Registration now open for Ready to Run® Iowa

The Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics is now accepting registrations for the 2015 Ready to Run® Iowa Campaign Training for Women workshop series.

Ready to Run® Iowa is a non-partisan political leadership program designed to recruit and train women to run for elected office, to prepare for appointive office or to become involved in public life as leaders in their respective communities.

Since 2007, the Catt Center has offered the Ready to Run® Iowa program every other year as part of a national network founded by the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University. The 2015 program will be offered as a six-part series of workshops that begin in February and conclude in April.

“We will present two workshops – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – on each of the three days for a total of six,” said Kelly Winfrey, lecturer in leadership and communication studies who coordinates several research and outreach programs for the Catt Center. “Instead of stretching the sessions over a period of six months, we’ve decided to host two workshops on three different dates. With participants traveling to Ames from all corners of the state, we’re trying to help cut down on their travel time.”

Each of the six interactive workshops is taught as an individual training session that can be attended separately or in conjunction with other workshops. All workshops will be held in the Pioneer Room in the Memorial Union at Iowa State University.

Online registration began Jan. 11 for the Feb. 13 workshops. Registration will open Feb. 14 for the March 13 workshops and March 14 for the April 24 workshops. Each workshop is $20. This fee includes the workshop materials, parking pass and light refreshments. Space is limited, so registration is required to attend.

Participants can register for the Ready to Run® Iowa workshops by visiting: http://cattcenter.las.iastate.edu/ready-to-run-registration. Details of each workshop are as follows:

February 13

“Introduction to Iowa Politics and Political Parties,” 9 a.m.–noon, Pioneer Room, Memorial Union, Iowa State University

  • This session provides an introduction to Iowa politics and political parties. It will highlight what research tells us about women’s political status, including their success in achieving public office in Iowa and throughout the United States. The session will also provide an overview of elections in Iowa, with a focus on what future candidates need to know, and a panel presentation on the roles and resources of the state’s two major political parties and organizations that support women candidates in Iowa. It will end with a panel presentation by women officeholders in a variety of positions across the state who will offer advice and first-hand accounts about running for partisan and non-partisan office in Iowa.

“Political Appointments and Advocacy,” 2–5 p.m., Pioneer Room, Memorial Union, Iowa State University

  • This session focuses on how to make an impact on important issues and public policy through appointments to city, county and state boards and commissions or through advocacy. Sessions will provide an overview of Iowa’s gender balance legislation, how to position oneself for appointment to a public board or commission, and using effective advocacy techniques for promoting an idea or an issue. It will include panel presentations from women serving on public boards and commissions as well as policy-makers and advocates discussing the best ways to communicate with each other.

March 13

“Launching Your Campaign,” 9 a.m.–noon, Pioneer Room, Memorial Union, Iowa State University

  • This session provides an overview of the key elements of a campaign, including assessing and establishing yourself as a candidate, developing a campaign plan, structuring a campaign organization and contacting voters. It will also include a panel presentation with advice and first-hand accounts from women who have recently campaigned for various positions in public office across the state.

“Fundraising for Success,” 2–5 p.m., Pioneer Room, Memorial Union, Iowa State University

  • Fundraising is one of the most crucial aspects of a campaign. This session will provide an overview of campaign fundraising, including how to create a fundraising plan, build a donor list, recruit and motivate a finance committee, host special events and use various communication channels. It will also include an interactive session in which participants will practice making the “ask.” It will end with panel presentations by representatives of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board and women who have run for political office in Iowa on the planning, budgeting and reporting of campaign finances.

April 24

“Campaign Message Development and Delivery,” 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Pioneer Room, Memorial Union, Iowa State University

  • This session provides an overview of the message development and delivery process. It addresses how to stay on message during the course of a campaign, tips on public speaking strategies, and advice on how to look poised and professional. This interactive workshop will provide feedback and guidance from campaign and communication experts on writing a 90-second stump speech and delivering it on camera. It will end with a panel presentation by representatives of the media and elected officials on strategies for interaction, including preparing for interviews.

“Internet Strategies for Candidates, Campaigns and Advocates,” 2–5 p.m., Pioneer Room, Memorial Union, Iowa State University

  • This session focuses on the use of internet outreach in today’s political and advocacy campaigns. Online tools – including blogs; social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; and other online organizing and communications resources – are increasingly important for getting campaign messages out to a broad audience of potential voters. Social media experts will introduce participants to the various online and social media tools available to candidates and campaigns, offer suggestions on how to start or enhance one’s online presence, and review common social media communication mistakes. The workshop will end with a panel presentation by elected officials and campaign communication specialists who will share advice on using online and social media tools.

Grounded in the latest research on women’s political participation, program sessions are presented by local, state and national political leaders and campaign strategists.

Dianne Bystrom, Catt Center director, hopes that U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst’s win in the 2014 midterm election as the first woman to represent Iowa in the U.S. Congress will encourage even more women to attend Ready to Run® Iowa and seek leadership positions.

“The fact that Iowa has finally sent a woman to the U.S. Congress is only the beginning,” she said. “Let’s capitalize on this ‘first’ by multiplying the numbers of women who run for local, county, state and federal office in Iowa.”

The 2015 supporters of Ready to Run® Iowa include: the Ames Chamber of Commerce; EILEEN FISHER; the League of Women Voters of Ames; the League of Women Voters of Iowa; and Mary Jo and Richard Stanley of Muscatine, Iowa.