Ready to Run Iowa team to receive CYtation award

The 2017 Iowa State University Professional and Scientific Council Team CYtation Award will be presented to the Ready to Run Iowa staff at the council’s awards ceremony on March 22.

This award honors a team, which includes Iowa State P&S employees, who have performed beyond the call of duty, executed their roles extremely well and have made an impact in the university within the past year.

“I am thrilled our team has been recognized with a CYtation award. The 2017 Ready to Run Iowa program reached a record-breaking number of women interested in running for office, and that would not have happened without the extraordinary work of the P&S employees involved. They truly went above and beyond the call of duty and made the workshops a huge success,” said Kelly Winfrey, assistant professor in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication and coordinator of research and outreach for the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics.

Winfrey has coordinated Ready to Run Iowa for the Catt Center since 2015. She works with an advisory board to plan the curriculum, invites speakers, and serves as the moderator of each of the six workshops presented as part of the nonpartisan candidate recruitment and training program.

The Catt Center has offered Ready to Run Iowa every other year since 2007. That year, 42 participants attended a one-day candidate training program. In 2011, Ready to Run Iowa began being offered in a six-workshop format. In 2015, 71 participants attended the workshops. In 2017, participation in Ready to Run Iowa more than doubled with a record 172 people attending the workshops. This surge in interest resulted in first-ever waiting lists, changing venues to accommodate more participants, and more planning meetings to ensure logistics were set and nothing was overlooked. With the number of registrations changing daily, it was imperative for the staff to keep tabs on workshop supplies, the setup of the venue, accommodating various requests and answering questions.

“We received quite a few requests for electronic materials to purchase from women who weren’t able to attend the sessions,” said Kristine Perkins, public relations/student programs coordinator for the Catt Center. “We also live-streamed the first two workshops to Grinnell College so that students there could experience our programming.”

The 2017 Ready to Run team worked around-the-clock to answer questions, respond to emails and devise strategies to accommodate the record number of people interested in attending the workshops – including a change in venues from the Iowa State Memorial Union to two different hotel conference centers in Ames.

“After one week of online registration for the first two workshops, we had filled up our reserved space for about 60 people in the Memorial Union and started a waiting list,” said Dianne Bystrom, director of the Catt Center. “Based on continuing phone calls and emails, we decided to seek space that could accommodate at least 100 people.”

After making telephone calls to several on- and off-campus event venues, the Ready to Run Iowa team found space in the Holiday Inn Ames Conference Center at ISU for two of the three workshops dates and the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center for the other workshops date.

Besides the change in venues, the 2017 Ready to Run Iowa team decided to add audio and video equipment to the workshop sites to accommodate the large number of participants. Several Catt Center student interns were re-assigned from their regular responsibilities to help prepare workshops materials. And, Winfrey managed a scholarship program funded by her grant from the Iowa State Office of Diversity and Inclusion to register more college-age and minority women in the workshops.

“The success of the program required an outstanding level of dedication that went above the primary roles of these staff members and resulted in political success,” said Teresa Albertson, a program assistant II with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who nominated the Ready to Run Iowa team for the CYtation award. In fall 2017, Ready to Run participants from Ames, Bettendorf, Burlington, Decorah, De Soto, Urbandale, Waukee and Waverly were elected to school boards and city councils. Dozens of Ready to Run Iowa 2017 participants are running for state and federal office in 2018 or have signed up to manage or help with campaigns.

The team members who worked to make the 2017 Ready to Run Iowa workshops successful include: Bystrom, Perkins and Winfrey; Sue Cloud, Catt Center communications specialist; Paul Jewell, Engineering LAS-Online Learning program coordinator; Shannon McCormick, Conference Planning and Management program coordinator; and Roger Suski, Engineering-LAS Online Learning program coordinator.

Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan Wickert will present the 2017 Ready to Run Iowa team with a certificate of recognition at the March 22 ceremony, which will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. in the Iowa State Alumni Center’s Reiman Ballroom.