What I Saw: My Journey to the Leadership Institute
January 7, 2022
What I Saw: My Journey to the Leadership Institute
In early September, I found myself driving down the New Jersey turnpike towards Virginia. My car was loaded with suits, toiletries, and most important, my collection of tattered G.K. Chesterton books. I was unusually stressed, not just because I was surrounded by the turnpike's notoriously aggressive drivers, but because I was on my way to start a fall internship at the Leadership Institute (LI). Like anyone who's starting a new job or internship, I was nervous and unsure of what to expect. I was somewhat familiar with LI, having taken their (excellent) Youth Leadership School, but accepting an internship there had been a spur-of-the-moment decision. Eventually, I pulled into the driveway of LI's intern house and started my journey. Four months later, I'm beyond blessed to be working here at LI full-time. As an intern who transitioned into a full-time role, I've become intimately familiar with LI. The fifth-floor coffee maker is by far the best. Kirsten Holmberg, our Deputy Director of Political and Fundraising Training, always has a bowl of gourmet sweets on her desk. There's a faucet in the third-floor Men's restroom that randomly runs scalding water, so always be careful. But most important, I've become familiar with LI as an institution, and what exactly this organization does. The year 2021 was a great year for me (except for the fact that I got blown out in my Fantasy Football playoffs), and it was an even better year for LI. In 2021, the Leadership Institute (LI) prepared 18,195 trainees - from college students to campaign managers - to advance and act on their conservative principles. Each week, LI provided an average of 57 hours of live training, boosting the conservative movement towards electoral successes in 2022 and beyond. My journey with LI started when my friend invited me to attend LI's Youth Leadership Workshop (YLW), a three-hour training that equipped 1,606 young conservatives last year with tactics and tools they can use to advance conservatism on campus and beyond. After I attended the Youth Leadership Workshop, I was hooked and wanted to learn more. Being a conservative student on a heavily left-wing campus just outside of Seattle was extremely intimidating, but the YLW sparked an epiphany in me. Remaining quiet meant that I was letting the radicals on my campus win. Remaining quiet is exactly what they were hoping I would do. This epiphany motivated me to take the LI's two-day Youth Leadership School (YLS), an intensive 29-hour training that extensively expands upon the content taught in that first three-hour workshop I took. It teaches young conservatives how they can win. In 2021, 532 student leaders were trained in the YLS. Sixty-four YLS grads organized efforts for conservative candidates across the country, enabling candidates to capture the youth vote and drive a youthful image that has become increasingly important in elections.Some Youth Leadership School graduates eventually become interns at LI, like me!Over the course of 2021, 32 interns came through LI, including 11 in my fall class. We came from all over the country, from the urban megalopolis of NYC, to rural Georgia. Despite coming from different regions and cultures, we became incredibly tight knit. I've made lifelong friends and I know many of us will be attending each other's weddings. One highlight of the internship was our Book Club, where we read a classic work of conservative literature each week. From Hayek to Goldwater, LI interns collectively read more than 45,600 pages of conservative literature. My personal favorite was Douglas Hyde's Dedication and Leadership, which I'd highly recommend to newer conservatives.I'm currently in the External Affairs division, but my time at LI started as an intern in the Career Resources department. Helping fellow conservative jobseekers was important to me during my internship. My supervisor went out of his way to train me how to help others secure employment and jumpstart their careers. Ultimately, I was able to use what he taught me to land my own full-time position here at LI! In 2021, LI released an updated version of ConservativeJobs.com. The website attracted more than 33,800 unique visitors in 2021 and helped job-seekers streamline their job searches. On top of that, LI's careers team also met one-on-one with 451 conservatives for personal career consultations, offering conservatives customized advice and guidance to help them navigate the often-turbulent job market. While I lived in the intern house, one topic that continually came up during our conversations, other than whether the North or the South had better food, was the dramatic growth of Critical Race Theory within the halls of our schools. 2021 was the year when the encroachment of divisive left-wing ideology into every aspect of American society, even into the classrooms of our children, was made abundantly clear to conservatives. Unfortunately, many school boards are now used as social engineering tools instead of focusing on preparing our children for higher education and the workforce. Parents knew that they couldn't simply stand by. Thanks to the generosity of LI's donors, LI supported these parents through the creation of the on-demand School Board Campaign Training, which more than 1,500 concerned citizens have registered to take. This training provides parents with the skills to wage and win successful campaigns for their local school board, where they can help protect the integrity of their children's education. LI also offers other on-demand courses, a diverse array of training that educates conservatives on both principles and practice. The History of the Constitution and Conservative 101 on-demand trainings both had more than 1,000 registrants this year. Many also took the Social Media Bootcamp, where they learned how to translate their conservative principles into action. It's not just parents who are standing up for education, college students are too. Being openly conservative on a college campus is a difficult task. I attended college in Washington State, just outside of Seattle. Though I was surrounded by gorgeous mountains and enchanting evergreen forests, I was also surrounded by leftist students who lacked any tolerance for even the slightest differing opinions. Once, when I was reading Ronald Reagan's diary on campus, I was so afraid of being confronted by these leftists I replaced the book sleeve with a sleeve from one of my Harry Potter books, just so I could read in peace. LI's Campus Leadership Program (CLP) directly supports conservative students like me, who feel as if they must remain undercover. Thanks to LI's generous donors, LI gives students the resources and training they need to speak up and restore balance on American campuses. LI's CLP program now includes more than 2,000 active student groups. In 2021, CLP added 816 new student groups and newly identified more than 96,900 conservative students. With CLP's support, conservative students were able to put on 2,583 public events on their campuses; each event promoted conservative ideas and values to students. Just a few decades ago, the average college campus was a bastion of intellectual openness, a place where students of all political stripes could freely discuss their beliefs without any fear of judgment or retaliation. Now, campus institutions are saturated with left-wing bias.This left-wing bias is exactly what motivates the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform (CRO), a team of journalists who identify and expose left-wing bias on America's campuses. CRO uses a nationwide network of investigative student reporters to expose these institutional left-wing biases, restoring integrity to American campuses in the process.In 2021, local and national television programs featured LI's Campus Reform students, staff, and stories 994 times.Online, the Campus Reform stories and YouTube channel garnered 27.2 million views over 2021. Campus Reform's popularity is a testament to the fact that America's conservative students have had enough. Unfortunately, what is happening on our college campuses is just a microcosm of what is happening across the country. From Alaska to Alabama, and everywhere in-between, institutions are slowly being captured by left-wing bias. Thankfully, conservatives are standing up for their rights. The effort to safeguard America's principles is a multi-faceted effort, and that's why LI offers a diverse array of political trainings, both online and in-person. While I was an intern, I was granted free access to these trainings, and I can attest to the fact that they are a huge tool in the toolbelt of the conservative movement. In 2021, the Leadership Institute (LI) expanded the number of trainings offered, ultimately training more than 18,195 conservatives. LI now has 51 different trainings available. Each one equips conservatives with a range of skills necessary to make a difference in communities across America. For selfish reasons, I wish LI had a training on how to meet conservative women in a heavily liberal region, but given that there are more pressing issues at hand, I doubt that training will be created anytime soon! Currently, three US senators and 27 members of the House of Representatives are graduates of LI's political trainings. Having met some of the motivated individuals attending these trainings, I'd bet my entire savings account that this number will only increase. As the midterms approach, and as liberal politicians continue to lurch even further leftward, it's more important than ever to become involved. If you are motivated in 2022 to use your talents for conservative activism either on campus or in your community, visit LI's website for the complete list of 2022 trainings available. Thanks to LI's generous donors, they are low-cost or no-cost, and can be found here: LeadershipInstitute.org/Training.
LI Grad Interview: From LI intern to Heritage Foundation VP, Andrew McIndoe Furthers Faith and Freedom
Kirsten Holmberg and Mark Madsen
December 22, 2021
LI Grad Interview: From LI intern to Heritage Foundation VP, Andrew McIndoe Furthers Faith and Freedom
Meet Andrew McIndoe, a former Leadership Institute (LI) intern, current LI faculty, and the highly successful Vice President of Development at The Heritage Foundation.In my recent interview with Andrew McIndoe, we discussed his experience working for Morton Blackwell and how Andrew sees the trajectory of conservative politics. Andrew left me reenergized to further the principles of faith and freedom, not just in my professional life but in all that I do.Can you tell me a bit about yourself?I was born and raised in Oak Ridge, North Carolina. I spent 18 years there before making my way to Grove City College in western Pennsylvania. Then I moved to DC right after graduation, and after doing a few internships I landed at The Heritage Foundation where I have worked for almost ten years. As a former LI intern and now Vice President at one of the leading conservative think tanks, when did you become interested in the world of policy and politics?My earliest political memory is doing “kids' voting” with my dad. We went into a little kids' booth that's much shorter than a regular booth. And I just thought it was so cool that we could go and have a say. It was neat because you felt like you were able to contribute. Even at a young age, I could feel the weight of fulfilling one of the most important civic duties.I don't remember a ton of political conversations around the dining room table. Though we must have had some, because I ended up working on a congressional campaign in high school. I attribute that to the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School (YLS).I took a YLS binder from the Leadership Institute and basically ripped it off and presented it to this candidate and said, “You need to have a youth campaign.” Working on a campaign plus doing a lot of speech and debate is how I entered electoral politics.I remember finding Heritage Foundation research and reading it over and saying, “Wow I agree with a lot of this stuff. This is cool.” It quickly became my go-to source for evidence in the speech and debate world and later in my studies. I never dreamed or thought about working at Heritage someday.What important skills were you able to develop through your Leadership Institute internship?During my time at the Leadership Institute, I was fortunate to be Morton Blackwell's intern. Morton is an exemplar of good character in the conservative movement, and through him I learned the importance of having integrity in all that you do.This experience working for Morton showed me that I could have a career advancing freedom, liberty, and the principles that make this country great. If it wasn't for that realization, I'd probably be out selling widgets and figuring out how to make a certain product faster or better. But instead, I found that there is great fulfillment and opportunity in supporting the free market and limited government and winning new audiences over to our side.And then the actual vocation and the actual work too. To realize that you could get paid to advance the cause of freedom was a remarkable lightbulb moment. I'm a lot more fulfilled working in the conservative space than I would have been if I had started in the private sector like a lot of my classmates.What were the most useful LI trainings for you? Getting to go to every single training that LI offered during that summer was a great perk of the internship, and I did my best to take as many as I could. Certainly, the Comprehensive Fundraising Training was an important one. I wasn't thinking about development as a full-time profession at that point, but looking back, that is one that I think is great even if you don't think fundraising is in your future. I learned what good donor relations looks like. Again, I think about Morton's rule: You can't save the world if you can't pay the rent.As a leader within the conservative movement, who are some of the people who helped you most to get where you are today? I'll just praise Morton Blackwell. He lives out his laws of the public policy process. What he says about "expanding the leadership” and “giving them a title and getting them involved” is great. I believe that he exhibited that advice well with me as an intern. While getting to work on special projects for him, he would share his wisdom and advice. He played an instrumental role in guiding me into the conservative movement and taught me some of those early lessons that have made all the difference in my career. I'm particularly grateful to Morton for that.As the Vice President of Development for The Heritage Foundation, what has your position taught you about the conservative movement?It wouldn't be a surprise for you to hear me say that the best ideas and solutions don't come from inside of DC – they don't come from the swamp – they come from outside the beltway. They come from people who have met payroll before, who have invented something, who made something of themselves. We need to bring more of those ideas and more of those people into the solutions here in DC.I think that too often our movement is focused on what happens inside of the beltway. And so, with 500,000 Heritage members across the country, a couple thousand in every congressional district, you need to speak into what's going on in the policy-making process and get them a channel or vehicle to do that. Are there changes we should be on guard for as a movement looking forward? First, I think the movement is about a lot more than just one person. It's about policies, and we need to winsomely articulate what those policies mean and tell really great stories about what it means for people on an individual basis.We've got a huge opportunity in a post-Covid education space, and if we don't take advantage of that we will have missed a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the conversation about education. That's something I'm concerned about. So, if we can't present an alternative that's compelling and empowers parents to make good decisions for their own kids, I think we've done a disservice to the moment that exists right now.Second is a tendency to preach to the choir. I think the Leadership Institute does a great job of training people to not do this. We need to go out to non-traditional audiences, people who aren't in the pews already, and bring them into the fold. And we've got an opportunity with the wide variety of issues to do that. We need to speak to people about what's happening in their local communities. A lot of apolitical people are fired up right now, and we should look for more opportunities to highlight the contrast between the bankrupt policies of the left and the policies on the right that advance freedom and prosperity.What is an underutilized resource that we have as conservatives? I think that conservatives should be proud to put bumper stickers on their cars and yard signs in their front yards and not be ashamed of those things. We need to just embrace who we are and be willing to step out and say, “No, conservatives are not three-headed monsters. Just because I believe in school choice and believe in lower taxes doesn't make me a crazy person.” But too often I think we feel self-conscious because of the way that the mainstream media portrays issues, the way we are taught in our schools, the way that conservatives are portrayed in Hollywood. It's easy for us to feel like we are a silent minority. But we are really just a more silent majority.The Leadership Institute believes that all politics are local. And LI, before anyone else, understood the importance of school board elections and city council races, mayoral races, state senate races, etc. More of these battles are happening at the local level, and so the Leadership Institute's focus on training local leaders to step up and to serve in more of these important races is a massive comparative advantage and is of huge strategic importance to the conservative movement. Those are reasons that I am a donor to the Leadership Institute as well.What would you say to the people who feel apathetic about politics?I think it's easy to look around and be discouraged. You look at inflation and prices soaring, and it hurts people at the gas pump and grocery stores. It especially hurts the people who are having a hard time making ends meet. You look at a botched withdrawal in Afghanistan that was completely avoidable. You look at all the legislation being passed that contains hundreds of billions in wasteful spending, at critical race theory and transgender ideology permeating culture in schools and it's understandable for people to feel discouraged. But then, on the other hand, you look at what happened in the Virginia gubernatorial race. One candidate said that parents should have a say in their children's education, that you shouldn't have to wait for hours in line at the DMV, and that decisions shouldn't be made solely in Richmond.This candidate won dramatically in a state that has not been trending in the right direction. So, I think there's great reason to be encouraged by the fact that Americans are waking up. They don't believe in critical race theory. They believe that America is an exceptional nation and that our founders should be appreciated and revered.We should expect great things in 2022, and I think at this point it's ours to lose. And so, I hope that for those who have felt apathetic or discouraged in the past you can look at some of these things that have happened lately and get a bit more pep in your step and be encouraged because there are great reasons to be. If Andrew's words encouraged you to get involved in your local elections next year to send America back in the right direction, sign up for a Leadership Institute 2022 training. You'll learn how you and your conservative community can make a difference.
It’s Official: 2022 Political and Fundraising Calendar
Kirsten Holmberg
December 22, 2021
It’s Official: 2022 Political and Fundraising Calendar
Conservatives have the potential for great victories in 2022.Proper training will secure those victories.In addition to the hundreds of events that the Leadership Institute (LI) will conduct across the country, you'll find 20 fundraising and political trainings already scheduled at LI's Arlington, VA headquarters in 2022. Many additional trainings will be added during the year.Take a look at the 2022 calendar. You'll find everything from campaign management and candidate training to direct mail and high-dollar fundraising training. Pick the Leadership Institute training that's right for you and register now.Coming up, the Future Candidate School will run from January 13-15, 2022, and will help prepare you for your candidacy. If you plan to run for office in 2022, this training will show you the ropes, whether you're running for school board or Congress. And LI can help you even more if you're considering a run for office in 2023 and beyond.Check out the calendar above to find the right training for you! Then, register here for your favorites.
Are you listening? Learn how to win through Leadership Institute’s Podcasts!
Carol Wehe Cocks
December 9, 2021
Are you listening? Learn how to win through Leadership Institute’s Podcasts!
Conservatives are learning to win everywhere these days!In addition to its 48 different types of online and in-person trainings, Leadership Institute (LI) also produces podcasts to help reach and train conservatives where they are. These high-quality, accessible podcasts are educational and entertaining. They further the movement by training conservatives to win.The Leadership Institute provides trainings in so many areas and the additional podcast content produced is top notch. But, you don't have to take my word for it. Here are a few comments from LI's podcast fans.“I started with Tech Talk #8,” said one Instagram listener. “I enjoyed it so much, I have been working myself backwards to watch them all.”“This is great!” said another.Here are three Leadership Institute podcasts I subscribe to, that I think you'd enjoy too:Learn Right: School Board Campaign Training Podcast -- listen in every other week to new content and dive into political technology for conservatives to use in School Board campaigns. You'll learn how to campaign, how to raise funds, and what to do once you are elected. You can listen on Apple, Amazon, Acast, Spotify, and iHeart Radio.Tech Talk -- watch this weekly podcast about new digital technology and effective strategies to support your online activism. You can watch on YouTube.Campus Countdown -- watch this weekly podcast to get the top campus stories of the week, straight from a student who's a Campus Reform reporter. Campus Reform, a project of the Leadership Institute, is America's leading site for college news. As a watchdog to the nation's higher education system, Campus Reform exposes bias and abuse on the nation's college campuses. You can watch on YouTube.Make sure to hit the subscribe button, so you'll get each new episode!
Disney Fan and California Girl, Madison Marks-Noble helps college students have a voice on campus
Alyssa Jones
December 1, 2021
Disney Fan and California Girl, Madison Marks-Noble helps college students have a voice on campus
Meet California girl Madison Marks-Noble. A Disney lover and fervent conservative activist, Madison loves to encourage college students and give them the resources and network to find their voices on campus. Madison is from Fresno, California. She graduated from San Diego State University. Madison is the Leadership Institute (LI) Regional Field Coordinator for California and Hawaii. She shows selflessness in her work and wants students to become humble leaders. How does your job fulfill you?I get to make an impact in my community and my state. Many see California as a lost cause, but there are young people fighting for conservative principles every day on campus. Traveling around this beautiful state is also a great perk! Outside of the Leadership Institute, what are some things that you enjoy?A few things I enjoy are true crime podcasts and anything Disney. Everyone is so drawn to true crime, and I have hopped on the bandwagon! It passes the time on my long drives to various parts of the state. Disneyland is special to me because some of my best memories are from childhood family trips to Disneyland. My dad and I had always loved the park's history and how magical a place it is. I have been an annual pass holder since 2017, and it is a great escape from stress!As a Leadership Institute Regional Field Coordinator (RFC), you work with students daily who are where you were just a few years ago. How do you use your position not just to give resources, but to inspire them as young conservatives? It's great for students to host speakers and fun activism events, but honestly, the most important things I can do as an RFC are empower them and give them confidence. A lot of conservative students in college feel alone. When they bring up their politics on campus, it can result in rejection. Without visible conservative peers, some students start to censor themselves. I want students in LI's network to leave college knowing they have a voice and that they matter to the conservative movement. They should move into their career - in whatever field they choose - empowered with leadership abilities they learned working with their campus groups.How has the Leadership Institute impacted your life?The Leadership Institute gave me my first job after college - as a field representative and now as an RFC helping college students. I had zero political connections or experience, and LI gave me the chance to work hard and work my way up. Working here has also taught me how important it is to be movement-minded. In politics, it's very easy to get caught up in what "you" do and "your" accomplishments, but LI is not here to self-promote. As Morton says, "build a movement, not an empire." I keep that in mind constantly. Do you think what you have learned at the Leadership Institute will help you in other areas of life?I've learned that you can apply almost any skill regarding grassroots organizing to anything you do. Recruitment and being a people person are valuable skills for any job or position in life. Problem-solving is useful. When students consult with me about an issue in their club or with the school administration, my mind is trained to think outside the box to find solutions to a multitude of problems. Public speaking is also very useful, and while I've had tons of public speaking experience throughout my life, I can never practice too much.So, absolutely. I've gained many invaluable skills. Are you a college student in California or Hawaii? Contact Madison for help. You can find more information about getting help on your campus at LeadershipInstitute.org/Campus.
LI Grad Interview: Dog Owner, Political Activist, Florida Senate Staffer
Kirsten Holmberg
November 23, 2021
LI Grad Interview: Dog Owner, Political Activist, Florida Senate Staffer
"Learn about what is happening in your community and get to know your neighbors. National politics attracts the most attention, but big decisions are being made in your backyard by city and county leaders."Meet Natalie Brown, a Leadership Institute (LI) graduate and Legislative Assistant for Florida State Senator Danny Burgess. I recently interviewed Natalie and heard about her experience as a Legislative Assistant, her advice for conservative activists, and how the Leadership Institute's internship and training helped her become the political activist she is today. Can you tell me a little about yourself and your background? I became interested in politics in high school while participating in a program called Youth in Government. In 2016, I graduated from Florida State University with a degree in economics and moved to Arlington, VA, where I participated in the Koch Associate Program and worked in communications for Concerned Veterans for America.After surviving two blizzards, I returned to Florida. I've been with the Florida Senate as a Legislative Assistant since 2018. I live in Lakeland, Florida, with my husband Ethan and our dog Spock. You currently work as a legislative assistant for Florida State Senator Danny Burgess. How did your work with the Leadership Institute (LI) help prepare you for that job?This year will be my sixth Legislative Session and my second with Senator Danny Burgess. Since my time at the Leadership Institute, I have seen all 45 Laws of the Public Policy Process in action. One of my favorites is Rule 33: "Governing is campaigning by different means." Everything we do at the state level is scrutinized by other elected officials, the media, and most importantly, our constituents. As an LI intern, I was able to attend a variety of Leadership Institute schools and workshops. I use lessons from LI's Public Relations School every day. I even have the sample press release from PR School to show my interns every year. Do you have any insightful stories about working in the Florida Senate? As one Senator often says, the Florida House is an Army with a few leaders and a large infantry, but the Senate is 40 warlords forced to work together to accomplish anything.It is the truth. With only 40 members, the Senate is a small, collegial body. Some of the smaller committees have five members, so every vote matters. Every Senator has to work with their colleagues, and it's a very collaborative environment. Unfortunately, most Floridians don't know that and expect Democrats and Republicans to be at each other's throats on the Senate floor. You used to work as a Digital Communications and External Affairs Intern for the Leadership Institute. What experience did you gain from that position? My time at the Leadership Institute taught me so much about public service, but being the Digital Communications and External Affairs intern gave me the chance to develop specific skills. I learned graphic design, public relations, and social media management. I also wrote blog posts and email copy for the different training divisions. In my current role, I use much of that experience. I regularly write and send newsletters and press releases. I manage my Senator's social media accounts and write speeches and talking points. Many people seem to be disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?I encourage everyone to log off of social media and get involved at the local level. Learn about what is happening in your community and get to know your neighbors. National politics attracts the most attention, but big decisions are being made in your backyard by city and county leaders. Use your voice to improve your community and develop relationships with other community leaders through civic and service organizations. Make it personal. Share your experience. Why do you care about this issue? If you are sharing your opinion with your state legislators or your congressman, do a little research. Do they sit on a committee where the bill will be heard? Have they already voted on the issue? If so, did they share why they voted for or against legislation? (You'd be surprised how many calls we get asking us to tell a senator to vote against their own bill.) Share how the proposed legislation affects your livelihood or your family. Sending a form letter via email is a drop in the bucket, but a personal email detailing your experiences or concerns will get attention, sometimes even a phone call. This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. When you sign up for this newsletter, you get articles on the latest in politics, interviews like this one, and you'll be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities. Don't miss out! Sign up here.
Campus Leader turned Campus Resource, Michigander Monika Konrad shows college students how to make their mark
Alyssa Jones
November 15, 2021
Campus Leader turned Campus Resource, Michigander Monika Konrad shows college students how to make their mark
Meet Michigander Monika Konrad. She thrifts, campaigns, prays, and shows college students how to make their mark. Monika is a Leadership Institute (LI) Regional Field Coordinator who helps college students in Michigan and Wisconsin. Monika is from Chesterfield, Michigan and earned degrees in political science and international relations from the University of Michigan upon her graduation in 2019.Monika believes in saying yes to opportunity. She teaches Leadership Institute students how to find those opportunities throughout the conservative movement. In her answers, Monika shows that she cares about building up the next generation of young conservatives. What first drew your interest to the conservative movement? I was fairly apolitical throughout high school. The summer of 2016, after my first year of college, I was offered the opportunity to intern on a congressional campaign in my home district for a conservative state senator. Throughout that summer, I was exposed to conservative ideas and discussion that resonated with me. I realized that my beliefs and values aligned best with the conservative movement. After that, I invested my time in conservative groups on campus and in the community. I went on to intern for various conservative leaders, organizations, and campaigns, and then worked full-time in the movement following graduation.What is your favorite event that you have helped students put together, and why? My favorite event so far has been working with Turning Point USA at Lake Superior State University to host the Michigan Abolitionist Project for a speaker event on preventing human trafficking. Through this event, I think that more students have also developed a heart to bring awareness of this issue to their campus. Students are eager to learn how they can make a positive impact on their community and what they can do to make a difference on their campus. How has the Leadership Institute impacted your life? Over the years, the Leadership Institute has been an integral part of my conservative career. In college, my LI Regional Field Coordinator (RFC) guided me through the process to start a chapter of Network of Enlightened Women, which helped me make my mark on my campus. During my time as field staff for one of our partner organizations, the LI staff members I collaborated with were always so kind and helpful. After my time managing a political campaign, I was looking to move to the Washington, D.C. area. A job offer from the Leadership Institute allowed me to follow my dreams of moving to D.C. The people I have met since working for LI have become lifelong friends. I have been able to network with D.C. locals that I would not have met had I not come to work at the Leadership Institute.Outside of work, what are some things that you enjoy?I love adventuring around the DC area, thrifting, attending DC networking and educational events, spending time outdoors, and traveling. One of the best parts about being a Regional Field Coordinator (RFC) is that there is a lot of opportunity to travel around the country, whether for one of our Student Activism Conferences or to work a table at a partner organization's conference.What is your advice to students who hope for a career in DC or the conservative movement?Apply for the job, network, and get involved. I interned in DC in 2017, graduated in 2019, and moved to DC in 2021. I interned in DC in 2017 and it was the best decision I could have made. Due to COVID, my initial move to DC was slightly delayed, but when I finally moved, I had a feeling of relief and realization that this is where I was meant to be. I had been praying and praying for an opportunity to move to DC during uncertain times, and LI was the biggest blessing.My advice is simple. Pray about it. If you feel called to make the move, take the risk. The conservative movement has so many different opportunities and there are numerous pathways you can take to be successful in whatever field you want to pursue. If you need an internship, apply for the program at the Leadership Institute!Are you a college student in Michigan or Wisconsin? Contact Monica for help. You can find more information about getting an internship or job at the Leadership Institute at LeadershipInstitute.org/Jobs.
Dust the Covid-19 Rust off for Networking Events
Dylan Craig
November 13, 2021
Dust the Covid-19 Rust off for Networking Events
Well, it's currently mid-November and you and I are inching closer and closer to 2022. It's hard to believe that it's been nearly two years since the outbreak of Covid-19. At the time, I was a senior in college, counting down the days until graduation and looking forward to entering a sunny new phase of my life. I had my summer completely planned out. First, I'd walk down a beautiful lawn to accept my diploma, waving to my parents in the stands. Second, I'd enter a booming job market, and secure full-time employment somewhere. Third, I'd move to a new city, ideally one with a large population of singles, so I could make progress towards alleviating my grandmother's concerns of not having any great-grandchildren.Instead of walking across a lawn to my name being called by the dean, I saw my name flash across a laptop screen. Instead of a booming job market, I watched America's economy contract. Instead of moving to a new city and meeting a lovely young lady, I was cooped up in my bedroom, binge watching every James Bond movie released since 1963. Thankfully, things are getting much better. Graduation ceremonies are occurring in-person again. The economy is rebounding. I haven't made too much progress on meeting a special somebody, but that's a story for another time.The lockdowns have had a lingering impact on professional networking too.Going online for almost two years naturally complicated the process of networking events. Zoom is great, but it simply doesn't compare to in-person interaction. Let's be honest, many of us are rusty when it comes to social interaction in general. As you and I continue to rebound from Covid-19 and re-enter our offices, I have three tips that can help you shake off that networking rust.Set Yourself a Safe Drink LimitI get it, when you're nervous about interacting with total strangers, the idea of a drink sounds good. After all, it's called a social lubricant for a reason. However, if there's one thing that will severely damage your reputation among professional circles, it's being intoxicated at public events. Drinks are served at networking events for a reason, but it's shockingly common for people to go too far in their effort to loosen up. Don't be one of them!Don't HoverWhen you're in a room full of people you're not too familiar with, it can feel awkward to stand alone. You may be tempted to stand by the edge of a group and hover, making yourself seem like part of the group even though you're not actively engaging with the group. After all, hovering makes you blend in and eliminates the awkwardness of standing by yourself. The thing is, hovering doesn't benefit you. Those in the group will wonder why you're standing at the edge not saying a word. Hovering doesn't expand your network. Instead of hovering, join the conversation. The awkwardness will melt away once you enter the group and get a conversation flowing. Approach People Standing by ThemselvesAt any networking event, you'll see people who are standing by themselves. This presents an easy opportunity for you to network. It's much easier to approach and engage someone who isn't actively involved in a conversation. They're also usually self-conscious that they're standing by themselves and will be grateful you took the time to talk with them. You can more easily make a connection with someone when it's just you two chatting.For more tips on how to make the most of your networking or for help with your next career move, including free one-on-one career consultations and a list of job opportunities, subscribe to the Conservative Jobs newsletter and find more career opportunities at LeadershipInstitute.org/Career/.
Avid Fisherman and North Carolinian, Ryan Glennon Helps College Students Make a Difference
Alyssa Jones
November 8, 2021
Avid Fisherman and North Carolinian, Ryan Glennon Helps College Students Make a Difference
Meet Ryan Glennon, Leadership Institute (LI) Regional Field Coordinator. Ryan helps college students in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Ryan is from North Carolina and holds two Bachelor's degrees and a Master's degree from North Carolina State University. Ryan first got involved with the Leadership Institute when he attended an LI Youth Leadership School. Ryan felt empowered by LI's training and began his career at the Leadership Institute as a Summer 2020 intern. Upon the completion of his internship, Ryan was hired to be an LI Regional Field Coordinator. I recently interviewed Ryan to discuss favorite aspects of his career and learn about how the Leadership Institute continues to build the conservative movement on college campuses across the nation. In his answers, Ryan shows that he truly enjoys his career and genuinely cares about the success of his students and their campus movements.Outside of the Leadership Institute, what are some things you enjoy?I have loved to fish since I was a little kid. It was something that my Dad and I have always enjoyed together, and it is still something that brings me immense joy. I fished tournaments with the bass fishing team in college. It's a very challenging sport that teaches you adversity and patience, but it can also be a relaxing activity with friends and family.How does your job fulfil you?The biggest thing is just seeing the groups I have helped make a difference.Starting groups has given a lot of people a sense of direction in college along with community and friendship. That is so important, and it goes beyond politics.What is your favorite event that you have helped students put together, and why?The Cabot Philips speech at Liberty University (October 2021) and the Andres Guilarte speech at Virginia Tech (February 2021) were both pretty great. Both events attracted more than 100 attendees and were the two of the best speeches I have ever heard. There was a lot of enthusiasm. It generated a lot of support for what groups were doing on campus. Students gained confidence in what they were doing and their abilities, and it created a lot more conversation on campus.There is nothing like a solid speaker event to really drive up the enthusiasm, get people involved, and stay involved. These events create excitement.As a Regional Field Coordinator, you work with students daily who are where you were just a few years ago. How do you use your position to inspire them as young conservatives? I try to figure out what they want to accomplish. From that moment forward, I come up with a plan to help them start and build a club. I help them realize I am there to be a resource. I am invested in their efforts and success.I am there to help and guide them, give them advice and opportunities, and motivate them.I've seen a lot of people just appreciate the fact that someone came along and helped. When I was a chapter leader, any kind of help I got was exciting. It goes a long way when I say “Hey, I'm Ryan. I'm here to help your club. What can I do?”How did the Leadership Institute change your life?Nothing helped me more than attending a Leadership Institute training and learning how to be effective. It has helped me in my job and has helped me guide and instruct others to make a huge impact on campuses.Training yourself and investing in your own knowledge and competence leads directly to helping others and improving their effectiveness.That's the beauty of LI trainings. You take what you know and spread it to others, who spread it to other leaders, and the process continues. It creates a well-trained movement.Do you think that what you have learned at the Leadership Institute will help you in other areas of life?Absolutely. Working at the Leadership Institute and being able to network and communicate with dozens of student leaders, guide events, and speak at trainings personally has helped me build my confidence as a leader, mentor, trainer, and public speaker.This job has helped me learn to work independently to achieve my goals and see work pay off. It has helped me build meaningful relationships.Are you a college student in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, or Delaware? Contact Ryan for help. You can find more information about getting a job at the Leadership Institute at LeadershipInstitute.org/Jobs.
3 Ways Social Media Can Easily Improve Your Political Efforts
Stephen Rowe
November 1, 2021
3 Ways Social Media Can Easily Improve Your Political Efforts
Social media will continue to play a huge role in 2022 and beyond. In fact, more than 80% of Americans use social media to stay connected and informed. A strong social media presence is essential for successful politics at any level. But many political organizations, brands, and campaigns still lag in reach and engagement. So how can you gain more influence on social media? Here are three ways social media can easily improve your political efforts. 1. Capture More Young Voters Did you know TikTok has 1 billion monthly active users? A billion users is a big deal. The short-form video platform is now on par with Instagram in terms of overall users – and growing much faster -- a key consideration for your social strategy. Woody Allen famously said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” You don't have to use TikTok, but you should consider showing up on a new social media platform this year. If you want the conservative movement to capture more young voters, then you and I have to play offense. About 4 million people turn 18 each year in America, and many young voters want to feel heard. Leveraging platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube will enable you to reach and capture Millennials and Generation Z with your message. 2. Steer the Conversation I forgot where I first heard this but it's 100% correct: “He or she who frames the issue wins the debate.” This quote rings true – especially on social media. Imagine a voter typing into Google/YouTube, “What do conservatives believe in?”, and then the search results returning videos from AOC, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. You and I must not let this happen. There is plenty of room on the internet for more conservative content creators, podcasters, and storytellers to help steer online conversation in effective ways. If you've thought about creating conservative content for the web, it's time to act. 3. Connect in Real-time Social media lets you gauge sentiments in real-time and react. Do you remember when Hillary Clinton used the term “basket of deplorables”? Within an hour, there were t-shirts, coffee mugs, and updated Twitter profiles. Personally, I remember when Joe Biden fell while walking up the steps of Air Force One. That viral moment reached almost every corner of social media. Being able to connect and react in real time is important, especially in moments of crisis. The right social media strategy, tactics, and technology will make you more effective in everything you work to achieve.If you're interested in learning more about how to use digital tactics to grow your audience and advance your conservative principles, sign up for Tech Talk, my monthly email newsletter, and check out the digital trainings currently available from the Leadership Institute.
Campus Reform’s Correspondent Director, Kate Hirzel is Leadership Institute’s Employee of the Quarter
Carol Wehe Cocks
October 28, 2021
Campus Reform’s Correspondent Director, Kate Hirzel is Leadership Institute’s Employee of the Quarter
On October 26, 2021, Morton Blackwell announced Kate Hirzel as Leadership Institute's Employee of the Quarter.Speaking to a room full of Leadership Institute (LI) staff in LI's Stephen P.J. Wood Building in Arlington, VA, Morton said:“Since joining LI in March 2021, Kate has grown the Campus Reform Correspondent Program from fewer than 50 to 159 correspondents, representing 37 states plus D.C. and 114 colleges and universities.“Not only has Kate set a record for the number of correspondents, but she has also improved the quality of experience for correspondents, facilitating quality training and networking opportunities with notable Campus Reform alumni.“Thank you, Kate, and congratulations.”Join Morton and the rest of Leadership Institute staff congratulating Kate on a job well done.If you're interested in working with Kate to become a Campus Correspondent for Leadership Institute's Campus Reform, you can apply here. The Leadership Institute's Campus Reform Campus Correspondent Program recruits, cultivates, and pays conservative student journalists all across the country to investigate and report liberal abuses and bias on college campuses throughout their state.These student contributors, working as investigative reporters, will work hand-in-hand with Campus Reform's team of professional journalists to develop their writing and reporting skills, build a professional network, and get published in national media outlets.
LI Grad Interview: Homeschooled Farm Kid, City Councilman, Generation Joshua Mentor
Kirsten Holmberg
October 21, 2021
LI Grad Interview: Homeschooled Farm Kid, City Councilman, Generation Joshua Mentor
“My town was in desperate need of honest, careful, and principled leadership. So, I put my hat in the ring, ran the race as a local political unknown, and — by God's grace and a lot of hard work — won a seat on the council.” Meet Joel Grewe, Leadership Institute (LI) graduate and faculty, and Executive Director at Home School Legal Defense Association Action.I recently interviewed Joel to learn about his background, what drove him to get involved in local politics in Purcellville, Virginia, and his work as Executive Director at Home School Legal Defense Association Action. Can you tell me a little about yourself and your background?I am just a farm kid who doesn't like farming, has a strong justice streak, and cares about people who are hurting. I grew up in Spokane, Washington, got married in 2004, and now my wife and I have three amazing, rambunctious boys. I worked in demographic research and got interested in politics back during Newt Gingrich's Contract with America. My dad is a local lawyer, and my grandpa was connected with local politics, so I had a ring-side seat to the work of unseating House Speaker Foley. I've been involved in the conservative political movement ever since. Is it true that in the 6th grade you convinced your mother to homeschool you? Could you tell me a little bit about that?Absolutely! My mom is an awesome lady, though she was a bit intimidated at the idea of homeschooling me. At the end of 6th grade, I was bored in school, and I asked my mom to homeschool me. She said she thought she wasn't up to the task. I responded that I would homeschool myself if needed, but I desperately needed to be let out of that school building. We struck a deal, and I never went back. Homeschooling was an incredible advantage for me growing up. You're currently the Executive Director at Home School Legal Defense Association Action; tell me a little about that organization and why you decided to get involved.Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is the national legal defense and advocacy organization for homeschoolers—they help make homeschooling possible. HSLDA Action is the sister organization of HSLDA: we handle the federal advocacy, political work, two Political Action Committees, and Generation Joshua, our youth civics education and engagement program. As a homeschool graduate, I feel privileged to help ensure homeschooling is free and possible for future generations. What inspired you to run for city council in Purcellville? It was actually one of my Generation Joshua students, who, as I recall, is also a recipient of Leadership Institute training. My wonderful little town of Purcellville, VA, went through a cascade of scandals back in 2016, all the way through 2018. Purcellville ended up on the front page of the Washington Post—twice—and not for good reasons. As the scandals mounted and the problems facing the town grew, that student—now my friend—asked to chat with me. He came to my house with the copy of the Washington Post and asked me a question. He said, “Joel, you talk a lot about how important it is that good people be involved in government, and how if they don't, bad things happen.” I responded: “Yes I do.” He continued, “Well, considering the situation that Purcellville is in, is that just something you say, or do you actually believe it?” It was a blunt challenge, and it wasn't like I hadn't put my time in. I'd helped train more than 25,000 students and coordinated political efforts to reach more than eight million voters. But he was right: my town was in desperate need of honest, careful, and principled leadership. So I put my hat in the ring, ran the race as a local political unknown, and—by God's grace and a lot of hard work—won a seat on the council. How did the Leadership Institute (LI) training you received help you in running for public office?The first LI class I ever took was the Future Candidate School, back in 2008. The class was the crucial step I needed to think about what my life would need to look like in running for office: it gave me the perspective to understand what the commitment of campaigning for office requires. That was a crucial part of both assembling my team for office (with other LI graduates) and communicating what taking this on would mean for my wife and boys. I couldn't have done this without their support — and without a clear view of what it would take, we couldn't have been ready to weather the challenges we faced. I regularly quote lessons from my LI training to my interns, my policy staff, and myself. I have taken a host of LI classes, and although it does not make me, as the candidate, the expert in every part of my campaign, I understand what each part does, why it is important, and how to prioritize it and discuss every issue with understanding. Many people seem to be disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?I would first tell them that freedom is messy, that we don't get it right all the time, that we often don't get it right the first time, but that we never get it right if people don't engage. I know it seems like engaging our civic—well, I would say “discourse,” but that is too polite a word, so let's call it our civic “arena” — feels like it's fraught with peril. And that's not always a wrong assessment. It's messy and dangerous and rather vicious as of late. But in times like these we must engage – because these moments in history are when freedom needs its defenders the most. If you are ever going to get involved, get involved when the fighting is hot, and the need is dire. People who work for freedom only during smooth seas and fair winds are, at best, fair-weather friends of freedom. We need people committed to the virtue of freedom — the idea that it is better to be free than unfree, always — and who are willing to stand in support of it. Our country and our future deserve nothing less.This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. When you sign up for this newsletter, you get articles on the latest in politics, interviews like this one, and you'll be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities. Don't miss out! Sign up here.
How to be a Better Manager, a Conversation with Ben Woodward
Caleb Pascoe
October 19, 2021
How to be a Better Manager, a Conversation with Ben Woodward
I recently sat down with Ben Woodward at the Leadership Institute (LI) to discuss best management practices. Originally from the United Kingdom, Ben's track record of success at the Leadership Institute started when he joined LI as an intern during the summer of 2015.In Ben's five years at LI, he was promoted from intern, to Career Services Coordinator, to Deputy Director of Career Services, to his present role as Director of Communications Trainings. In his last few weeks at LI before starting a new position at Deloitte Insights & Solutions, Ben gave some important advice on how to be a great manager.Making the move from internship to management is a long track, but what are the biggest take-aways from your time as an intern, a career services coordinator, and a manager?You always learn how to be a manager even when you're not a manager.You observe bosses you have that are good and bosses that are bad. I learned some key things from different bosses that I had.When I was an intern, my supervisor had a real commitment to excellence. She taught me to pay attention to those small details that matter, and the importance of following the standards set by the organization.As a manager, one of the key things I learned was to set an example for your staff. If you're showing up late to work, your staff will start showing up late to work. If you start leaving early your staff will start leaving early. So, you've got to set the standards, because people will look to you for how they should behave.As I supervised more interns, I gradually learned a lot. Setting expectations early on is key. Also, learning what the author Kim Scott calls radical candor, which is being very honest in the feedback you give. You have to be kind, but honest. Being able to say, ‘here's what I liked about your project, here is what you should do differently.' Or, if there is time in an ideal world, you tell them what they should do differently, and you let them go away and fix those things for themselves.What recommendations do you have for people to overcome the fear of overseeing other people for the first time?Good managers do their subordinates no favors if they fail to be honest. You're their boss and their mentor, and your job is to get them up to the standards that the company expects of them.First time managers -- change your mindset about the nature of the work you are doing.As a manager, your job goes away from being the doer, and you now get things done through the people who work for you. Of course, there's a lot of work you still must do yourself, but where possible your mindset is now that you are accomplishing things through other people, and that's how you will be judged.How do you become a conductor and leader of the team you are managing so a project goes well?That's a big question. Let me tell you a few key things to start you on the right path.Identify what your team is good at and what your team is bad at. Be open minded about ideas, and the new innovative things that employees bring in, especially when they are new employees. They come in with fresh eyes, and they come up with their own ideas, where a manager may not see the possibilities.So, pivoting a little bit, what have you found in day-to-day life that has taught you do be a better manager? Observing my dad, for certain, was a big factor. He was self-employed and had a small business.He had two to three people working for him at any given time. I would get to observe him when I was younger, especially when I would go into his office and study, which I did frequently. I really enjoyed that, and I got to see how he worked as a manager.He was just brilliant because he was so calm even when I knew he was stressed. He was the epitome of a duck on water, calm and gliding on the top, even though he was franticly kicking underneath. That calming energy was instilled into his team, even when the going got rough. They knew that panicking was never going to be a productive activity.My dad was a calm, solutions-oriented person, and I really respect him for that.When you have an employee who has just flubbed the project, and maybe not even apologetic about it, how do you deal with a situation where you're trying to communicate that they have done something wrong and need to correct themselves?Number one, just as your staff should never surprise you, you should never surprise your staff. They should know the standards expected of them at all times.They should also know the strategic direction of the department you are running, and their role in it. Which means that they will know when they've flubbed it. If the employees don't know they have really messed up or that the standards haven't been met, then you really haven't done a good job setting the standards.I have always worked on the philosophy that you praise in public, and you criticize in private; and you should praise a lot more than you should criticize.If you are criticizing too much, you're a bad manager because your staff clearly can't do their jobs. Praise in public means that when someone does something good, you're sending all staff emails, and you're including the department head or the CEO.Praising in public is a big thing.There is absolutely no reason to criticize in public. I would suggest that when something goes wrong you bring it up right away. Don't wait. Explain what the problem is and why it's important. You want to be calm and in control of your emotions at all times. If there is a problem, you'll deal with it calmly and in a way that's professional. So, when things are going wrong, bring it up right away.Your first instinct should be performance improvement. Your staff are not disposable commodities; they're an investment, and the investment needs care.Just one more point; a good manager will plan for succession. Your staff should be so well trained and so effective that they should be able to function largely without you breathing down their neck. Most people, when they get promoted, are likely doing their bosses job in some way already. Too many managers let their egos get in the way, and they get defensive about the big juicy, high profile projects.A good manager will praise their staff constantly and will do so to leadership without seeking to take all the credit themselves. They'll look good because their staff looks good.Well on that note, Ben, thank you very much for taking the time today, and congratulations on moving on to a new position at Deloitte!Thank you! Very excited about the new challenge but will miss LI terribly. It's been a fantastic five years.If you would like to learn more about becoming a better manager, attend the Leadership Institute's online Management 101 training and sign up for more careers training at LeadershipInstitute.org/Training.
Your D.C. Internship: Three Tips from a Former Hill Intern
Dylan Craig
October 18, 2021
Your D.C. Internship: Three Tips from a Former Hill Intern
Back in the fall of 2019, I found myself blessed with the opportunity to accept an internship in the House of Representatives. At the time, I was attending college in the other Washington, the one with incessant rain (instead of incessant humidity) and towering evergreen trees (instead of towering marble monuments). Moving nearly 3,000 miles across the country into an unfamiliar city was daunting by itself; the stress of the move was only compounded by the fact I would be entering the nation's political frontlines during unprecedented political turmoil. In my first week, rumors of impending impeachment proceedings swirled through the halls of the Rayburn House Office Building. I quickly realized my internship in D.C. was much more than I had initially bargained for. Like many other interns in D.C, my first several weeks on the job were quite overwhelming. I had no option but to learn through trial and error. I fumbled important phone calls. I got lost in the belly of the Capitol building while giving a tour to a group of Air Force officers. One day, while waiting in line for coffee, I made small talk with the person behind me. After a cordial discussion over the improving performance of the Nationals, I asked him which Representative he worked for. He politely explained that he himself was a Representative.Despite these early slip-ups, and despite the abnormally politically charged environment of my internship, my time on Capitol Hill was easily one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. If given the chance to go back and do things over, I wouldn't do anything differently. However, one aspect of my experience did catch me off guard, an aspect which I wish I had been better prepared for. I didn't anticipate my internship to be a 24/7 experience. When you're interning in D.C., you're not done once you walk out of your office. If you hope to leverage your internship into a job, or if you hope to take full advantage of your time in D.C., you must take every opportunity that presents itself, both inside and outside of the office. There's your office internship, and then there's your D.C. internship. I hope these three tips on how to maximize your D.C. internship can help you as much as they would've helped me back in 2019. 1. Don't let your title limit youDon't be self-conscious as an intern. This was perhaps my biggest mistake. For most of my internship, I operated under the assumption that interns were inherently looked down upon due to their non-employed status, and this mindset sapped my confidence when it came to networking, both inside and outside of the office. Now that I've spent more time in D.C., I realize just how much that mindset was holding me back. Here's a fun game. Go to the website of your favorite think tank or congressional member. Randomly pick any staff member, then look at their LinkedIn. This person was almost certainly an intern at some point. Almost everyone in D.C. got their start as an intern. Almost nobody will look down on you as a lesser individual. They were in your shoes at some point. People in D.C. go out of their way to help interns grow, because they know exactly what it's like. Be proud of being an intern. 2. Expand your horizons beyond your immediate onesYou'll most likely become close with the interns you work with or live with. After all, proximity breeds familiarity, and familiarity breeds friendship. However, I've seen many interns opt to stick to what's familiar and exclusively spend time with their co-interns or roommates. They unknowingly cut themselves off from meeting new people. This isn't to say that the bonds you form with interns in close proximity to you aren't legitimate or that they're inherently lesser, it's just that many people make the mistake of seeking security in familiarity and don't push themselves to meet new people. Thousands of interns work in D.C., and the odds are high you'll meet life-long friends if you put yourself out there.3. Network naturally When I was a new intern, I kept hearing people use the term “networking.” Of course, I knew what the concept was, but I wasn't quite sure how to apply it in practice. If you treat networking like a chore, rather than treating it as a fun opportunity to form authentic connections with people, you'll come across as stiff and be a poor networker in the process. It's immediately apparent when someone you're talking to is merely looking for transactional relationships that they can use to open up a job or to get closer to someone they're hoping to meet. It's also immediately apparent when someone you're talking to wants to form an authentic connection with you, not just for professional purposes, but also cares about you as a human being and takes genuine interest in the lives of others. Network naturally!For more tips on how to make the most of your internship or for help with your next career move, including free one-on-one career consultations and a list of job opportunities, subscribe to the Conservative Jobs newsletter and find more career opportunities at LeadershipInstitute.org/Career/.
Mark Levin’s new book American Marxism
Morton C Blackwell
October 15, 2021
Mark Levin’s new book American Marxism
Here's a book you simply cannot miss. I read it very carefully. It's so powerful I encourage all my friends and fellow conservatives to read it as well. The book is the latest from my dear friend Mark Levin, the constitutional champion and radio personality. It's called American Marxism. And it couldn't be more timely.For many decades, Marxist tacticians and strategists have waged war against the timeless principles of America's founding. The lawlessness, censorship, and agitation you and I witnessed in recent years result from this decades-long plan to undermine all the good our country represents.In his new book, Mark exposes the Marxist roots of today's leftist activism. He details and denounces the academic, cultural, and political voices pushing our nation down this dangerous road.As Mark puts it: “The counter-revolution to the American Revolution is in full force. And it can no longer be dismissed or ignored for it is devouring our society and culture, swirling around our everyday lives, and ubiquitous in our politics, schools, media, and entertainment.” I strongly urge you to get your hands on Mark's new book today. It'll give you a solid foundation to explain to your friends, family, and loved ones how America got off the rails. And you'll see how you can fight back to help save our country.You can order a copy of American Marxism at the link below:https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/American-Marxism/Mark-R-Levin/9781501135972Thank you for standing for conservative principles and for our great nation.Morton Blackwell is founder and president of the Leadership Institute. Since 1979, the Leadership Institute has trained more than 239,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders on the skills and techniques of politics. Learn how to win for conservative principles at one of the many Leadership Institute trainings coming up. You can find those trainings listed at LeadershipInstitute.org/Training.
LI Grad Interview: Californian, International Communicator, Presidential Campaign Spokesman
Kirsten Holmberg
September 22, 2021
LI Grad Interview: Californian, International Communicator, Presidential Campaign Spokesman
“The world is run by those who show up…. America has plenty of critics. What the country needs are conservative men and women in the arena.”Meet Ron Nehring, Leadership Institute (LI) graduate, faculty, and Director of International Programs. I recently interviewed Ron to hear about his experiences running for office and his time as Spokesman for Ted Cruz for President. Last year in the 2020 general elections, Ron won local office in his hometown in California.Can you tell me a little about yourself and your background?Shortly after I became the President of my College Republican club at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, I learned of the Leadership Institute and Morton Blackwell. After attending seven LI trainings, I used those skills to become Chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, Chairman of the California Republican Party, Republican nominee for Lt Governor of California, Senator Ted Cruz's presidential campaign spokesman, and a local office holder. You were the national spokesman at Ted Cruz for President. What motivated you to get involved in the campaign?As 2016 approached, I wanted to be involved in the presidential election. Senator Cruz was a solid conservative and first-time presidential candidate. While more established candidates like Jeb Bush had large organizations already around them, there were greater opportunities with a candidate who was building his national organization, and I was motivated by his clear and unapologetic conservatism. Do you have any insightful stories from your time on the campaign or as a candidate? In politics, you get to define what victory means. If victory only meant winning the office, no one would run for any office where the odds are against him. But, the movement needs candidates who will step up for a battle that's uphill. When I ran for Lt Governor, the odds against me were overwhelming. And yet, the campaign further raised my profile and was helpful in my becoming Senator Cruz' California chairman, and later his spokesman. The benefits of stepping up for a campaign may not be immediately apparent. Yet a solid effort can open important doors in the future. How has the Leadership Institute helped you during your time in public service? I hold a Political Science degree, yet most of what I learned about winning a campaign came from LI — both as a student, and later as a faculty member. If you really want to master a topic, try teaching it. It forces you to delve much deeper into the subject and understand its relationship to other areas. When I ran for local office in 2020, the campaign was designed exactly to match what we teach at LI. The strategy was developed from the same methods we teach, and implemented using the same tactics. While victory can never be guaranteed, I'm grateful to the voters for the overwhelming support I earned through this effective campaign. You are the Director of International Programs at the Leadership Institute. Tell us a bit about your position.Leadership Institute brings literally world-class quality training in organizing and communicating to conservative leaders, parties, and groups around the world. Many of the leaders and potential leaders LI has trained have gone on to successfully win public office, and from there put conservative ideas of free markets and individual liberty into action. I work diligently to take proven techniques and adapt them to different countries, cultures, and political systems. Center-right organizations worldwide know when they need high quality training to improve their effectiveness, to call on the Leadership Institute. Many people seem to be disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?The world is run by those who show up. We are blessed to live in a country which welcomes political involvement. Americans of any background can be involved in shaping our government, and advancing ideas to improve the human condition. As Morton Blackwell has observed, being right in the sense of having the best ideas is not enough to win. America needs leaders who want to do something, not just be someone, to maximize their effectiveness with the skills necessary to win. Teddy Roosevelt put it this way: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."America has plenty of critics. What the country needs are conservative men and women in the arena. This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. When you sign up for this newsletter, you get articles on the latest in politics, interviews like this one, and you'll be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities. Don't miss out! Sign up here.
LI Grad Interview: Arizonan, Conservative, School Board Member
Kirsten Holmberg
August 26, 2021
LI Grad Interview: Arizonan, Conservative, School Board Member
“If we're going to maintain our republic, we must get involved in the political process and school boards are key to preventing the wholesale takeover of our country.” - Chris King, School Board Member in Vail, Arizona.Meet Chris King, Leadership Institute graduate. I recently interviewed Chris to hear about his election to school board. Last year in the 2020 general elections, Chris earned his seat on the Vail Unified School District Governing Board in Arizona. Can you tell me a little about yourself?I am a combat veteran and alumni of the University of Arizona with a Bachelors in Government and Public Service and a Masters in International Security. I attended LI's boot camp and Field Representative training while working on my master's degree and a campaign. You currently are a member of the Vail Unified School District Governing Board in Arizona. What inspired you to get involved with your local school board? As a conservative, I recognized years ago that if we're going to maintain our republic, we must get involved in the political process and school boards are key to preventing the wholesale takeover of our country. Prior to filing to run, I reached out to the board members who were up for reelection to see if they were running. I researched the other candidate who had filed and determined that he wasn't who we would want to represent our district and made the decision to run.What is one challenge you have faced during your time on the School District Governing Board and how did you overcome it?The largest challenge we have faced during my time on the school board has definitely been Covid and the subsequent issues surrounding it. Since before assuming my position on the board, I made my position clear in not supporting mandatory mask-wearing as I believe it should be an individual choice. I agree with former Justice Scalia in that it is not the government's duty to protect us. There have been many other challenges which have presented since my election, but most of them have stemmed from Covid.How has the Leadership Institute helped you during your time in public service? Leadership Institute was key in preparing me for several aspects of serving. Morton Blackwell's Laws of the Public Policy Process hangs in my living room and is referred to often. The ability to talk to others regarding sensitive issues was something LI helped me with. During LI's Field Representative training, I was assigned to gather signatures on a pro-life petition. This was by far one of my weakest skills. Since then, I have become more educated on this issue in addition to more vocal in my support for pro-life issues.Another area LI has helped me is the area of Social Media. The law of not arguing on social media has kept me from being pulled into the mud puddle of local politics.Many people seem to be disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?More than 90% of politicians/public servants self-select and are not recruited by a political party. When people say the party did this or that, I let them know that they ARE the party and they can make a difference if they get involved. Politics is a game with very confusing rules that seem to be designed to keep the average person out. Find a mentor, work with them to become knowledgeable, and donate one of the 3Ts: Time, Treasure, or Talent. That is how we can really make a difference. The grassroots folks who get involved, can and will eventually rise to the positions where they can make decisions on the direction of the parties.This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. When you sign up for this newsletter, you get articles on the latest in politics, interviews like this one, and you'll be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities. Don't miss out! Sign up here.
Conservatives focus on the nation’s school boards
By Ron Nehring
August 9, 2021
Conservatives focus on the nation’s school boards
The Leadership Institute today announces the launch of a new program to train the next generation of conservative candidates for the nation's school boards. “Radical leftists are promoting a radical agenda in schools, including the teaching of Critical Race Theory that holds our country is fundamentally racist and society must be completely re-engineered to align with leftist values,” said Leadership Institute President Morton C. Blackwell in announcing the School Board Campaign Training. “With this vital new program, the Leadership Institute will now prepare conservatives all across America to challenge the left's control over the nation's locally elected school boards.”Local school boards make important decisions concerning curriculum, staffing, and budgeting for the nation's public schools. Depending on state laws, school boards have a direct influence on the quality of education students receive. “Every student deserves a quality education. Efforts to inject political agendas and indoctrination into our schools comes at the expense of giving students the tools they need to go on to college or the workforce, and to be good citizens,” said Blackwell. SCHOOL BOARD CAMPAIGN TRAINING The Leadership Institute's new School Board Campaign Training launches today, August 9, 2021. This new training will consist of more than 11 hours of online training in every aspect of recruiting candidates and designing, waging, and funding a successful school board campaign, plus training and background information on the roles of school board members and the issues they face. Conservatives interested in running for school board, or supporting school board candidates, will be able to take Leadership Institute's training online, or attend one of several in-person training programs to be conducted over the next two years. Additionally, a new podcast series will provide subscribers with weekly episodes covering aspects of school board elections featuring guests with successful experience in the field. The faculty for the new program is drawn from conservative experts who have successfully served on school boards, or have directly contributed to school board campaign victories. This training is available now. For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org/SchoolBoard.
Leadership Institute Grad, Intern, University of Oklahoma Senior – Published in National Review
By Morton C. Blackwell
July 27, 2021
Leadership Institute Grad, Intern, University of Oklahoma Senior – Published in National Review
Your Leadership Institute's summer interns still have one month left in their program, but many of them already put their training to use.One intern, Kiara Kincaid, used her experience in LI's Political and Fundraising Training department to write an article for National Review's website.Kiara is a senior at the University of Oklahoma. In her piece, she exposes the censorship tactics used by leftist professors on her campus. As Kiara explains, many of the faculty at the university undergo training on how to shut down speech they disagree with in the classroom.Kiara's piece reveals that even at relatively conservative universities like hers, liberal bias undermines students' freedom of speech.You can read Kiara's National Review article here: https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/07/classroom-censorship-comes-to-the-university-of-oklahoma/Young conservatives like Kiara give me great hope for the future.Thanks to Leadership Institute donors' generous support, Kiara was able to expose leftist bias for a national audience and inspire other young conservatives to stand up for their principles.The Leadership Institute's donors truly invest in the next generation of conservative leaders and make a tremendous difference for America.
LI Grad Interview: Texan, Fire Department Volunteer, City Councilwoman
Kirsten Holmberg
July 20, 2021
LI Grad Interview: Texan, Fire Department Volunteer, City Councilwoman
Meet Mackenzie Kelly, Leadership Institute graduate. I recently interviewed Mackenzie to learn about her background as a fire department volunteer, her drive to get involved, and how the Leadership Institute's training helped prepare Mackenzie to become a member of the Austin City Council in Texas.Can you tell me a little about yourself?Before being elected to City Council, I served at the Round Rock Fire Department Training Division, Williamson County Emergency Management and with the City of Austin Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). In 2019, I was elected president of the 100th class of Austin Police Department's Citizen Police Academy. My close working relationship with the Austin Police Department gives me a rare perspective on local law enforcement and why it must be passionately supported and fully funded. I volunteered with the Jollyville Fire Department from 2005-2013, where I gained a profound respect for those who protect life and property in our capital city. While there, I completed a year-long fellowship through the Disaster Science Academy.Serving Austin's elderly population is another passion of mine, having worked in home health care for several years. I have also served as an appointee by then-Governor Rick Perry to the Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities. I am an advocate of good geographic representation, having run in the first city council election under the 10-1 plan in 2014. As for my greatest accomplishment, I am a mother of an inquisitive daughter, Rebekah, a student in the Round Rock ISD. I am happily married and am a 2005 graduate of Westwood High School (Go Warriors!).You currently are a member of the Austin City Council in Texas. How did you get involved with the City Council and what does your position involve?I have always had a love for public service. Before becoming elected, I was a volunteer firefighter for 8 years with the Jollyville Fire Department. After that, I was appointed to the Committee for People with Disabilities by former Texas Governor Rick Perry. I was then appointed by former Austin City Councilmen Don Zimmerman to the Women's Commission. I would also attend council meetings and speak during citizen testimony on pieces of legislation that resonated with my core values. What is one challenge you have faced during your time as a City Council member and how did you overcome it?One of the biggest challenges I've faced is being in a non-partisan role. The Austin City council is a 10-1 system or, 10 council members and 1 mayor. With 10 other Democrats on the dais and me being the only Republican, people may think that I'm isolated. What I've done in my role on council is open communication and collaboration with the other members so that I could find common goals to work on together. How has the Leadership Institute helped you during your time in public service?The Leadership Institute has prepared me with educational materials, mentorship, and resources to help prepare and equip me to be the best I can be in my role as an Austin City Councilwoman. Additionally, LI's Campaign Candidate School gave me the framework and confidence to run an effective grassroots campaign. This was not only vital to my success but the tools I have now allow me to keep a pulse on my constituency. Many people seem to be disillusioned with the country's current political climate. What would you say to them to encourage them to get involved?I've learned in my role that it only takes one voice to make meaningful change. The best way to see change made in your community is by getting involved in any way you can, no matter how small it may seem. I started out by testifying before the council. As I got more and more involved, the more change I saw. Now, I'm in a role that will allow me to have a direct impact on the community.This interview is from the Leadership Institute's Political and Fundraising Monthly Newsletter. You can be the first to know about LI's political and fundraising training opportunities with an email delivered straight to your mailbox. Don't miss out! Sign up today.
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