Hannah-Catherine -- from TV News Reporter to Media Trainer
Patricia Simpson Rausch
May 4, 2018
Hannah-Catherine -- from TV News Reporter to Media Trainer
Enjoy getting to know Hannah-Catherine Smith, LI's new Communications Training and Studios Coordinator. This is an informal interview series with employees of the Leadership Institute to let you get to know us beyond our trainings. The questions ask them to describe what makes them tick and their experience with LI at various levels.What made you want to work at the Leadership Institute? I wanted to work at the Leadership Institute because I truly believe in the value of education and equipping students with the necessary tools to be successful.During my internship at The Heritage Foundation, I learned a tremendous amount about public policy and how conservative policy can positively impact our local, national, and global community. With my communications background, I realized the importance of effectively disseminating these messages, particularly through media.LI seemed like the perfect marriage of education and conservative values. I am so excited to be in the field I love for a cause I believe in.What unique skills and background do you bring to your new position and how do you hope to use them? I was a television news reporter here in Northern Virginia for about a year after college. I covered Fairfax, Prince William, Arlington, Loudon, and Fauquier Counties so I know the area very well and am excited to be in the NOVA community!I was a multi-media journalist which basically means I did absolutely everything by myself. That meant pitching stories, shooting and editing all of my video, reporting, writing, and even going live on-camera alone. I also worked the nightside shift, so that came with its own challenges. My first job stretched me in a variety of ways because I had to learn so much, so quickly. Although it was hard work, I'm so thankful for the spectrum of skills I gained from that experience and can't wait to apply them at LI.Because I was a member of the media, I understand how reporters think, and most importantly, how media bias happens. I think it's so important to train conservative leaders for success in communications. If you moved here from another area, how does the DC area differ from your hometown? I'm from the D.C. area! I grew up in Huntingtown, MD (right on the Chesapeake Bay) and am so happy to be here to stay!Who has had the most impact on your political philosophy? I look up to my dad for my political philosophy the most. He's a colonel in the United States Air Force, so I grew up with an understanding of service to one's country.For my father, his service stems from a posture of gratitude to those who came before him, something I believe to be a key piece of conservatism. I admire him for being part of something greater than himself, putting mission first and people always.What are your thoughts about pineapple on pizza? As a conservative, I respect each individual's liberty to live how they choose, but for me, pineapple on pizza is a hard pass.
Negotiate the Salary You Deserve
Ben Woodward
April 30, 2018
Negotiate the Salary You Deserve
Salary negotiation is among the most awkward topics of conversation to have with your boss or potential employer. Salary is a taboo subject, something to be kept private. The only problem is, when we are so used to avoiding it, we get out of practice when the topic emerges. Most would rather accept the first offer for fear of seeing a job offer or promotion withdrawn. However, negotiating your salary is important, not only to ensure you get the best compensation for your skills but also to set the trajectory for future raises. Remember, each increase in your salary is based on the previous number, meaning any raise you negotiate will benefit your career forever. via GIPHYHere are eight tips for a successful salary negotiation.1. Salary negotiation typically happens during a job offer or review.Your potential boss should begin the negotiation process when they offer you the job. At that point, they will offer you a number, and you will make a counter offer. Remember, you can also ask for a raise during a six month or annual review. If your boss doesn't automatically offer a review after an agreed amount of time, don't be afraid to request one. 2. There's more to consider about a job offer than money.When finding a new job, remember money is not the only factor to deliberate. You should consider whom you‘d be working for, your career trajectory, and how challenged you'll feel in the job. There is no sense in taking a well-paying job if your career stagnates after a couple of years because there is no room for growth. 3. You can negotiate outside of your salary.Even if your boss cannot budge on pay, you can negotiate elsewhere. For example, perhaps there is an option for a signing bonus, more vacation time, increased retirement contributions, or they can pay for skills training. 4. Do your research before going into the negotiation.Before going into negotiation, you should equip yourself with adequate knowledge so you can make reasonable requests. Look carefully at the sector you'll be working in; non-profits pay less than the private sector and campaigns pay less than non-profits. Also, carefully consider where you'll be living and the costs associated, as well as the size of the organization and the market value of your skills. via GIPHY5. Know where to look.To understand the salary you should be negotiating, there are many resources available to you. For jobs in the government or on Capitol Hill, sites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other public records can be helpful. Other sites like Glassdoor and Payscale.com are great for the private sector and non-profit jobs, and 990's are useful for non-profits too. Also, if you feel comfortable, have a conversation with your network. 6. Don't say a specific number, give a range.When you are asked about your salary requirements, give a range rather than a specific number. Remember, it's a negotiation, not a demand. If you're hoping for $50k per year, I recommend you say you would like to make $48k - $55k. If they can't meet your minimum, don't forget, you can negotiate other benefits. 7. Don't accept the first offer they give you; ask for time to consider.If you're nervous about the negotiation process, thank them for the offer and ask for a day/the weekend to think about it. When you speak with them the next day, be ready with your counter offer. Remember, when you're making your counter offer to emphasize your value, not why you need more money. 8. Stay positive and respectful.Remember to keep the negotiation civil. Consistently highlight your interest in the position and your excitement at the prospect of working there. Remember, you are going to have to work for this person after the negotiation is over. Finally, salary negotiations are awkward, but if you handle them correctly, you will come away with a better employment deal, which will continue to benefit your career for years to come.via GIPHY
Who is LI?  Meet Jared.
Patricia Simpson
April 10, 2018
Who is LI? Meet Jared.
Jared ReniHometown: Provo, UTTitle: Director of Communications Training and Studios, 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 am the Director of Communications Training and Studios. In my role, I help conservative activists gain skills in communications through our training programs. I also partner with Leadership Institute staff and other organizations to provide studio space and support for their video projects.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. I've been fortunate to see my role at the Leadership Institute expand since being here. I started off as a temp, then became the Communications Training Manager, then became the Director, and most recently, added the studios to my area of responsibility.I learned fairly quickly that working hard, thinking outside the box, and leading with sound vision and ideas does not go unnoticed at the Leadership Institute. I was given a lot of trust and freedom in my role early on, which allowed me to really hit the ground running and accomplish a lot more than I would have if I were put inside a box. I've used that freedom to be very flexible in the way that I go about accomplishing my goals, and it's helped me improve each year.Q. What is your favorite part about your job?A. There are so many aspects to my job that I love. Aside from the freedom I already mentioned, I get a lot of satisfaction out of working together with partner organizations to provide training to their staff or at conferences. I can usually spot the moment when they realize that what they're learning is gold, and that's always a good feeling for me. This obviously wouldn't be possible without the support of our donors and our volunteer faculty.Q. Is there something you've been able to do while working here that you never, in a million years, would think you would be able to do? What was it?A. This one's easy. I never in a million years thought that I would be a studio director! Our donors have really set us up with an amazing resource at LI, and I consider myself blessed to be able to put it to use each day.Q. What makes LI different from other places to work?A. LI possesses a really unique space within the conservative movement, in that we are able to work on behalf of the entire movement. We don't really touch political issues from any angle, and that helps me to feel like I'm never compromising my own beliefs for the sake of politics or otherwise. I'll just add that the culture at the Leadership Institute is awesome!
The Next Generation: Episode 2018
Andrew Walter
March 14, 2018
The Next Generation: Episode 2018
Victory in politics is the direct result of the number and effectiveness of the activists behind it.This is one of the valuable lessons I took away from the Leadership Institute's flagship training, the Youth Leadership School, last November. It became clear to me that this is true, and the Leadership Institute is the best source to better understand political technology. This drove me to pursue an internship at the Leadership Institute.Like other interns at the Leadership Institute, I had read political books, assisted campaigns, and led a campus organization. But I knew the invaluable experience gained from the Leadership Institute would take my passion for advancing liberty to the next step and make me an effective leader in the movement.The professional skills, networking, and daily understanding of the most effective political technology means wherever my career takes me, LI has set me up with the confidence, skills, and knowledge to make liberty win.This semester's class is even bringing the expertise of LI to places across the globe. “I look forward to using my training in LI to help liberty flourish in my home country, Peru,” said development intern Javier Alban.The message of freedom is strong, and with the right training, conservatives can effectively make it a reality everywhere. If you would like to be part of the next generation of effective activists as a Leadership Institute intern, find out more about the program here.
Count Your Blessings: LI Grad New Missouri Speaker Pro Tem
Thomas Bingham & Carol Wehe
November 22, 2017
Count Your Blessings: LI Grad New Missouri Speaker Pro Tem
Every day conservatives fight to gain control of Congress to stop the radical left agenda. It is imperative to elect principled conservatives to office at every level of government.That's why, at a time when we're supposed to count our blessings, I give thanks for representatives like Elijah Haahr in Missouri, and the many other principled conservative Leadership Institute (LI) graduates already in office who work to make our country a better place.Elijah realized the importance of putting conservatives into office early on."Raised in a conservative family, I started volunteering on political campaigns at the age of 10,” Elijah said.Twenty years later, at just 30 years old, Elijah ran for and won his first campaign. He decided to run for an open seat in the Missouri House of Representatives, District 134 in 2012. After winning his primary with more than 20% of the vote, he went on to win the general election against James Owen. Now, at 35, he still holds his elected seat, is an active member of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, and just this fall was elected to be the next Speaker of the House starting in January 2019.Why is it important that Elijah Haahr is so successful at winning elections and being an effective representative? It's not easy.To be an effective candidate, he had to learn how to campaign, fundraise, develop his message, and anticipate negative coverage.As the new Speaker Pro Tem, Elijah Haahr said he greatly benefited from Leadership Institute trainings and his experience working on campaigns.“My parents discovered the Leadership Institute, and I attended several LI courses as a teenager,” Elijah said. “The lessons learned on running and winning campaigns, along with the philosophical foundation LI provided, I still use in my campaigns and political work today."Not only was Elijah a student at Leadership Institute as a teenager, he took LI's Future Candidate School in 2009, just three years before he ran and won in 2012.Future Candidate School is a four-day boot camp which prepares conservatives to run for office. Students at Future Candidate School learn how to get involved, drive support for an issue or candidate, organize activists in large or small groups for maximum impact, communicate more effectively, use the media to help advance an issue, build personal leadership skills, abilities, and confidence.Elijah Haahr is not the only Leadership Institute graduate to get elected to public office. More than 36 Leadership Institute graduates are serving members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. And 504 Leadership Institute graduates are members of State Legislatures, along with Elijah.So, while you're finding leaders, family, and friends to be thankful for this week, you can also consider taking the same leap Elijah did to learn how to effectively campaign and then to run and win public office. The next Future Candidate School will be held December 5-8, 2017. To register for the Future Candidate School click here.Join me in congratulating Elijah Haahr on his new role as Speaker of the House in January 2019, and in giving thanks this Thanksgiving for the hardworking conservatives willing to serve as elected leaders.>
Social Conservatives “must win in politics”
Abbey Lee
October 25, 2017
Social Conservatives “must win in politics”
“Politics is a shaping part of culture. It's where we determine what's good, what's true, what's just, what's right, what's moral, and it's where we determine what's beyond the pale and acceptable.”On October 4, Terry Schilling visited the members of the Leadership Institute's Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast to speak frankly about progress in the social conservative movement. Terry, the Executive Director of the American Principles Project, has worked in many areas of the nonprofit world, including communications, development, and grassroots. An Illinois native, he has worked with several state and local candidates, among them his father, Rep. Bobby Schilling. Addressing the attendees, he spoke from experience in the work he has dedicated to the cause. He has witnessed how abortion has become more and more acceptable in American culture simply because it has been made legal. Terry urges those who stand for traditional, conservative values to support and invest in those causes. “Social conservatives are in danger of losing everything, and it's because we've abdicated our duty and responsibility to invest in politics,” Terry said. For too long, the right has merely defended themselves against attacks from the left. Social conservatives must do more than educate themselves and vote. It is their duty to play offense and invest in the future of the conservative movement to maintain the traditional values held dear. He parts with impactful words, saying, “Not only can we win, but we must win in politics because the future of America depends on it.” Leadership Institute's Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast hosts conservative speakers and attendees for breakfast on the first Wednesday of each month. To become a breakfast club member, visit this link.>
Studio Wizard Jared Reni Named Employee of the Quarter
Carol Wehe
October 19, 2017
Studio Wizard Jared Reni Named Employee of the Quarter
On Wednesday, October 18, Morton Blackwell announced Jared Reni as Employee of the Quarter at the Leadership Institute staff meeting. Strong applause met Jared as he walked to the front of the room."In addition to directing the Communications Training Division, Jared has gone above and beyond his job description to support every department at LI," Morton said."Jared has taught himself how to operate LI's studio equipment and has made sure the equipment and resources are available to all of LI. The work Jared has done allows for higher quality trainings, webinars, and online programs," Morton continued. "And, These additional efforts have not come at the expense of Communications Training. Jared and Autumn held 39 training programs and trained 474 attendees in the last quarter alone."Jared is now Director of Communications Training and Studio Programs and runs communications training with Autumn Campbell on his team.More cheers met Morton's request to join him "in congratulating LI's employee of the quarter -- Jared Reni." >
Christian Libertarian Environmentalist Capitalist Lunatic Farmer Fights Big Gov't
Abbey Lee
September 21, 2017
Christian Libertarian Environmentalist Capitalist Lunatic Farmer Fights Big Gov't
The first Wednesday of September, conservatives from all backgrounds gathered to hear Joel Salatin. Joel, a self-proclaimed Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer, offered a refreshing perspective at the September Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast. He shared stories about his own issues with government intervention as a small-scale Virginia farmer. “Food, the water we drink, and the air we breathe are in common.” Often, conservatives and libertarians focus on individualism, but Joel, co-owner of Polyface Farm, argues that food freedom and the danger of government intervention in small farms and businesses is of concern to us all. He shared one story about a time when friends and neighbors urged Joel to create and sell what he called “Polyface hot pockets” or meat pies made from livestock on his farm. When the inspectors discovered he didn't have a bathroom in the industrial kitchen designed to make the hot pockets, he was told he couldn't sell them at all. Joel explains, “Whenever a regulatory context is prejudicial against ‘small,' it is a bad regulation.” He has a product, and consumers who are willing to buy the product, but government regulations halt progress in its tracks by forcing him -- a small business owner -- to build a $30,000 bathroom. Joel witnesses firsthand how regulations discourage entrepreneurial spirit and keep consumer-desired products out of the market. Watch Joel's entire talk here and join us at our next breakfast with Terry Schilling, the executive director of American Principles Project, on October 4. >
LI Graduate Makes a Difference for D.C. Kids
Autumn Campbell
August 25, 2017
LI Graduate Makes a Difference for D.C. Kids
Ashley Carter set the bar high in 2016. As the only Republican D.C. elected last year, she is also the only Republican woman elected to this at-large seat in D.C. history.Ashley's passion for her community combined with her upbeat personality set her on track to win last election season.Ashley Carter is a long-time graduate of the Leadership Institute. I followed up with Ashley after she took LI's TV Workshop, On-camera.Since she won the election, Ashley has addressed educational issues through her three-pronged approach: (1) Raise the graduation rate; (2) Push for more career training and technical education resources; and (3) Add more trained volunteers and nonprofit resources to the classroom. School choice is a priority for Ashley. Over the next four years, Ashley plans to push for excellence in education through more school voucher opportunities.Ashley credits her success to listening to the members of her community.“It's less about party and more about the community,” Ashley says.If implementing conservative education policy isn't enough, Ashley stays active through her volunteer work, training for a half marathon, and serving as Director of Coalitions at the Independent Women's Forum.Ashley offered advice to conservative activists: “You're going to face adversity, but you just need to keep going. Had I stopped, I wouldn't be where I am today.”While Ashley continues the conservative fight for Washington, D.C.'s education, what's her challenge to fellow conservatives?“Don't shy away from your beliefs!”This is an update on LI's August 24, 2016 blog post. Read this blog post here.The Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,876 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 188,000 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.>
Dr. William Murphy -- When LI Grads Succeed, Conservatism Succeeds
Ben Woodward
August 23, 2017
Dr. William Murphy -- When LI Grads Succeed, Conservatism Succeeds
Often in politics, there are doers, and there are thinkers.The doers knock on doors, build organizations, and lobby for their movement. The thinkers research and compose policy proposals; they're academics who shape the way we see the world. Both are assets to the conservative movement, and both are necessary to succeed.Dr. William Murphy encompasses both qualities.A Professor at the New England Institute of Technology, Dr. Murphy specializes in U.S. foreign policy and national security. He is a veteran, Harvard graduate, former President at Peak Performance Technology Partners, and was Finance Director at Bateman for Congress in 1992 where he first met Leadership Institute President, Morton Blackwell.But it's his next project that's potentially his most exciting yet! After discussing his plans with Morton, Dr. Murphy intends to establish an advocacy based organization which will campaign to make Congress more efficient at requesting information from the executive branch. Good Government Now will promote four key proposals for strengthening legislative oversight and investigative capabilities: Rule of information requests and subpoenas, create inherent contempt enforcement procedures, resurrect and reinvigorate criminal contempt enforcement, and increase civil contempt enforcement statute. Dr. Murphy says that the Leadership Institute has been invaluable in his career. Not only through the skills he has learned in the many trainings he attended, such as LI's Television and Digital Communications Workshops, and Fundraising Training, but also because he can network with LI's expert faculty who have provided him with the guidance to succeed. “I have benefitted immeasurably from LI's outstanding training programs. LI's presidential transition support operations, as well as the excellent coaching and career services it offers, are invaluable resources."Besides the army, Dr. Murphy says that there is no organization he feels such loyalty for than LI. “Everyone there is unselfish and dedicated to the cause,” he said.The Leadership Institute is proud to call Dr. William Murphy a graduate.Countless successes have been won by the Leadership Institute's 189,476 graduates. Some have been elected to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, others work for the Administration, lead nonprofits, and are winning for conservatism across the world. When LI graduates succeed, the conservative movement succeeds. Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, works with more than 1,878 conservative student groups, and helps employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 189,476 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.>
ADF’s Alan Sears and LI’s Morton Blackwell Friends in Liberty
Carol Wehe
August 9, 2017
ADF’s Alan Sears and LI’s Morton Blackwell Friends in Liberty
It is often said, our role models challenge us to become our best self. In the case of Alan Sears, one of his role models taught him valuable lessons to be successful in conservative politics. Alan Sears, former President of Alliance Defending Freedom (1993-2017), first crossed paths with LI President Morton Blackwell in 1967 in Kentucky. They've been through the gamut of conservative politics through the years – on campaigns, in the Reagan administration, and as presidents of two non-profits. “When I worked in the Reagan administration, when I worked in the private law firm, everything I have done had the hand of Morton in it,” Alan said. Back then, Alan was a college student and left school for a few semesters to work on a campaign in Kentucky. At the same time, Morton was the Executive Director of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) and ran the youth campaign for Louie B. Nunn for Governor of Kentucky. “My relationship and knowledge of Morton Blackwell dates back to, unbelievably, 1967 in Kentucky,” Alan recalls 50 years later. “My family is from Kentucky, I went to the University of Kentucky, and I actually dropped out of school twice, two semesters, to work for Louie.” “Every time I was with Louie,” Alan continued, “he would sit there and every time, it didn't matter who it was or what they were doing on the campaign, he would tell us about a man named Morton Blackwell. He would tell us, ‘everybody needs to be like Morton.' Morton got him elected to office against all odds.” At that time, liberals and unions ran the state. “Morton had really pulled off a miracle to help Louie get elected as Governor in this really hardcore Democrat state, with a very strong union presence. So I kept in contact with the guy,” Alan said. Morton went on to develop the Youth Leadership School (YLS) out of his success running youth campaigns and training student leaders during his time with the CRNC. The YLS became known as the “bootcamp of politics” because of how much valuable experience-driven training Morton packed into this two-day training. He made the YLS the flagship school of his Leadership Institute. After they saw the value of Morton's youth campaign strategy, Kentucky Governor Louie B. Nunn and many other leaders began to send young people to Morton's Youth Leadership School. “I've referred countless people to the Youth Leadership School,” Alan said. “Morton is a builder. He is a guy who understands the importance of personnel.” In 1972, Morton came up with the maxim, “personnel is policy.” That's something Alan heard from Morton and took to heart, especially running his own organizations. “Personnel is policy. It is the life blood of every organization that I have ever run,” Alan said. “Whether it was government, private practice, charitable, or ministry. I have adopted that slogan.” In between political campaigns, his work for U.S. Senators from Kentucky, and helping on President Reagan's 1976 and 1978 campaigns, Alan completed his degree and became a lawyer. Morton's tenure as Special Assistant to the President on President Reagan's White House Staff (1981-1984), Alan began working at the Department of Justice. He worked under both AG William Smith and Ed Meese. He served in both Reagan and Bush administrations before turning his attention to Alliance Defending Freedom. For 23 years, Alan ran Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a faith-based organization dedicated to defending religious liberty. Leadership Institute and ADF often partner on college campuses to find, support, and defend conservative college students struggling under the liberal bias rampant there. “ADF has won over 400 contested legal matters with private campuses or universities,” Alan says. “In addition to that, Morton has helped many students know that they have rights under the Constitution and that universities cannot just walk over them.” Alan says of all the lessons he's learned from Morton, “Being steadfast is a big one. Morton has withstood the storm in Washington, D.C. Once people get into the Beltway they get enamored with relationships in the Beltway and they become people pleasers. They lose their energy. Not Morton Blackwell. Morton is steadfast.” “Morton is a great friend to me and to the entire liberty movement.”>
Mother of 7 Changes Homeschooling Families' Lives
Erin Morrissey
July 13, 2017
Mother of 7 Changes Homeschooling Families' Lives
Deep commitment to family and community drives many conservatives into action.For Tracy Klicka, her deep commitment to motherhood and the homeschool movement drives her to help homeschooling families across the nation. She walks beside them to ensure their success in their children's lives.“I think most homeschooling parents need a lot of encouragement,” Tracy said. “You know your kids more than anyone…you are their best advocate, you're their biggest cheerleader, you're the best counselor, you're the best person to watch what walking through life, through challenges and difficulties is.”Today, Tracy is the Director of Development for the Home School Foundation (HSF), a part of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which offers support for homeschool families.“HSF is the heart of HSLDA,” Tracy said. “The heart is to help families who so want to homeschool their children, but they can't afford the cost of curriculum.”Tracy had not always planned to be in such a position. But the challenges and victories she experienced in her life created in her a desire that rings true with the heart of HSF.Tracy attended Grove City College where met her late husband Chris. She continued her studies at Oral Roberts University, where she earned her degree in music education. After Tracy and her husband were married, they moved to DC, where Chris quickly became a leading expert on home education and was the first full-time lawyer for Concerned Women for America (CWA).During this time, Tracy began searching for a job in the area. “I didn't even know where to start looking,” she said. At that time, the Free Congress Foundation needed to fill an executive assistant position for the political action committee. Tracy applied and got the job.While at Free Congress Foundation, Tracy worked with Paul Weyrich, whom she credits with pushing her to develop skills that would later enable her to successfully fulfill her position at HSF.“Paul Weyrich was such an amazing man,” Tracy said. “I put Morton Blackwell up in the very same category as I put Paul -- they are both incredible mentors to young people.”Paul Weyrich sent Tracy to a 3-day women's spokesperson conference at the Leadership Institute (LI). Tracy credits that training with helping her over her fear of public speaking.“Even though it would be almost ten years later before I would give my first talk,” Tracy said, “I really look back at his training and his personal mentorship as what really propelled me in the right direction and really helped me get over [the idea that] I will never speak in public.”Tracy and her husband had 7 children and homeschooled them all. “We knew before we started having kids that we wanted to homeschool, so I was a stay at home Mom homeschooling for about 24 years,” she said.Tragically, after 25 years of marriage, Tracy's husband passed away and Tracy became a single homeschool mother. She needed a part-time job to support herself and her children. Because of her late husband's connections at HSLDA, she began her search there.In 2011, she took her current position as the Director of Development at the Home School Foundation with little knowledge or experience in development. But, this position fulfills her drive to offer support to homeschool families who had been through difficulties like her own.Despite her initial lack of experience, Tracy grew the department and plans further expansion this coming year all while serving as the only person in her department. She single-handedly manages donor relations, writing, planning, data entry, and research.The Leadership Institute, Tracy says, gave “me the best practices and information I need for the different segments of my work responsibility in Development.”LI's development and fundraising trainings have been a great encouragement and resource for Tracy. Through LI's lectures, she has learned the importance of partnerships. “It's really all about relationships. It's really enabling those who want to partner with you because they have a passion for your mission and how you can help them make that happen.”Looking back at her growth in the area of development and fundraising, Tracy remarks about LI, “I can't think of where else I would go [for training]… or who else would I talk to… because you have been doing it for so long… you know so many people in many conservative organizations… you've had a relationship with them for so many years… your longevity gives what you do so much weight and validity.” For years, Tracy had a crippling fear of public speaking; but now she regularly speaks at homeschool conventions where she offers encouragement to parents. She traces her ease and confidence in public speaking back to the training she received at LI.“I really look back at that training as a part of what really helped me get over [the idea] that, I will never speak in public,” Tracy said.Today, Tracy's passion radiates through her voice as she speaks.“We can really come along side our kids,” Tracy tells parents. “Homeschooling is the perfect way to do that.”Although Tracy sees many benefits in homeschooling she states, “Homeschooling didn't prevent my kids from struggling. It's not a formula; but it's an opportunity to walk alongside children and to best prepare them for life and so when they go through those hard times you're right there with them and just by God's grace you try to help them work through some of those things.”She says homeschooling is “walking through life together 24/7.”After her 24 years of homeschooling her children, Tracy confidently says, “My kids are my magnum opus… I don't think I could put anything above the value of motherhood.” She says her life's biggest accomplishment is, “raising seven children who are really incredible adults, who all love life, love learning, and want to engage their culture.”This is what she hopes to help other parents achieve through their homeschooling experience. Her deep commitment and vision are making that happen.As Director of Development for HSF, Tracy is expanding her vision for supporting homeschooling families and fulfilling her biggest motivation. She touches families across America with her love of home education by reaching out to homeschooling families in need, providing wisdom and encouragement as she speaks to them about the homeschooling experience.“I love what I do because it fits with my passion for motherhood and how important a role we have in our children's lives,” she says.Tracy has truly turned her deep commitment into fulfillment. Join me in congratulating Tracy Klicka on her success helping homeschooling families.If you're interested in fundraising or public speaking trainings like the ones Tracy mentioned, you can learn more here. Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, works with more than 1,868 conservative student groups, and helps employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 186,207 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.>
A Blog Can Be Great For Your Career
Ben Woodward
July 2, 2017
A Blog Can Be Great For Your Career
When people think about blogs, they usually dismiss them as a prehistoric way of getting ideas into the public realm. Today many people prefer a 140-character tweet to a well thought out, self-published article that takes a lot of work to compose and publicize.However, when it comes to your career, demonstrating passion for your field is critical. Writing a blog, which is accessible to recruiters, could be what secures your next big opportunity. Here are 5 ways writing a blog can benefit your career.You can establish yourself as a thought leaderRecruiters will expect to see that you have knowledge of your field and show an active interest. By writing a blog directly related to the professional area in which you want to progress, you can illustrate your interest and your ability to lead others. By communicating with readers in such a way that offers leadership, you are showing that you are a strong communicator and an innovative thinker. You can reach an audience directly Individuals who have not yet established themselves in their field do not interest most publishers. By writing your own blog, you cut out the intermediary and go directly to your chosen audience.When you write your blog, get your friends to share it, publish it on your social media and in relevant group chats, even tweet it to respected individuals in your field. That way you add validity to your work and show recruiters that readers respect your opinion.You have writing samples to show recruitersGood writers are in high demand, so not only will writing a blog refine your ability, but it will also give you examples of your writing you can show to recruiters. When you build your following and established people share your work, your blog posts gain validity as writing samples in job applications.In addition, by establishing a digital footprint you will have ‘Google Insurance.' This means that when a recruiter Googles your name they will see links to your blog. This shows you are engaged in the current trends of your industry and will significantly improve your likelihood of getting an interview.You can build a community of people interested in your fieldBuilding a following among your readers will get you noticed by others in your field. Taking an active role in the discussion will help you make connections. For example, if you are interested in foreign policy, blogging about it, and having your writing shared by those currently working in foreign affairs will get you noticed by potential recruiters.When you write a blog, remember to put links to your social media and personal website so readers and recruiters can find you easily.Your employer may value contributionsMany employers in the conservative movement are looking for contributions to their websites and social media. By writing blog pieces you not only help your employer create content for their website and social media, but you also publish pieces through your organization which increases the validity of your writings.Successful workers take initiative. By writing a blog, you show employers you take an active interest in your work. If you have a significant following, use your blog to attract attention to your organization's successes. That way you can assist your employers beyond your day-to-day work.If you are interested in learning more about successful written communications for your career, please register for the Leadership Institute's Written Communications Workshop.>
Stephen Rowe Employee of the Quarter
Carol Wehe
April 19, 2017
Stephen Rowe Employee of the Quarter
"Our first Employee of the Quarter for 2017 is Stephen Rowe," announced Morton Blackwell at the Leadership Institute's staff meeting. "Stephen, will you please come forward?"As Stephen walked to the front of the room, Morton continued."Stephen Rowe has gone above and beyond in his work, both for the Digital Training Division and in support of other LI departments." "In the past three months, Stephen has spoken at three Young Americans for Liberty regional conventions and received high praise and positive feedback -- while giving a different combination of lectures each time; taught lectures for other training divisions, including Grassroots and Career Services..."And the list goes on. Stephen, Morton continued, "said an enthusiastic “yes” to joining a Campus Reform video broadcast; worked with External Affairs to generate new ideas for email marketing, social media content, and website analytics; and taught at 13 digital trainings, helping the division train 150% more conservatives than in the first quarter of 2016." "Stephen has a natural talent for speaking and teaching, and his work ethic, teamwork, and unfailing good cheer make him a valued member of the Institute staff," Morton said.Morton presented Stephen with a gift and congratulated him on a job well done. Please join me in celebrating Stephen's tireless work ethic and willingness to help all of the Leadership Institute succeed in training more conservatives to win.>
Cubicle Conservatism
Grace Tarr
March 15, 2017
Cubicle Conservatism
We all know that person. You know what I mean, that person who chews loudly, talks incessantly, or – my personal bad habit – leaves sticky notes everywhere. These attributes can quickly lead to tension within an office. But tension really begins when political views come into play. How do we know when to defend our values and when to respect a professional environment? As a current intern at the Leadership Institute, I have the privilege to work alongside like-minded, passionate individuals. However, past work experience taught me three important lessons about respectful political conversation with the people I see at the same cubicle every day. Don't spike Punchy political one-liners may be funny around other conservatives, but they quickly shut down any valuable conversation between opposing viewpoints. Always promote discussion. It is respectful conversation that changes a person's mind. In good conversation, each person is like a volleyball player “hitting” the conversation back and forth. If one player spikes the ball, the conversation – and opportunity to convince someone – is over. Pick your battles Don't fight every issue every time. Sometimes in an office it is simply inappropriate to talk politics. Read the situation and practice discretion. I know, it is hard to stay silent. But picking your battles means that when you do engage, it is more meaningful and your coworkers will not be exhausted by constant political banter. It's not about you The Leadership Institute works hard to promote a movement and not build an organizational empire. Conservatives must be team players committed to principles. If we enter a conversation trying to prove that we are right, we will always lose. This is not a time to prove how smart we are. It is not enough to be right. We must also be tactful. Well-timed, respectful conversations can change minds and influence movements.
Ready, Aim, Fire: LI Graduate Speaks Out at CPAC 2017
Angel Chitnatham
March 1, 2017
Ready, Aim, Fire: LI Graduate Speaks Out at CPAC 2017
You may recognize Antonia Okafor from her many guest appearances on the Blaze, NRA TV, and Fox News. She is also a Campus News Correspondent for Independent Journal Review where she works to expose liberal bias and abuse on Texas college campuses. Her official website AntoniaOkafor.com has the following blazed across the top: Black, Armed, and Conservative. Antonia knows she doesn't fit the “normal” stereotype of a conservative gun activist but she's getting her message across to the media regardless. “There's definitely a lot of shock factor as I'm not the ‘typical conservative'. It's opened a lot of doors with being able to have people listen. Whether it's plain curiosity or genuine interest, I think being someone who is contrary to the typical conservative helps people want to listen.” Antonia is currently a student at the University of Texas at Dallas but aims to bring new female perspective to gun rights and regularly advocates for campus carry policies. Her own passion for campus carry often brings her into the cross-hairs of feminism and right to self-defense. “For me it's an empowerment issue. Being a feminist came first and the gun rights issue came after. I became so passionate above advocating for campus carry and the right to self defense because I strongly believe every woman should have the choice to decide which form of defense is right for them. That includes guns." Most recently, Antonia co-headlined the Armed and Fabulous panel at CPAC 2017 with fellow female gun rights activists Kimberly Corban, Ashlee Lundvall, and Kristi McMains, moderated by Townhall's Katie Pavlich. Before her rising success and spotlight in the media, starting in 2015, Antonia attended twelve different Leadership Institute trainings including the Youth Leadership School, Future Candidate School, Comprehensive Fundraising Training, Digital Communications Workshop, Television Workshop and more. “The Leadership Institute is what inspired and equipped me to be a successful advocate and voice for the campus carry movement. I knew how to relay my message effectively because of their generous Campus Reform student journalism program and their media training.” Antonia was later inspired to start a Network for Enlightened Women chapter in Texas because she attended LI's Women's Leadership Workshop where she met Karin Agness, founder of NeW. “Before then, I had no idea that the conservative values I hold dear could be an effective way to empower women who are turned off to the radical leftist feminism movement of today. Because of LI, I can 100% say that I am effective today because of them. I will forever be grateful.” When asked what advice she would give to young people in the conservative movement, Antonia paused for a second to think. Her answer that followed was resolute. “Network. Get to know people. Go to conferences and meet people. You never know where you will be a year from now, and a lot of times, it's people you meet that will give you that opportunity you want so much.” The Leadership Institute thanks Antonia for her dedication to conservative principles and congratulates her for her nomination for 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 more than 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,887 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 182,000 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.
LI Trains Conservatives for Success in 2016
Kyle Baccei
January 3, 2017
LI Trains Conservatives for Success in 2016
Last year was an exciting year for many reasons! In 2016, the Leadership Institute trained 10,274 conservatives, launched new online programs, and trained candidates and campaign staff across the country -- all thanks to the generous support of LI donors.Through 2016, Institute graduates impacted campaigns across the country. The Youth Leadership School trained 925 conservatives at 37 trainings in 2016. Of those 2016 graduates, 81 were involved in a youth campaign across 16 states.LI's staff and 178 volunteer faculty trained 10,274 students -- totaling 103,014 hours of student training. The Institute trained 8,216 students nationally and 2,058 students internationally, bringing the total trained to 181,459 since 1979.In total, LI offered 371 training events representing 44 types of Institute trainings. These ranged from on-camera TV trainings to weeklong Campaign Management Schools to grassroots activist workshops to the Youth Leadership School, the boot-camp of politics.The Institute also launched a new type of training: online programs. These workshops offer attendees the same benefits as the Leadership Institute's top-notch trainings -- from the comfort of their own homes. Online attendees can see and hear the instructor, ask questions and talk with others in the workshop; and learn from a variety of lectures, hands-on-projects, and demonstrations -- just like any in-person training.LI trained 350 students online in 13 trainings, totaling 1,050 student hours.On college campuses around the country, LI's National Field Program staff identified 88,395 new conservative students and added 678 new student groups to LI's unique network of affiliated conservative student organizations. By the end of 2016, this network of conservative student groups had grown to 1,856.CampusReform.org remains America's #1 source for campus news online. Its 1,380 stories – many written by 70 campus correspondents – about liberal bias and abuse generated 15.8 million pageviews, 2,140 republications by online news outlets, and 151 appearances on TV. In total, CampusReform.org's reporting led to 36 victories and campus policy changes for conservatives on college campuses. More than 4,146 job seekers connected with 2,005 available jobs on the Institute's ConservativeJobs.com. The Career Services Center hosted 470 attendees at job fairs and offered 394 personal resume consolations. Viewers from all 50 United States and around the world have tuned in to LI's free webinars since they began streaming from LI Studios in 2011. In 2016 alone, 1,546 viewers watched LI's 23 webinars.LI's Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfasts hosted 1,059 attendees and 11 speakers in 2016. Speakers included Pete Hegseth, Congressman Tom Emmer, and Congressman Alex Mooney.The 45th National Fourth of July Conservative Soiree hosted 356 attendees. The 2016 featured speakers were Ed Gillespie and Rob Bell.There are countless stories about the impact of Leadership Institute graduates in 2016. It's been a good year at the Leadership Institute, and LI is excited about what 2017 has in store!Review the online 2017 training calendar for currently scheduled trainings near you.How has LI helped you? Email Carol@LeadershipInstitute.org to share your story. LI is always looking to spotlight faculty doing incredible things for the conservative movement, notable LI graduates making waves, and college students taking a stand on campus. >
Senator Jim Banks -- His Campaign's
Mari Vogel
September 13, 2016
Senator Jim Banks -- His Campaign's "Secret Weapon"
Jim Banks has shown a dedication to service throughout his life. As a father of three, a state Senator, and a Navy Reservist, he has proven himself a strong and value-oriented leader. “There is a lot of pressure to go along with the majority sentiment, but I will not go back on the pledge I made to my constituents,” said Senator Banks. As the State Senator for the 17th district of Indiana, he has continually been a voice for conservative principles. Next, he hopes to continue his service to Indiana as a member of Congress. While in the senate, Senator Banks has served on numerous committees, most notably the Senate Veteran Affairs and the Military committee. He believes this experience, coupled with his military service, could provide a unique perspective to the Congressional Armed Services Committee if elected in the fall. Senator Banks fought in a hotly contested primary this spring due to the number of other well-funded candidates and the coinciding presidential nomination which drew in many more voters. However, due to his knowledgeable volunteers (several Leadership Institute graduates) and lean campaign strategies, he was able get his message out and win the election. Another thing which helped now Senator Banks through the election was his family, which he referred to as the campaign's “secret weapon.” His wife, Amanda, was able to play a unique role in the campaign because of her own political experience. As a Navy Reserve Supply Corps officer, Jim was called to Afghanistan from 2014 until 2015. While Jim was serving in Afghanistan, Amanda took over his seat in the state Senate. During her time in office, she worked on the Veterans Affairs committee and the Education committee, where she helped author and sponsor many bills. She also co-authored several bills in defense of the unborn. “Public servants cannot separate who they are from what they do,” she says, “so the various vocations I have in life as a mother, a military wife, and a conservative activist all come to the forefront when considering the issues facing our state." If he wins the election in November, Senator Banks is ready to fight for conservative values in Congress. “I believe we need to go back to our roots and start building support around conservative solutions for our current public policy challenges,” he said. Instead of being the “opposition party,” he sees the importance of bringing conservative proposals and ideas to the table. Jim credits the Leadership Institute with providing a solid foundation for him as he began getting involved in politics. Thanks to the Grassroots Activist School and Youth Leadership School, he made connections which allowed him to work with a member of Congress and run a Mayoral campaign very early in his career. “The LI program didn't just provide me with the knowledge and skills I would need to make a difference on behalf of candidates I would work with," said Senator Banks, "but it helped me connect with people who would have an important role in my career down the line.” Mari Vogel was a summer intern in the Grassroots Department for the Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,619 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 175,000 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.
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.>
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 CampOn 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 ConsultationsAfter 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 FairOnce 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 ReformIn 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 HourDuring 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 aEvery 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. >
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