Ready to Run® Iowa workshops continue through April

The Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics will host four more 2015 Ready to Run® Iowa: Campaign Training for Women workshops on March 13 and April 24.

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.

Online registration is currently open for the March 13 workshops and will open for the April 24 workshops on March 14. Each workshop is $20. This fee includes all workshop materials, a 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.

“We are very much looking forward to the March and April workshops,” said Kelly Winfrey, lecturer in leadership and communication studies who coordinates several research and outreach programs for the Catt Center. “Our February sessions were great and set the tone for the rest of the workshop series. We hosted nearly 40 participants in each February session and facilitated some great discussion.”

Each of the remaining four 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.

Presenters for the March 13 workshops are: Iowa State Auditor Mary Mosiman; Monica Vernon, a member of the Cedar Rapids City Council who has run for the U.S. House of Representatives and for lieutenant governor; Christine Hensley, Des Moines City Council; Amber Corrieri, Ames City Council; Iowa State Sen. Rita Hart; former State Rep. Annette Sweeney; Megan Tooker, executive director, Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board; Ellen Nelson, president, Funding Solutions Inc.; and Samantha Kampman and Jesse Harris, senior account executives with the LS2group.

Details of each workshop are as follows:

March 13

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

Click here to view full schedule with list of speakers.

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

Click here to view full schedule with list of speakers.

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.

Dianne Bystrom, Catt Center director, encourages anyone interested in becoming more involved in politics and community leadership to register for the remaining four Ready to Run® Iowa workshops.

“Even if you missed the first two workshops, you can still attend some or all of the remaining four,” she said. “Some workshops, such as the fundraising session on March 13 and the media workshops on April 24, will teach participants skills that can be applied beyond political and advocacy campaigns.”

Bystrom also thanked the speakers who helped launch the 2015 Ready to Run® Iowa workshop series with their presentations on Feb. 13. “Kelly Winfrey has done a great job lining up speakers from the political parties as well as campaign consultants and advocates. Our goal with Ready to Run® Iowa is to represent diverse points of view and experiences.”

Speakers who presented during the Feb. 13 workshops on “Introduction to Iowa Politics and Political Parties” and “Political Appointments and Advocacy” were: Deputy Secretary of State Carol Olson; Dr. Andy McGuire, chair, Iowa Democratic Party; Sherill Whisenand, State Republican Central Committee; Carmine Boal, chief clerk of the Iowa legislature; State Rep. Lisa Heddens; Paula Dierenfeld, mayor of Johnston; Gwen Ecklund, Iowa Board of Barbering; Colleen MacRae, Des Moines Urban Planning and Review Board; Nicole Peckumn, Terrace Hill Commission; Melissa Gesing, Campaign Headquarters; Julie Fleming, Prairie Legislative Services; Valerie Hennings, assistant professor of political science at Morningside College; and Winfrey.

"Putting on Ready to Run® is a lot of work," Winfrey said. "And we couldn't have accomplished it without the help of our graduate research assistant, Amanda Atkinson."

Atkinson is a first year graduate student in Iowa State's Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. She joined the Catt Center staff in January to assist with the planning for Ready to Run® Iowa and helped compile the workshop materials and binders. Atkinson also organizes political websites for content analysis research and updates survey software with upcoming coding questions for the Catt Center.

"I enjoy working here because I get to work with women who are passionate about women's roles in the political system," Atkinson said.

Atkinson is from Ankeny, Iowa, and received her bachelor's in journalism and history with a minor in theatre arts from the University of Iowa.

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 is being offered as a six-part series of workshops that began in February and will conclude in April.

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

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