Ready to Run® Iowa: Campaign Training for Women successfully hosted six workshops on Feb. 13, March 13 and April 24.
"We're constantly trying to improve Ready to Run® each year it's offered," said Dianne Bystrom, Catt Center director. "This year was no exception, and we've already started planning for our next program."
The 2015 workshop series concluded on April 24 with "Delivering Your Message" and "Internet Strategies for Candidates, Campaigns and Advocates." During the morning session, participants learned how to develop their message, wrote a stump speech and then had the opportunity to deliver their presentation on camera. This session also addressed strategies for working with the news media. Speakers leading the morning session were Jesse Harris and Samantha Kampman, senior account executives with the LS2group; Patty Judge, former lieutenant governor and Iowa secretary of agriculture; Mary Kramer, former president of the Iowa Senate; Kathie Obradovich, political columnist for the Des Moines Register; and Angela Hunt, communications specialist with ISU News Service.
During the afternoon session, participants learned how to build a website and use social media resources such as Facebook and Twitter in a campaign. A panel of campaign strategists and candidates then discussed how they used websites and social media in the 2014 election and provided suggestions for future candidates. Speakers leading the afternoon session were Jenae Stokesbary, Redwave Digital; Sam Roecker, Link Strategies; Brad Anderson, executive director of Above + Beyond Cancer and a 2014 candidate for Iowa secretary of state; State Rep. Liz Bennett; and Claire Celsi, The Public Relations Project.
"The sessions on April 24 were expanded to allow more time to cover those topics," said Kelly Winfrey, Catt Center lecturer and Ready to Run® coordinator. "Since social media and Internet campaigning is such a big part of our world today, we made sure to have a healthy discussion about best practices and answered specific questions."
Overall, the 2015 workshop series hosted 57 participants from 20 counties in Iowa. The Catt Center is currently conducting an in-depth analysis of the 2015 workshop series to better understand the effects of the changes to the format, including its impact on women's political participation in the state of Iowa.
The 2015 Ready to Run® Iowa workshop series was supported in part by the Ames Chamber of Commerce; EILEEN FISHER; the League of Women Voters of Ames; the League of Women Voters of Iowa; Elizabeth Baird and Ken Cameron of Ames, Iowa; and Mary Jo and Richard Stanley of Muscatine, Iowa. Mediacom provided support through the airing of a public service announcement produced by members of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences communications staff with a voiceover by Hunt of the ISU News Services team. This PSA can be viewed on the Catt Center's YouTube channel.
Ready to Run® Iowa is a statewide, non-partisan program designed to recruit and train women for elected and appointed office and encourage them to become involved in public life as leaders in their communities. The Catt Center has offered the program every other year since 2007 and plans to host the program again in 2017.