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
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.
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.
Your elevator pitch -- 20 seconds to make an impression
Kate Lipman
October 16, 2017
Your elevator pitch -- 20 seconds to make an impression
Picture the scenario; you are an intern or junior staffer in the elevator of your work building, and a Vice President walks in… what do you do? Do you burst into tears, fall on your knees and beg for a job? Or do you seize the moment and deliver your elevator pitch? This brief but persuasive 20-second pitch is your chance to engage a potential employer in conversation in a confident but respectful way. By using this opportunity correctly, you can make a strong impression and turn them into a lasting connection. Here are some tips for your elevator pitch. Be natural. If you try to hero worship them, they won't take you seriously. Likewise, if you deliver the speech like you've been practicing it in the mirror, they won't take you seriously. Be respectful but confident. If you want a job working for them somewhere down the line, you have to earn their respect. A great way to do this is to bring up a topic of mutual interest. Perhaps you saw them speak, or read one of their articles. Draw from that to start a conversation. Instead of “Wow it's amazing to meet you, I'm a huge fan of… and I've always wanted to work there.” Try “Hi… my name is… and I work at… I attended your recent talk on… and you made some really interesting points.” Don't ask them for anything. Most executives are experienced enough to separate those legitimately interested in them and their organizations from the users simply trying to find their next job or promotion. Just like with any networking opportunity, the goal is to establish a relationship and then you can work on turning them into a connection. Be genuine and show a legitimate interest in them. By getting their business card, you can follow up and ask them for coffee later. Instead of: “I saw that there's a vacancy at… I'd like to apply; would you give the recruiter my resume?” Try: “How did you come to work in…? I am interested in pursuing a career in this field and would value any advice you have.” Let them talk. Most people enjoy talking about themselves, which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. By letting someone talk about himself or herself, you are demonstrating a legitimate interest in them and allowing the conversation to flow naturally rather than simply pitching yourself. The disadvantage of this can be that by letting them do all the talking, you don't get the chance to impress. Try to establish a connection with what they're saying and something you have accomplished. For example, if they talk about public policy, try to contribute to the conversation and offer an informed opinion. Instead of: “That's interesting… yes… I understand.” Try: “That's a good point; I have recently been working on a similar project to…” Swap business cards and follow up. If possible, you should aim to swap business cards at the end of the conversation. Remember, it is more important to get their business card than it is to give them yours. By getting their card, you give yourself the opportunity to follow up and turn a chance encounter into a real connection. Instead of: “Here is my business card, if you're free for coffee sometime I'd love to learn more.” Try: “Do you have a business card on you? I would be very interested to follow up with you can continue this conversation at your convenience.” When chance encounters occur with your role models, it can be a daunting experience. If you show confidence, sell yourself, and show a legitimate interest, you will be able to use the opportunity to secure a lasting connection.
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.
Caught Between a Job Offer and a Job Offer!
Ben Woodward
September 18, 2017
Caught Between a Job Offer and a Job Offer!
If you're searching for a job and finding the process difficult, I'm willing to bet that the prospect of competing job offers would be a dream come true. Let's be honest, it's hardly a bad situation to find yourself in. When the situation arose for me, I regret how I handled it. Fresh out of university, I was desperate to get a job in the UK Parliament. When I successfully got to the final round of interviews I was excited. My instincts told me the interview had been a big success. We even bonded over our mutual love of F1 racing. After being told to expect a decision within a week, I was contacted at the same time by a friend offering me a different opportunity. With my heart set on Parliament, I waited. Four weeks later I received the dreaded email telling me that I had been unsuccessful. The alternative opportunity my friend had sent me was now being advertised. Thankfully I got the job. But I made a bad first impression by failing to be honest and talk to both parties. Here is what you should do if you're ever caught in this position. Get yourself a written job offer. The job offer is not technically made until it's formally written out. If you're given a verbal job offer, thank them and tell them how excited you are at the prospect of working for them. Then ask them to put the offer in an email. Explain the situation. Once you have the written offer, be honest. Tell them that you are very excited about the opportunity but that you have another interview scheduled and would like time to weigh up your options. If they tell you they need an answer urgently then you'll have to decide whether it is worth the risk. My advice is to take the job offer if it's an opportunity you think you would still enjoy and benefit from. If you have more time, explain the situation to your other potential employer. You may find that the interview for the next job helps make your decision before you have to discuss other offers. You will likely get a sense of your success, whether the organization is somewhere you want to work, and whether you think the other offer provides a better opportunity. If you find that your instincts were right, and you do want to work at the second organization, tell them. At the end of your interview, be honest and explain that they are your preferred choice however you have another offer pending and see whether they can commit to a decision in a shorter amount of time. One last thing... It's not an easy situation to find yourself in. Ultimately, you will have to decide whether the risk is worth compromising your current offer. By taking these steps and being honest and respectful to the competing employers, you can help mitigate the risks and hopefully give yourself the time you need to secure both offers.
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.
Dress for Success
Annamarie Rienzi
August 14, 2017
Dress for Success
On Monday, August 7, more than 30 women came to the Leadership Institute (LI) to network, shop, and learn how to dress for success. Partnering with the Independent Women's Forum and the Ladies of Liberty Alliance, LI gathered enough professional clothing for each attendee to take home at least one outfit. In addition, attendees heard from Sonya Gavankar, former Miss D.C., and multimedia host and content creator. Her lecture was filled with great tips and tricks to help young ladies navigate professional fashion without being overwhelmed. She broke down a lot of misconceptions about office fashion choices and entertained the audience with her anecdotes. Here are three key lessons learned about professional dressing for women. Be honest with yourself about what looks good on you. Sometimes what you think looks good may not, in fact, be the most flattering. Wearing tight clothes runs the risk of not being taken seriously in the workplace. Whereas wearing baggy clothes runs the risk of looking sloppy. You should find clothes which are work appropriate and also give you confidence. While shopping, surround yourself with friends who are honest and frank with you. Take turns trying on new work outfits and giving feedback. You don't have to sacrifice personal style to look professional. As long as your clothes are work appropriate, certain liberties can be taken to tailor clothes to your style. An excellent example of this is to dress professionally but look for ways to incorporate a splash of color into your outfit. This may be an accessory or wearing a brightly colored jacket. Don't dress for work how you'd dress for the weekend. Dress codes are more relaxed at organizations than they used to be, which means there's some ambiguity about what women can wear. Because you never know when a meeting may be sprung on you, make sure you don't overstep the boundary between smart casual and casual. If in doubt, look for a female executive at your organization who you admire, and who dresses well. Use her for inspiration. Attendees were grateful to hear Gavankar's advice. They were especially thankful for her time as she stayed during the “shopping” period and reviewed the ladies' outfit choices as they tried on clothes. The unclaimed clothes were donated to the not-for-profit organization, Dress for Success, which provides professional development and attire to women.
How to Communicate With Your Liberal Friends and Neighbors – Without Alienating Them
Autumn Campbell
August 3, 2017
How to Communicate With Your Liberal Friends and Neighbors – Without Alienating Them
We've all been there. We've been unfriended on Facebook during the 2016 election cycle, forced into an awkward political discussion over Thanksgiving dinner, or attacked on Twitter for making a political comment. Yes, the current political climate is hostile; but there is a way to communicate effectively without losing all of your friends. Keep your point clear and concise. Rambling will get you nowhere in a heated discussion. Instead, stay clear-headed and stay on the topic at hand. Use personal stories and experiences. Many you converse with will find it hard to argue against your personal experience. Tie your experience in with why you believe what you believe. You can then back up your experience with facts and statistics. Meet emotion with emotion. Do not shy away from empathy. You can stand your ground while being empathetic to the concerns of the other person. Although these three steps seem simple, you'll be surprised at how calm and level-headed you'll feel at the end of the conversation. Who knows? Your friend may even see your point of view! 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 187,207 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.
The Walls Have Ears
Ben Woodward
July 31, 2017
The Walls Have Ears
You may be surprised to learn that the number of staff working each day to advance the conservative movement is small. In Washington, D.C., it's a few thousand at most. This is great for your career! Working in the small DC conservative movement, it is easy to get to know the influential players who can support your career advancement. But reputations are made very quickly, and for those less savvy who don't mature quickly, simple mistakes can be destructive. One of the worst mistakes anyone can make in Washington, D.C. is to bad mouth their boss or their organization. You can avoid these three common mistakes. Speaking badly of your employer on social media It is surprising how frequently profe ssionals will speak negatively of their bosses on social media. Remember that not only will this be seen by colleagues, and very likely your employers, but your future employers will read your social media. Ranting about your boss today could risk alienating your potential boss tomorrow. After all, no one wants to hire someone who may badmouth them in future. Speaking badly of your employer during an interview “What did you like least about your last job?” We've all been asked this question during an interview, and I have struggled to answer. By falling into the trap of badmouthing your former boss, you convince the interviewer that they may be the next target of your public scorning or worst case scenario, your last boss may hear about it. Instead, you should answer the question by saying: “While there were many aspects of my previous job which I enjoyed such as…, I would have liked to have had more of an opportunity to… which is why I have applied for this job.” Speaking badly of your employer during networking events We've all been there. It's been a rough day, perhaps you have been frustrated by your supervisor, but there is a time and a place to complain about your work, and it's not at networking events. You run the risk of alienating conservatives who may know your boss. In the worst case scenario, your comments could get back to your employer, and your career will suffer. So what should you do instead? There is a time and a place to address your concerns at work. So instead of complaining about your boss, consider how you can constructively approach the situation. Ask for a private meeting Never criticize your boss in front of colleagues. It will damage their authority in front of the team and is more likely to frustrate them than anything. Have your conversation in private if you believe your boss should be taking a different approach to a project. Know what you want to say Consider writing down your specific concerns and what you want to say in advance. Structure your feedback positively, instead of “I don't agree with your decision…” say “I think we could consider approaching the project this way…” If your boss agrees with you, then great! If not, respect their decision. Ultimately it's their call. Ask a mentor If you find you do need to express serious concerns about your employer, find someone you can trust to give you sound advice and keep it confidential. This person is perhaps a close friend or family member, or another professional who exercises sound judgment. Use them to guide you in your decision making. Know your organization's procedures In the worst case scenario, where you feel mistreated, figure out your organization's formal complaints process and use it. Your relationship with your employers, past and present, can be a positive one if you maintain your professionalism. By keeping your employers on your side, you can rely on strong references, potentially great mentors, and a support base for your career in the conservative movement.
A Blog Can Be Great For Your Career
Ben Woodward
July 2, 2017
A Blog Can Be Great For Your Career
When people think about blogs, they usually dismiss them as a prehistoric way of getting ideas into the public realm. Today many people prefer a 140-character tweet to a well thought out, self-published article that takes a lot of work to compose and publicize. However, when it comes to your career, demonstrating passion for your field is critical. Writing a blog, which is accessible to recruiters, could be what secures your next big opportunity. Here are 5 ways writing a blog can benefit your career. You can establish yourself as a thought leader Recruiters will expect to see that you have knowledge of your field and show an active interest. By writing a blog directly related to the professional area in which you want to progress, you can illustrate your interest and your ability to lead others. By communicating with readers in such a way that offers leadership, you are showing that you are a strong communicator and an innovative thinker. You can reach an audience directly Individuals who have not yet established themselves in their field do not interest most publishers. By writing your own blog, you cut out the intermediary and go directly to your chosen audience. When you write your blog, get your friends to share it, publish it on your social media and in relevant group chats, even tweet it to respected individuals in your field. That way you add validity to your work and show recruiters that readers respect your opinion. You have writing samples to show recruiters Good writers are in high demand, so not only will writing a blog refine your ability, but it will also give you examples of your writing you can show to recruiters. When you build your following and established people share your work, your blog posts gain validity as writing samples in job applications. In addition, by establishing a digital footprint you will have ‘Google Insurance.' This means that when a recruiter Googles your name they will see links to your blog. This shows you are engaged in the current trends of your industry and will significantly improve your likelihood of getting an interview. You can build a community of people interested in your field Building a following among your readers will get you noticed by others in your field. Taking an active role in the discussion will help you make connections. For example, if you are interested in foreign policy, blogging about it, and having your writing shared by those currently working in foreign affairs will get you noticed by potential recruiters. When you write a blog, remember to put links to your social media and personal website so readers and recruiters can find you easily. Your employer may value contributions Many employers in the conservative movement are looking for contributions to their websites and social media. By writing blog pieces you not only help your employer create content for their website and social media, but you also publish pieces through your organization which increases the validity of your writings. Successful workers take initiative. By writing a blog, you show employers you take an active interest in your work. If you have a significant following, use your blog to attract attention to your organization's successes. That way you can assist your employers beyond your day-to-day work. If you are interested in learning more about successful written communications for your career, please register for the Leadership Institute's Written Communications Workshop.
3 Effective Ways to Boost Your Facebook Engagement
Stephen Rowe
June 28, 2017
3 Effective Ways to Boost Your Facebook Engagement
You may notice a pattern every time you scroll your newsfeed. It starts with a relevant update, then an advertisement, and it doesn't take long before a video starts auto-playing. The biggest question on people's minds when they see this pattern is, “How do I get my content to appear first in everyone else's newsfeed?” Here are three things you can start doing now: 1. Go Live Creating a video is one of the quickest ways to grow your online presence and spread your message. Between 2015 and 2016, video consumption on Facebook increased 800% (from 1 billion views to 8 billion views per day). Now that's a big boost. Making things even better, Facebook gives precedence to videos over other pieces of content. Facebook even sends push notifications when friends “go live.” It's very easy to use Facebook live. You just update your status as usual, click “Live Video”, make sure everything is ready in preview, and click “Go Live” (pro tip: get a stabilizer for your iPhone or camera and a microphone for less than $35). Even if you're camera-shy, Facebook Live can still be for you. You can create live Facebook polls very easily with free sites like MyLivePolls. Then ask your audience relevant questions and watch your engagement soar. Video is king. Start using it! 2. Great visuals = Great social media Almost no one will stop scrolling for a huge chunk of text. But an engaging image will get you everywhere! Your Facebook page posts should have high-quality photos. People love great visuals more than they care to read. You don't have to be a design expert to create compelling visual graphics. Check out Canva.com if you are new to the design world. It's a free and simple graphic design tool website. Learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator at the Leadership Institute. The next Digital Creative Workshop: Design is just around the corner. 3. Posting frequency “How often should I post on Facebook?” You should post on Facebook as often as you have quality content. Just ensure your posts are spaced out at least an hour. If you have tons of content, then posting up to 15 times per day is a good thing. However, 95% of people don't have the quality content (or time) to post that much. Let your content dictate the frequency of your posting. Do your best to craft a content schedule and make it consistent. The marketplace will let you know if you're posting too much if you're getting poor engagement on your posts. If you're getting a solid number of likes, comments, and shares then try increasing how often you post. 4. BONUS: Check out the Leadership Institute's online Facebook for Activism training! If you liked the tips above, you will love this training. The Leadership Institute's Online Training: Facebook for Activism will show you how to use Facebook to build a movement around the candidate, campaign, or cause you're committed to. You will leave this training with strategies you can use to accomplish your goals, whether it's starting chapters, recruiting volunteers, building your meetings and events, or even just connecting your friends to each other. Specifically, you'll learn: how to prime your Facebook for success to activate people in your online community; best practices to create conten­t that your supporters will respond to and want to share; and a proven, five-step process to build relationships with your supporters. Learn more about Facebook for Activism here. Let me know what you think. Have you used any of the resources/tactics above? Leave a comment below.
Five things you should do in your first week at a new job
Ben Woodward
May 22, 2017
Five things you should do in your first week at a new job
Starting a new job is among the most daunting experiences in our professional lives. After all, you only get one chance at a first impression. As well as trying to wrap your head around your new responsibilities, learn the office culture, make friends, and demonstrate your ability, you're also trying to keep your feet on the ground and build a successful future for yourself. It is natural to want to keep your head down and not draw attention to yourself, like a mouse among sleeping cats. This is a mistake! Here are five things you should do in your first week: Ask your supervisor (and employees) to lunch By asking your supervisor to lunch, you are showing your new boss that you are confident in your new role and you are serious about learning the ropes. I would advise you to keep this lunch just the two of you if possible, as other employees may dominate the conversation. It is also an effective way to get to know your supervisor on a one-to-one basis, outside of the formal office environment. It is important for them to get to know you. This is your chance to tell them what you want out of this job and where you would like to go in your career. If you're a manager, take your staff out to lunch, either in small groups, or one-to-one if possible. This is your chance to understand what makes these individuals tick, and establish what you expect from them. Introduce yourself to everybody in the office You will be spending lots of time with the people in your department and organization over the next few months and years. So be sure to take some time to introduce yourself to everybody in the kitchens, boardrooms, or even by visiting their workspace. Understanding the office culture is critical to success. You will likely need to collaborate with other departments on a multitude of projects, so make friends with them quickly to establish your relationship. Too many new employees fail to integrate themselves into the social side of a new office and get left out in the cold. Learn about all of the current and upcoming projects Fully brief yourself on all of the current projects in your department. Wherever possible, you should do your research, but do not be afraid to ask smart questions. It is in your colleagues' interests to help you succeed, as your work will affect theirs. Try to establish what other people are working on and where you can be of assistance, but also what scope you have for innovation. Every employer is different; some will let you pursue your projects, whereas others prefer a top-down approach. Learn about the location of your office Being successful at work requires you to be happy in your job, and comfortable in your environment. However moving to a new place, especially if you have moved away from home or college for the first time can make you feel isolated and unsettled. This is not conducive to success in your new job. Ensure that you learn the area quickly. Where are the best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops? What activities are happening locally? With whom in your office do you share hobbies? This will help you to settle quickly into your new environment, and even take the lead in your office's social life. Reconnect with former colleagues It is easy when you start a new job to be swept up in your new professional life. As a keen networker, try to get into the habit of keeping in touch with your old colleagues quickly. You never know when you will need a referral, or when your new job requires a connection from your past. Remember to keep those professional relationships alive.
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