Hannah-Catherine -- from TV News Reporter to Media Trainer
Patricia Simpson Rausch
May 4, 2018
Hannah-Catherine -- from TV News Reporter to Media Trainer
Enjoy getting to know Hannah-Catherine Smith, LI's new Communications Training and Studios Coordinator. This is an informal interview series with employees of the Leadership Institute to let you get to know us beyond our trainings. The questions ask them to describe what makes them tick and their experience with LI at various levels.What made you want to work at the Leadership Institute? I wanted to work at the Leadership Institute because I truly believe in the value of education and equipping students with the necessary tools to be successful.During my internship at The Heritage Foundation, I learned a tremendous amount about public policy and how conservative policy can positively impact our local, national, and global community. With my communications background, I realized the importance of effectively disseminating these messages, particularly through media.LI seemed like the perfect marriage of education and conservative values. I am so excited to be in the field I love for a cause I believe in.What unique skills and background do you bring to your new position and how do you hope to use them? I was a television news reporter here in Northern Virginia for about a year after college. I covered Fairfax, Prince William, Arlington, Loudon, and Fauquier Counties so I know the area very well and am excited to be in the NOVA community!I was a multi-media journalist which basically means I did absolutely everything by myself. That meant pitching stories, shooting and editing all of my video, reporting, writing, and even going live on-camera alone. I also worked the nightside shift, so that came with its own challenges. My first job stretched me in a variety of ways because I had to learn so much, so quickly. Although it was hard work, I'm so thankful for the spectrum of skills I gained from that experience and can't wait to apply them at LI.Because I was a member of the media, I understand how reporters think, and most importantly, how media bias happens. I think it's so important to train conservative leaders for success in communications. If you moved here from another area, how does the DC area differ from your hometown? I'm from the D.C. area! I grew up in Huntingtown, MD (right on the Chesapeake Bay) and am so happy to be here to stay!Who has had the most impact on your political philosophy? I look up to my dad for my political philosophy the most. He's a colonel in the United States Air Force, so I grew up with an understanding of service to one's country.For my father, his service stems from a posture of gratitude to those who came before him, something I believe to be a key piece of conservatism. I admire him for being part of something greater than himself, putting mission first and people always.What are your thoughts about pineapple on pizza? As a conservative, I respect each individual's liberty to live how they choose, but for me, pineapple on pizza is a hard pass.
Supervising an Intern:  No Ordinary Management Role
Ben Woodward
April 13, 2018
Supervising an Intern: No Ordinary Management Role
My team has constant conversations about how we can make the intern program as appealing as possible for young conservatives looking for their first start in the movement. If you've supervised an intern, you'll understand there's a lot more required of you than project delegation. The responsibility is on you to be their boss, but also their mentor, guiding them through the process and giving them the tools necessary to create their path.As an LI intern just three years ago this summer, I was fortunate to have a supervisor who gave me projects of high responsibility, was quick to point out good work, and as quick to tell me where I could improve. Most importantly, my supervisor invested heavily in my professional development.There are three pillars of being an effective intern supervisor.via GIPHY1. Delegate projects of high responsibility and push your intern out of their comfort zone I often hear it said that it would be quicker to do work yourself than give it to an intern whose work you will only have to edit. Of course it would, but your intern is not there to do your job for you, they're there to learn. When your intern first starts, you should hold an introductory meeting to establish your expectations and figure out what your intern is hoping to get out of the experience. This will help you understand the skills you can teach them and delegate challenging projects accordingly. Hold a weekly meeting to ensure your interns are meeting their goals.By giving your interns projects of high responsibility with clear expectations and deadlines, they will quickly become a useful contributor if they are up to the task.2. Be their boss, not their friendDon't get me wrong; I like the interns who come through LI and enjoy getting to know them and supporting their careers. But your intern needs you to be their boss and their mentor. Too many supervisors fail to establish the relationship early on, they complain about their interns without expressing concerns directly and wonder why their interns keep screwing up.Hold your interns to a high standard and make your expectations clear. When your intern exceeds your expectations, be quick to express your gratitude. For example, if an intern outside the division I work in helps me without being prompted, I like to email their supervisor, so they get credit.When an intern doesn't meet your expectations, your role as their supervisor is to make them aware. If you edit their work, explain why. Or if they come in late, call them out on it before it becomes a habit. via GIPHY3. Alert them to networking and professional development opportunitiesMost people new to the DC area or wherever their internship is taking place will be unfamiliar with the opportunities they have to attend networking events, explore the city, and invest in their skills through training and policy discussions.Your responsibility as a supervisor is to help your intern hit the ground running. Wherever possible, forward them recommendations of training and events they should attend and take them with you so you can introduce them to important contacts.Work experience is only half the purpose here; the goal should be to give your intern a comprehensive experience, so they gain the skills, the knowledge, and the contacts to secure a full-time job. via GIPHY
Returning After a Long Break From Work
Ben Woodward
April 2, 2018
Returning After a Long Break From Work
Returning to work after a long vacation is like going to the dentist. It was once in the distant future, something in the back of your mind, but now the moment has arrived. Ok, maybe I am a little dramatic… but getting into work mode after a vacation whether it's a long weekend or a full-fledged trip to the Bahamas is difficult. First, you have to transition from relaxed mode to work mode. Second, the work probably didn't stop flooding in just because you were on vacation and now you have a backlog to deal with.So what's the best way to manage your first week back?via GIPHY Do something to boost your moodJust because you have to work does not mean you cannot treat yourself. Start your day with a lavish breakfast (if you're me, that means chocolate chip pancakes and bacon); plan lunch with a friend or something to look forward to in the evening.Allowing yourself small treats on your first day or week back will improve your mood and get you through the initial transition from vacation to work mode.Create a to-do list and update your calendarI like to do this the night before I return to work, so I am ready to hit the ground running. Sit down and create a list of your priorities for the coming days. What will you have to organize? Who do you need to meet with? It's essential you're clear about your priorities while familiarizing yourself with all aspects of your upcoming week.Putting everything into a shared calendar is a great way for your boss and colleagues to see your agenda and understand what you're doing to catch up.via GIPHYRead your emailsGo through your emails and determine which ones are a priority. It's a good idea to deal with the simple ones the night before, so they don't weigh on your mind later. I like to respond to every email even if I cannot do it right away. Acknowledging the email will prevent people chasing you later on, which wastes time and puts you under unnecessary pressure.Give yourself a window during your first day back where your only job is to manage priority emails.Talk to your bossAsk your boss for a meeting on your first day back. This is useful for two reasons; first, they have probably been picking up the slack while you were away and so it's crucial they update you on everything you've missed and any other developments which may affect you.Second, it's your chance to update your boss on how you plan to catch up and what is on your agenda that week. It will reassure your boss and ensure they're aware of your increased workload over the coming days.via GIPHYFinally, take some time to catch up with your colleaguesYou haven't seen your colleagues for a while, and they're likely to wonder how your vacation went.Did you try their recommendations, take pictures, miss anything big at the office? Consistent interruptions by colleagues coming to your desk makes it challenging to be productive. I recommend inviting your colleagues out to lunch that day so you can catch up.Returning to work after a vacation sucks. There's no way around it. But if you follow these steps, you can stay organized and ease the transition.
The Five Stages of Grief Following a Job Rejection
Ben Woodward
March 19, 2018
The Five Stages of Grief Following a Job Rejection
Nobody likes rejection whatever form it takes, asking for a favor, a date, a job. Most of us spend our lives trying to avoid rejection.But when it comes to job hunting, you have no choice but to put yourself out there.When I graduated university, I had done a couple of internships and worked on campaigns. Confident I would find a job in the UK Parliament, I began submitting applications for every vacancy with a conservative member. Getting interviews was not too difficult; the hard part was turning those interviews into job offers.After a couple of rejections I started to feel worn down, but to coin a cheesy line, “what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger.”I learned from each rejection and eventually got a great job. Here is how you should handle the five stages of grief following rejection.via GIPHY1. ResponseMost interviewers send you a rejection by email unless you have gone through a lengthy process in which they may have the courtesy to call you. First things first, thank them for their time, tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them, and politely ask for feedback.This is important. It will form the base of future preparations so you don't go into your next interview blind. Thanking the interviewer is important. You never know when you will meet them again.2. DenialIt's ok to be upset or frustrated by the process so long as you don't express it to the recruiter. Hopefully, you're applying for jobs you are excited about, and therefore it's tough to receive bad news.Treat yourself to a nice meal, a night out with your friends, or binge-watch The Office for a few hours. After that, get over it!via GIPHY3. ReflectionThis is the point where you start to ask yourself what went wrong. There are multiple reasons you may not receive a job offer: sometimes the competition is fierce; perhaps you applied for a job you weren't ready for; or maybe you didn't prepare and show the best of yourself during the interview.To inform how you approach interviews in future, look carefully over your feedback. I was once told I was “overqualified.” Ironically, I was not getting the more senior jobs either! But I let the feedback motivate me -- after all, it was something of a compliment and convinced me I could be successful with another office. If it has something to do with your interview technique, take a moment to read the jobseeker guide or reach out to LI's Careers Division for support.4. AcceptanceAccept you did not get the job and start applying again right away. The key with any application is quality over quantity, which means your resume is tailored to the position you are applying for and your cover letter is written from a blank sheet of paper (no templates).5. Successvia GIPHYYou've gotten over your recent rejection; you've submitted several outstanding job applications; and now you're being called to your next interview. Think carefully about your feedback. How can you reassure the next recruiter they should hire you over all the other candidates?Perhaps you need to do more research, have stronger answers to standard questions, or be more confident in your body language. Don't forget; you can ask LI's Careers Division for a practice interview and receive frank, constructive feedback.You will find a job; the key is to be proactive and learn from the experience. Good luck!The Leadership Institute's ConservativeJobs.com is the one-stop shop for conservative job seekers and employers. Whether you are a polished executive or a young up-and-comer, ConservativeJobs.com works to help you find the right job in public policy, government, the news media, business, or on Capitol Hill.Contact the Leadership Institute directly or log on to ConservativeJobs.com to get started right now.
Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Working Remotely
Ben Woodward
March 5, 2018
Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Working Remotely
Some career paths are almost entirely exclusive to one location. Banking has Manhattan, the film industry has Hollywood, and national politics has Washington, D.C. Even if you find opportunities to pursue your ambitions outside the central hub, often you will struggle to earn as much money, gain promotion, or enjoy the same relationship with your bosses when you work remotely. However, working remotely has many benefits. If you hope to start a family or other circumstances require you to move, working miles from your office allows you to work in the industry you love in the place you need to live. More and more, conservative job-seekers ask me for advice about working remotely. At the Leadership Institute, some staff work away from the Arlington office, and they do a tremendous job. via GIPHYSo here are four questions to ask yourself before working remotely.1. How do you motivate yourself?Some people are simply more productive if they have the regular encouragement of their colleagues and bosses. Personally, I'm a relatively independent worker, but even I enjoy daily interaction with colleagues to bounce ideas around. Other workers are quite happy to bury their heads in a project and not emerge until they have a finished product.Other staff have the personal self-discipline to set hours and goals for themselves, which they can meet without the office environment to encourage them. Ask yourself honestly; what kind of worker are you? Someone who works remotely must be able to exercise self-discipline and work in solitude.via GIPHY2. Have you earned it?Let's face it; you're asking a lot. You're asking your bosses to trust you to be productive when you're out of sight; you're asking to be a little less effective because you won't be present for meetings or for colleagues to bounce ideas off of. Perhaps your organization even has to pay for you to return once a month and for significant events. It's also inconvenient for your bosses who won't be able to access you as easily.So why would they say yes? Usually, because you've worked for an organization for a while, you've proved your value, and the inconvenience is worth keeping you around. Before you ask to work remotely, try to assess whether you've earned it. 3. Is your home environment conducive to productivity?To be successful working remotely, you'll need to create a semi-office environment for yourself where you can be as productive as you would have been on site. It's no good trying to work with distractions from children, pets, or the hustle and bustle of your home life. If your home life is not conducive to work, you may need to consider finding somewhere else you can work -- either a coffee shop, a library, or something similar. Surrounding yourself with people who will support you and motivate you to succeed is very important. Make sure you communicate with those around you about what you need from them to ensure you get work done.via GIPHY4. Can you weather the impact on your career?The reality of a successful career is it doesn't end at 5:30 pm or whenever you clock out at the end of the day. A successful career is more than the tangible work you produce day by day. It's the connections you make, the speeches you give, the meetings you attend, the day-to-day conversations with your bosses, colleagues, and other professionals outside of your organization. Working remotely means you won't be physically present at the table, or at any other table unless you specifically travel. Like it or not, that will make it difficult for you to compete with your colleagues for promotion. I tell you these things, not to discourage you from working remotely, but to make sure you take the decision seriously and ensure you're ready to go above and beyond to continue to prove your worth.Many people have very successful remote careers. Make sure you do too!via GIPHY
Five mistakes to avoid as an intern
Ben Woodward
February 5, 2018
Five mistakes to avoid as an intern
My internship went by too fast. I learned valuable lessons, made friends for life, and secured a full-time job. Overall, not bad! As well as learning what to do, I learned something equally important -- what not to do.Since then, I've seen many interns go through the Leadership Institute and met a lot more from across Washington, D.C. I've found myself in the amusing position of advising interns against some of the very things my fellow interns and I did.All interns make mistakes. Most are very forgivable, others make interns very difficult to like. All of these mistakes are avoidable.Here are five common mistakes interns make in no particular order.Over-familiarity with staffAs you build trust with your supervisors and other staff, you should feel comfortable getting to know them, asking for advice, and more responsibility. In fact, you should aim to build your network within the office as early as you can.However, too often interns get very comfortable around staff. I've seen interns drunk at bars, complain openly about supervisors, and share private details about their lives. An intern once asked their coordinator's boss to a house birthday party. Practice caution and stay in work mode when you're around staff.via GIPHYAtention to detailI can sympathize on this one; I'm guilty of it too. I hope you caught my mistake by the way. An essential part of my job is communications; I spend a lot of time writing emails, blogs, marketing material, and more. As a result, my interns do the same. Simply proofreading your work can be a game changer. Diligence and pride in your output is something every employer looks for, and as an intern, you should aim to build a reputation for this early on. If your work requires minimum editing, you'll become an asset quickly.AttitudeYou can ask any supervisor and they'll tell you their pet peeve is a bad attitude. Interns who complain about tasks and are unwilling to do anything beyond the scope of their day-to-day work drive bosses crazy. On one occasion, while holding a networking event, an intern was asked to help with registration, to which they responded: “I thought I was here to drink not work.” True story!Organizations invest time and energy into your success as an intern. If you don't appreciate an opportunity, you'll be overlooked next time.If you are genuinely concerned with an aspect of your work, talk to your boss and explain the types of tasks you'd like to be working on. Remember, more responsibility comes over time as a reward for gaining your supervisor's trust.via GIPHYLimiting yourselfDon't limit yourself to the day-to-day tasks assigned by your supervisor. Try to anticipate the work before it's assigned and show initiative by identifying a need in your office.While your departmental responsibilities come first, look for ways you can help others on staff. Maybe there's a meeting today and the room needs to be prepared, an event you can help plan, or you just walk past someone on staff who needs a spare pair of hands.I was once cleaning up after a training when two interns who had an engagement that evening stopped by LI to see if I needed help. I appreciated it so much; the next morning I emailed their supervisors, the intern coordinator, and the department head to make sure they were aware.via GIPHYFailure to branch outI made my closest friends on the internship because we had something in common. We wanted to go to every event, meet new people, and make the most of the short time we had in Washington, D.C. These people are now highly successful professionals in the conservative movement. On the other hand, some interns fail to use the opportunity and prefer to network with their peers.This represents a tremendous waste of potential. Working in Washington, D.C. is more than just going to the office 9 to 5; it's working in one of the most influential, fun, and exciting places in the world. If you're here, be here!By avoiding these common mistakes, you'll make a positive impression and you'll have a great internship!via GIPHY
Team Projects – How to Get the Best Results Working Together
Ben Woodward
January 22, 2018
Team Projects – How to Get the Best Results Working Together
We all have our way of working. Some work better with constant interaction and enjoy sharing responsibility. If you're anything like me, however, you prefer to be in control of a project. You'd rather work alone than share responsibility. I have my own way of doing things; there is a method to the madness, I like to say. And whenever I am required to work with others, I prefer to be in charge of the project so I can make sure it's done right.via GIPHYBut some projects are either too big for one person or affect multiple departments. Here are five tips to ensure group project success.1. Immediately establish who is responsible for what.Morton Blackwell's sixth law of the public policy process “Give ‘em a title, and get ‘em involved,” is never more accurate than when you're working in a large team. Make sure everyone is in charge of something, ideally the area of the project that most excites them and utilizes their talents. Who is best at marketing, digital, event planning, etc.?2. Schedule regular meetings with an agenda.At the beginning of any project, establish a consistent time to meet. This may be once or twice a week. Meetings give colleagues the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other and ensure a degree of accountability. An agenda can include action items, which you will follow up at the next meeting. If someone cannot be present at the meeting, make sure they're caught up at a later date. via GIPHY3. Create an online team chat.Some great online platforms are available to enable you to share ideas, documents, schedule meetings, and discussion. By discussing your project within a group chat, you can share thoughts and keep the group project in the minds of all the team members. Online chats also mean you don't have to wait until the next meeting if there's something you'd like to discuss. 4. Don't be afraid to lean on others or request more responsibility.The best thing about working in a group is mutual accountability for the success of your overall project. Check in with your team members on a regular basis and make sure they're being challenged. Likewise, if a colleague is overwhelmed because of other responsibilities, don't be afraid to step in. If you're in need of assistance, ask others in your team for help. via GIPHY5. Share the credit.It is critical for team morale that all members of the project receive credit for its success. If one person's contribution isn't recognized, it is essential to recognize them. Likewise, if something goes wrong, it could be a collective failure and is something the team should address as a whole. Maintaining team morale is essential to a successful group project, as individuals will greatly impact each other's enthusiasm. Finally! Group projects can be a lot of fun and a great way to build your relationships with colleagues. Just follow the steps above, and you'll enjoy a successful outcome.via GIPHY
Leadership Institute Program Catalog
Leadership Institute
January 16, 2018
Leadership Institute Program Catalog
The Leadership Institute increases the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process. To accomplish this, LI identifies, recruits, trains, and places conservatives in government, politics, and the media.LI's Program Catalog, available for you to view here, gives you a 41 page overview of Leadership Institute programs, including:- Campus leadership,- Campus journalism,- Career services,- 47 types of training schools,- International training, and- Online training and resources.
Break the 4/5 rule in 2018!
Ben Woodward
January 8, 2018
Break the 4/5 rule in 2018!
In 2018, I'm going to break a rule. According to Business Insider, 80% of New Year's Resolutions will be broken by February. That's 4/5 of us who make a commitment to ourselves and don't follow through! It's not surprising when you think about it because most resolutions are wildly ambitious. We've all promised ourselves we're going to lose a lot of weight, quit our addictions, or become a millionaire. By the way, if you've achieved any of these things, good for you. Tell me your secret! via GIPHYMore importantly, most resolutions only develop with ourselves in mind. As such, because our resolutions are self-involved, we don't have anybody else invested in our success. Imagine how much more likely you would be to follow through if there was accountability from those around you.To break the 4/5 rule in 2018, I resolve to create something new at work.This New Year, your challenge is to sit down and identify how things could be better. How could you and your organization better accomplish your mission and better advance conservatism?via GIPHYThe best thing about working in the conservative movement is the tremendous potential to be an innovator and improve the way things are done. Here are three reasons you should resolve to create something new at work:Too often, professionals wait around for the formal authority to make a change. This, and fear of failure, prevent good ideas finding their way up the chain of command. Staff at non-profits like the Leadership Institute, however, are always encouraged to identify a need in the movement and fill it. Often this means going outside your formal job description and stretching yourself to take on new responsibilities. As you begin to challenge yourself, you will develop new skills.By doing this, you not only become an indispensable part of the team, but you also show your bosses you are serious about improving your organization and have the leadership skills necessary to drive innovation rather than just following orders.via GIPHYBut how do you create something new?Think about obstacles that make your job harder, or perhaps something you admire about another organization's way of doing things. Don't try to invent the wheel; just contribute tangible improvement.When you identify a way to contribute something new, and your boss is happy to proceed, prepare a full project proposal. It is essential you do your research and explain why the new idea is necessary, how you will define success, your strategy for implementation, and how you will overcome possible challenges.If your proposal is approved, identify staff who can support your new project and are willing to lend their time to ensure success. Set realistic goals for your project and keep your motivation. Remember, it's a marathon not a sprint!By making it your resolution to create something new at work, you will not only advance your career, but you will break the 4/5 rule. When you set yourself a goal that's well planned, your colleagues are invested in, and that helps others, you're far more likely to succeed.Be a rule breaker in 2018!
Your internship is ending, make a lasting impression!
Kate Lipman
December 6, 2017
Your internship is ending, make a lasting impression!
There's a lot to be said about a first impression, but what about a last impression?For many of us who have a full-time job, the run up to Christmas is a wind-down period. For interns coming to the end of their semester, it's a time to solidify the strong reputation you have worked hard to build.Instead of focusing on the impending Christmas break, use these last couple of weeks to impress your supervisors. You never know when a vacancy will emerge or you need a reference.Here are some ways you can make a strong last impression.Ask for a final evaluationThis shows your boss you invest in your personal growth, and care about your work performance.The evaluation itself will also be very helpful for you professionally; it's a chance to hear what you do well and where you can improve in future. You can then take this knowledge to your next opportunity and improve any issues your boss addresses.via GIPHYComplete outstanding projectsJust because your time at your organization is coming to a close does not mean you should let your projects go unfinished.If you fail to finish your outstanding projects before your internship ends, you will leave a bad impression, and your boss won't thank you for the extra work. By completing those projects, you show your boss you are committed to your responsibilities as an intern.via GIPHYUtilize all opportunities at your organizationAt LI, all interns have access to free trainings. While they continue to enjoy this privilege for a year after their internship, some move home and can't take advantage of the opportunity. The smart interns go to as many trainings as they can in the last few weeks.If your organization offers similar perks -- holds events, meetings, visits -- take advantage of the opportunity now. It's a lot harder to do when you're not around.NetworkFollowing from the last tip, networking is the best opportunity you have during an internship.When you're out of sight, you're out of mind. It's far easier to build relationships when you're physically in the same city, so figure out who you want to stay in contact with after the internship and arrange one last meeting.Also look at whom you have not yet had an opportunity to meet within your organization and organize a lunch or coffee. While the department you interned in may not be hiring, another department could.Once you are confident in your relationships within your organization, look outside at the last few networking events and meet people at the organizations you hope to work for next.Thank youMake sure you take an opportunity to thank the people who have helped you during your internship. Writing personal cards to colleagues, in particular your supervisor, intern coordinator, department head, and President, is the best way to show appreciation for their efforts in your career.via GIPHYLastlyCongratulations on completing your internship! Enjoy your well-earned Christmas break and if LI can be of assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out at resumes@leadershipinstitute.org.>
You can Lead without being the Boss
Ben Woodward
November 27, 2017
You can Lead without being the Boss
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are your immediate supervisor, and other times they are the person who takes action while everyone around them remains silent.Chances are, you are not a CEO, a General, or a politician, but that does not mean you are not a leader. Fancy job titles are not what gives you the power to lead.Here are some ways you can show leadership without authority.Be creativeMake it your goal to be more innovative in the workplace. There are always ways your organization can improve. Perhaps something makes your job more stressful than it needs to be and you can find an alternative, or maybe there is a tactic other organizations use you can try. Sometimes the leader is merely the first person who shows up and takes action.For example, the Leadership Institute is consistently looking for ways to improve the quality of its trainings. This means that there's always scope for staff to propose new trainings or adjustments to existing ones.via GIPHYBe a problem solverYou weren't hired to see problems and report them; you were hired to create solutions. If you identify a problem, before you go to your boss try to come up with a few ideas to fix it. Even if your ideas aren't accepted, you'll be known as someone who makes life easier on higher-ups.For example, if you're running an event and a crucial component such as the venue falls through at the last minute, stop, take a breath, and start to list some potential alternatives you can contact. Take that list you your boss rather than running into their office panicking.via GIPHYBecome the go-to personI bet you can think of someone in your office who you would immediately turn to for advice. There may be several people depending on the issue. Why don't you become that person? Figure out where your comparative advantage lies and offer to help people. Leaders are those who others turn to in a crisis.For example, it may be something really simple like being able to Mail Merge, or perhaps you are well connected and can put people in touch with each other.Communication, communication, communicationGood leaders communicate effectively. Think about it, how can people follow your lead if they don't have any idea what you're telling them to do? However, it's also a two-way street, good leaders are also good listeners. You are not all-knowing, and being able to identify who knows more than you, and acting on their advice is critical.Be decisiveIn a healthy work environment, the status quo is challenged from time to time. Likewise, any new ideas are held up to scrutiny before implementation. But if you're confident in your ideas and way of working, you should be prepared to follow through on decisions and have courage in your conviction. Don't back down at the first hurdle.via GIPHYRemember, you can be a leader without authority. Likewise, there are plenty of people in authority who aren't leaders. By taking the initiative, acting as well as talking, and having confidence in your abilities, you will show leadership in your organization.>
Writing is a skill, and it requires practice
Ben Woodward
November 13, 2017
Writing is a skill, and it requires practice
Winning people over to conservative principles requires those who work in the movement communicate clearly and persuasively. Effective writing is one of the most valuable skills you can possess. When I started out in the conservative movement, it did not take long before I was writing regularly, but it takes constant practice. If you work on the Hill, you are expected to correspond with constituents on complex policy standpoints. At a more senior level, you will be expected to write speeches that engage large audiences. If you want to work for a campaign, being able to formulate a clear message to compose literature that persuades residents to give their vote to your candidate will make you indispensable. I am no expert by any means, and work constantly to improve my skills. Here are some ways you can do the same. Read by Habit By reading every day, you will not only increase your vocabulary but expose yourself to new techniques which will reflect in your communication. I recommend The Writing System by Daniel Graham as a start. Also, reading the news every day serves the purpose of building your writing skills and keeping you informed. I understand, however, reading by habit comes more naturally to some than others. If you struggle to motivate yourself to read, try fiction books. Go to a coffee place where you will not be disturbed and leave your cell phone behind. Find Useful Blogs There are so many options available; websites like Grammarly and dailywritingtips.com can provide you with useful advice. Because there are so many options, feel free to try many different sites until you find one that works for you! Take a Workshop or Writing Course There are a multitude of courses and “gurus” out there who can help you improve your writing skills. Whether you want to find a specific kind of writing training (such as how to write a press release), or you want a more well-rounded training (like the Leadership Institute's Written Communications Workshop) there is something out there that will help you improve. Practice at Work Like a musical instrument, the more you practice writing, the more fluent you become. Many graduates today pick up bad habits at college that employers have to break. Look for opportunities at work to practice; perhaps you can help write marketing emails, blogs, or newsletters. Ask for frank and honest feedback you can use to improve. Remember, nobody is born a great writer. All of the best communicators had to learn and take criticism along the way. If you can develop the skill, you will be an asset to the conservative movement. Trust me, good writers are hard to find! >
Your elevator pitch -- 20 seconds to make an impression
Kate Lipman
October 16, 2017
Your elevator pitch -- 20 seconds to make an impression
Picture the scenario; you are an intern or junior staffer in the elevator of your work building, and a Vice President walks in… what do you do?Do you burst into tears, fall on your knees and beg for a job? Or do you seize the moment and deliver your elevator pitch?This brief but persuasive 20-second pitch is your chance to engage a potential employer in conversation in a confident but respectful way. By using this opportunity correctly, you can make a strong impression and turn them into a lasting connection.Here are some tips for your elevator pitch.Be natural.If you try to hero worship them, they won't take you seriously. Likewise, if you deliver the speech like you've been practicing it in the mirror, they won't take you seriously.Be respectful but confident. If you want a job working for them somewhere down the line, you have to earn their respect. A great way to do this is to bring up a topic of mutual interest. Perhaps you saw them speak, or read one of their articles. Draw from that to start a conversation.Instead of “Wow it's amazing to meet you, I'm a huge fan of… and I've always wanted to work there.”Try “Hi… my name is… and I work at… I attended your recent talk on… and you made some really interesting points.”Don't ask them for anything.Most executives are experienced enough to separate those legitimately interested in them and their organizations from the users simply trying to find their next job or promotion.Just like with any networking opportunity, the goal is to establish a relationship and then you can work on turning them into a connection. Be genuine and show a legitimate interest in them. By getting their business card, you can follow up and ask them for coffee later.Instead of: “I saw that there's a vacancy at… I'd like to apply; would you give the recruiter my resume?”Try: “How did you come to work in…? I am interested in pursuing a career in this field and would value any advice you have.”Let them talk.Most people enjoy talking about themselves, which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. By letting someone talk about himself or herself, you are demonstrating a legitimate interest in them and allowing the conversation to flow naturally rather than simply pitching yourself. The disadvantage of this can be that by letting them do all the talking, you don't get the chance to impress.Try to establish a connection with what they're saying and something you have accomplished. For example, if they talk about public policy, try to contribute to the conversation and offer an informed opinion.Instead of: “That's interesting… yes… I understand.”Try: “That's a good point; I have recently been working on a similar project to…”Swap business cards and follow up.If possible, you should aim to swap business cards at the end of the conversation. Remember, it is more important to get their business card than it is to give them yours. By getting their card, you give yourself the opportunity to follow up and turn a chance encounter into a real connection.Instead of: “Here is my business card, if you're free for coffee sometime I'd love to learn more.”Try: “Do you have a business card on you? I would be very interested to follow up with you can continue this conversation at your convenience.”When chance encounters occur with your role models, it can be a daunting experience. If you show confidence, sell yourself, and show a legitimate interest, you will be able to use the opportunity to secure a lasting connection.>
Learning to Manage Expectations
Ben Woodward
October 2, 2017
Learning to Manage Expectations
If you're guilty of being a people pleaser, it can be very tempting to overpromise in the workplace. Whether it's your colleagues, boss, or clients, you don't want to admit to yourself or others that you are balancing too many responsibilities.In the workplace, under promise and over deliver. By overpromising, you heighten people's expectations to unrealistic levels, meaning that even significant accomplishments do not appear as such. However, by managing people's expectations, you can ensure that when you do succeed at a task, your work gets the appreciation it deserves.Here are a few tips to help manage expectations: Take time to strategizeBefore you make any promises, make sure you look ahead to determine where the roadblocks will be and how you plan to overcome them. Be honest with yourself about how long it will take to accomplish. This will affect the results you can expect to achieve and how long you expect it to take.Also, carefully examine the urgency of the task. Work is a constant battle of priorities, so make sure your other tasks are not suffering because you have over-promised.By strategizing, you may find ways that you can exceed the expectations you have set, either by completing the task promptly or to a higher standard. Be honest and communicateKeep people in the loop about the progress of your work. If a client or your boss is expecting something and you know it is not achievable within the given period, explain the situation rather than disappointing them.It may be more pressing tasks push back your deadline. If that is the case, do not wait until you are asked for an update, contact the stakeholders and reset their expectations. Don't be afraid to say noUltimately, your boss's projects and those of your clients will always come first. It can be very easy, especially if you like your work colleagues, to promise assistance even if you do not have time. Having a reputation in the office for being a team player is important, but it should not come at the expense of your responsibilities. When you have to say no to people, say no and explain why you cannot take on any more responsibilities. Ask for helpIf you're struggling to meet the expectations of your current project, don't be afraid to go to your boss. Just make sure you are in a position to present a solution to the problem at hand. It may be your boss agrees your solution is the best, or they may suggest something else. By keeping your boss in the loop they will know what to expect from you. However, if you don't, they will assume you can complete the task unaided. By managing expectations, you put yourself in the driver's seat on any given project and ensure the work you're doing is fully appreciated. >
Caught Between a Job Offer and a Job Offer!
Ben Woodward
September 18, 2017
Caught Between a Job Offer and a Job Offer!
If you're searching for a job and finding the process difficult, I'm willing to bet that the prospect of competing job offers would be a dream come true. Let's be honest, it's hardly a bad situation to find yourself in.When the situation arose for me, I regret how I handled it. Fresh out of university, I was desperate to get a job in the UK Parliament. When I successfully got to the final round of interviews I was excited.My instincts told me the interview had been a big success. We even bonded over our mutual love of F1 racing. After being told to expect a decision within a week, I was contacted at the same time by a friend offering me a different opportunity. With my heart set on Parliament, I waited.Four weeks later I received the dreaded email telling me that I had been unsuccessful. The alternative opportunity my friend had sent me was now being advertised.Thankfully I got the job. But I made a bad first impression by failing to be honest and talk to both parties.Here is what you should do if you're ever caught in this position.Get yourself a written job offer.The job offer is not technically made until it's formally written out. If you're given a verbal job offer, thank them and tell them how excited you are at the prospect of working for them. Then ask them to put the offer in an email.Explain the situation.Once you have the written offer, be honest. Tell them that you are very excited about the opportunity but that you have another interview scheduled and would like time to weigh up your options. If they tell you they need an answer urgently then you'll have to decide whether it is worth the risk. My advice is to take the job offer if it's an opportunity you think you would still enjoy and benefit from.If you have more time, explain the situation to your other potential employer.You may find that the interview for the next job helps make your decision before you have to discuss other offers. You will likely get a sense of your success, whether the organization is somewhere you want to work, and whether you think the other offer provides a better opportunity.If you find that your instincts were right, and you do want to work at the second organization, tell them. At the end of your interview, be honest and explain that they are your preferred choice however you have another offer pending and see whether they can commit to a decision in a shorter amount of time.One last thing...It's not an easy situation to find yourself in. Ultimately, you will have to decide whether the risk is worth compromising your current offer. By taking these steps and being honest and respectful to the competing employers, you can help mitigate the risks and hopefully give yourself the time you need to secure both offers. >
Seize the Internal Promotion
Ben Woodward
August 28, 2017
Seize the Internal Promotion
If you work at a smaller organization, your next promotion doesn't entirely depend on your performance. At a small organization, you may have to wait for a vacancy to arise – or create your own position from nothing. There's one thing you can be sure of though, if you don't ask, you don't get. When you hear the whisperings you've been waiting for, and the person one step above you in the chain of command is about to move on to their next opportunity, how do you approach the situation? There's a lot to think about. Has that person announced it yet? Who else will be applying? How are you going to pitch yourself as their successor?Don't rely on others to recognize you. If you don't ask, you don't get! To ensure you are in prime position, think about the following five angles.Who is hiring for the role?The difficulty with applying for promotion is that there has always been a tier of seniority between you and your potential new boss. This means that your access to them was limited, but now you're asking this person to take a big chance on you. Find out about the person hiring, what do their employees think of them? What qualities do they value most in their team? Answering these questions will give you the framework to prepare your pitch. Who will recommend you?Whether or not you know the individual hiring for the position, asking for recommendations is essential. If the staffer hiring is senior in your department it is likely they will already be aware of your work. However, it never hurts to remind them through people they trust. If you are applying for a different department, the manager will be far more likely to choose you over employees he knows well if he has heard recommendations for you from respected colleagues. What's your case?Just like with any job application you should have a clear understanding of the role you will be performing and why your previous accomplishments make you a prime candidate. Study the job description carefully and prepare a formal written application for the job. Request a formal meeting.This is your opportunity to sit down with the hiring manager and discuss the role seriously. This is not your chance to ask for any special favors, but to sit down and seriously explain that you would like to be considered for the role and to hand over your formal application. Remember that just because you work at the organization you are not entitled to the role. You should be prepared to interview at a later date.What's your pitch?If you are invited to interview for the position following your formal application, remember to treat it as you would any other interview. Your advantage however is your in-depth understanding of the organization and all of the respected colleagues who can vouch for you.Be confident in what you've achieved, what you plan to achieve, and you can score that well-earned promotion!>
ADF’s Alan Sears and LI’s Morton Blackwell Friends in Liberty
Carol Wehe
August 9, 2017
ADF’s Alan Sears and LI’s Morton Blackwell Friends in Liberty
It is often said, our role models challenge us to become our best self. In the case of Alan Sears, one of his role models taught him valuable lessons to be successful in conservative politics. Alan Sears, former President of Alliance Defending Freedom (1993-2017), first crossed paths with LI President Morton Blackwell in 1967 in Kentucky. They've been through the gamut of conservative politics through the years – on campaigns, in the Reagan administration, and as presidents of two non-profits. “When I worked in the Reagan administration, when I worked in the private law firm, everything I have done had the hand of Morton in it,” Alan said. Back then, Alan was a college student and left school for a few semesters to work on a campaign in Kentucky. At the same time, Morton was the Executive Director of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) and ran the youth campaign for Louie B. Nunn for Governor of Kentucky. “My relationship and knowledge of Morton Blackwell dates back to, unbelievably, 1967 in Kentucky,” Alan recalls 50 years later. “My family is from Kentucky, I went to the University of Kentucky, and I actually dropped out of school twice, two semesters, to work for Louie.” “Every time I was with Louie,” Alan continued, “he would sit there and every time, it didn't matter who it was or what they were doing on the campaign, he would tell us about a man named Morton Blackwell. He would tell us, ‘everybody needs to be like Morton.' Morton got him elected to office against all odds.” At that time, liberals and unions ran the state. “Morton had really pulled off a miracle to help Louie get elected as Governor in this really hardcore Democrat state, with a very strong union presence. So I kept in contact with the guy,” Alan said. Morton went on to develop the Youth Leadership School (YLS) out of his success running youth campaigns and training student leaders during his time with the CRNC. The YLS became known as the “bootcamp of politics” because of how much valuable experience-driven training Morton packed into this two-day training. He made the YLS the flagship school of his Leadership Institute. After they saw the value of Morton's youth campaign strategy, Kentucky Governor Louie B. Nunn and many other leaders began to send young people to Morton's Youth Leadership School. “I've referred countless people to the Youth Leadership School,” Alan said. “Morton is a builder. He is a guy who understands the importance of personnel.” In 1972, Morton came up with the maxim, “personnel is policy.” That's something Alan heard from Morton and took to heart, especially running his own organizations. “Personnel is policy. It is the life blood of every organization that I have ever run,” Alan said. “Whether it was government, private practice, charitable, or ministry. I have adopted that slogan.” In between political campaigns, his work for U.S. Senators from Kentucky, and helping on President Reagan's 1976 and 1978 campaigns, Alan completed his degree and became a lawyer. Morton's tenure as Special Assistant to the President on President Reagan's White House Staff (1981-1984), Alan began working at the Department of Justice. He worked under both AG William Smith and Ed Meese. He served in both Reagan and Bush administrations before turning his attention to Alliance Defending Freedom. For 23 years, Alan ran Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a faith-based organization dedicated to defending religious liberty. Leadership Institute and ADF often partner on college campuses to find, support, and defend conservative college students struggling under the liberal bias rampant there. “ADF has won over 400 contested legal matters with private campuses or universities,” Alan says. “In addition to that, Morton has helped many students know that they have rights under the Constitution and that universities cannot just walk over them.” Alan says of all the lessons he's learned from Morton, “Being steadfast is a big one. Morton has withstood the storm in Washington, D.C. Once people get into the Beltway they get enamored with relationships in the Beltway and they become people pleasers. They lose their energy. Not Morton Blackwell. Morton is steadfast.” “Morton is a great friend to me and to the entire liberty movement.”>
The Walls Have Ears
Ben Woodward
July 31, 2017
The Walls Have Ears
You may be surprised to learn that the number of staff working each day to advance the conservative movement is small. In Washington, D.C., it's a few thousand at most.This is great for your career! Working in the small DC conservative movement, it is easy to get to know the influential players who can support your career advancement. But reputations are made very quickly, and for those less savvy who don't mature quickly, simple mistakes can be destructive.One of the worst mistakes anyone can make in Washington, D.C. is to bad mouth their boss or their organization.You can avoid these three common mistakes. Speaking badly of your employer on social mediaIt is surprising how frequently profe ssionals will speak negatively of their bosses on social media. Remember that not only will this be seen by colleagues, and very likely your employers, but your future employers will read your social media. Ranting about your boss today could risk alienating your potential boss tomorrow. After all, no one wants to hire someone who may badmouth them in future.Speaking badly of your employer during an interview“What did you like least about your last job?” We've all been asked this question during an interview, and I have struggled to answer. By falling into the trap of badmouthing your former boss, you convince the interviewer that they may be the next target of your public scorning or worst case scenario, your last boss may hear about it. Instead, you should answer the question by saying: “While there were many aspects of my previous job which I enjoyed such as…, I would have liked to have had more of an opportunity to… which is why I have applied for this job.”Speaking badly of your employer during networking eventsWe've all been there. It's been a rough day, perhaps you have been frustrated by your supervisor, but there is a time and a place to complain about your work, and it's not at networking events.You run the risk of alienating conservatives who may know your boss. In the worst case scenario, your comments could get back to your employer, and your career will suffer. So what should you do instead?There is a time and a place to address your concerns at work. So instead of complaining about your boss, consider how you can constructively approach the situation. Ask for a private meetingNever criticize your boss in front of colleagues. It will damage their authority in front of the team and is more likely to frustrate them than anything. Have your conversation in private if you believe your boss should be taking a different approach to a project. Know what you want to sayConsider writing down your specific concerns and what you want to say in advance. Structure your feedback positively, instead of “I don't agree with your decision…” say “I think we could consider approaching the project this way…” If your boss agrees with you, then great! If not, respect their decision. Ultimately it's their call.Ask a mentorIf you find you do need to express serious concerns about your employer, find someone you can trust to give you sound advice and keep it confidential. This person is perhaps a close friend or family member, or another professional who exercises sound judgment. Use them to guide you in your decision making.Know your organization's proceduresIn the worst case scenario, where you feel mistreated, figure out your organization's formal complaints process and use it. Your relationship with your employers, past and present, can be a positive one if you maintain your professionalism. By keeping your employers on your side, you can rely on strong references, potentially great mentors, and a support base for your career in the conservative movement. >
Using Snapchat As An Activist
Stephen Rowe
July 21, 2017
Using Snapchat As An Activist
More than 160 million people check Snapchat every day -- and seven out of 10 of them are under the age of 35.The popular mobile app first became known for users posting videos and pictures that “self-destruct” (disappear) after they're played. But there's more to Snapchat than that. Members of Congress, media companies from the Wall Street Journal to the Food Network, and media personalities like Bret Baier are all on it too. Here's how you can make the most of Snapchat as an activist.#1 UsegeofiltersThe next time you're thinking of flyers for your event, think of Snapchat geofilters too.Geofilters are custom designs (think stickers) that overlay on Snapchat photos. They're limited to a specific location, known as a “geo-fence.” Example geo-fences may be inside a sports stadium, at a wedding venue, or a political rally or other event. You can create your own on-demand geofilters for any event to help spread your message. When people post a photo or video to Snapchat inside your pre-set geo-fence, they'll see your filter as an option. When they select it, they're sharing their photo or video plus your filter with their friends.Starting at just $5, geofilters are often cheaper than the printing costs of flyers -- and have the potential to reach far more people. That $5 goes far: 20,000 square feet or half the size of an NFL football field.You can use free design programs like Canva to create your custom design.Geofilters must be 1080x1920 pixels and saved as a PNG, a common type of graphics file. It is best to place your filter in the top or bottom quarter of the screen so the filter does not block the original photo. Choose when and where you want your custom design to be active. Then submit your design to Snapchat at least 24 hours in advance. (You can submit your design here.)The next day, you can see data about how your filter performed. #2 Create your storySnapchat lets you create custom stories within a specific location (yes, the geo-fence again). That means that anyone using Snapchat inside the geo-fence can contribute to a group story.You can select friends within your desired location to contribute to your story, or you can set it up so that friends of friends can also join in and see the fun. This all happens free of charge. This means more publicity for your events, conferences, and more. Your next event can be full of attendees sharing their experiences with their friends and on the geofenced story. You can create up to three custom Stories of your own. You can post an unlimited number of times in stories created by others. To make your own custom Story, swipe right on the home screen then click the plus symbol in the top right of your screen. Then select Geofence and pick your desired location.#3 BONUS: Take LI's Online Training: Emerging Social Media PlatformsStructured as fun, easy-to-understand introductions, the three days of LI's Emerging Social Media Platforms Workshop will get you up and running on new, popular social media platforms -- including Snapchat.Each day, you will complete "deep dive" into Instagram (Monday), Snapchat (Tuesday), and Facebook Live (Wednesday). You can check out the full agenda – and sign up – here.You will learn:• how to set up your account and choose from the different types of posts for Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook Live; • the meaning common terms and acronyms, so you can maximize your presence; and• lessons learned from how campaigns, media companies, and conservative organizations are using each platform.Register for Emerging Social Media Platforms workshop. >
How Conservative Recruiters Can Attract the Best Talent
Ben Woodward
July 17, 2017
How Conservative Recruiters Can Attract the Best Talent
Many of us have been a job seeker, an interviewee, and a new staff member. It is a painful process. However, on the other side of the coin, the recruiter has a hard time as well. Attracting and finding the best candidate is tough.From the standpoint of a recruiter, you're making a significant investment, not just financially. The recruiter has to consider whether their current staff can work with this person on a daily basis and whether they are worth a long-term investment. In other words, is the potential hire on track for leadership one day? Is this somebody who is going to make the organization more effective?The wrong choice can severely affect team morale, cost money, and ultimately, damage the organization as a whole.To attract the best talent, recruiters should place emphasis on mission, culture, advancement, and training.The mission of your organization, its reputation, and role in the movement can attract talent.How is it that organizations such as the Leadership Institute, Charles Koch Institute, Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Foundation, and many others have a wealth of strong applications for every job advertised? Conservatives understand the purpose of those organizations and their place in the movement. The work they do is tangible and, most importantly, valuable. Talented conservatives want to feel that they will make a substantial contribution to the movement and that their work will advance their philosophy. By making it clear to the candidate what the organization's role is in the movement, and how they will be contributing, organizations will attract talent.Your organization's culture can attract talent.Organizations in the movement have reputations not just for what they do, but how they do it. The movement is small, word travels fast, and if the culture of an organization is poor, nobody will want to work there.By emphasizing the strength of the bonds between colleagues, the socializing that takes place outside of work, and the way supervisors interact with their juniors, conservative organizations will attract talented individuals to whom respect in the workplace is fundamental. Prospects for advancement will attract talent.Unlike the narrative of the left, which says ambition is something to scorn… it's something conservatives celebrate. Conservative organizations seeking to attract the most talented staff must offer a clear pathway to advancement. This is not only important for recruiting the best staff but also for retaining them. Many non-profits find this to be a challenge. Because of limited funds, it is not always possible to promote staff as quickly as they would like. It is, however, possible to grant more autonomy, more responsibility, and better job titles. Talented job seekers want to know they have an exciting future at your organization. Nobody likes feeling their talents are not recognized.By failing to offer clear prospects for advancement, even the staff who do accept your offer may not stay long.How the job seeker is challenged and trained will affect talent retention.Recruiters should establish how their new hire will be tested with projects of high responsibility. The Leadership Institute, for example, prides itself on having the best intern program in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The argument for this is simple; LI gives interns projects of legitimate responsibility. Also, LI invests heavily in their professional development by training them and connecting them with leading conservatives.Job seekers will want confirmation that their role will challenge them and that they will learn new skills they can use to advance conservatism.By making all of these aspects clear to job seekers, you will attract the best and the brightest.>
Total: 253