSVP today to receive your FREE ticket and parking pass.
A Blog Can Be Great For Your Career
Ben Woodward
July 2, 2017
A Blog Can Be Great For Your Career
When people think about blogs, they usually dismiss them as a prehistoric way of getting ideas into the public realm. Today many people prefer a 140-character tweet to a well thought out, self-published article that takes a lot of work to compose and publicize. However, when it comes to your career, demonstrating passion for your field is critical. Writing a blog, which is accessible to recruiters, could be what secures your next big opportunity. Here are 5 ways writing a blog can benefit your career. You can establish yourself as a thought leader Recruiters will expect to see that you have knowledge of your field and show an active interest. By writing a blog directly related to the professional area in which you want to progress, you can illustrate your interest and your ability to lead others. By communicating with readers in such a way that offers leadership, you are showing that you are a strong communicator and an innovative thinker. You can reach an audience directly Individuals who have not yet established themselves in their field do not interest most publishers. By writing your own blog, you cut out the intermediary and go directly to your chosen audience. When you write your blog, get your friends to share it, publish it on your social media and in relevant group chats, even tweet it to respected individuals in your field. That way you add validity to your work and show recruiters that readers respect your opinion. You have writing samples to show recruiters Good writers are in high demand, so not only will writing a blog refine your ability, but it will also give you examples of your writing you can show to recruiters. When you build your following and established people share your work, your blog posts gain validity as writing samples in job applications. In addition, by establishing a digital footprint you will have ‘Google Insurance.' This means that when a recruiter Googles your name they will see links to your blog. This shows you are engaged in the current trends of your industry and will significantly improve your likelihood of getting an interview. You can build a community of people interested in your field Building a following among your readers will get you noticed by others in your field. Taking an active role in the discussion will help you make connections. For example, if you are interested in foreign policy, blogging about it, and having your writing shared by those currently working in foreign affairs will get you noticed by potential recruiters. When you write a blog, remember to put links to your social media and personal website so readers and recruiters can find you easily. Your employer may value contributions Many employers in the conservative movement are looking for contributions to their websites and social media. By writing blog pieces you not only help your employer create content for their website and social media, but you also publish pieces through your organization which increases the validity of your writings. Successful workers take initiative. By writing a blog, you show employers you take an active interest in your work. If you have a significant following, use your blog to attract attention to your organization's successes. That way you can assist your employers beyond your day-to-day work. If you are interested in learning more about successful written communications for your career, please register for the Leadership Institute's Written Communications Workshop.
3 Effective Ways to Boost Your Facebook Engagement
Stephen Rowe
June 28, 2017
3 Effective Ways to Boost Your Facebook Engagement
You may notice a pattern every time you scroll your newsfeed. It starts with a relevant update, then an advertisement, and it doesn't take long before a video starts auto-playing. The biggest question on people's minds when they see this pattern is, “How do I get my content to appear first in everyone else's newsfeed?” Here are three things you can start doing now: 1. Go Live Creating a video is one of the quickest ways to grow your online presence and spread your message. Between 2015 and 2016, video consumption on Facebook increased 800% (from 1 billion views to 8 billion views per day). Now that's a big boost. Making things even better, Facebook gives precedence to videos over other pieces of content. Facebook even sends push notifications when friends “go live.” It's very easy to use Facebook live. You just update your status as usual, click “Live Video”, make sure everything is ready in preview, and click “Go Live” (pro tip: get a stabilizer for your iPhone or camera and a microphone for less than $35). Even if you're camera-shy, Facebook Live can still be for you. You can create live Facebook polls very easily with free sites like MyLivePolls. Then ask your audience relevant questions and watch your engagement soar. Video is king. Start using it! 2. Great visuals = Great social media Almost no one will stop scrolling for a huge chunk of text. But an engaging image will get you everywhere! Your Facebook page posts should have high-quality photos. People love great visuals more than they care to read. You don't have to be a design expert to create compelling visual graphics. Check out Canva.com if you are new to the design world. It's a free and simple graphic design tool website. Learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator at the Leadership Institute. The next Digital Creative Workshop: Design is just around the corner. 3. Posting frequency “How often should I post on Facebook?” You should post on Facebook as often as you have quality content. Just ensure your posts are spaced out at least an hour. If you have tons of content, then posting up to 15 times per day is a good thing. However, 95% of people don't have the quality content (or time) to post that much. Let your content dictate the frequency of your posting. Do your best to craft a content schedule and make it consistent. The marketplace will let you know if you're posting too much if you're getting poor engagement on your posts. If you're getting a solid number of likes, comments, and shares then try increasing how often you post. 4. BONUS: Check out the Leadership Institute's online Facebook for Activism training! If you liked the tips above, you will love this training. The Leadership Institute's Online Training: Facebook for Activism will show you how to use Facebook to build a movement around the candidate, campaign, or cause you're committed to. You will leave this training with strategies you can use to accomplish your goals, whether it's starting chapters, recruiting volunteers, building your meetings and events, or even just connecting your friends to each other. Specifically, you'll learn: how to prime your Facebook for success to activate people in your online community; best practices to create conten­t that your supporters will respond to and want to share; and a proven, five-step process to build relationships with your supporters. Learn more about Facebook for Activism here. Let me know what you think. Have you used any of the resources/tactics above? Leave a comment below.
Interns Learn from Successful Conservative Leaders at Conservative Intern Workshop
Annamarie Rienzi
June 26, 2017
Interns Learn from Successful Conservative Leaders at Conservative Intern Workshop
Interns from across the conservative movement came to the Leadership Institute on June 21 for the Conservative Intern Workshop. The 94 interns who attended, representing the White House, Congress, FreedomWorks, Young American's for Liberty, and more than 32 other organizations. They learned how to make the most of their internships in DC beyond simply showing up to work every day. These interns learned from Steve Sutton, the Leadership Institute's Vice President of Development, about his method of impressing supervisors by understanding the philosophy and politics surrounding their roles. Next, the Young Americans for Liberty Director of Mobilization Justin Greiss spoke about how to best highlight their experiences by writing clean and consistent resumes. Justin also talked about the best way to communicate enthusiasm to potential employers by writing outstanding cover letters. During lunch, participants networked with each other and learned about new organizations. Dante Kari, an intern in the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School was especially excited to meet with other interns. “I met folks interning for conservative organizations I didn't even know existed,” he said. Next, the Leadership Institute's Director of Digital Training, Abigail Alger, spoke about how to reach savings goals while living in as expensive a city as D.C. Andrew Magloughlin, the Economic Research Intern at FreedomWorks, said, “I learned how to apply my philosophy of fiscal conservatism to my own expenses and goals while flourishing.” Following Abby's presentation, the Leadership Institute's Stephen Rowe spoke about Social Media Branding. He taught attendees how to draw attention to their digital profiles in pursuit of full-time employment. The training continued with Networking to Find Jobs, a lecture from Lauren Bouton, a Public Policy Associate at Facebook. The interns found this information particularly useful because it emphasized that the point of networking is to meet and make meaningful connections with other interns. Katie Wilson the Leadership Institute's Technology Intern said, “I had no idea that it was acceptable to end a conversation with someone if it's gone on a bit too long! I really needed clarification on that point. Now I know that the point of networking is to meet many people!” The last session of the day was a panel with Leadership Institute's Director of Career Services Patricia Simpson, Americans for Prosperity's National Recruiting Manager Haley Pike, The Heritage Foundation's Recruiting Associate Kyle Bonnell, and Charles Koch Institute's Alumni Relations Coordinator Kasey Darling. Attendees were thrilled to hear from recruiters from such high profile organizations. Giovanni Triana, an intern for the American Legislative Exchange Council said, “The Job Seeking and Networking Panel at the Leadership Institute's Conservative Intern Workshop played a significant role in preparing me to be bold and effective in my outreach efforts. I learned tips and techniques from the experts themselves and I can honestly say that I am more confident in the way I approach networking after hearing from the seasoned panelists.” The day ended with a complimentary headshot photo shoot at Leadership Institute in the Steven P. J. Wood Building lobby. Attendees said the Conservative Intern Workshop was an extremely valuable training. Sarah Persichetti, an intern for In Defense of Christians, said, “Everyone that LI brought in to speak to us was so knowledgeable and passionate! I could really tell they were dedicated to helping conservative interns navigate the intimidating world of networking and professionalism.” The Leadership Institute's Career Service Department will hold its next event on July 11. To register for the Professional Development Workshop please follow the link here.
The Leadership Institute’s Think Tank Opportunity Workshop
Ben Woodward
June 20, 2017
The Leadership Institute’s Think Tank Opportunity Workshop
On July 13 and 14, the Leadership Institute held the very first Think Tank Opportunity Workshop. Eighty-six conservatives attended to learn how they can successfully build a career in this field. The workshop contributes to the Leadership Institute's mission to increase the size and effectiveness of conservative activists because conservative think tanks are only effective in influencing public policy if they have principled conservatives, passionate about quality research, working for them. The first day covered the career opportunities within think tanks. Our first speaker, Lori Sanders who is the Associate Vice President of Federal Affairs at the R Street Institute discussed the types of think tanks currently operating in the movement and the routes in which people take to secure a career. The second speaker, Helena Richardson, Director of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation taught attendees about the different career paths within think tanks such as events, marketing, development, and more. Helena also discussed how to go about finding the first job and internship in a think tank. Finally, Michael Bowman, Vice President of Policy at the American Legislative Exchange Council taught attendees how to be a leader in their field and establish themselves as an expert. He also taught attendees what senior recruiters are looking for when hiring and the importance of being passionate about their chosen field. The second day placed a focus on research and influencing public policy. The first speaker, Trevor Burrus, who is a Research Fellow at the CATO Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies, taught attendees how to research and compose policy proposals that make an impact and are easily readable. The Hon. Becky Norton Dunlop followed Trevor; she is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. She covered how a think tank uses its research to influence decision makers and public opinion as a whole. Finally, Karen Czarnecki, Vice President for Outreach at the Mercatus Center, concluded the workshop by teaching attendees how think tanks build coalitions and how they can collaborate with organizations to maximize the effectiveness of their research. Following the workshop, feedback was overwhelmingly positive with one attendee remarking; “An excellent program with generous speakers and staff. All speakers were willing to network with students involved and were very willing to invest in our futures!” Due to the success of the Think Tank Opportunity Workshop, the Leadership Institute will be holding another on November 6 and 7, 2017.
5 Reasons You Should Consider Working for a Conservative Movement Abroad
Ben Woodward
June 15, 2017
5 Reasons You Should Consider Working for a Conservative Movement Abroad
You can probably recall a number of sobering moments in your life where you had the opportunity to either step up or retreat from a challenge. When I was 23, I moved to the United States from the UK to work for the Leadership Institute. The prospect to work in the American conservative movement for an organization like LI, which is so pivotal, was an exciting one. However exciting the opportunity, I remember the moment I arrived at my accommodation. I put my cases down and froze. It dawned on me that I had just quit my job, and left the security of my friends and family. It was a scary prospect; but nine months later, I would recommend the experience to anybody. Here are five reasons you should consider working for a conservative movement abroad. You learn a lot from another country's practices Conservative movements, or indeed any kind of industry, do things differently in different countries. This makes you both an asset and a liability. An asset, because you bring new ideas and experiences to the table. A liability, because your knowledge of basic work practices in your new country may be lacking. Nevertheless, you can be confident that having worked for a conservative movement abroad will make you an asset in your home country. If conservative movements are to be successful, they should be open to new ideas and employ talent globally, just as the private sector does. It's a test of character Throwing yourself into unfamiliar territory is an opportunity to prove yourself. A good employee should be able to adapt to new challenges and face them head on. If you are able to build a network of friends, establish yourself in a new environment, and succeed in a different working environment, then you signal to employers that you can adapt to new challenges. In addition, it forces you to mature. When you move to a new country, you cannot depend upon the safety of your traditional support network. You are on your own, and rising to that challenge means you can be depended upon to support others. It will broaden your mind Conservatives in different countries have different ideas and policy priorities. The UK and US conservative movements are very different. The experience will challenge your views, and you will learn a great deal about areas of policy you know nothing about. Being an effective conservative requires you to have a broad understanding of policy, and the arguments for our movement. Working for a movement abroad, you will learn new examples of conservatism in action and be exposed to new organizations from which you can learn. You will work with inspiring new people Conservatives are dedicated to our cause; it's why we're winning. Working for a conservative organization abroad is an opportunity to network with a whole new pool of conservative talent. These people are future leaders and elected officials you can learn from. It is also a great chance to make new friends who share your values. You will have the chance to attend events like conferences, campaign launches, and more that you would otherwise be unable to attend. It's fun! Who doesn't love traveling? The opportunity to see new places, eat new food, and make everybody jealous on social media are some benefits of working abroad. It's an experience you'll remember forever. You only live once! If you're thinking about working for a conservative organization outside the U.S. consider the following: Hans Seidel Foundation International Democrat Union Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies (Think tank for European People's Party) Unión de Partidos Latinoamericanos (UPLA) Canadian Taxpayers' Association
When Your Work Life Becomes Your Personal Life
Ben Woodward
June 5, 2017
When Your Work Life Becomes Your Personal Life
When I think about the conservative movement, I realize many staff are close friends outside of work, and some even live in the same house. We are a closely tied movement, and that is a good thing. Within individual organizations, working alongside people you have strong relationships with means you are more likely to enjoy your job and collaborate on projects; it creates a positive working environment. But here are some things to consider when your work life and your personal life intertwine. Make your own decisions Remember that you are responsible for the decisions you make at work. If they are successful, then you take credit; if they are bad decisions, then you have to face the consequences. In the latter circumstance, nothing would sting more than knowing you were persuaded to make that decision against your better judgment because a friend, however unintentionally, misguided you. Make sure that you do not let your relationships affect your better judgment. With that said, use your friendships to your advantage. If you need help on a project, being close to a colleague can be an advantage. Conflicts in one portion of your life never intrude on the other There are two sides to this. Most importantly, if you work alongside a friend, spouse, or relative, your clashes stay at home. If your colleague is late on the rent, that is not a work problem. Letting personal conflicts affect your day-to-day working life will damage your reputation as a professional. Likewise, your work takes up a huge portion of your life. Do not let your professional disagreements follow you home. If you and your friend are both applying for the same promotion, do not let that destroy your friendship. It is also worth noting that if you get the job, you may have to give your friends direction; and if they get the job, you want a good relationship with your new boss. You may differ in seniority Most of us spend our professional lives working toward that next promotion. It means more responsibility, more freedom, and more money. The only problem is, there are only so many senior positions around, and chances are, you're not the sole applicant. If you find yourself in the awkward position of either working for your friend or being in charge of your friends, remember that standard rules still apply. There may be information you cannot share with each other. You cannot give or expect preferential treatment. Finally, there is a time for work and a time for socializing When it comes to working with friends, family, and partners, there can be new temptations. We have all been there, sat at our desks, struggling to motivate ourselves. It's tempting to procrastinate – especially when colleagues want to socialize. Of course, no employer expects you to be a robot and small breaks are common. I must confess that I enjoy pranking my colleagues on occasion. Just understand when to be serious, where the line is, and if you have a deadline, do not be afraid to make that clear.
I remember reciting my first speech
Autumn Campbell
May 25, 2017
I remember reciting my first speech
I remember reciting my first speech – “Respect the flag . . . “ – those are the only words I remember, maybe because that's the title. Although I don't remember the words, I do remember the feeling I had as a seven-year-old reciting the poem from memory in front of judges and others I didn't know. I was nervous. I had butterflies. And I knew I didn't want to mess up. I adjusted my sparkly Uncle Sam hat and waited for the judge's nod while my heart seemed to pound out of my chest. I drew a deep breath and began the poem. With shaky hands I held my props and waved my little flag at the appropriate time. And, I made it through. Whew! (Side note: I won at this particular competition. That is my claim to fame.) Maybe you're like me, and just reading about public speaking makes you nervous and sick to your stomach! Well, you're definitely not alone. In fact, public speaking is one of the most common fears. According to Toastmasters, fear of public speaking outranks the fear of death and loneliness! But I have great news! The Leadership Institute's Public Speaking Workshop and Advanced Public Speaking Workshop can help. LI has experienced faculty who can help you hone your speaking skills and give you personal feedback on your speech delivery. So overcome your childhood fear today! Register for the Leadership Institute's Public Speaking Workshop here. Or, register for the Leadership Institute's Advanced Public Speaking Workshop here.
Five things you should do in your first week at a new job
Ben Woodward
May 22, 2017
Five things you should do in your first week at a new job
Starting a new job is among the most daunting experiences in our professional lives. After all, you only get one chance at a first impression. As well as trying to wrap your head around your new responsibilities, learn the office culture, make friends, and demonstrate your ability, you're also trying to keep your feet on the ground and build a successful future for yourself. It is natural to want to keep your head down and not draw attention to yourself, like a mouse among sleeping cats. This is a mistake! Here are five things you should do in your first week: Ask your supervisor (and employees) to lunch By asking your supervisor to lunch, you are showing your new boss that you are confident in your new role and you are serious about learning the ropes. I would advise you to keep this lunch just the two of you if possible, as other employees may dominate the conversation. It is also an effective way to get to know your supervisor on a one-to-one basis, outside of the formal office environment. It is important for them to get to know you. This is your chance to tell them what you want out of this job and where you would like to go in your career. If you're a manager, take your staff out to lunch, either in small groups, or one-to-one if possible. This is your chance to understand what makes these individuals tick, and establish what you expect from them. Introduce yourself to everybody in the office You will be spending lots of time with the people in your department and organization over the next few months and years. So be sure to take some time to introduce yourself to everybody in the kitchens, boardrooms, or even by visiting their workspace. Understanding the office culture is critical to success. You will likely need to collaborate with other departments on a multitude of projects, so make friends with them quickly to establish your relationship. Too many new employees fail to integrate themselves into the social side of a new office and get left out in the cold. Learn about all of the current and upcoming projects Fully brief yourself on all of the current projects in your department. Wherever possible, you should do your research, but do not be afraid to ask smart questions. It is in your colleagues' interests to help you succeed, as your work will affect theirs. Try to establish what other people are working on and where you can be of assistance, but also what scope you have for innovation. Every employer is different; some will let you pursue your projects, whereas others prefer a top-down approach. Learn about the location of your office Being successful at work requires you to be happy in your job, and comfortable in your environment. However moving to a new place, especially if you have moved away from home or college for the first time can make you feel isolated and unsettled. This is not conducive to success in your new job. Ensure that you learn the area quickly. Where are the best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops? What activities are happening locally? With whom in your office do you share hobbies? This will help you to settle quickly into your new environment, and even take the lead in your office's social life. Reconnect with former colleagues It is easy when you start a new job to be swept up in your new professional life. As a keen networker, try to get into the habit of keeping in touch with your old colleagues quickly. You never know when you will need a referral, or when your new job requires a connection from your past. Remember to keep those professional relationships alive.
Recruiters hire through social media
Ben Woodward
May 8, 2017
Recruiters hire through social media
What if I told you that Facebook has been around since 2004? That's 13 years! Twitter has existed since 2006. Even seemingly newer forms of social media like Snapchat (2011) and Instagram (2010) are not new. Most jobseekers are only just waking up to the potential of social media for their careers. More and more, recruiters hire through social media. Even if they rely primarily on job boards, you can be confident they will investigate your social media for background checks. By failing to demonstrate your employability on social media, you are doing yourself a disservice. In this blog, I want to focus on how you can convey your skills and expertise on social media. During your day-to-day work life, you demonstrate your professional abilities. You may write articles, speeches, or research briefings. Perhaps you show your organizational skills by managing an event, or you demonstrate your communication skills by speaking at a conference. You should post these activities on your social media, partnered with a photograph, video, or site link. By failing to share them, you fail to give recruiters the opportunity to see you at your best. Worst of all, you have done the work, and recruiters may never know. Even simple gestures make a huge difference. If you have great coworkers or employees, for example, consider praising their work through social media. You will demonstrate your teamwork and leadership abilities, and they can share the comment on their pages. It is also better to share posts from your organization's page about your skills, or praise from a respected individual. This increases the validity of the post or tweet, rather than posting it yourself. Opportunities to demonstrate your expertise are not limited to your day-to-day work life. Here are some other ways you can get this across on social media: Write blogs, opeds, and articles in your spare time. Smaller journalistic organizations are always looking for stories to publish. If you want to show expertise in a particular area, consider writing about it. Retweet, comment on, and repost other people's social media. This is also an excellent way to engage people who can help your career. Make sure you like and follow relevant organizations and people who are successful in your chosen career path. Have a strong LinkedIn profile with a summary which outlines your experience and expertise. In addition, your LinkedIn should contain a full account of your professional experiences and achievements. Remember recruiters search your social media every time you apply for a job. This is your opportunity to not only tell them, but show them your skills and expertise. For more career tips, visit ConservativeJobs.com.
The Hiring Freeze Has Been Lifted, What’s Your Plan?
Ben Woodward
April 24, 2017
The Hiring Freeze Has Been Lifted, What’s Your Plan?
On Tuesday, April 11, the Trump Administration made a surprise announcement that could be good news for job seekers across DC. The federal hiring freeze will be lifted. Instead, the administration is calling for a reform of the federal government, and a plan to reduce the overall size of the Federal Civilian Workforce. But what does this mean for job seekers in Washington D.C.? Cautious optimism. First, the administration has been clear this does not give Departments the freedom to go on a recruitment spending spree. The intention is to reshape the federal workforce, with some agencies having the flexibility to hire more people, and others paring their staff, while others will make lay-offs. This means if you are hoping to take advantage of the opportunities, you may be competing with experienced and well-connected former Federal employees hoping to be hired elsewhere. Secondly, budgetary proposals must go through the appropriations process. This is no easy task. Congress has already expressed its opposition to cuts on agencies such as the EPA, State, Health and Human Services, and others. Therefore, there is still uncertainty about the opportunities that will arise from this decision. One thing is for sure, if you are a job seeker in DC, or if you are looking for a career move, you should be ready for anything! The administration has been clear it intends to fund spending increases for Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs. These departments were always exempt from the hiring freeze and now it looks as though the administration is freeing up budgetary space to prioritize these departments. If you are looking for a job in the Federal Government, and you want to make the most of the potential opportunities coming up, the strategic jobseekers will have a plan. If you're a new jobseeker, consider applying for internships that will get help you to establish yourself in the Federal Government. Opportunities such as the Presidential Management Fellowship Program for example are tough to get in, but provide great opportunities if you are successful. Start now by networking. Look for events across DC where you will have the opportunity to meet political appointees currently working in the administration. This is your opportunity to get to know people who can help you to find a place in the departments hiring. The Leadership Institute provides a number of resources to help you network, including workshops and our Job Seeker Guide. Your resume should be as strong as possible as you prepare to send it to potential recruiters. Have it ready to go now, and remember the Leadership Institute is available as a resource to you if you want to have your resume reviewed. You can arrange to meet with one of LI's careers staff to discuss ways to improve your resume through ConservativeJobs.com.
Your 5-point guide to writing an op-ed
Autumn Campbell
April 20, 2017
Your 5-point guide to writing an op-ed
With the Leadership Institute's Building Your Brand Workshop around the corner, here are some pointers to give you a head start on building your brand through op-eds. You have something to say. But sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. How do you get your voice out there? A good place to start is blogging. I know, I know, everyone has a blog. But there's a reason for that. You can practice putting your thoughts and arguments down while getting feedback from friends and peers. Through practice on your blog, you can begin to harness your thoughts and build a framework for your field of expertise. So you've been blogging – but you're ready for more. It's time to write an op-ed. An op-ed is an article or piece with an opinion and written with a strong point of view. Here's why you'll shine in an op-ed: You'll show your expertise Develop your argument Learn to use facts to back up your argument And establish your credibility Follow these general guidelines for your op-ed: Limit your word count to about 700 words or less Open with a strong lead Make your argument quickly and concisely Remember, you cannot submit a piece that's already been published Be patient and don't give up You'll find many informative websites on how to submit your op-ed. Here are a few links with guidelines for DC area news sources to get you started: Washington Examiner Washington Times Washington Post Politico The Hill Now go write! (And remember me when you're a rich and famous expert.) Still want more insight? Take LI's Building Your Brand: From Op-ed to On-camera Wednesday and Thursday evenings, April 26-27. Register here!
Stephen Rowe Employee of the Quarter
Carol Wehe
April 19, 2017
Stephen Rowe Employee of the Quarter
"Our first Employee of the Quarter for 2017 is Stephen Rowe," announced Morton Blackwell at the Leadership Institute's staff meeting. "Stephen, will you please come forward?" As Stephen walked to the front of the room, Morton continued. "Stephen Rowe has gone above and beyond in his work, both for the Digital Training Division and in support of other LI departments." "In the past three months, Stephen has spoken at three Young Americans for Liberty regional conventions and received high praise and positive feedback -- while giving a different combination of lectures each time; taught lectures for other training divisions, including Grassroots and Career Services..." And the list goes on. Stephen, Morton continued, "said an enthusiastic “yes” to joining a Campus Reform video broadcast; worked with External Affairs to generate new ideas for email marketing, social media content, and website analytics; and taught at 13 digital trainings, helping the division train 150% more conservatives than in the first quarter of 2016." "Stephen has a natural talent for speaking and teaching, and his work ethic, teamwork, and unfailing good cheer make him a valued member of the Institute staff," Morton said. Morton presented Stephen with a gift and congratulated him on a job well done. Please join me in celebrating Stephen's tireless work ethic and willingness to help all of the Leadership Institute succeed in training more conservatives to win.
Don’t delay, intern today
Ben Woodward and Mauricio Bento
April 5, 2017
Don’t delay, intern today
You may be wondering: “Should I apply for an internship in Washington, DC?” I was in the same boat fresh out of college. The options were vast, graduate school, part-time work, traveling, and more. At college, I postponed applying as so many do. Given the opportunity again, I'd do it differently. Many students go to college far away from their families; summer break, therefore, is a chance to spend some time with loved ones. However, summer is also the perfect time to get professional experience in D.C. If you are in your senior year and really would like to get your foot in the door, you can also apply for internships during the spring or the fall. You'll find about the same number of roles available, but organizations recieve a significantly smaller number of applications, and therefore spring and fall internships are less competitive. And you should know. It's competitive! Organizations like CATO, The Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, and the Leadership Institute receive vastly more applications than we have positions available. But if you take the process seriously, and do your research, there's no reason why you should fail. Here are five benefits of interning while you are still in college: 1. Personal Development: Internships are about more than performing the responsibilities assigned. The best internships invest in people, teaching you professional skills, challenging you, and providing experiences that inspire you to want to succeed in your career. Even by applying you'll learn how to build your resume and prepare for an interview. On the job you'll learn how to write professional emails and speak in public. Those skills are essential and will help you much more in the long term than just listing an organization on your resume. 2. Networking: D.C. is a city fueled by connections. If you are out of sight, you are out of mind. That is why interning while you are at college builds those solid relationships which will be so important when you graduate or apply for your next internship. 3. Freedom of expression: Take a break from liberals. If you are in college, chances are you are in the minority as a conservative. Many colleges act to suffocate open political discourse, and as a conservative, you are likely on the receiving end of leftist abuse. Come to intern in the conservative movement where your principles are valued, and you can learn to tackle leftist abuses on your campus. 4. Discover your talents: Interning in D.C. is about gaining practical experience. It helps you confirm what you want to do, and what you do not. Many interns come to DC, and their internship confirms that they do indeed want to work on the Hill, for a think tank, or a non-profit. Others learn that it's not for them. Both lessons are equally valuable. 5. Head start: The difference between the graduates who get a well-paying job out of college and those do not is internships. If you are forward thinking and you get that experience early, you will hit the ground running after graduation. If you do not, you will find yourself left behind. So which will it be?
Morton's Daylily Offer to Wednesday Wakeup Club Breakfast Attendees
Morton C. Blackwell
April 3, 2017
Morton's Daylily Offer to Wednesday Wakeup Club Breakfast Attendees
Dear fellow conservative, You may know that I cross breed and raise daylilies and send hundreds of daylily plants each year to Leadership Institute donors who have requested them. Now I have a problem that I ask you to help me solve. Each spring I carefully cross pollinate my most lovely and interesting daylily flowers to produce new varieties. I harvest the mature seeds in August and plant them in trays to grow through the winter in my office windows until all danger of frost is past. Then I plant the seedlings outside in flower beds. A year later, the new plants bloom, and I can give really fine ones to LI donors with descriptions of their flowers. The problem I hope you will help me solve is that last August so many seeds germinated that I have many more seedlings than I have room to plant in my flower beds. I've filled with new seedlings all the available flower beds, and I have hundreds of healthy, extraordinary seedlings that will die if not planted soon. They are extraordinary because each seedling has a complex ancestry from decades of my serious crossbreeding program. Each seedling is a new variety, and I have no idea what colors or flower designs a seedling will produce. Of course, I could just discard all the extra seedlings, but I would really, really hate to do that. Almost all of them will produce very fine flowers, and some of them will be spectacular. Each spring, I go to my flower beds and note the characteristics of my new varieties which bloom for the first time. I can't say that it's as exciting as when I first held in my arms my newborn son and my grandchildren. But it's somewhat analogous. So to keep from destroying these products of my decades of efforts, I'm asking you, if you possibly can, to adopt some of my seedlings. Daylilies are mostly grown outside in yards, but they will do well inside in pots by windows that get plenty of sunshine. Outside they require virtually no care; inside they need only occasional watering when the soil gets dry. Will you adopt some of this year's seedlings? I've personally prepared sealed plastic bags, each containing four seedlings, and written instructions as to how to plant them outside or in pots. They should be taken now and planted as soon as possible. If you have a yard or have friends with yards who will take some, or if perhaps you'll decide to grow them inside in pots, please see my executive assistant, Cathy Graham, after the breakfast. They will be given away in packets of four seedlings each along with planting instructions. Then next year, when the plants first bloom, you or your friends will have the satisfaction of seeing the blooms of your unique, new varieties of daylilies. Above are two of the many different colors and elegant flower designs that my seedlings have produced. Please help some of these seedlings to survive. Cordially, Morton To take advantage of Morton Blackwell's daylily offer, sign up for the April 5, 2017 Wednesday Wakeup Club Breakfast and talk with Cathy Graham after the breakfast.
There is no Free Lunch
Mauricio Bento
March 30, 2017
There is no Free Lunch
A few days ago, LI president Morton Blackwell told me that when he was a college student at LSU, he and his friends heard Milton Friedman was available to speak for free at Morton's campus group. They were eager to bring such a distinguished intellectual to their university! This “free,” of course, meant he wouldn't charge any amount for himself, but the hosts would have to pay the travel and accommodation costs. In the end, there was no free Friedman. One of the most famous Milton Friedman quotes states, “there is no such thing as a free lunch,” an ironic response to the tremendous demand for “free stuff” by the socialists he debated. The phrase meant that no government program is free. The taxpayer always pays (an expensive bill) in the end. The first time I heard this quote, I was an 18-year-old college freshman at the University of Brasilia back in Brazil, my home country. I was taking an Introduction to Economics class, and the professor repeated the quote while explaining the foundations of microeconomics. That stuck in my mind. I was not a socialist, but I believed that more government intervention – more of the right intervention – could work. I thought that because I always looked at the benefits of government programs while ignoring the costs. That quote changed everything. From that day on, I would always remember that there was no free lunch, and government programs cost too much and deliver too little. In the last two weeks, I have finished re-reading Milton Friedman's book Capitalism and Freedom, as part of my LI internship book discussion program. I felt the passion my friends and I expressed during the debate over the need for more school choice and less occupational licensing regulations in the US. Friedman was part of my freshman year in college and now is part of my freshman year as a young professional in DC. His ideas are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them. They are relevant not only in the US but also in Brazil. So relevant that Folha de Sao Paulo, the #1 national newspaper in Brazil – read by more than 20 million people every month – published an editorial within the last few weeks that has a title inspired by Friedman's quote. The article, a harsh critique on excessive regulations on airline companies, also mentions Friedman's quote in both the introduction and conclusion. Friedman won the Nobel Prize, advised President Regan, wrote best-sellers, made a TV series about economic freedom with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and now serves as inspiration for us at the Leadership Institute (LI) and even for big newspapers. Not bad at all, right? Morton always says: “In politics, nothing moves unless pushed.” Friedman pushed. Now LI keeps pushing.
Chilean student leader wins three week trip to DC
Autumn Campbell
March 28, 2017
Chilean student leader wins three week trip to DC
Max Rubio won a trip to Washington, DC. Three weeks to see all the sights, three weeks to breathe in the fresh air of politics, and three weeks to gain a crash course in communications training. Max, from Chile, is studying business administration and economics at the University of the Andes. He explains his involvement in his student body as an “active student leader in the libertarian student movement called Alternativa Libertad.” Max is no stranger to the Leadership Institute. In December he participated in LI Chile with Dario Paya in “a two-day school with workshops on how to mobilize people, win elections, and how to get votes,” Max recounts. Thirty-five attendees competed in the school for a trip to DC and to visit the Leadership Institute in Arlington, Virginia. Eight tests later, Max emerged the winner. Three weeks after Max landed in DC, I met up with him to recap his adventure. AC: What was your favorite part of DC? MR: Definitely my favorite part of DC was the feeling of the city. The peak of both intellectual and political worlds met there and you could feel that in all the city. Events like International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC) and Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) were the maximum expression of this sensation. My favorite place was the Library of Congress though. AC: What was your best memory? MR: My most cherished memories will always be the conversations I had with friends I made during my DC stay. Also, trivia night at Oz [a local restaurant]. AC: You mentioned your group is a libertarian student movement (Alternativa Libertad). What do you hope to achieve or to promote as a student leader in Chile through this movement? MR: Alternativa Libertad (and I) promotes the ideals of a free society, to teach people about the reduction of state influence in our daily lives, and defend the ideas of freedom and justice in our university and country. AC: Which LI communications trainings have you taken in your time here? MR: Advanced Debate with Dr. Shosky, On-camera TV Workshop with Elizabeth Peace, and the Public Relations School. AC: Which training do you find may be the most help to you? Why? MR: Probably the Public Relations one because it's more comprehensive. I've already started implementing some things. The social media class especially. I manage the social media for my group so the change has been pretty instant. AC: That's awesome. How do you plan to make changes to your social media specifically? MR: Probably through the expansion of it. So far we're too focused on Facebook. We have Twitter and Instagram [accounts], but they're a little forgotten. The training convinced me we have to start using Twitter and Instagram, not as extension of Facebook, but [for] what they're good at. Twitter to make things viral, and Instagram not to expand the message but to convince your people and to further relationships. So I've started re-activing our Instagram and Twitter accounts. I'm probably going to open a Snapchat account soon. AC: So given what you've learned here, what would you tell someone needing comms training? MR: Well I'd definitely recommend they take Chilean LI training or come to DC for more specific trainings. As to what I've learned, I'd teach them mostly that you can never underestimate the power of social media and communications. Especially in this day and age, most people aren't going to see you in person so a lot of work has to be put into your comms department from social media to whoever manages your email to your press releases. AC: How do you anticipate using the training you've received here at LI to continue your career as a student leader? MR: I'm taking these lessons, what I've learned, back to Chile to hopefully set up a campaign for legislation and student council. Fifty percent of congressmen are student leaders before they're congressmen and run full blown actual campaigns. What I've learned in my passing through here, I plan on taking it back and helping my student group with student federation for 2017. As I finished my questions, Max asked if he could say one more thing: “I'd like to thank LI for being such gracious hosts. They've gone above and beyond what I expected from it. I'm grateful for that. You guys got me lodging and into CPAC. You could've done half of what you did, and I still would've been grateful. I feel like you've gone the extra mile. That makes me feel special and grateful.” The Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,873 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 182,327 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.
Making Your Down Time Count
Ben Woodward
March 20, 2017
Making Your Down Time Count
When you begin your professional career, you'll start to notice a pattern developing. Work will begin to encroach on every part of your life. However, if your job is your first, second, and third priority, there's good news, you can still enjoy your downtime and focus on your career by choosing hobbies which advance your skills. For example, nobody likes that one colleague who can only talk about politics. Something as simple as being able to talk about sports, traveling, or cooking during an interview can mean the difference between you getting the job or not. So here are four ways you can enjoy your downtime and advance your career. Physical fitness – Being physically healthy is not the easiest thing in D.C. Especially if you work at Leadership Institute (LI) with a Cheesecake Factory around the corner! But when you're sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours a day, you need to focus on your physical well-being. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain which makes you more mentally alert. You will also have more energy, allowing you to wake up earlier and work longer. Finally, it's a well-known fact that exercise reduces stress. Education – This can cover all manner of possibilities, from reading a book to visiting museums or studying a course. Something as simple as switching off Netflix and picking up a good book will improve your writing ability and your creative thinking. Also improving your education will make you better able to match your colleagues intellectually in conversation. Taking new courses in language, business, etc. may be tough, but having that diversity of skill will make you more promotable and allow you to explore new career opportunities. Creativity – Think about ways you can become more creative. Challenge yourself! Perhaps it could be through learning a musical instrument or learning to paint and to draw. This would dramatically improve your ability to be creative at work and expand your horizons. Joining an acting club would be a chance to make new friends and improve your confidence speaking in front of others. Volunteering – Be the person in the office who cares about his community, who holds fundraisers or requests sponsorships for the next half marathon (although not too often). People are far more inclined to help you if they know that you're the type of person who helps others. This hobby could also be a great way for you to organize office events, in which people come together outside of work, and you can get to know your colleagues better. There are plenty more examples of how you can use your spare time productively to enjoy yourself while contributing to your career. So if work is your highest priority, that doesn't have to prevent you from having hobbies and interests. Invest in yourself! The Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,873 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 182,327 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.
Cubicle Conservatism
Grace Tarr
March 15, 2017
Cubicle Conservatism
We all know that person. You know what I mean, that person who chews loudly, talks incessantly, or – my personal bad habit – leaves sticky notes everywhere. These attributes can quickly lead to tension within an office. But tension really begins when political views come into play. How do we know when to defend our values and when to respect a professional environment? As a current intern at the Leadership Institute, I have the privilege to work alongside like-minded, passionate individuals. However, past work experience taught me three important lessons about respectful political conversation with the people I see at the same cubicle every day. Don't spike Punchy political one-liners may be funny around other conservatives, but they quickly shut down any valuable conversation between opposing viewpoints. Always promote discussion. It is respectful conversation that changes a person's mind. In good conversation, each person is like a volleyball player “hitting” the conversation back and forth. If one player spikes the ball, the conversation – and opportunity to convince someone – is over. Pick your battles Don't fight every issue every time. Sometimes in an office it is simply inappropriate to talk politics. Read the situation and practice discretion. I know, it is hard to stay silent. But picking your battles means that when you do engage, it is more meaningful and your coworkers will not be exhausted by constant political banter. It's not about you The Leadership Institute works hard to promote a movement and not build an organizational empire. Conservatives must be team players committed to principles. If we enter a conversation trying to prove that we are right, we will always lose. This is not a time to prove how smart we are. It is not enough to be right. We must also be tactful. Well-timed, respectful conversations can change minds and influence movements.
Total: 742