LI Trained 230,788 Graduates Since 1979
Karla Bruno
January 12, 2021
LI Trained 230,788 Graduates Since 1979
Did you know the Leadership Institute (LI) offers 47 different conservative training programs? And did you know that LI training continued strong in 2020? In 2020, LI helped prepare 14,874 trainees – students, activists, and leaders – to win for their conservative principles. LI provided an average of 41.9 hours of live training every week.LI training gives committed conservatives the tools they can use to be successful in campaigns, the media, and public policy. Nothing about 2020 was easy, but thanks to LI's experience, skills, and donor support, LI pivoted smoothly into increased online training while continuing in-person training where possible. LI's training falls into two major divisions: Campus Programs and Political Training. Campus Programs is by far LI's largest program, with Campus Reform (CRO) its most visible component.Conservative students often face intimidation and hostility in an arena once prized for open debate, intellectual curiosity, and balanced discourse.The Leadership Institute helps conservative students fight back against liberal abuse and bias on campus, training them with proven techniques. The Campus Leadership Program (CLP) organizes conservative students and trains them to restore balance on American campuses, making them once again places for freedom of thought and diversity of opinion.Campus Reform (CRO) uses a news platform and a national network of conservative investigative student reporters to expose flagrant examples of liberal abuse and bias on college campuses. You may have seen LI's Campus Reform reporters, who appear often on Fox News.In 2020, Campus Reform published 1,957 stories, earned 6,106 republications in other media and 461 national and local TV hits – and 36 victories. A victory is defined as any policy change, apology, or administrative/faculty firing resulting from Campus Reform coverage.Campus Reform's website attracted 11.8 million pageviews; Campus Reform's YouTube channel attracted 34.2 million views.LI's National Field Program trains student leaders to organize conservative student groups and teaches them how to combat liberal bias at America's universities.In 2020, LI's field program now includes 2,001 active student groups, with 287 new groups added, and 29,837 conservative students newly identified. Students held 2,648 on-campus events and 1,219 online events.Youth Leadership Training recruits promising conservative students and teaches them proven techniques to organize and lead conservative youth organizations and activities for candidates and causes of their choice. In 2020, LI's Youth Leadership Workshop (a 3-hour session) trained 1,042 students. LI's Youth Leadership School (YLS – 29 hours of intensive training) trained 428 select student leaders, with 71 YLS graduates going on to work on conservative campaigns – that includes 16 Youth Coordinators.LI's Normandy Coalition helps students fight for free speech on college campuses. LI leads the Coalition of 30 groups which includes 5 pro-bono legal defense organizations, 15 national conservative youth organizations, and 10 conservative non-profit organizations.Since its creation in 2017, the Coalition has held 9,384 campus speaker events using 4,197 conservative speakers on 681 campuses.Forty-seven anti-free speech protestors have been arrested. Damages from 34 lawsuits filed in protection of free speech total $816,800, with 52 free speech victories on record. LI's Political Training encompasses all programs not included in the Campus Program: Activism, Campaign, Communications, Career, Fundraising, and Digital. All combined, these trainings produced 6,428 of LI's total graduates in 2020.Notable LI graduates include Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02), Jim Jordan (R-OH-4), Kat Commack (R-FL-3), Katherine Timpf (Fox News), Amanda Carpenter (CNN), and Tom Fitton (Judicial Watch).If you are motivated in 2021 to use your talents for conservative activism either on campus or in your community, visit LI's website for the complete list of 2021 trainings available. They are low-cost or no-cost to you, thanks to Leadership Institute donors. Go to LeadershipInstitute.org/Training and sign up now to be successful in 2021 and for years to come.If you are interested in seeing more Leadership Institute 2020 accomplishments, click here.
Virginia Allen: Podcast Co-host
Emma Siu
November 9, 2020
Virginia Allen: Podcast Co-host
15 minute readI got the chance to interview Podcast Co-host Virginia Allen. Here's her story. Virginia Allen is a news producer at The Daily Signal, The Heritage Foundation's multimedia news outlet. She writes on a range of topics and co-hosts The Daily Signal Podcast and Problematic Women. Virginia Allen earned a bachelor's degree in government from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After graduation, she moved to South Africa for a year to serve as a missionary volunteer, and worked with vulnerable children and youth. Upon her return to America, she moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue new opportunities. Before she joined The Daily Signal, Virginia worked as the administrative assistant in Heritage's communications department for nearly two years. 1. How did you become involved in the Problematic Women and Daily Signal News podcasts?I began my journey at The Heritage Foundation as an intern and then was blessed to get a job in Heritage's communications department in the spring of 2018. I remember observing my colleagues, as they hosted “The Daily Signal Podcast” and “Problematic Women,” and frankly I was quite intimidated! I secretly thought podcasting might be a medium I really would enjoy -- as someone who loves to connect with people and discuss important issues -- but I was nervous to leap into the unknown. One of these colleagues, who helped on “The Daily Signal Podcast” Monday edition, moved back to Texas a little over a year after I started at Heritage. My supervisor, Rob Bluey, asked me if I would be interested in stepping in to help on the show once a week, and I said I would! I still remember how nervous I was the first time I walked into the studio to record. It took months before I finally felt comfortable speaking into a mic, but I work with excellent people and they were so supportive. I helped with the podcast for a few months before Lauren Evans, co-host of “Problematic Women,” asked me if I would consider helping with the show while another colleague was out on maternity leave for a few months. “Maybe,” was my response to Lauren. “Problematic Women” is a high energy 45 to 60-minute show with a good mix of interviews, commentary, and straight news reporting. I was used to only doing interviews and one short news story a week so “Problematic Women” was going to be a big leap! But Lauren convinced me, and after only one episode I was all in. I loved reporting on issues I care deeply about and having the opportunity to be creative and craft a dynamic and fun show with a fellow staffer and friend. Then, about seven months ago, an opportunity opened up on Heritage's Daily Signal team to take on the role of both news producer and regular co-host of “The Daily Signal Podcast.” I was thrilled to take on this new role and again stretch my podcasting abilities. I am loving the opportunity to co-host two very different podcasts and continue to grow in this great field.2. What do you feel is the biggest difference between writing an article for print media and creating a podcasting segment?We all speak a little differently than we write, so even when making notes for a segment, I try to think about how I want to verbally communicate the information in a way that is relatable. Segments on “Problematic Women” tend to be a little more conversational than those in a written news story. Interviews for a written story versus a podcast are very different, both in regard to the content used and how the content is relayed. I may spend half an hour talking with someone for a written story, and then pull four or five quotes, or bits of information, depending on the nature of the piece. When doing a podcast interview, on the other hand, I guide the conversation, but the guest chooses what they will share.3. What does your decision process look like for finding someone to interview?I love personal stories, and so any time I hear about someone who has firsthand experience around a policy issue or a situation in the news, I am eager to have them on the show. I think a person's “lived experience” is powerful when we are considering how policies created in Washington, D.C. actually impact people. But I cannot take all, or even most, of the credit for finding great people to interview on either podcast. My colleagues often send me the names of people they think would be a good fit for “Problematic Women” or “The Daily Signal Podcast.”4. What are some strategies that you use to build a loyal audience?My co-hosts and I want our listeners to feel like they can always trust us to report the news honestly; and that they are a part of a larger community of people who love America. We are especially focused on building community on “Problematic Women” because the show was created as a platform for conservative women to have a voice. We recently started a weekly Twitter poll question on the show, which appears every Thursday morning on my Twitter page, @Virginia_Allen5. The poll provides a fun way for our listeners to engage with the show and share their thoughts with us.5. What has been the most difficult part for you when creating and hosting a podcast?I have learned a lot about my own voice and my own speaking idiosyncrasies as a podcaster. You quickly realize that you repeat certain words way too often or that you have a tendency to slur certain words. It has been challenging learning to pay close attention to how I sound, and critiquing myself, as I seek to communicate in the clearest way possible. I am very much still learning in this field!6. What would you say differentiates a professional podcast from a podcast that is just starting out?Podcasting is frankly quite new, so many podcasters have only been hosting shows for a year or two -- yet they may already have a very large audience. Often the difference between a new podcaster and an old pro can be heard in the level of confidence and voice control they exhibit. And of course, production quality really makes a big difference when it comes to podcasting. A skilled editor can truly make all the difference!7. What advice would you give to someone looking to start a podcast, especially with a saturated topic like politics?Find your niche! It is much easier to start a podcast when you know who your audience is -- moms with young kids, or basketball players, or nature enthusiasts. If you want to launch a more general podcast, then take time to think about what your “value add” is to that field. There are a lot of political podcasts out there. So, if you want to speak out on policy issues, maybe brand your show as a podcast that takes issues in Washington, D.C. and explains how they will impact people in your home state.8. Has creating a podcast changed the way you listen to podcasts?Yes. I am always listening to how podcasters ask questions of their guests, and how they discuss issues. Some podcasters are really good at making you feel like you are just sitting on the couch with them and a part of the conversation. That is something I aspire to, especially on “Problematic Women” because it is more conversational in nature.9. What are some of your favorite podcasts right now?I do enjoy listening to Joe Rogan's podcast because he is very talented at keeping interviews interesting and engaging for the listener. The stock market always has fascinated me, so I frequently listen to “Snacks Daily,” which is an entertaining business news podcast. I also really enjoy “Heritage Explains” because the episode are short, very informative, and the production quality is excellent.
Plan Now for Life After November 3rd: An Open Letter to a Young Campaign Staffer
Lee Jackson
October 8, 2020
Plan Now for Life After November 3rd: An Open Letter to a Young Campaign Staffer
Dear Over-Caffeinated, Underpaid Worker Bee:Congratulations! You made it to October.By now, every day is a new adventure. You're working seven days a week, you're hooked on the campaign high, and you're back and forth between having the time of your life and wanting election day to just get here already.But we need to take a moment and talk about life after November 3rd. Right now, it's probably hard to envision.I had been working for my candidate for roughly a year by the time Election Day rolled around on my last campaign. That means for a year, my boss was the most important person in my life. For a year, he and I had traveled the district together, hoped and dreamed about the future, and he became a second father to me. The most important thing to me was getting him re-elected. I felt that I owed him victory and, for so many personal reasons, failure was not an option.Because of the loyalty I had to my candidate, I felt guilty thinking about life after Election Day. Every second I spent doing so was a second not being spent to give my boss the victory I had promised him. However, I was wrong to think this way -- and he likely would have been disappointed if he had realized what was going on in my head.One of the many things the Leadership Institute is known for is Morton Blackwell's Laws of the Public Policy Process. If you have never read them before, I would encourage you to read them HERE.I always had a copy of the laws framed in my office for campaign volunteers to read.One law that stuck with me was number 18: You can't save the world if you can't pay rent. When I first heard this law, I took it to mean candidates who want win must raise money. Heaven knows I said it to my candidate countless times, stressing how important call time was. However, it rings true for you as an individual as well.The hard truth is, some of your campaigns will win, others will not. For better or worse, elections have clear winners and losers. The good news is, if you win (and work hard), your campaign is likely to offer you a job.Now is the time to start planning your life on November 4th without your current candidate in the picture.If you want to stay in the political arena, start networking now. It's a cruel joke that just as our campaigns need us most, we have to start seriously considering our future. I would recommend having four or five solid leads and a failsafe. For a while, my failsafe was going back to McDonald's.Each year, there are operatives who decide campaign life isn't for them. That's okay. Many of them go back to school or join a sales team and excel in those roles.If you want to stay in the public process, I encourage you to check out the Leadership Institute's Conservative Jobs HERE.Conservative Jobs is your free job bank, connecting recruiters and job seekers of all experiences across America. If you have questions about Conservative Jobs or would like someone at the Leadership Institute (LI) to review your resume, you can email my coworker, Kelsey at kmix@leadershipinstitute.org. LI is proud to be a resource placing conservatives in government, politics, and the media.I also encourage you to look at states that have elections in 2021.During off numbered years, I packed up my car and moved to Virginia to work on a campaign. For better or worse, Virginia doesn't have campaign contribution limits, so local House of Delegate races could be more than a million dollars. Working on campaigns every year allowed me to learn more skills and move up the totem pole twice as fast as many of my peers.No matter what you do next, you owe it to yourself to start planning.I always consider the time between one campaign and the next as my “funemployment.” Don't forget to take the time to unwind and relax too.My final words of advice for the next three weeks: stay away from pizza, try to sleep at least six hours a night, start thinking about life after Election Day, and keep day dreaming of that well-deserved tropical vacation to get you through one more walkbook.Keep on knocking,Lee
5 Things You Should do Before Election Day
Lee Jackson
September 25, 2020
5 Things You Should do Before Election Day
Every year, young people around the country ask me what they can do to make a difference as the country inches closer to election day.As someone who has been responsible for volunteer recruitment and Election Day Operations, I am always going to point you to your closest campaign and tell you the best thing to do is to volunteer. Here is a list of five things you should do prior to election day (in addition to voter contact):1. Check Your Voter Registration Status After spending roughly one million dollars, I won my last election by less than 500 votes. Believe me when I tell you that every vote counts. This November, positions from School Board to President of the United States will be on the ballot. Do not miss out on exercising your right to vote because you forgot to register to vote or you are registered to vote at the wrong address. I have seen students turned away from the polling booth because they thought they were registered to vote at school, but they registered to vote at home. You can check your voter registration HERE. 2. Vote EarlyI'm not aware of a single state in America that does not give the option to vote early in one form or another. Although the terms and guidelines vary from one state to the next, you should have the option to vote early regardless of where you are currently located.You never know what's going to happen on election day. Vote now and get it out of the way. Additionally, there are likely a few races or referendum questions you did not expect to see on the ballot. Getting your ballot early will give you a few days to research this new-to-you-content and allow you to vote responsibly. You can find more information about how to vote early HERE. Side note: Don't let the lingo about voting early intimidate you or stop you from doing so. In Maine, we don't have early voting, but we do have in-person absentee voting. Which is a fancy way of saying you vote absentee, in-person, prior to Election Day -- aka early voting. Also, a lot of jurisdictions are allowing voters to drop of their completed ballot at some sort of drop-off box or track where their ballots are in the mail. Make sure you leave plenty of time for the postal service to return your ballot after you vote. Like I said, this is going to be the year of close elections. Every note needs to count. Double check to see if you need a stamp.3. Keep an Eye on Campus Administration Classes, meetings, and liberal bias: three things a conservative student is pretty much guaranteed to experience during any given semester. When it comes to liberal bias on college campuses, the best disinfectant is always sunlight. If you see something that doesn't pass the straight-face test, you can send an anonymous tip to Campus Reform HERE.4. Take an LI training As we get closer to Election Day, the Leadership Institute (LI) is laser focused on training as many conservative activists as possible, so you can play your part in the upcoming election. LI hosts safe, in-person and online trainings. Many of these trainings are available to you at no cost thanks to the generous donors of the Leadership Institute. You can find LI's upcoming list of trainings HERE. Additionally, the campus leadership team has created three-hour trainings for club leaders and members. These Youth Leadership Workshops (YLWs) are flexible and range from Media and PR to how to recruit on campus. If you would like to organize one of these trainings for your group, you can email me at LJackson@LeadershipInstitute.org.5. Volunteer (Get Paid) to be a Poll Worker on Election DayHave you ever thoughts about what it takes to run an election? Not a campaign, but the administration part of an election? One of the crucial pieces of running an election is poll workers, who help check-in voters, answer clerical questions, and do tasks throughout the day. Due to coronavirus, election administrators are struggling to find people to work the polls. Not only do poll workers protect the integrity of elections, they can also get paid more than $100 for a days-worth of work. You can find out more information in this video by Campus Reform's Editor in Chief, Cabot Phillips. Decide now. What will you do to make a difference for your conservative principles as the country inches closer to election day?
Learning How to Talk the Talk Isn’t Always the Easiest
Lee Jackson
August 26, 2020
Learning How to Talk the Talk Isn’t Always the Easiest
Growing up, my mother did her best to limit my screen time and discouraged me and my sisters from playing video games. However, this did not stop my grandparents from surprising us one Christmas morning with a brand-new Wii and a set of games to go with it.As boring as it sounds, my favorite game on the Wii was golf. I spent countless hours after school working on my drive and reached the title of “Pro” long before any child ever should. The kicker? I had never actually hit a real golf ball in my life. To this day, I can talk golf with friends, coworkers, or pretty much anyone, but I am always “busy” when it is time to play.When I started working on campaigns, I did not have Wii golf to teach me the lingo (and the West Wing only got me so far). Thankfully, I had people who took the time to explain campaign terms and answer my questions. Even though I had people around me who took the time to help me, it was still intimidating when I was in a meeting or on a call and didn't understand half of the words being said. Over the years, I realized my junior staffers and interns went through the same discouraging process. Like those before me, I took the time to clarify any questions they had. However, I am sure there were several times when I missed the signs that they were confused.The Leadership Institute is a proud non-profit that teaches future elected officials, staffers, and members of the media how to be the most effective at their job. In short, LI teaches people how to walk the walk. I am glad to be able to share this new campaign glossary with you, so you can get a head start on learning how to talk the talk as well.You can download How to Speak Campaign 101: A Campaign Glossary at no cost right here, thanks to Leadership Institute's donors.
Easy Guide to Professional Webinars and Online Meetings
Ben Woodward
April 21, 2020
Easy Guide to Professional Webinars and Online Meetings
I was catching up on Saturday Night Live yesterday evening and the show depicted the struggles of comedians as they attempted to hold meetings from their homes with hilarious consequences. One only has to take to YouTube to enjoy a long list of videos where professionals make the most embarrassing possible mistakes because they fail to realize their web cameras are switched on. Luckily, no such embarrassing moments have happened in Leadership Institute (LI) meetings or webinars yet. For years, Zoom, Teams, and other platforms have been an excellent tool to reach audiences who cannot attend LI training in person. During the pandemic, webinars are now critical to deliver LI training. This requires professionalism and high standards translated digitally. Here's how you can ensure – whether you're hosting or presenting a meeting or webinar – you make it as professional as possible.LightingIf possible, you should face natural light on camera. Your entire face should be illuminated. Failing that, order a simple ring light online, they're inexpensive and make a big difference. Remember, just like in a real meeting, people will respond to seeing your face and your expressions.You should always avoid light that shines behind you, which can overshadow your face. SoundTo avoid feedback and other distractions, use headphones and limit outside noise. You should also do a test of your microphone before your presentation to ensure the sound works and your computer is set up correctly. SpeakingIt is a good idea to write a script for you webinar or meeting introduction and sign off. What do you want to say? Is there anything you should advertise or someone to introduce? Keep notes by your side in case you lose your place.Be confident in your presentation style. Practice speaking and record yourself to pick up on any filler words or lack of eye contact. Always try to maintain eye contact with your camera (aka your audience). You can also ask your audience questions during the webinar. It's a great way to keep them engaged. DisplayPower points or other types of illustrations can be very helpful to the viewer, who might otherwise get distracted if you're reading from notes. Make your presentation easy to follow. Most of the information should come from you. Your presentation should simply act as a guide to your key points. Make sure you dress appropriately and hide anything unprofessional in your background. Custom backgrounds are a helpful tool. OtherKeep water on hand during your webinar in case you get a dry throat, and make sure you use the bathroom. Even if someone else is speaking, you may not be able to walk away from your screen once you start. Email instructions to your attendees at least half an hour before your webinar. I also recommend you email them upon registration so they know what to expect. Finally, security is important. As the demands on Zoom and other platforms increase, prevent unwanted attendees with password protection and by disabling guest screen sharing.If you follow these simple steps, you'll conduct webinars and meetings that demonstrate your professionalism and ensure they are as close to the in-person experience as possible. If you would like any further assistance with your webinar and meeting needs, you can attend the Leadership Institute's free webinar: Effective Communications in Business on April 29, 2020.
A Note from One Mentor to Another
Ben Woodward
November 18, 2019
A Note from One Mentor to Another
From Morton Blackwell to Kay Coles James, the conservative movement has numerous highly accomplished leaders who have dedicated their lives to mentoring and fostering a new generation of talent.As someone only a few years into my career however, I sometimes wonder at what point I will feel qualified to give people advice. Just yesterday, a friend came to me following a fantastic job offer, asking about salary negotiation. Throughout our meeting, I could not help but feel the weight of my advice given that he was about to go into a conversation with his future boss.You will likely find, if you have not already, that soon into your career people will begin asking for your opinion from small things like how to respond to an email to larger, more pressing career questions.While there is no formula to good mentorship, here are 4 rules which have helped me along the way.Be generous with your time and expertiseThinking on the times when you have not been the high quality mentor, you would like to be, I am willing to bet it came down to one of two things; you were too busy, or you became impatient with the mentee. It is easy to become wrapped up in your work and to be frustrated when someone does not appear to take your advice. Remember that people invested in your development, and you likely frustrated them at times. It is important to communicate clearly and to remember that this good practice for you too. After all, you will mentor many people in your career.Understand that you are developing tooIt can be daunting to mentor others when you are new to the workforce. You will likely continue to rely on mentors yourself for many years to come. However, your fresh perspective may be what your mentee needs, especially since you remember better than anyone what it was like to require similar guidance.There are occasions when you will say, “I don't know”It is imperative that the advice you give is informed from your experience and will help the mentee. Remember that your words carry a lot of weight; do not make the mistake of giving advice simply because you do not want to let your mentee down.A good example of this is when a mentee asks me about whether they should go to college or not, or sometimes if they should drop out. Despite my own personal opinion, I will always advise the mentee to speak with their family and with their professors. Sometimes “I don't know” is the best answer.Make a long-term investment in your mentees Your commitment to your mentee does not end when they find a job or move away. That is not to say you should chase them down to give advice -- and if your mentee stops asking then let them take their own path. However, follow-up from time to time, and make sure you are on hand to assist should they require it.Remember, the people you mentor today could be your colleagues and coalition partners tomorrow. Invest in them and it will be both rewarding and pay dividends.
Putting the Business in Business Casual
Sheridan Nolen
August 19, 2019
Putting the Business in Business Casual
If you're like me and always doubt what business casual means, here's a quick tutorial. Business Casual: a style of clothing less formal than traditional business wear, but still intended to give a professional and businesslike impression. It typically includes slacks or khakis, a dress shirt or polo shirt, blouses, dresses or skirts at knee-length or longer, and dress shoes. During cold weather, knit sweaters and vests are also acceptable. Business casual outfits provide a more relaxed look but still indicate professionalism. It can be hard to develop a clear understanding of business casual expectations if you have just started a new job or if it's your first time attending an event. Different employers and groups have a variety of expectations for business casual, but common denominators exist among them. Here are some general tricks to mastering business casual attire.1. Jackets and blazers are optional. Unlike business formal attire, business casual outfits can be worn with or without a suit jacket or blazer. It is entirely optional! You are not expected to wear a jacket or blazer in a business casual setting. via GIPHY2. If you'd wear it to the gym, leave it at home. Sorry ladies, but leggings aren't pants in the business world. They belong underneath dresses and skirts. Gentlemen, windbreakers and track jackets shouldn't be worn in a business casual setting either. Business casual does not include athletic wear. If you'd wear it to the gym, just leave it at home. via GIPHY3. Jeans are hit or miss. In general, avoid jeans in a business casual wardrobe. Some offices permit jeans as acceptable business casual clothing, but you should still avoid light-washed or ripped jeans to maintain a professional look. Pair your jeans with a button-up or dress shirt, a jacket, a good quality belt, and neat shoes. If you are wearing a button-up shirt, adding a tie is up to you. via GIPHY4. Dress up.The stress of feeling under-dressed is far worse than showing up overdressed for work or an event. For this reason, always dress up if you are unsure of business casual expectations. For example, many companies consider polo shirts part of the business-casual spectrum. If you are unsure whether this is the case with your current job or an event you are attending, go with a button-up shirt and a tie. Always dressing up does not mean wearing a three-piece suit as business casual – it means wear a jacket and tie, even if you're not sure if others will. via GIPHY5. Observe other employees.Your easiest tool to decoding what your office considers business casually is looking at your colleagues. Making observations about what people around you wear is the perfect way to gauge what your employer expects you to wear when they say business casual.
LI Employee Assaulted at UC Berkeley
Carol Wehe Cocks
February 22, 2019
LI Employee Assaulted at UC Berkeley
“On Tuesday, February 19, one of our employees, Hayden Williams, was violently assaulted on University of California-Berkeley campus while working to recruit conservative student leaders in his capacity as Field Representative for The Leadership Institute. Hayden was invited to campus by Berkeley students who were part of the local Turning Point USA chapter.This event is shocking, but it is not isolated. Conservative and libertarian students have faced violence and intimidation for sharing their political philosophy on campus from coast to coast in this country. Unfortunately, the Leadership Institute reports on incidents like Hayden's all too often on our news site CampusReform.org.Violence has no place in the public policy process -- and it should never be the response to students who exercise their right to free speech. The Leadership Institute calls on the University of California-Berkeley to identify and hold accountable the assailant to the full extent of the law.”– Bryan Bernys, Vice President of Campus Programs at the Leadership Institute.
Leadership Institute Trained 14,687 in 2018
Carol Wehe Cocks
January 2, 2019
Leadership Institute Trained 14,687 in 2018
The Leadership Institute (LI) celebrated the close of 2018 with 14,687 trained. Since 1979, LI has trained 209,074 students.In 2018, LI trained its 200,000th student at a Youth Leadership School held at LI's Steven P.J. Wood Building in Arlington, VA.Seventy-nine percent of LI's 2018 students were trained outside LI's headquarters. The Institute conducted training programs in 43 states. Leadership Institute graduates serving in the 116th Congress include three U.S. Senators and 26 members of the House of Representatives. LI's Campus Leadership Program finished 2018 with 2,111 active conservative student groups. 52 of these groups were student publications. LI's Campus Reform Online attracted 4,733,130 unique visitors and received 11.9 million page views in 2018 compared to 11.7 Million page views in all of 2017, 10.2 million page views in all of 2016, 5.7 million page views in all of 2015, 4.6 million page views in all of 2014, 5.8 million page views in all of 2013, and 2.8 million page views in all of 2012.CampusReform.org students, staff, and stories were featured 476 times on local and national television programs in 2018 compared to 216 placements in all of 2017.The Campus Reform Campus Correspondent Program published stories by 104 student journalists. Campus Correspondents investigate and report on liberal bias, abuse, and indoctrination on college campuses nationwide. The Institute looks forward to its 40th anniversary in 2019.For a full report of Leadership Institute's 2018 successes, click here.
Meet the Youngest Vice President in The Heritage Foundation's History
Ben Woodward
November 5, 2018
Meet the Youngest Vice President in The Heritage Foundation's History
Just over a year ago, I spoke on a panel about non-conventional jobs in the conservative movement. Our task: to educate young professionals about the wide variety of career paths available to them.I was struck by the quality of my fellow panelists and, even as a panelist myself, how much I could learn from them.Among the speakers was Andrew McIndoe, a highly-talented development professional from The Heritage Foundation who served as Director of Donor Relations. Andrew had previously served as Morton Blackwell's intern, an experience that helped shape his career for years to come.Today, Andrew is Vice President of Development at The Heritage Foundation, a position he was promoted to just a few weeks ago. Andrew is the youngest vice president in Heritage's history and, with his more than 50 staff, is responsible for ensuring Heritage has all the resources it needs to advance conservative principles in the public policy process.I asked Andrew what advice he could offer young people hoping to follow his example:“I'd tell people not to try and replicate the success of another professional; instead, strike out on your own. Exemplify a strong work ethic, eagerly take on any task that comes your way, and do what you say you are going to do.”Andrew went on to say much of his success was because he invested in his professional development. Andrew attended many Leadership Institute trainings, interned at several conservative organizations, and networked and followed up with everyone he met. Most importantly, Andrew worked hard to build his reputation as a results-oriented and dynamic leader.When asked what he most looked forward to in his new role, Andrew said he was excited to partner with thousands of Heritage donors, committed patriots who are deeply concerned about the future of their country. Andrew enjoys his role as a “philanthropic consultant,” who can hear the dreams and concerns of donors and match them with Heritage's vision and mission.Going back to his early days as a Leadership Institute intern, Andrew remembered how working for Morton influenced his career: “My favorite memories are the many meaningful interactions I had with Morton. Whether it was something as simple as going over a project, or more in-depth conversations, I always left with a pearl of wisdom. Morton exemplifies many of the qualities I try to embody as a leader; humble with a selfless commitment to conservative principles.”In addition to this, Andrew has fond memories of living in the Fred Sacher House, the National Fourth of July Conservative Soirée, and the long-lasting friendships he made. In his free time, Andrew enjoys spending time with his one-year-old daughter Lottie and his wife, Haley. The McIndoes live on Capitol Hill and mentor Heritage interns as Resident Advisors in the E.W. Richardson Building. Andrew enjoys spending time in the kitchen with food and wine, playing golf, and travelling. In addition, Andrew just received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and looks forward to bringing a business/private sector ethos into his new role.
Capital in the Capital
Matthew Patterson
October 1, 2018
Capital in the Capital
Do you want to work in the Capitol or Capital? Many people often confuse the two words; with one letter of difference, it's an easy mistake. Whether you want to work in the capitol building or capital city, you should know about the different types of capital, each of which has a unique impact on your life.Social CapitalYour network is your net worth. We have all heard this phrase or a variation of it, particularly if you are in the D.C. area, and it cannot be truer. Not only does knowing more people expand your available opportunities when searching for a job, it can also make you more valuable to the job you have now. If you can pick up the phone and completely bypass the chain of command, you will be invaluable.via GIPHYOne of the most common issues people run into is how to effectively build your social capital and expand it outside of the workplace. One thing you should remember is that everyone you want to have a connection with is a person too. They have (fairly) normal lives, going out to eat, shopping, to the park, so on and so forth. Meeting people at these places, outside the office, can help lead to a great network in the Capital.Human CapitalLiving in the Capital can be a change of pace for those not used to the D.C. scene. As someone coming from a small town in East Tennessee, it was certainly a change for me. One aspect of your capital that can be left on the back burner during this transition is your human capital.via GIPHYYour human capital is your health, and with all the great places to grab a bite to eat or get a drink, it can be easy to not pay this much mind! However, those couple nights out and networking lunches can catch up with you. To help with this, D.C. offers many ways to help with your day to day health, including parks, trails, health food stores, and too many gyms to choose from! Its also important for your human capital to get some adequate sleep; you should never fall asleep at your office because of that Capital night life!Financial CapitalIf there is one thing everyone living in D.C. can agree on, it's not cheap! With some of the highest rent and cost of living in the country, it can be easy to find yourself on a strapped budget. It's important to save money, but up in the Capital it can be hard to justify putting that capital back in the bank.via GIPHYThe little things can help make this a lot easier such as taking the metro or bus instead of Uber, or shopping at Trader Joes instead of Whole Foods. Sure, it might not be as glamorous, but the pay off will be when you're not worried about those plane tickets home or that anniversary with your significant other.
LI Alumni Advice: Mariah Bastin – Never Stop Learning
Stuart Monk
August 27, 2018
LI Alumni Advice: Mariah Bastin – Never Stop Learning
Last week, I had the privilege of sitting down with one of Leadership Institute's alumni, Mariah M. M. Bastin, who now works as a Public Affairs Specialist at the Department of State. Mariah is both a graduate of LI's intern program and a former staff member, hired after finishing her internship. She shared with me some of the keys to her career success and some of the wisdom she has gained in her journey. First, you need to know something important about Mariah: she's a rockstar.By the time she was twenty-two, Mariah was fluent in three languages, earned a Master of International Affairs, and worked at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Considering that, you would think she would have gone right to the State Department out of graduate school, but she didn't.Mariah applied to a highly competitive program, the Presidential Management Fellows Program, and then packed her bags to fly to Washington, DC for the first time. The application process and subsequent placement took nearly two years.It was during that time Mariah learned about LI.Mariah had gotten involved in politics only in her last year of graduate school, so she didn't know much about the conservative movement when she arrived. I asked Mariah what drew her to the Leadership Institute and to apply to its intern program. For her, it was the opportunity to learn.“If you really want to learn and understand what the conservative movement is, not just kind of go through life claiming to be part of it, then LI is the place to go,” said Mariah.While at the Leadership Institute, Mariah interned in the Communications Trainings department. I asked her what she took away from that experience, and she said she learned a long time ago that everything comes down to communications: relationships, projects, life in general. In her internship, she learned how to communicate well and to teach others.Her advice for young professionals when it comes to communication: learn to write a proper email and use appropriate etiquette in person. Your first impression when meeting someone for coffee isn't your smile or handshake; it's the emails you sent to arrange the meeting, so learn to communicate well by email.Also, learn how to be cordial in all conversations. While you can share jokes and relax around some colleagues, some people expect you to be professional 24/7. It's important to know the difference.Mariah lives by the philosophy that everyone should be a lifelong learner. Something her parents taught her from a young age is that “there is always something to learn from an experience.” Everything you learn has an impact, even if you don't know how it will in the future.“Take things moment by moment, day by day, experience by experience.” Mariah did just that and now has her dream job, working at the State Department.The philosophy of lifelong learning is more than just gaining knowledge. It is about equipping yourself to thrive not just in the here and now but also in the future. Mariah's approach to life is to learn from everything: the great experiences, the bad ones, and all the small things in between. She continues to do that every day.I'll leave you with Mariah's final and most important piece of advice: “Always seek out where you can be of assistance and where you can make someone else's life easier, either professionally or personally.”The Leadership Institute (LI) has trained more than 200,000 activists, leaders, and students. Like Mariah, many of those graduates have gone on to do remarkable things.
Sail Through Your Phone Interview
Ben Woodward
August 20, 2018
Sail Through Your Phone Interview
With many great applicants applying to work in the conservative movement, more and more recruiters rely on phone interviews to save time and determine whom they want to meet in person. Many jobseekers overstress to the detriment of their preparation. However, if you have a phone interview, you already have reason to be happy; the recruiter would not waste their time if you did not show potential.For phone interviews, you don't have to worry about finding the location or presenting the right body language, and you can have all your notes laid out in front of you. Take it seriously, however, and prepare in the same ways you would for an in-person interview.via GIPHYBefore the Phone InterviewPreparation is everything! In the early stages of screening, the interviewer will expect you to establish why you're qualified for the role, an appreciation of the organization and its mission, and proof you're a normal human being.Research the organization's website, social media, annual reports, and recent news; use that information to establish why you're motivated to work for the organization. The recruiter will expect you to know the fundamentals of what the organization does and the contribution it makes to the movement.Research yourself. This might sound strange, but it's important to know your employment history and what you've accomplished in previous positions. This research will serve as your validation when asked why you're qualified for the job and what value you can create for the organization.Find a quiet place where you can lay out your notes, and not be disturbed. You should notify anyone who might interrupt that you're doing an interview. If you're so inclined, wear business attire to get in the right frame of mind.via GIPHYDuring the Phone Interview Answer the phone confidently as you would at work and introduce yourself. Take notes as the interviewer is speaking about the details of the interview and their name so you can use it in conversation. Listen carefully to the interviewer and be careful not to cut them off in conversation. When you speak, do so confidentially, and emphasize the tone of your voice to convey friendliness since the interviewer can't see you. Keep your answers succinct. If the interviewer has to cut you off, it probably means your answers are too long. Also, if you're asked a tough question, don't be afraid to ask for a moment to think about your answer. This shows you're conscientious and is far better than rushing in unprepared. Finally, at the end of your interview, you should be prepared with questions. Ask the interviewer their favorite thing about working for the organization and what the dynamics of your team would be like.After the Phone InterviewSend a thank you note to the interviewer. Immediately after your interview, write one and be sure to include details which evidence it was written personally for them, i.e., what you enjoyed about the interview. Have it in the mail that day. If you doubt the letter will get there on time, send an email.Play the waiting game. This is arguably the hardest part of an interview and can be frustrating if the recruiter takes too long. If there was no indication of a timeline given to you by the interviewer, send a polite email a week after the interview requesting a status update. If you receive no response, move on.Phone interviews can be hard, but if you know how to handle them, you'll easily impress recruiters and move on to the in-person interview. Good luck! via GIPHY
10 Common Mistakes at Job Fairs, Trainings, and Networking Events
Carmen Diaz
July 6, 2018
10 Common Mistakes at Job Fairs, Trainings, and Networking Events
Last month the Conservative Partnership Institute held an Executive Branch Job Fair on Capitol Hill. I had the opportunity to work this event. More than 1000 job-seekers registered! I met men and women who drove hours and flew into D.C. that morning. Events such as these are fantastic opportunities to build your network, and who knows, maybe even secure a job. Unfortunately, many people make needless mistakes that leave a bad impression. Below are the top 10 common mistakes you should avoid.1. Not coming at allIf you can't afford to attend, or you're worried you may be underqualified, contact the manager of the event. Trust me, they want high attendance! Financial and travel resources may be available for students and interns. Similarly, if you registered but are unable to attend, it is thoughtful to notify managers beforehand.2. Incorrect name tag etiquetteName tags should be provided at events, but feel free to have a printed one always on hand. A tag should be placed on the upper right side of your chest with both your first and last name. 3. Dressing inappropriatelyIf a training doesn't specify dress code, business casual is the general rule of thumb. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed. Your next interviewer could be in the room.4. Typing your notesIt is proven that handwriting notes helps retain more information. For the sake of professionalism and to prevent distraction, avoid using your laptop and phone completely.5. Being afraid to ask questionsTake full advantage of the time you are given with experts. Write notes and questions throughout the lecture so your memory is fresh for the Q&A period. via GIPHY6. Not introducing yourself to staff and speakersI always remember friendly attendees who introduce themselves and shake hands. Saying a simple thank you shows respect to event organizers and speakers who've made the effort to be there.7. Sitting next to a friendInterns of the Leadership Institute are encouraged to attend as many trainings and workshops possible. There is only one rule: don't sit next to each other. Socializing with the guy you recognize from last week is a waste of a networking opportunity.8. Not completing evaluationsYou've invested time and money into attending an event hoping to learn something new. If you're unhappy or have suggestions, you owe it to yourself and your peers to give honest feedback. Organizers review comments carefully so programs continually improve.9. Treating this as a coffee dateNow is not the time to either share your life story or recite your resume. To a speaker who may be in a rush to another event or staff member who is busy managing the event, this is rude and will definitely be remembered for the wrong reasons. Introduce yourself, collect contact information, and follow up with an email.10. Not following upLike networking events, you haven't made a connection until you follow up. You may now schedule a personal meeting with your new contacts and ask the rest of your questions - but perhaps still refrain from sharing your life story.via GIPHY
Conservative on a Budget
Carmen Diaz
June 25, 2018
Conservative on a Budget
When you seek out a new job or internship, it's important to find a position that will value your time, education, and experience. While it never hurts to practice your negotiation skills, many people new to the workforce fail to realize it's not how much you make, it's how much you keep.Budgeting is often a foreign concept to students and young professionals, who mistakenly think money management requires either an accountant or mathematician. Today, resources for all levels of financial education are available, and I suggest you discover a method that is realistic and suitable for you. via GIPHY Here are three easy ways to manage your budget.Grab a calculator, and recall a conservative's favorite word: F.R.E.E.Fun (15%)For the sake of our own sanity, we all want to use our salary for fun. You work hard, and you deserve to indulge yourself. Remember, part of a successful internship is to enjoy your experience in a new city. Just be smart about it; an intern salary can disappear quickly.Return (5-10%)Set aside 5-10% of your income to “Return”, or give back, to your community. Give to your church, or find a cause personally significant to you. Within the conservative movement alone, there are countless foundations whose efforts rely on generous donors.Emergency (10%)10% of your earnings should be placed in a savings account, investment fund, or used to pay off existing debt. If your car suddenly needs a repair or you have a medical emergency, you will be grateful to have a fund readily available.Essential (65-70%)Calculate 65-70% of your monthly income to cover all your “Essential” expenses. Presumably, the majority of your income will go towards your groceries, housing, transportation, phone bill, etc. Acknowledge your financial weaknesses, and determine how to overcome them.Figure out how much those daily coffeehouse visits, lunches, dinners, etc. are costing you, and identify ways you can save money.Prepare your meals the day before; learn to love the office coffee; and find free events where food is served. Perhaps your comrades influence your lavish spending. Communication is key; inform your peers about your new habits and you should not only gain their respect, but may also encourage them to establish wise spending habits of their own.via GIPHY Create separate bank accounts for separate purposes.I recommend you have at least three separate bank accounts. At the beginning of each month, calculate your expenses i.e. food, rent, bills, and more. Remember, most of the money in your account has already been spent on essentials, so make sure your current account is an accurate portrayal of your spare income.Place 10% of your overall income into a separate savings account you can use later. You'll be glad it's there when an unexpected expense arise or you need a vacation. You third and final account is your current account, the money you really have left to spend on yourself this month. Start to develop responsible spending habits now to prepare your future self for any possible circumstance. No matter how impressive your income is, you'll find yourself financially struggling if you spend irresponsibly and don't keep track of where your hard-earned cash is going! Wise money management can determine your financial future as much as your income, so remember conservatives, live F.R.E.Evia GIPHY
Who is making those incredible graphics?
Patricia Simpson Rausch
June 20, 2018
Who is making those incredible graphics?
Enjoy getting to know Melanie Aycock, LI's new Graphic Design Coordinator. This is an informal interview series with employees of the Leadership Institute to let you get to know us beyond our trainings. The questions ask them to describe what makes them tick and their experience with LI at various levels. What made you want to work at the Leadership Institute?I was first attracted to LI after learning about its mission and impact on the conservative movement. I love how the organization is action-oriented, but not hysteric. But after hearing about the company culture during my interviews, I knew LI was for me!What unique skills and background do you bring to your new position and how do you hope to utilize them? I earned degrees in both Graphic Communications and Political Science, so this position at LI is the perfect intersection of my interests and skills. During my time in school, I also interned in the Creative Department of the Heritage Foundation and served remotely as a Graphic Designer for YAF. I hope to use the skills I learned from these experiences to help communicate LI's message effectively and—well—make things pretty??If you moved here from another area, how does the DC area differ from your hometown?I am originally from the Suburgatory of metro Atlanta (Suwanee), but I spent the last four years in the middle-of-nowhere, South Carolina (Clemson). As you can imagine, DC/Arlington is certainly a change of pace—more exciting and much louder!Who has had the most impact on your political philosophy?I know they often get a bad rap, but my professors honestly had the most impact on my political philosophy. I fully exhausted Clemson's selection of political theory courses, so I have those professors to thank for teaching me the fundamentals of politics and law while encouraging me to think for myself.What is the last book you read and how would you describe it to get others to read it?Atlas Shrugged. Who is John Galt?What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?I love trying new things—exploring the city, trying unique food, attempting (key word) random work-out classes, and signing up for activities I've never tried before (…softball…). I also love running, hiking, and walking (I'm kind of like a dog).If you could visit any destination in the world, where would it be and why? Vienna, Austria. Because who wouldn't want to visit Hayek's hometown?If you got to choose a group lunch outing, what type of food would everyone be eating?MediterraneanWhat is your favorite family tradition? Every Thanksgiving, my entire family goes down to my aunt's farm in Dublin, Georgia (the middle-of-nowhere… are you noticing a pattern?). We eat a ton of food, go on nature walks, and shoot guns (of course).What are your thoughts about pineapple on pizza?Keep your fruit off my pizza.
Who is LI? Meet Ron.
Patricia Simpson Rausch
May 31, 2018
Who is LI? Meet Ron.
Ron NehringHometown: San Diego, CATitle: Director of International Training, Leadership InstituteYears at LI: 3Q. What is your position at the Leadership Institute and what is the easiest way to describe what you do to those who might not be familiar with LI?A. I'm the Director of International Programs for the Leadership Institute. I work with today's and tomorrow's conservative leaders around the world and help them to improve their skills in organizing and communicating. We take the Leadership Institute's proven techniques global.Q. Did you have a different position when you first started at LI? How did you harness what you learned in that position to succeed in your current position?A. Seventeen years ago I started lecturing as a volunteer expert faculty member for the Leadership Institute. It was rewarding way for me to support LI after LI did so much to help me get started in my career, starting with the first LI program I attended in college nearly 30 years ago.Q. What is your favorite part about your job?A. As a lecturer, you can really tell when people in an audience are tuned in and really listening to what you're teaching. Those are the future leaders – conservatives who have the right philosophy and really want to get the skills to win. When I'm presenting around the world, and the participants are dialed in and start asking great questions, you know they're going to put their new skills to work.Q. Is there something you've been able to do while working at LI that you never, in a million years, would think you would be able to do? What was it?A. My team developed a presentation on how the Russian government engaged in information warfare directed at both the United States and our allies around the world. As a result of giving that presentation, I've been contacted to testify before the parliament of a close American ally to shed light on how the Russian intelligence agencies and troll farms operate. Q. What makes LI different from other places to work?A. LI is mission oriented. I have the flexibility to take advantage of new opportunities to share proven public policy strategies and tactics.
Madeline Rainwater -- 2012 Intern Back at LI
Patricia Simpson Rausch
May 23, 2018
Madeline Rainwater -- 2012 Intern Back at LI
Enjoy getting to know Madeline Rainwater, LI's new Junior Systems Technician. This is an informal interview series with employees of the Leadership Institute to let you get to know us beyond our trainings. The questions ask them to describe what makes them tick and their experience with LI at various levels.1. What made you want to work at the Leadership Institute? It's actually more a question of what's kept me from working at the Leadership Institute. After I interned at LI in 2012, I knew I wanted to come back in some capacity, but I just didn't have the right skillset at the time, and wasn't sure what I wanted to do long term. I've spent the last few years in a variety of different workplaces, and have since discovered that I love technology and I still love LI. I'm very happy to be back!2. What unique skills and background do you bring to your new position and how do you hope to use them? I have a background in communications and customer service, both very applicable for a junior technician. It's easy to get lost in technological terms and concepts, and I hope to be a guide and resource to everyone at LI.3. How does the DC area differ from your hometown? I used to live in Chico, California, which is in a lot of ways the polar opposite of DC. It's mostly agricultural land and more of a Mediterranean climate. 4. Who has had the most impact on your political philosophy? Frederic Bastiat. The Law was nothing short of a total shift for me and how I thought of government policy, and also was my first real introduction to libertarian-inclined philosophy.5. If you could visit any destination in the world, where would it be and why? New Zealand – the scenery alone would make the trip worth it for me!6. What is your favorite family tradition? Every year after Thanksgiving, my parents buy a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, and asks that everyone help to complete it before New Year's day. It's a great way for people to engage in an activity together without making things overly structured, and it's so satisfying to play a part in something with the whole family.7. What are your thoughts about pineapple on pizza? A quality Hawaiian pizza can be hard to find, but if you pretend that the sweet-tart pineapple and salty Canadian bacon doesn't work well together, you're just wrong.
Nick Freitas: the true nature of conservative philosophy
Abbey Lee
May 9, 2018
Nick Freitas: the true nature of conservative philosophy
The Leadership Institute's monthly Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast came again on May 2, this time featuring a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Nick Freitas.An up and coming Republican and popular advocate of the liberty movement, Nick spoke about the foundational values and motivations we hold dear as conservatives and libertarians. Sadly, we often forget to explain these core principles in our war with the left. And then the left grossly misrepresents the right.Nick illustrated three core principles that demonstrate the true nature of conservative philosophy when contrasted with the philosophy of the left. The left's philosophy of government control over each individual stands in stark contrast to the freedoms conservatives fight for -- individual liberty, free markets, and equal justice before the law.“People are not just a cog in a government machine,” said Nick. “They're not playthings for politicians or some sort of ruling political elite to move around their cosmic chess board in order to reorient society in the way they think it should be run.”Individual liberty, free markets, and equal justice before the law allow the individual not only freedom from the government machine, but also freedom to offer creative and individual solutions to problems.“Government is often the most violent, least creative way to solve a problem,” said Nick.Nick's words reminded me why we continue to promote conservative and libertarian principles. Our instinct as conservatives is to believe in the great potential of each person, trusting that they can choose for themselves, instead of looking to the government each time a problem arises.Nick Freitas is one of many notable members of the movement to speak at the monthly Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast, including Star Parker, Grover Norquist, Ryan Anderson, Kellyanne Conway, and many more. Watch these and other past breakfast speakers here. And if you're in the Washington, D.C. area, join me and other conservatives on the first Wednesday of every month for another incredible talk on contemporary conservative politics! You can register for the next breakfast here.
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