Happy Independence Day
Mitch Nozka
July 4, 2016
Happy Independence Day
They called him “Silent Cal.” Calvin Coolidge, America's 30th president, was known as a man of few words in his private life. But on the presidential stage, when he had to lead our country, Coolidge spoke with conviction to the American people. “Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery,” Coolidge said. Appropriately for a man of principle, Coolidge was born on the 4th of July. As you and I enter into this Independence Day weekend, please enjoy this wisdom spoken by Coolidge on the 150th anniversary of our nation: “We are obliged to conclude that the Declaration of Independence represented the movement of a people. It was not, of course, a movement from the top. Revolutions do not come from that direction. It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty-loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them.” In a day where the left spits upon our patriotism, as long as I have breath, I will dare to maintain constitutional, liberty-loving, God-fearing convictions. And you are patriotic and courageous. Thank you for standing with the Leadership Institute to train grassroots conservatives to restore and protect America's founding principles against those who work to destroy them.
Leadership Institute welcomes summer 2016 intern class
Jami Averwater
June 16, 2016
Leadership Institute welcomes summer 2016 intern class
The Leadership Institute recently welcomed the 98th intern class to Arlington, Virginia and I am personally very excited to be one of them. My intern class exhibits diversity in age, level of education, college major, and career aspirations, but we all share one important goal in common: we want to strengthen the conservative movement. Since our arrival, we have had the opportunity to get acclimated to the office and to the area by attending the annual staff retreat and participating in a competitive scavenger hunt through the city. During our time here at Leadership Institute, we will host conservative leaders for weekly private dinners, visit Members of Congress on Capitol Hill, and complete projects of high responsibility for our respective departments. There are thirteen of us interns for the summer semester, many of whom are residing in the Sacher House. The opportunity to reside in the house allows a convenient, safe place for us to stay during our time with the Leadership Institute and has proven to never allow for a dull moment. Kelsey Mix (Fairfax, Virginia) is an intern in the Career Services department and spent her first few weeks planning and promoting an upcoming workshop titled "Conservative Intern Workshop". A recent graduate from William & Mary, she hopes to use what she learns during the internship to land a job on the Hill. Kelsey says she enjoys living in the Sacher House and bonding with the other interns because they “are all passionate and involved in their communities and in the movement”. Elijah Montes, a sophomore in his home state of Louisiana, is interning for LI Studios. His most critical duties are to maintain, manage, and operate the equipment used to film the LI Webinars, maintain the headshots for the staff and interns, and assist in the daily operations of the studio crew. Ben Becker (Osseo, Wisconsin) recently completed his freshman year at Bob Jones University as a Business Administration major. Ben is excited to be working with David Blair in the Youth Leadership School program. His duties entail recruiting for the schools and ensuring that the days leading up to it go smoothly as possible. Ben says he enjoys living in the Sacher House with the other interns because he is expanding his network and learning more about the conservative movement from his new housemates. He is also excited to enjoy the benefits of convenient Leadership Institute trainings, such as the Intro to Campaign Data workshop. As a group of new friends, we spent Memorial Day weekend visiting Arlington Cemetery and preparing a delicious meal together. We also recently hosted our first speaker for dinner at the Sacher House and met with key leaders on the Hill to spread the word about the resources available at the Leadership Institute. As one of these passionate thirteen interns, I look forward to growing my network with this group.
In Memory of Richard (
Morton C. Blackwell
June 14, 2016
In Memory of Richard ("Rick") E. Hendrix (1957-2016)
With great sadness, I report the passing of a friend, a colleague, a leader in the conservative movement, and a good and humble man. Rick Hendrix passed away yesterday, June 13, at Fairfax INOVA Hospital. He was surrounded by his loving family and friends. Rick worked as a direct mail fundraiser for more than three decades. Most know him as a founding partner of ClearWord Communications Group, a successful and effective high-dollar direct mail agency. For 10 years before that, from 1993 to 2003, Rick ran the direct mail program here at the Leadership Institute. He oversaw a more than tenfold increase in the Institute's donor base. Staff often joked that Rick could write in my voice even better than I could. For the last 23 years, Rick provided the copy for many of the Institute's monthly mailings. His work generated millions of dollars in donations that have made the Institute's many activities possible. Rick volunteered as a lecturer for almost all of the Institute's fundraising schools. Over the years, he taught thousands of conservatives how to build fundraising programs for their organizations. The entire conservative movement and our country benefitted greatly from Rick's generosity in sharing his time and talent. Rick was the director of the Direct Mail Track at Madison Down Under, a fundraising conference sponsored by the Fundraising Institute of Australia, and was a regular speaker at American University's Campaign Management Institute. He was a certified fundraising executive (CFRE) and a member of both the Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He was active in Republican politics in Virginia and served as a member of the Electoral Board in Prince William County. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of my Conservative Leadership PAC. Rick is survived by his wife Taania and their three daughters, Emily, Laura, and Megan. Morton C. Blackwell President Leadership Institute
Potential for Excellence
Elizabeth McCullough
June 13, 2016
Potential for Excellence
I recently stepped away from my desk and slipped downstairs into the LI Conservative Intern Workshop. Because who can resist the lure of free Chick-fil-a? Not I. Neither could 42 interns from various conservative organizations. Sessions started promptly, beginning with Patricia Simpson, LI Director of Career Services. "Every single one of you have the potential for excellence." She paused. “You must think of yourself as a leader.” I haven't been an intern for 10 years, but I felt myself challenged to re-evaluate myself and my goals. “I wake up every morning and say to myself, ‘Let's be awesome today.” Meanwhile, out in the hall, Aynsley Harrison, Career Programs Manager, bled red ink over intern resumes. When she taught the incredibly practical Resume Workshop, I mentally tore up my previously loved resume. Later, a cheerfully honest session on ‘Personal Branding' brought to light the importance of intentional communication, “Make sure people remember you for the right reasons.” All LI trainings are free to every intern. Even if you're not an intern, discounts are often available. Do you strive for excellence? Are you prepared for leadership? Join us at one of the LI upcoming trainings for more ways to ‘be awesome' today. The next Conservative Intern Workshop is coming up next week. Chick-fil-a might even be on the menu.
Making Part Time Jobs Work for You
Patricia Simpson
June 1, 2016
Making Part Time Jobs Work for You
If you're like me, you have what my father jokingly refers to as, “champagne taste on a beer budget.” When I got to DC, my paltry entry-level staffer salary was not enough to sustain my lifestyle (which included “glamorous” things like paying rent and eating Lean Cuisines), so I did what any self-respecting 20-something had to do in that situation - I asked my parents for money! When they said no I did the next best thing – I got myself a part time job. Part time jobs in DC usually fit into one of three main categories – they pay well, they help your career along, or they're something that keeps you sane. Here are some tips on places to look for those jobs and the advantages of each one. They pay well – If you want a part time job that pays well, you're likely going to have to possess a highly technical skill or be willing to do some heavy lifting. There are plenty of folks who know how to do something, and most-likely do it well, but don't want to do it as a career. The benefit here is you can spend less time supplementing your income. Graphic Design HTML coding Moving Companies They help your career – Are you biding time at a non-profit and trying to figure out how to break into a Hill job? Go get a job as a bartender or wait staff at Cap Lounge or Bullfeathers. Do you want to get a job in the conservative or liberty movement? Go snag a job at O'Sullivans in Clarendon and request to work Tuesday nights. It is 100% possible to expand your network while getting paid and I highly recommend doing it. I know several people who got hired to a new position simply because they made a smart connection while working at a bar or being paid $20 to pass out stuffed mushrooms at a private fundraiser. Bars/restaurants frequented by industry employees Organizations and businesses needing extra help after hours Event staff for fundraisers Political call centers They keep you sane – Sometimes making extra money should just be fun. I've worked at a store just to get an employee discount on merchandise and I've worked at a frozen custard shop because I wanted to meet nice people in a cool neighborhood. I have a friend who umpires Little League games. Stress-relieving jobs are like therapy sessions that pay you at the end. Your favorite retail store (DISCOUNTS!) Babysitting or dog-sitting Umpire/referee As fiscal conservatives we need to make sure we're practicing what we preach. The bottom line is if you need the extra cash, you can find a part time job that will benefit you. And if you don't need the money, sometimes a part time job can be a way to blow off steam, a way to meet new people, or your first step toward a new career.
A Letter from Morton this Memorial Day
Morton C Blackwell
May 30, 2016
A Letter from Morton this Memorial Day
Please let me take a moment with you to remember our fallen soldiers and what their sacrifice means on this Memorial Day. Thanks to our armed forces, you and I possess many precious freedoms in America. I've been to dozens of countries around the world. Yes, some of those countries are fairly safe and have modern amenities. But many others are not. Some are crime-ridden or war-torn. And some have a citizenry who have over the years fallen asleep and given away their freedoms to socialist overlords. America has our share of problems. But I've always been grateful to return to a country that beats all the alternatives. The work of the Leadership Institute cannot match the sacrifice of those who fought and died to protect the United States of America and all of us in it. But, by the blessing of God, and with your help, the Leadership Institute will train patriotic conservatives to preserve and advance our nation's founding principles – and make sure those who sacrificed themselves to protect those principles are honored and did not die in vain. Thank you for taking a moment to remember with me. Cordially, Morton C. Blackwell President Leadership Institute
Never Too Young – Teen Eagles Soak Up Activist Training
Elizabeth McCullough
May 6, 2016
Never Too Young – Teen Eagles Soak Up Activist Training
'You do not have to wait until you are 18 to make a difference -- you can start today.' This Spring, fifteen Tennessee Teen Eagles students, and parents landed in Washington, DC for a long-awaited trip-of-a-lifetime. Teen Eagles is affiliated with Eagle Forum, founded by conservative pioneer, Phyllis Schafly. After a year of studying history and politics, these bright students arrived to see history for themselves. First stop -- the Leadership Institute. While touring the U.S. Capitol at night, catching a free opera concert at the Kennedy Center, and visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Teen Eagles soaked up customized training taught by expert faculty and stayed in the LI dorms. Steven Sutton, Leadership Institute's Vice President of Development, spoke on the Real Nature of Politics. “Never attack the opponent; rather, define the opponent. Work in your community - do things that make a positive difference.” Guest lecturer and former LI Regional Field Coordinator, Matthew Hurtt, taught effective grassroots activism techniques and messaging. “Build coalitions among various conservative groups - remember, it's better to add and multiply than to subtract and divide.” Jeremiah Lorrig, of Generation Joshua https://www.generationjoshua.org/GenJ/, took the students on a journey through historical political ads, including a Reagan ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU-IBF8nwSY, discussing media messaging and bias. Of course, if you have something to say, you ought to say it well. Dr. John Shosky brought his talents in public speaking, challenging students to step out of their comfort zone and bravely face the mic. Through every session, the theme remained the same: "We are a government 'By the people, For the people.' But that only works if the people are engaged and involved. And you're never too young to make a difference." -- Jeremiah Lorrig Engaging and practical, the Teen Eagles left D.C., a bit sunburned but excited to get involved when they returned to Tennessee. “The training I received at the Leadership Institute was an eye opening experience to how politics really work. It was extremely informative and very well prepared. It also made me want to come back soon for more training,” said Janey age 18. “Leadership Insitute Training helped me realize that I could be an influential role in America's present and future. Each speaker was very passionate about what they were teaching and I obtained so much knowledge from them. I left each class feeling inspired and longing to learn more,” said Rachel, age 17. Interested in making a difference for the conservative cause? Check out the complete list Leadership Training here.
The Leadership Institute is Hiring
Morton Blackwell
May 2, 2016
The Leadership Institute is Hiring
Just when you think it couldn't get worse, liberal college professors and administrators find new levels of shamelessness and fury. Their commitment would be impressive -- if it were not so dangerous. That is why the Leadership Institute is hiring field reps to level the playing field on college campuses. Here is just one example of how hostile colleges have become for conservatives. Former University of Missouri communications professor Melissa Click was caught on camera yelling profanity at police officers and blocking a student reporter (the irony!) during on-campus protests. She yelled for “muscle” to physically push the student out of the way. Last month, she was fired by the university's Board of Curators in a 4-2 vote. The professor blames the Board for bowing to “conservative voices.” The American Association of University Professors will vote in June to decide whether to censure the university for its decision. And, as you can see from the vote, two University of Missouri Board members took her side. What a time to be a conservative on college campus. That's why the Leadership Institute is doubling down on our National Field Program this fall. Since 1997, LI's National Field Program has sent out teams of motivated, highly trained conservative activists. LI field reps help students promote and defend their conservative principles on campus. Their work has resulted in a nationwide network now of 1,755 independent conservative campus groups. You -- or someone you know -- can become one of the nation's best-trained, most effective, conservative leaders through the Leadership Institute's 2016 Fall Field Representative Program. Opportunities for full-time paid jobs to fight for your values do not come along very often. Field reps receive up to $17,000 for 12 weeks of work, plus nine days of intensive training. This exclusive training teaches you the tools and techniques necessary for success in the field. Top performers will also be invited to extend their contracts for additional semesters. The experience and connections gained from this position have helped former field reps launch careers in: Grassroots activism Political campaigns Public policy Congressional offices Conservative non-profit organizations Don't wait -- take advantage of this unique opportunity today. Apply online at www.ConservativeJobs.com/FieldRep. These positions fill up fast, so time is of the essence.
What I learned at the TV Workshop
Elizabeth McCullough
April 25, 2016
What I learned at the TV Workshop
I confess that I wasn't too sure what I was getting myself into when I found myself in the front row of the Leadership Institute's monthly On-Camera TV training. All I knew was that if I'd known I would be on camera, I would have worn more makeup. Trying not to panic over my impending doom, I learned more about a few of my fellow students. As a busy mom, Christine Olson didn't have time to spend a day in the Studio. But then again, with an important TV interview looming, she knew couldn't afford not come. Despite having no hesitation speaking to large groups, her brain always froze in front of a camera. Even though it was Spring Break, Tristan Justice stayed in town for one of the limited seats in the highly sought after on-camera TV Training. As a college freshman, Tristan dedicates his time to conservatism activism and wants to be prepared as possible. That morning, at 8:50 am, conservative lawyer Aaron checked his email and saw there was an opening in the previously full TV training. “I had 20 minutes to rent a car.” He immediately drove 4 hours from New York City to the Sacher Multimedia Center in Arlington, VA and walked in right on time. You could feel the nervous energy in the air as guest faculty Beverly Hallberg smiled cheerfully behind the desk, almost as if the dreaded camera and microphone were her friends. Beverly has been on all sides of the camera. Producer, director, and host are just a few of the shoes she's filled. Before starting her own business, Beverly was also the Director of the Sacher Multimedia Center. Now she returns to teach uneasy yet eager students how to distil their message for TV. Under Beverly's encouraging instruction and honest feedback, I found myself thawing and even excited about my next turn in front of the camera. Everything she said mattered -- no filler information. Together we learned to ‘block' and ‘bridge' our message. As we fought through our camera fears, comradery and friendship replaced the jitters. The whole class cheered the next one to go ‘live.' By the end of the day, Christine was not only smiling at the camera but also at the top of the class. Aaron didn't dread the drive back to New York, “I knew it would be worth it -- and I wasn't disappointed.” My only regret was that it was over. And that I hadn't worn more makeup. Good thing the Leadership Institute hosts On-Camera TV Training every month -- I'll be in the front row again soon.
Online Advocacy and Activism as a Tool for Action
Paul Van Remortel
April 19, 2016
Online Advocacy and Activism as a Tool for Action
In the digital era, videos that are really popular "go viral." This is true of online petitions as well - they spread quickly across social networks and a viral petition takes on a life of its own. For activists, this is a Godsend. Petitions have historically relied on word of mouth and community bonds to gain traction (and signatures). Today, it's easier than ever to rally thousands of individuals who share a given point of view and will show their support through signatures and sharing alike, substantially multiplying the impact. Unfortunately, the Left has dominated the medium through sites like Change.org, which has gathered more than 100 million users in support of primarily liberal causes. That success has fueled a myth that the tactic of online petitioning is one that only “progressives” can or want to use. But conservatives are increasingly realizing the benefits — and necessity — of incorporating online tools into modern activism efforts. Fortunately, anyone can become an effective advocate for any of the issues they care about with just a few simple steps. First, identify a cause you are passionate about — it doesn't have to be a national issue like Common Core or the Second Amendment. Sometimes the most powerful, effective petitions address local issues that others in your community care about as well. At StandUnited, an online platform we created to level the playing field for supporters of individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited government, individuals have created petitions that have had diverse impacts, from successfully requesting that Congress repeal the Medical Device Tax, to saving a historic Confederate War memorial in Portsmouth, Va. The next step is to identify the decision makers that will be able to effectively address the issue at hand. This could mean your local city council or the president of the United States ­— the beauty of digital activism is that anyone is easily accessible with your message. After identifying the decision makers for your issue, create and share a thoughtful, articulate petition with friends, family, neighbors and like-minded individuals. Nothing has made activism easier and more effective than social media, which is why it's so crucial that you share your petition on your social media profile to make sure as many people as possible see it. You might even be surprised by who agrees with you. Make sure that your local media is aware of your petition, and update them on the progress of the petition and the importance of your cause. This can be the most daunting part of the process, especially if you are not familiar with media outreach. Fortunately, most local media are interested in the issues that impact their city or state, and media coverage of your petition is one of the most effective ways to get the attention of decision makers. A great opportunity to get media coverage is to deliver your petition in person to the decision maker. If there is a deadline such as a vote, a hearing, or an election, use this opportunity to press the decision maker on your issue and get publicity. Finally, don't give up on your issue. Activism isn't a process that works immediately — sometimes it takes weeks or months for a petition to gain steam. Keep working to spread awareness of your petition and the issues at hand, and you're likely to see your hard work pay off. Thanks to the rise of digital activism, that sentiment is truer than it's ever been. Never have individual voices had a louder megaphone, higher platform or more direct access to decision makers, and as a result the power of the petition is greater than it's ever been. You have the power to make your voice heard. This piece was adapted from a recent Column on Townhall.com. Paul Van Remortel is the senior product manager at Intermarkets, Inc., a privately held digital media firm founded in 1997. Paul will be leading the “Online Advocacy and Activism as a Tool for Action” webinar hosted by the Leadership Institute on April 27. For a free registration visit https://www.leadershipinstitute.org/live/?ID=31958
Win America Back – through campaign powerhouses
Morton Blackwell
April 8, 2016
Win America Back – through campaign powerhouses
“I got involved in politics because of Barack Obama's election,” said Matt Krause. “I have four kids. I didn't want to be the generation that didn't leave a better country to my children and grandchildren than those who came before me.” I can't tell you how many times I've heard conservatives tell me a story similar to Matt's. But I'm encouraged more Americans every day wake up to the danger our country faces and take action. Matt Krause took the Leadership Institute's Future Candidate School and won election to the Texas House of Representatives. As a donor, you empower my staff and me to train thousands of conservative candidates and activists like Matt and turn them into campaign powerhouses. Together, you and I – and the conservatives we train – advance our shared conservative principles to win America back. The training for conservatives – and the success – you make possible To win America back from the left, the Leadership Institute will hold numerous comprehensive training schools this year to equip campaigners and candidates for action. For campaigners, the Leadership Institute's Campaign Management School teaches them how to: Create a strategic campaign plan Build a grassroots organization of trained volunteers Plan a get-out-the-vote ground operation Mobilize voters to the polls Win the election “The Leadership Institute is a training ground for the conservative movement,” said Senator Ted Cruz. “In fact, one of the ‘secret weapons' in our upset Senate victory in 2012 was top notch volunteers and staff members trained by Morton Blackwell and the Leadership Institute.” LI does not support or oppose candidates, but once trained, Leadership Institute graduates become hot campaign commodities and work for conservative candidates of their choice at all levels of government – on races for city council all the way up to the White House. In LI's Future Candidate School, aspiring candidates learn how to: Assemble a network of loyal volunteers and campaign staff Get on the election ballot Develop a winning campaign message Handle hostile news media Connect with voters on a personal level Today, 32 Leadership Institute graduates are U.S. Senators and Representatives, 18 hold statewide offices, and 422 serve as state representatives. Leadership Institute graduates hold elective office in all 50 states – thanks to the training you provided them with your support. The Leadership Institute's new Campaign Academy builds on the trainings proved to create winning candidates. LI's Campaign Academy trains everyday Americans from Main Street America – business owners, teachers, doctors, pastors, and hard-working professionals. This new crop of principled conservative candidates, betrayed by establishment leaders, has stepped forward to fight the liberals themselves. Candidates in LI's Campaign Academy learn how to run for elective office and focus on how to build neighborhood teams of volunteers, connect with voters door-to-door and over the phone, research the electorate and opposition candidates, and prepare for media interviews. Everything is on the line in 2016 In the 2016 elections, the stakes are high. America will either continue down the road to socialism – on which there's a point of no return – or, conservatives will steer America back toward freedom and prosperity. With your help, I'm doing everything in my power to build campaign powerhouses to win America back. Since the 2014 elections, my staff has trained 554 conservatives in LI's Future Candidate and Campaign Management Schools, and another 8,201 trained in 256 political training schools. I have four Campaign Academies scheduled in battleground areas this year, with more to come. Let me end with an encouraging word from someone you trained – the second-youngest legislator in America. “The Leadership Institute gave me the tools I needed to beat an experienced liberal Democrat,” said 19-year-old New Hampshire state representative Yvonne Dean-Bailey. “Their training makes young leaders successful in organizing campaigns. I'm so thankful for the donors who helped LI train me to win.”
What You Missed at CPAC 2016
Natalie Tuttle
April 4, 2016
What You Missed at CPAC 2016
Each year, the Conservative Political Action Conference is a gathering of conservative leaders looking to network, advance conservativism, and learn from some of the greatest minds in the movement. This year, speakers like Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina rallied conservatives together. Above the stage read “Our time is NOW,” taken from Ronald Reagan's CPAC speech in 1981. At the conference, Leadership Institute sponsored, staffed, and organized of 5 conference events, including the job fair and boot camp training sessions. 1. Activist Boot Camp On day one, the Leadership Institute partnered with the American Conservative Union and with American Majority to train 383 conservatives. Attendees were trained in student activism, community activism, and campaign technology. The Leadership Institute's Steve Sutton, David Blair, and Summer Ratcliff were among the boot camp faculty. Speakers from American Majority, Americans for Prosperity, FIRE, the Blaze, and the Franklin Center also trained activists and conservative leaders. 2. ConservativeJobs.com - Career Consultations After the official CPAC kickoff on Thursday, Leadership Institute's Conservative Jobs organized recruiters from LI and other conservative organizations to critique CPAC attendee's resumes and offer one-on-one career consultations. Recruiters from LI, Cato, The Heritage Foundation, the Charles Koch Institute, and Americans for Prosperity sat down with 133 conservatives. 3. CPAC Jobs and Internship Fair Once again this year, the Leadership Institute organized the CPAC Job and Internship Fair. Over 250 job seekers connected with 40 conservative employers. Organizations who recruited at the fair included grassroots organizations, media groups, think tanks, and policy foundations. Groups like Turning Point USA and Americans for Prosperity recruited field representatives while organizations like Townhall Media, Red Alert Politics, and Campus Reform looked for writers to hire. 4. Campus Reform In the exhibit hall, referred to by conference attendees as “the Hub,” Leadership's Institute's Campus Reform held an on-camera contest for students. Entrants were asked questions about issues on “live” camera by LI staff and competed for cash prizes. More than 100 students participated in the competition over the course of three days. All participants are eligible to be selected as Campus Correspondents, which will increase the number of conservative students exposing liberal bias on college campuses around the country. 5. Young Activists Happy Hour During CPAC, young activists from around the country network with each other. Swapping stories, discussing recruitment strategies, and just socializing with like-minded individuals are just a few highlights of the CPAC experience. To encourage networking among young conservative leaders, the Leadership Institute and seven other organizations hosted a Young Activist Happy Hour. Almost 400 attendees packed the bar and formed a line to the end of the block to spend the evening networking. Recruiters and staff of organizations like Young Americans for Liberty, Future Female Leaders, and the Charles Koch Institute mingled with activists. At the Happy Hour, the Leadership Institute welcomed many new activists to the Campus Leadership Program network. Almost a Every year, CPAC is a new experience. Conservatives from all over the country (and from around the world) come together for a week of idea sharing, activist training, and coalition building. This year was no exception. With hundreds of new conservatives plugged in, trained, and employed conservative principles have a stronger voice going into election season. The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,759 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 172,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
The Conservative Internship Search: Capitol Hill vs. Non-profits
Derek Faraldo
March 31, 2016
The Conservative Internship Search: Capitol Hill vs. Non-profits
As a recent graduate of Georgetown University, I was blessed to have four years in the city of limitless internships, Washington D.C. However, not all students are lucky enough to attend college in the nation's capital. Fortunately, many universities have semester-long exchange programs, externships, or summer opportunities. During my undergraduate years, I participated in two non-profit internships and three congressional internships. If you do not have a few years to shop around for an internship then my experiences may help you narrow your search. Capitol Hill I believe that in order to fully appreciate your time in Washington D.C. every intern should spend at least 12 weeks interning for a congressional or senate office. A congressional or senate internship can be a great resume booster, teach you some professional skills, and help you network on the Hill. Most interns are given simple office tasks to complete. While the work usually isn't anything inspiring, the experience of living in D.C. makes up for the sometimes boring days in a government office. For most prospective interns, there are some practical limitations. For example, in the year and a half I spent working for three different offices I did not get paid. If I had not had school housing, I would have been out of luck. There are some programs to help students pay for the cost of living in D.C, but it is an expensive city for a student on a budget. Non-profits Non-profit internships are great starting points for careers in public policy, digital media, journalism, and many other fields. Each non-profit is different in office culture and atmosphere, but they generally operate in similar manners. For students or recent graduates who require monetary compensation and would like an internship with a job title and specific duties, the non-profit world is often a better option. In the conservative non-profit world, there are many paid internships that provide unique benefits. Often, these organizations hire from their own intern pool, so there is added incentive to make connections and maximize your efforts. The office environments vary, but at least you don't have to go through security every day! Most non-profits allow and encourage interns to work on projects that have value and many organizations treat interns like a staff member. A potential intern should really consider the kind of experience they want and set goals, always keeping in mind their practical limitations. Reflecting on my experiences, I would encourage students or graduates who lean conservative to seriously consider non-profit internships. Don't' worry, even while working at a non-profit, if you really want to see the Capitol building, you can visit your congressmen's office on your lunch break! One of his or her interns will give you a tour. Derek Faraldo is the current Grassroots and International Programs intern at the Leadership Institute. He recently graduated from Georgetown and will be working with Teach for America in the fall. Learn more about the LI Intern Program here.
A Different Type of Activist
Natalie Tuttle
March 14, 2016
A Different Type of Activist
What do you think of when someone says that they're an activist? Do you picture scenes like supporters sign waving at the annual March for Life? Do you remember watching demonstrators on the steps of the Supreme Court waiting for a controversial decision? Meet Jason Jones. Jason is a conservative, pro-life activist who uses filmmaking to spread his message. His goal is to navigate through (and counter) morally challenged Hollywood. Known for films that promote a humane society, Jason is the president and founder of Movie to Movement, a project of his larger organization HERO (Human-Rights Education and Relief Organization). Through Movie to Movement, Jason targets a broad audience and tells stories that allow people to acknowledge the value of life at all stages. His films have won international attention for addressing tough issues that transcend generations and cultures. Published projects include the film Bella, winner of the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. When asked about the reception of conservative principles in the left-leaning film industry, he said, “I don't fish from a bucket [of conservatives]. I fish on the lake and put the fish I catch in the bucket.” Jason and his team offer an alternative to the cultural norms Hollywood accepts and encourages. Jason tailors every project to promote the value of humanity in Hollywood. Even in Hollywood, he finds support. “I don't believe any areas are shut off. Regardless of ideology, we agree on more than we think we do. Everyone want the best education, the best healthcare, the best world… we just have radically different ideas on how to get there.” Jason hopes that projects like Bella communicate with people on an emotional level. While each project has its own underlying focus, the mission of Movie to Movement is “to promote the incomparable dignity and beauty of the human person through the power of film.” Much of the work he has done, he has attributed to the Leadership Institute. Jason moved to the Washington DC area in the year 2000. He attended Institute workshops on fundraising, TV presence, and non-profit organization management. He read every book Morton Blackwell recommends in “Read to Lead” and went to as many Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfasts as he could attend. Jason has adapted techniques employed by aspiring politicians for use in making and promoting films. For example, Jason transformed LI's precinct captain strategy into a “theater captain” program by assigning volunteers to advertise and advocate for Movie to Movement on the local level. This and other techniques learned in the classrooms at LI have helped Jason advocate for conservative principles in Hollywood. The Leadership Institute isn't just about learning techniques, it's about a network of conservative activists. While learning how to win at LI, Jason met his best friend. Jason has stayed in contact with many at LI, including Morton Blackwell. During his most recent visit to the Leadership Institute, Jason told staff members that because of LI, he knows how to do more than vote. Jason encourages everyone to take an active role in changing politics and culture. “If you think all you have to do is show up to vote, you're a D student,” he told the Leadership Institute interns. Jason champions party involvement and volunteering for causes and campaigns. To learn more about Jason and his project Movie to Movement visit www.movietomovement.com. The Leadership Institute thanks Jason for his dedication to conservative principles and congratulates him for receiving LI's Conservative Leader Award. To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate or faculty member for the Conservative Leader Award or Conservative Leader-In-Training Award, please contact LI's Director of External Affairs Carol Wehe, at Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org. The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,750 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 172,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org.
Future Candidate School: Training Conservatives to Win
Natalie Tuttle
March 6, 2016
Future Candidate School: Training Conservatives to Win
If you knew the formula for winning, would you run for office? In January, thirty-four individuals attended the Leadership Institute's Future Candidate School. Some of them were declared candidates in their state or local races. Others were planning congressional runs and the remaining few had just begun to contemplate a run in the future. If you haven't considered running for office, you should. Running doesn't require thirty years of political experience or a few million dollar donors willing to sponsor you. With the right tools and training, anyone can learn to win at LI's Future Candidate School (FCS). For four days, attendees focus on building a base, raising funds, identifying voters, and recruiting volunteers. The faculty roster included political consultants, media coordinators, fundraising gurus, and even a current U.S. Congressman. The intensive training also focused on personal and political preparation for a career in elected office. Day 1: Are you ready to run? Because running for office means more than showing up to events with a smile and a wave, FCS started out with a session examining your ability to enter a race. George Landrith, president of Frontiers for Freedom, helped students examine their past and present, looking for signs of trouble. In the second session of the day, attendees learned that running for a higher office can be a full-time job with plenty of overtime and candidates have to be sure their finances are stable at home. To help candidates decide if running is right for them, Congressman Alex Mooney answered questions candidly about the role and responsibility of the candidate. The rest of the day focused on preparing your network and recruiting volunteers to your cause as well as making sure you have a positive media presence on the day you announce your candidacy. Day 2: So you decide to run. Now what? So now that our candidates have decided to run, they should develop a persuasive message. Leadership Institute Vice President of Development Steve Sutton worked through recent election messaging to demonstrate the impact proper use of messaging can have on a campaign. Nancy Bocskor reiterated the importance of messaging during her presentation on storytelling, emphasizing communicating effectively. In addition to crafting your message and sharing it with your voters, you also should reach out to existing groups and coalitions in your constituency. These coalitions may be able to provide volunteers and maybe even connect you with good candidates for campaign staff. Quality campaign staff do vital work to ensure your campaign is functioning efficiently and legally. Day 3: Getting in isn't even the hard part. Winning the race is the goal of every campaign, but what about staying in the race? You can't win the race if you can't pay your bills. Make sure you have the budget to remain a viable candidate. Competitive candidates have had to suspend their campaigns because they lacked the funds to keep the lights on. Don't be one of those candidates. Future Candidate School teaches candidates that their number one responsibility is fundraising. Staff and volunteers can get your name on the ballot and they can rally the voters, but only the candidate can raise money from donors. Day 4: Acting the part. On the final day of Future Candidate School, Dr. John Shosky, president of Roncalli Communications, Inc, spent the entire day with attendees, coaching each student through communication and messaging techniques. Beginning with introductions and ending with elevator speeches, students were led through a series of exercises to increase their confidence and improve their interpersonal skills. To be successful, candidates have to be versatile. Different situations call for different communication styles. Students were given tips on everything from posture to intonation. After drafting rough speeches, Dr. Shosky gave each student short critiques and advice to take away from the training. These guidelines are meant to improve the impression that a candidate will make in the first three seconds of meeting a potential volunteer, voter, or donor. Those thirty-four individuals walked away from the Leadership Institute's Future Candidate School with the formula to win. Will they run? Time will tell. To learn more about the Leadership Insititute or to sign up for a training go to LeadershipInstitute.org.
CPAC 2016 Activism Boot Camp
Carol Wehe
February 26, 2016
CPAC 2016 Activism Boot Camp
American Majority and Leadership Institute are pleased to release the final agenda for the CPAC 2016 Activism Boot Camp, running Wednesday, March 2 – Friday, March 4, during the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, MD. On Wednesday, attend one of three tailored tracks—Student Activism, Community Activism, and Campaign, Data and Tech—as well as top-notch training sessions on Thursday and Friday. Note: The CPAC Activism Boot Camp is included in your regular CPAC 2016 conference pass. Wednesday Student Activism Track Wednesday, March 2, 2016, 1pm-5:30pm, (Chesapeake A-C) 1:00 pm How We Reached 1 Million Students in 2015 (and How You Can, Too): Charlie Kirk, Turning Point USA 1:45 pm “You Have to See This!”: Causing a Stir with Viral Videos: Caleb Bonham, DCO Consulting 2:30 pm Changing Campus Culture: Summer Ratcliff and David Blair, The Leadership Institute 3:15 pm There's No Such Thing as a Safe Space: Keeping Campuses Free: Catherine Sevcenko, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education 4:00 pm Winning Student Elections: Scott Ellis and Micah Pearce, American Majority 4:45 pm Get Hired in Campaigns and Politics: Evan Stewart, Campaign Hunter 5:30 pm Adjourn followed by Activism Boot Camp Reception, open to all Activism Boot Camp attendees Wednesday Community Activism Track Wednesday, March 2, 2016, 1pm-5:30pm, (Chesapeake D-F) 1:00 pm Community Organizing in a Post-Obama World: Matt Robbins, American Majority 1:45 pm How to Beat the Left at Their Own Game: Brent Gardner, Americans for Prosperity 2:30 pm The Latino Vote: The Beginning or the End of the Conservative Movement?: Mike Madrid, GrassrootsLab 3:15 pm Social Media: How to Become the Digital Activist Every Movement Needs: Aubrey Blankenship, American Majority 4:00 pm The Wisconsin Model: A Five-Year Fight: Matt Batzel, American Majority 4:45 pm Not Running? What YOU Can Do to Influence an Election: Chris Doss, Revolutionary Communications 5:30 pm Adjourn followed by Activism Boot Camp Reception, open to all Activism Boot Camp attendees Wednesday Campaign, Tech, and Data Track Wednesday, March 2, 2016, 1pm-5:30pm, (Chesapeake 4-6) 1:00 pm Campaign Messaging: How to Come Across in a Me-First World: Jessie Nicholson, Wisconsin Women's Council Board Member 1:45 pm Setting and Reaching the Right Vote Goals: Steve Sutton, The Leadership Institute 2:30 pm What Is Political Database Technology and How Will It Help?: Chris Littleton, Voter Gravity 3:15 pm Social Media, SEO, and Campaign Branding: Use It or Lose It: Austin James, SOLVE 4:00 pm Say Goodbye to Clipboards: How to Run a Campaign from Your Smartphone: Ned Ryun, American Majority 4:45 pm Money Made Easy: Campaign Fundraising: Rachael Robertson, American Majority 5:30 pm Adjourn followed by Activism Boot Camp Reception, open to all Activism Boot Camp attendees #CPAC 2016 Activism Boot Camp Thursday, March 3, 2016, 10am-4pm, (Chesapeake D-E) 10:00 am Bridging the Divide Between Veterans and Politics: Seth Lynn, Veterans Campaign 10:30am Talking to Minority Voters: Making the Case for Conservatives Nationally: Mike Madrid, GrassrootsLab 11:00 am If Reagan Ran Today: What 2016 Activists Must Learn from Reagan's Leadership Style: Peggy Grande, The Quiggle Group 11:30 am The Best Campaigns of Last Cycle and What You Can Learn from Them: Tayt Brooks, American Majority 1:00 pm Become the Press: Oliver Darcy, The Blaze 1:30 pm Grabbing the Spotlight: How to Generate Earned Media: Matthew Hurtt, Grassroots Leadership Academy 2:00 pm Face-to-Face Still Matters: How to Win the Day with Personal Interaction: Matt Batzel, American Majority 2:30 pm Reaching the Female Youth Vote: Alexandra Smith, College Republican National Committee 3:00 pm Engaging Millennials: Whitney Neal, Bill of Rights Institute 3:30 pm Know Your Enemy: Opposition Research: Alexandra Angel, America Rising PAC #CPAC 2016 Activism Boot Camp Friday, March 4, 2016, 10am-1pm (Chesapeake D-E) 10:00 am Conservative Talk Radio: Rational Thought and the Average Joe: Andrew Wilkow, Host of the Wilkow Majority on SiriusXM Patriot 10:30 am Heat and Light: Making Government Accountable and Transparent: Josh Mandel, Ohio State Treasurer 11:00 am How to Get-Out-the-Vote with Digital: Kurt Bardella, 0ptimus / Endeavor Strategies 11:30 am You Get What You Measure: 10 Ways to Evaluate Your Lawmaker: Jessica Anderson, Heritage Action 12:00 pm How to Win the Room: Public Speaking Success: John Tsarpalas, Commonwealthy.com 12:30 pm The New Journalism: Citizen Journalists: Kevin Glass, Franklin Center
Candidate to Congressman: Rep. Alex Mooney shares his story at Future Candidate School
Cameron Douglas
February 25, 2016
Candidate to Congressman: Rep. Alex Mooney shares his story at Future Candidate School
As an intern at the Leadership Institute and a recent college graduate, I attended LI's Future Candidate School. Though it isn't something I know much about, the thought of running for office has crossed my mind and I want to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more. One of the best parts of the internship is the access to training programs staffed by outstanding faculty in relevant fields. During this Future Candidate School a member of Congress joined the list of expert faculty. Who better to lead a discussion on running for office than a sitting Member of Congress? Leadership Institute alumnus Congressman Alex Mooney (R-WV) came to LI's Future Candidate School to teach attendees how to successfully run for, and win, public office. Congressman Mooney's lecture drew on his extensive experience in campaigns at both the state and federal level. He won three elections to the Maryland State Senate, where he served from 1999 to 2011. Then, in 2014, he ran for and won a seat in the US House of Representatives in West Virginia. For me, Congressman Mooney's presentation was valuable in two big ways. First, he gave a frank, clear-eyed assessment of both the upsides and the downsides of running for office. Second, he provided a great deal of practical knowledge about how to campaign. Rep. Mooney emphasized the importance of fundraising for successful campaigning. He advised 80-90% of a candidate's time should be spent raising funds, which reflects Leadership Institute founder Morton Blackwell's saying, “You can't save the world if you can't pay the rent.” The Congressman also stressed the importance of having a clear, simple message, and taking that message directly to voters by picking up the phone and knocking on lots of doors. The part of Rep. Mooney's presentation which stayed with me most was not anything he said; rather, it was the way he presented himself to us. He's a sitting member of Congress, and none of the students at the school live in his district. Yet, he came out to share his experiences with us. To me, his candid yet friendly way of presenting himself was a prime example of the attitude a candidate for office should have while campaigning. To learn more about Leadership Institute training go to LeadershipInstitute.org/training and register to attend one or more trainings.
Digital Creative Workshop is on for tonight
February 24, 2016
Digital Creative Workshop is on for tonight
The Digital Creative Workshop: Video, scheduled for this evening, is on for tonight. Attendees should be aware of inclement weather in the DC area.
The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, February 15, 2016 for President's Day
Carol Wehe
February 15, 2016
The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, February 15, 2016 for President's Day
The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, February 15, 2016 for President's Day. You may leave a voicemail on LI's main line (703-247-2000) or send an email to individual LI staff. You will receive a response as soon as it is possible. The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, January 25, 2016. January 25, 2016 | By The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, January 25, 2016. The Written Communications Workshop scheduled for Monday and Tuesday evenings is also canceled. The Wednesday, January 27, 2016, Future Candidate School will be held as planned. Any changes or announcements for the Future Candidate School will be posted on this website. - See more at: http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/#sthash.b6AuAA4O.dpuf The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, January 25, 2016. January 25, 2016 | By The Leadership Institute is closed on Monday, January 25, 2016. The Written Communications Workshop scheduled for Monday and Tuesday evenings is also canceled. The Wednesday, January 27, 2016, Future Candidate School will be held as planned. Any changes or announcements for the Future Candidate School will be posted on this website. - See more at: http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/#sthash.b6AuAA4O.dpuf
Regional Field Coordinator is Employee of the Quarter Award Recipient
Natalie Tuttle
February 12, 2016
Regional Field Coordinator is Employee of the Quarter Award Recipient
The Leadership Institute recognizes an employee each quarter. This quarter's award recipient is Emily Larsen, who effectively works with several departments to spread conservatism across the country. Although her official title is Regional Field Coordinator, Emily has represented the Leadership Institute at student conferences and regularly coordinates with the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform team to expose liberal bias on college campuses. This past quarter, Emily managed Leadership Institute field representatives in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New Mexico as they trained and managed over 180 conservative student groups in these states. In addition to her regular responsibilities, Emily promoted Campus Reform through articles, radio interviews, and television appearances. She has gone above and beyond to help Campus Reform uncover liberal abuse and biases on college campuses. “Even though this would be more than enough work to keep an average employee busy, Emily also volunteered to host several of LI's live webinars. I hereby recognize Emily Larsen as LI's Employee of the Quarter for the fourth quarter of 2015,” Leadership Institute founder and president Morton Blackwell announced at the January all staff meeting. “Please join me in a round of applause in appreciation for Emily's work.” After the applause subsided, Morton ended with, “Congratulations, Emily, for your outstanding job as team player and serving as a role model for all LI employees.” Emily Larsen is the Leadership Institute's Regional Field Coordinator for the Piedmont region, where she builds the conservative student movement on college campuses in the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New Mexico. Previously, she worked for LI as a Field Representative in Kentucky and West Virginia, and was an intern for the Campus Leadership Program. Before joining LI, Emily worked in the office of Mayor Richard J. Berry in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she interned and acted as Boards and Commissions Liaison. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2014 with a B.A. in Political Science. In college, she led her Young Americans for Liberty chapter, interned for the New Mexico State Legislature, and volunteered for numerous campaigns.
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