#YoungWomenRun 2017

On July 17th and 18th, 2017 150 motivated young women from across the political spectrum gathered in Washington, DC for Young Women Run with the goal of advancing their leadership skills and capacity to run for office. Another 300 Elected leaders, professionals and mentors showed up as allies to support these ambitious young women.

Events like these are essential if we are ever going to reach political parity in this country. Women are 51% of the US population yet remain grossly underrepresented nationwide in all levels of government at less than 25%. Young Women Run organizers IGNITE and Running Start (the only national organizations focused on training young women to run for office)hosted the training to mobilize young women to step into political power and pursue elected office.

One of the most inspiring moments was on the first day of the event when 95% of the room raised their hand when asked who planned to run for office. The future truly is female!

For many, Young Women Run was the much-needed network and boost of confidence aspiring candidates, like Kady Cox and Marissa Alayna Navarro, needed:

“It was an honor to be surrounded by such amazingly powerful women who were not only interested in my success, but eager to support me in whatever I do. Thank you for the scholarship and allowing me to be apart of such an inspiring conference and training”. — Kady Cox, Michigan State University

“I had the opportunity to attend the 1st ever Young Women Run, dedicated to training politically ambitious young women. I was truly blessed to learn from the best and be surrounded by our nation’s present and future female leaders”. — Marissa Alayna Navarro, University of Alabama

Photo: Kady Cox with Running Start Founder/President Susannah Welford and IGNITE Founder/President Anne Moses
Photo: Marissa Alayna Navarro with other Young Women Run attendees in the AT&T studio for on-camera training

The dynamic, two-day event held at the AT&T Forum for Technology, Entertainment and Policy, included speakers, panels, and workshops. The speakers offered practical advice as well as inspirational stories for young women embarking on their political careers.

“Leading means a lot of different things. But I will tell you — we must have more women running for office!”

– Congresswoman Susan Brooks (Tweet this quote)

Photo: Social media savvy Congresswoman Brooks got a round of applause when she took a group Snapchat selfie.

“Nothing is more wholesome for America, for our country, for our government, for our policies, for everything, then the increased participation of women. Especially in leadership roles”.

– U.S. Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Tweet this quote)

Photo: U.S. Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi in conversation with Christine Pelosi

“Surrounded yourself with a tribe that understands you want to play big in the world. My playing big in the world doesn’t mean you don’t get space”

– Jess Weiner, Talk to Jess (Tweet this quote)

Photo: Jess Weiner of Talk to Jess pictured with IGNITE Fellows Jade Goin and Tiffaney Boyd

The keynote addresses were live streamed and are available here: Former Congresswoman Mary Bono, Congresswoman Susan Brooks, U.S. Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in conversation with daughtered & Christine Pelosi, 43rd U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios, andand Jess Weiner of Talk to Jess. The two panels can be watched here: Support Your Lifelong Political Journey and Young and Running.

For those beginning their career in political leadership, the panel “Supporting Your Lifelong Political Journey” featured a powerhouse line up of women trailblazers in the political arena. Tips from these established experts addressed not only how to have a successful run for office but how to thrive in elected office for decades to come.

Photo: Panel on “Supporting your Life Long Political Journey”

The “Young and Running” panel tackled a question on the mind of all attendees: what’s it like to be a young woman running for office? Six young women who have run for office and are serving their communities shared their experiences running, winning, and serving.

Photo: Panel on “Young and Running”

While attendees benefited from the professional insight on these panels, the panelists also walked away from the training with some unexpected insight and inspiration.

“It was fabulous to speak to so many of the young women attending and learn about what brought them to the training and their future political aspirations. I was particularly heartened to hear that so many understand the need to reform recruitment rules and voting systems to turn women’s passion for engagement into actual representation. All of us need to work together on the many innovative and complementary strategies to win gender parity”. — Cynthia Terrell from Representation 2020

Thanks to a wide range of experiential workshops lead by experts, Young Women Run attendees now have a toolkit that will catapult them into their current and future campaigns at any level — from college campus races to statewide elections.

Photo: Catherine Baxter, Op Ed Project, Op Ed Workshop
Photo: Nikila Kakarla, LinkedIn, Leveraging LinkedIn for your Campaign
Photo: Sarah Chamberlain, Republican Main Street Partnership, Cultivating Confidence
Photo: Crystal Patterson, Facebook, Social Media in a Campaign Setting

A key workshop for many was the on-air media training, where attendees learned how to be on camera and deliver their message. They later practiced their elevator pitches in small groups and each group voted for the best one. These finalists returned to the studio hot seats for rapid fire interviews. All of the attendees voted in a mock election to choose the most powerful, compelling political speakers. Watch these speeches on YouTube.

Photo: Marjorie Clifton of Clifton Consulting, LLC, leading the On-Air Media Training

Elected officials joined participants for a networking reception to meet the future generation of women leaders. A special thank you to the Members of Congress for stepping away from their civic duties on Capitol Hill to meet with the next generation of female leaders.

Photo: Congresswomen Carolyn B. Maloney at the Networking Reception. Check out the #ILookLikeAPolitician signs!

Attendees left Young Women Run confident and eager to become the next generation of political leaders.

“I’ll never forget the people I met, and the memories I made. More importantly, I’ll never forget the feeling I felt being among so many like-minded young women who were ready to take on the world. It gives me great confidence and hope for our country, as I know this won’t be the last I see from these amazing women.” — Kayla Mcloughlin (Read Kayla’s full reflection)

“The most impressive part of the conference was the plethora of networking opportunities. The women I met at #YoungWomenRun have exponentially grown my network into a new, more sophisticated dimensions.” — Brooke Lopez (Read Brooke’s full reflection)

Young Women Run left an impression on the leaders of event hosts IGNITE and Running Start:

“Young Women Run was such an extraordinary two days! We are at a special moment in our nation’s history. Young women are owning their political power. It’s up to us to turn this moment into a movement. I’m so glad we were able to teach these young women to run for office and do it soon!” — Anne Moses, President & Founder, IGNITE

“Meeting the young leaders who attended Young Women Run, I feel so confident about America’s political future. Our goal at Young Women Run was to give these aspiring leaders the contacts, skills, and inspiration they need to seriously consider running for political office. I’m confident we accomplished our goal!” — Susannah Wellford, President & Founder, Running Start

Need more #YoungWomenRun inspiration?

Stay in touch with IGNITE and Running Start to receive announcements for future events.

Check out photos from IGNITE, Running Start and our Media Partner The Representation Project. Search the #YoungWomenRun hashtag on Instagram and Twitter for a strong dose of girl power and inspiration.

Follow our fantastic speakers, panelists, facilitators.

Thank you to our Keynote Speakers

Thank you to our Panelists

Thank you to our speakers and facilitators

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Sponsors, and Media Partner

Finally, thank you to the team behind Young Women Run!