How to Communicate With Your Liberal Friends and Neighbors – Without Alienating Them
Autumn Campbell
August 3, 2017
How to Communicate With Your Liberal Friends and Neighbors – Without Alienating Them
We've all been there. We've been unfriended on Facebook during the 2016 election cycle, forced into an awkward political discussion over Thanksgiving dinner, or attacked on Twitter for making a political comment. Yes, the current political climate is hostile; but there is a way to communicate effectively without losing all of your friends. Keep your point clear and concise. Rambling will get you nowhere in a heated discussion. Instead, stay clear-headed and stay on the topic at hand. Use personal stories and experiences. Many you converse with will find it hard to argue against your personal experience. Tie your experience in with why you believe what you believe. You can then back up your experience with facts and statistics. Meet emotion with emotion. Do not shy away from empathy. You can stand your ground while being empathetic to the concerns of the other person. Although these three steps seem simple, you'll be surprised at how calm and level-headed you'll feel at the end of the conversation. Who knows? Your friend may even see your point of view! Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, works with more than 1,868 conservative student groups, and helps employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 187,207 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.
The Walls Have Ears
Ben Woodward
July 31, 2017
The Walls Have Ears
You may be surprised to learn that the number of staff working each day to advance the conservative movement is small. In Washington, D.C., it's a few thousand at most. This is great for your career! Working in the small DC conservative movement, it is easy to get to know the influential players who can support your career advancement. But reputations are made very quickly, and for those less savvy who don't mature quickly, simple mistakes can be destructive. One of the worst mistakes anyone can make in Washington, D.C. is to bad mouth their boss or their organization. You can avoid these three common mistakes. Speaking badly of your employer on social media It is surprising how frequently profe ssionals will speak negatively of their bosses on social media. Remember that not only will this be seen by colleagues, and very likely your employers, but your future employers will read your social media. Ranting about your boss today could risk alienating your potential boss tomorrow. After all, no one wants to hire someone who may badmouth them in future. Speaking badly of your employer during an interview “What did you like least about your last job?” We've all been asked this question during an interview, and I have struggled to answer. By falling into the trap of badmouthing your former boss, you convince the interviewer that they may be the next target of your public scorning or worst case scenario, your last boss may hear about it. Instead, you should answer the question by saying: “While there were many aspects of my previous job which I enjoyed such as…, I would have liked to have had more of an opportunity to… which is why I have applied for this job.” Speaking badly of your employer during networking events We've all been there. It's been a rough day, perhaps you have been frustrated by your supervisor, but there is a time and a place to complain about your work, and it's not at networking events. You run the risk of alienating conservatives who may know your boss. In the worst case scenario, your comments could get back to your employer, and your career will suffer. So what should you do instead? There is a time and a place to address your concerns at work. So instead of complaining about your boss, consider how you can constructively approach the situation. Ask for a private meeting Never criticize your boss in front of colleagues. It will damage their authority in front of the team and is more likely to frustrate them than anything. Have your conversation in private if you believe your boss should be taking a different approach to a project. Know what you want to say Consider writing down your specific concerns and what you want to say in advance. Structure your feedback positively, instead of “I don't agree with your decision…” say “I think we could consider approaching the project this way…” If your boss agrees with you, then great! If not, respect their decision. Ultimately it's their call. Ask a mentor If you find you do need to express serious concerns about your employer, find someone you can trust to give you sound advice and keep it confidential. This person is perhaps a close friend or family member, or another professional who exercises sound judgment. Use them to guide you in your decision making. Know your organization's procedures In the worst case scenario, where you feel mistreated, figure out your organization's formal complaints process and use it. Your relationship with your employers, past and present, can be a positive one if you maintain your professionalism. By keeping your employers on your side, you can rely on strong references, potentially great mentors, and a support base for your career in the conservative movement.
Youth coordinator mobilizes support, propels Air Force Brigadier General to Congressional victory
Sara Wajda
July 28, 2017
Youth coordinator mobilizes support, propels Air Force Brigadier General to Congressional victory
“Pack your bags, Sara. We're getting on a plane in 24 hours to make you the new Youth Director for the campaign.” It took a second for those words from my colleague at the Don Bacon for Congress campaign to sink in. Even now, I still can't believe it sometimes. Let me tell you about the journey you put me on — that helped a committed conservative and retired Air Force Brigadier General win election in a battleground district. God had a different plan When someone asked me why I would ever want to get involved in politics, my first answer was shocking. I didn't want to go into politics. I actually wanted to become a labor and delivery nurse, but obviously God had a different plan for me. As my freshman year at Creighton University in Nebraska came to a close, the former youth director on now-Congressman Don Bacon's campaign invited me to join the team. Intrigued, I told myself I would get my feet wet in campaigning, but nothing more. In a few weeks I was knee-deep in campaigning! LI's Youth Leadership School opens new doors Shortly after joining the Bacon campaign, the Leadership Institute's “boot camp of politics” — their Youth Leadership School — came to town in Omaha. At the school, I gained an abundance of knowledge I could use both on college campuses and on the campaign trail. After the two-day, intensive training session, the campaign asked me to fly to Arlington, Virginia to receive further training and become the new youth director on Don Bacon's campaign. In Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, the race was neck-and-neck with a Democrat incumbent congressman, Brad Ashford. Armed with Leadership Institute training, another youth coordinator and I quickly canvassed every major college campus in Nebraska's second district and organized students to volunteer and vote for Don Bacon. More than 150 students regularly volunteered on Don Bacon's campaign! Hundreds more pledged to vote for him. The Youth for Bacon groups we organized worked 11,300 man-hours for the campaign and knocked on more than 125,000 doors. The Congressman himself credits the Leadership Institute's practical, tried-and-true training with his victory. From youth coordinator to Institute intern — and beyond Following the Bacon victory, I received an invitation to intern at the Leadership Institute. After my amazing previous experience with LI, I knew this was an opportunity I could not turn down. As an LI intern, I grew leaps and bounds in both my career and personal life. I had the opportunity to rub elbows with the most influential leaders in the conservative movement. I worked as a true member of the Institute team, not just someone who makes copies and gets coffee. Through numerous networking and career opportunities, I landed my job at the National Right to Work Committee, where I lobbied for federal Right to Work legislation. Life-changing opportunities abound at the Leadership Institute The Leadership Institute changed my life. Without the LI training my colleagues and I brought to the campaign, Congressman Don Bacon would not have defeated a Democrat with a 60 percent favorability rating. Without LI, I would not be on a path to advance conservative principles nationwide. Without LI, I truly believe the left would have taken the majority in the House and the Senate. I know that I have found success by dint of my commitment and hard work, but I also know that were it not for the Leadership Institute, none of the opportunities I've had would've been possible. I'm so grateful to Morton Blackwell, to the Leadership Institute — and especially to donors like you whose support helps make this country great. Sara is now back in Nebraska. At just 20 years old, she continues her political career as the state-wide Field Director for Governor Pete Ricketts' reelection campaign. Please join the Leadership Institute in congratulating her on her excellent work advancing the conservative movement at such a young age.
Using Snapchat As An Activist
Stephen Rowe
July 21, 2017
Using Snapchat As An Activist
More than 160 million people check Snapchat every day -- and seven out of 10 of them are under the age of 35. The popular mobile app first became known for users posting videos and pictures that “self-destruct” (disappear) after they're played. But there's more to Snapchat than that. Members of Congress, media companies from the Wall Street Journal to the Food Network, and media personalities like Bret Baier are all on it too. Here's how you can make the most of Snapchat as an activist. #1 Usegeofilters The next time you're thinking of flyers for your event, think of Snapchat geofilters too. Geofilters are custom designs (think stickers) that overlay on Snapchat photos. They're limited to a specific location, known as a “geo-fence.” Example geo-fences may be inside a sports stadium, at a wedding venue, or a political rally or other event. You can create your own on-demand geofilters for any event to help spread your message. When people post a photo or video to Snapchat inside your pre-set geo-fence, they'll see your filter as an option. When they select it, they're sharing their photo or video plus your filter with their friends. Starting at just $5, geofilters are often cheaper than the printing costs of flyers -- and have the potential to reach far more people. That $5 goes far: 20,000 square feet or half the size of an NFL football field. You can use free design programs like Canva to create your custom design. Geofilters must be 1080x1920 pixels and saved as a PNG, a common type of graphics file. It is best to place your filter in the top or bottom quarter of the screen so the filter does not block the original photo. Choose when and where you want your custom design to be active. Then submit your design to Snapchat at least 24 hours in advance. (You can submit your design here.) The next day, you can see data about how your filter performed. #2 Create your story Snapchat lets you create custom stories within a specific location (yes, the geo-fence again). That means that anyone using Snapchat inside the geo-fence can contribute to a group story. You can select friends within your desired location to contribute to your story, or you can set it up so that friends of friends can also join in and see the fun. This all happens free of charge. This means more publicity for your events, conferences, and more. Your next event can be full of attendees sharing their experiences with their friends and on the geofenced story. You can create up to three custom Stories of your own. You can post an unlimited number of times in stories created by others. To make your own custom Story, swipe right on the home screen then click the plus symbol in the top right of your screen. Then select Geofence and pick your desired location. #3 BONUS: Take LI's Online Training: Emerging Social Media Platforms Structured as fun, easy-to-understand introductions, the three days of LI's Emerging Social Media Platforms Workshop will get you up and running on new, popular social media platforms -- including Snapchat. Each day, you will complete "deep dive" into Instagram (Monday), Snapchat (Tuesday), and Facebook Live (Wednesday). You can check out the full agenda – and sign up – here. You will learn: • how to set up your account and choose from the different types of posts for Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook Live; • the meaning common terms and acronyms, so you can maximize your presence; and • lessons learned from how campaigns, media companies, and conservative organizations are using each platform. Register for Emerging Social Media Platforms workshop.
How Conservative Recruiters Can Attract the Best Talent
Ben Woodward
July 17, 2017
How Conservative Recruiters Can Attract the Best Talent
Many of us have been a job seeker, an interviewee, and a new staff member. It is a painful process. However, on the other side of the coin, the recruiter has a hard time as well. Attracting and finding the best candidate is tough. From the standpoint of a recruiter, you're making a significant investment, not just financially. The recruiter has to consider whether their current staff can work with this person on a daily basis and whether they are worth a long-term investment. In other words, is the potential hire on track for leadership one day? Is this somebody who is going to make the organization more effective? The wrong choice can severely affect team morale, cost money, and ultimately, damage the organization as a whole. To attract the best talent, recruiters should place emphasis on mission, culture, advancement, and training. The mission of your organization, its reputation, and role in the movement can attract talent. How is it that organizations such as the Leadership Institute, Charles Koch Institute, Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Foundation, and many others have a wealth of strong applications for every job advertised? Conservatives understand the purpose of those organizations and their place in the movement. The work they do is tangible and, most importantly, valuable. Talented conservatives want to feel that they will make a substantial contribution to the movement and that their work will advance their philosophy. By making it clear to the candidate what the organization's role is in the movement, and how they will be contributing, organizations will attract talent. Your organization's culture can attract talent. Organizations in the movement have reputations not just for what they do, but how they do it. The movement is small, word travels fast, and if the culture of an organization is poor, nobody will want to work there. By emphasizing the strength of the bonds between colleagues, the socializing that takes place outside of work, and the way supervisors interact with their juniors, conservative organizations will attract talented individuals to whom respect in the workplace is fundamental. Prospects for advancement will attract talent. Unlike the narrative of the left, which says ambition is something to scorn… it's something conservatives celebrate. Conservative organizations seeking to attract the most talented staff must offer a clear pathway to advancement. This is not only important for recruiting the best staff but also for retaining them. Many non-profits find this to be a challenge. Because of limited funds, it is not always possible to promote staff as quickly as they would like. It is, however, possible to grant more autonomy, more responsibility, and better job titles. Talented job seekers want to know they have an exciting future at your organization. Nobody likes feeling their talents are not recognized. By failing to offer clear prospects for advancement, even the staff who do accept your offer may not stay long. How the job seeker is challenged and trained will affect talent retention. Recruiters should establish how their new hire will be tested with projects of high responsibility. The Leadership Institute, for example, prides itself on having the best intern program in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The argument for this is simple; LI gives interns projects of legitimate responsibility. Also, LI invests heavily in their professional development by training them and connecting them with leading conservatives. Job seekers will want confirmation that their role will challenge them and that they will learn new skills they can use to advance conservatism. By making all of these aspects clear to job seekers, you will attract the best and the brightest.
Mother of 7 Changes Homeschooling Families' Lives
Erin Morrissey
July 13, 2017
Mother of 7 Changes Homeschooling Families' Lives
Deep commitment to family and community drives many conservatives into action. For Tracy Klicka, her deep commitment to motherhood and the homeschool movement drives her to help homeschooling families across the nation. She walks beside them to ensure their success in their children's lives. “I think most homeschooling parents need a lot of encouragement,” Tracy said. “You know your kids more than anyone…you are their best advocate, you're their biggest cheerleader, you're the best counselor, you're the best person to watch what walking through life, through challenges and difficulties is.” Today, Tracy is the Director of Development for the Home School Foundation (HSF), a part of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which offers support for homeschool families. “HSF is the heart of HSLDA,” Tracy said. “The heart is to help families who so want to homeschool their children, but they can't afford the cost of curriculum.” Tracy had not always planned to be in such a position. But the challenges and victories she experienced in her life created in her a desire that rings true with the heart of HSF. Tracy attended Grove City College where met her late husband Chris. She continued her studies at Oral Roberts University, where she earned her degree in music education. After Tracy and her husband were married, they moved to DC, where Chris quickly became a leading expert on home education and was the first full-time lawyer for Concerned Women for America (CWA). During this time, Tracy began searching for a job in the area. “I didn't even know where to start looking,” she said. At that time, the Free Congress Foundation needed to fill an executive assistant position for the political action committee. Tracy applied and got the job. While at Free Congress Foundation, Tracy worked with Paul Weyrich, whom she credits with pushing her to develop skills that would later enable her to successfully fulfill her position at HSF. “Paul Weyrich was such an amazing man,” Tracy said. “I put Morton Blackwell up in the very same category as I put Paul -- they are both incredible mentors to young people.” Paul Weyrich sent Tracy to a 3-day women's spokesperson conference at the Leadership Institute (LI). Tracy credits that training with helping her over her fear of public speaking. “Even though it would be almost ten years later before I would give my first talk,” Tracy said, “I really look back at his training and his personal mentorship as what really propelled me in the right direction and really helped me get over [the idea that] I will never speak in public.” Tracy and her husband had 7 children and homeschooled them all. “We knew before we started having kids that we wanted to homeschool, so I was a stay at home Mom homeschooling for about 24 years,” she said. Tragically, after 25 years of marriage, Tracy's husband passed away and Tracy became a single homeschool mother. She needed a part-time job to support herself and her children. Because of her late husband's connections at HSLDA, she began her search there. In 2011, she took her current position as the Director of Development at the Home School Foundation with little knowledge or experience in development. But, this position fulfills her drive to offer support to homeschool families who had been through difficulties like her own. Despite her initial lack of experience, Tracy grew the department and plans further expansion this coming year all while serving as the only person in her department. She single-handedly manages donor relations, writing, planning, data entry, and research. The Leadership Institute, Tracy says, gave “me the best practices and information I need for the different segments of my work responsibility in Development.” LI's development and fundraising trainings have been a great encouragement and resource for Tracy. Through LI's lectures, she has learned the importance of partnerships. “It's really all about relationships. It's really enabling those who want to partner with you because they have a passion for your mission and how you can help them make that happen.” Looking back at her growth in the area of development and fundraising, Tracy remarks about LI, “I can't think of where else I would go [for training]… or who else would I talk to… because you have been doing it for so long… you know so many people in many conservative organizations… you've had a relationship with them for so many years… your longevity gives what you do so much weight and validity.” For years, Tracy had a crippling fear of public speaking; but now she regularly speaks at homeschool conventions where she offers encouragement to parents. She traces her ease and confidence in public speaking back to the training she received at LI. “I really look back at that training as a part of what really helped me get over [the idea] that, I will never speak in public,” Tracy said. Today, Tracy's passion radiates through her voice as she speaks. “We can really come along side our kids,” Tracy tells parents. “Homeschooling is the perfect way to do that.” Although Tracy sees many benefits in homeschooling she states, “Homeschooling didn't prevent my kids from struggling. It's not a formula; but it's an opportunity to walk alongside children and to best prepare them for life and so when they go through those hard times you're right there with them and just by God's grace you try to help them work through some of those things.” She says homeschooling is “walking through life together 24/7.” After her 24 years of homeschooling her children, Tracy confidently says, “My kids are my magnum opus… I don't think I could put anything above the value of motherhood.” She says her life's biggest accomplishment is, “raising seven children who are really incredible adults, who all love life, love learning, and want to engage their culture.” This is what she hopes to help other parents achieve through their homeschooling experience. Her deep commitment and vision are making that happen. As Director of Development for HSF, Tracy is expanding her vision for supporting homeschooling families and fulfilling her biggest motivation. She touches families across America with her love of home education by reaching out to homeschooling families in need, providing wisdom and encouragement as she speaks to them about the homeschooling experience. “I love what I do because it fits with my passion for motherhood and how important a role we have in our children's lives,” she says. Tracy has truly turned her deep commitment into fulfillment. Join me in congratulating Tracy Klicka on her success helping homeschooling families. If you're interested in fundraising or public speaking trainings like the ones Tracy mentioned, you can learn more here. Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, works with more than 1,868 conservative student groups, and helps employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 186,207 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.
At 22, Amir Farahi Takes Action to Help His Community in Canada
Gordon Arnold
July 7, 2017
At 22, Amir Farahi Takes Action to Help His Community in Canada
At the age of 22, Amir Farahi has run for local office and has established a think-tank in his hometown of London, Canada. His family fled Iran's totalitarian government in the 1970's, which would later inspire him to run for City Council. Amir became the youngest person to run for office in his hometown. His campaign was a pivotal force in spurring millennials to make an impact on the political process. “I would have never guessed ten years ago that I would run for the City Council,” Amir said. Although he lost his first attempt at public office, Amir wanted more in-depth political training. After receiving positive recommendations from his friends, Amir decided to attend Leadership Institute's Campaign Management School. The four-day training provided him with the tools and knowledge to put together a successful campaign plan. “The Campaign Management School's hands-on exercises were useful and resourceful, as they accurately demonstrated the process of putting together a campaign and doing research,” Amir said. “I have taken forty pages of notes and I still have a whole day left of the training!” Amir aspires to be a civic leader who “provides plans and solutions to enhance the standard of living and improve people's lives.” To fulfill this ambitious task, he organized Canadian think-and-do tank, The London Institute. This organization works to bring people together to solve problems and spur economic development. Amir doesn't know what his future holds, but he has no doubt the Leadership Institute equipped him to succeed in politics. “The Leadership Institute has taught me the best process to pursue in order to put together a campaign plan and do the necessary research in the most thorough way possible. Additionally, I learned this week about the hands-on skills that I need in order to put on fundraising events, campaign events, and similar staples of a political campaign. The Leadership Institute even spent time detailing social media skills in a thorough way.” The Campaign Management School, in Amir's words, took “what could have been a complicated campaign machine and broke it into smaller pieces to help us understand how it operates.” As a recent graduate from Western University with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Economics, Amir nonetheless proclaimed, “The past four days were a better and more useful educational experience than the entire four years of my degree program in Political Science.” Whether Amir ultimately holds elected office, manages a campaign, or expands his think-tank, he says his experience at the Campaign Management School gave him the skills to be a “leader of his community.” When asked for his advice for newcomers to the political arena, Amir said: “If you are looking to get involved in politics, then the Leadership Institute should be your first stop. It is the one place where you can gain the practical skills to know how to effectively campaign.” Join me and congratulate Amir on his innovation and persistence to make a difference in his community. If you're interested in the Campaign Management School Amir took, you can learn more here. Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,868 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 186,207 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.
Celebrate Independence Day with LI at the National Fourth of July Conservative Soirée
Carol Wehe
July 3, 2017
Celebrate Independence Day with LI at the National Fourth of July Conservative Soirée
Since 1972, conservatives have celebrated Independence Day at the National Fourth of July Conservative Soirée. Join the Leadership Institute and other sponsoring conservative organizations for the 46th annual Soirée — the best family party of the year! Enjoy delicious , live bluegrass music, a patriotic program, and fun for the kids. Who: Dick Black, Nicolee Ambrose, and other conservatives like you! What: Barbeque, bluegrass music, patriotic program, and fun for the kids When: Tuesday, July 4, 2017 | 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Where: Bull Run Regional Park Pavilion, Centreville, VA Bring a side dish to share. It's Soirée tradition! RSVP today to receive your FREE ticket and parking pass.
A Blog Can Be Great For Your Career
Ben Woodward
July 2, 2017
A Blog Can Be Great For Your Career
When people think about blogs, they usually dismiss them as a prehistoric way of getting ideas into the public realm. Today many people prefer a 140-character tweet to a well thought out, self-published article that takes a lot of work to compose and publicize. However, when it comes to your career, demonstrating passion for your field is critical. Writing a blog, which is accessible to recruiters, could be what secures your next big opportunity. Here are 5 ways writing a blog can benefit your career. You can establish yourself as a thought leader Recruiters will expect to see that you have knowledge of your field and show an active interest. By writing a blog directly related to the professional area in which you want to progress, you can illustrate your interest and your ability to lead others. By communicating with readers in such a way that offers leadership, you are showing that you are a strong communicator and an innovative thinker. You can reach an audience directly Individuals who have not yet established themselves in their field do not interest most publishers. By writing your own blog, you cut out the intermediary and go directly to your chosen audience. When you write your blog, get your friends to share it, publish it on your social media and in relevant group chats, even tweet it to respected individuals in your field. That way you add validity to your work and show recruiters that readers respect your opinion. You have writing samples to show recruiters Good writers are in high demand, so not only will writing a blog refine your ability, but it will also give you examples of your writing you can show to recruiters. When you build your following and established people share your work, your blog posts gain validity as writing samples in job applications. In addition, by establishing a digital footprint you will have ‘Google Insurance.' This means that when a recruiter Googles your name they will see links to your blog. This shows you are engaged in the current trends of your industry and will significantly improve your likelihood of getting an interview. You can build a community of people interested in your field Building a following among your readers will get you noticed by others in your field. Taking an active role in the discussion will help you make connections. For example, if you are interested in foreign policy, blogging about it, and having your writing shared by those currently working in foreign affairs will get you noticed by potential recruiters. When you write a blog, remember to put links to your social media and personal website so readers and recruiters can find you easily. Your employer may value contributions Many employers in the conservative movement are looking for contributions to their websites and social media. By writing blog pieces you not only help your employer create content for their website and social media, but you also publish pieces through your organization which increases the validity of your writings. Successful workers take initiative. By writing a blog, you show employers you take an active interest in your work. If you have a significant following, use your blog to attract attention to your organization's successes. That way you can assist your employers beyond your day-to-day work. If you are interested in learning more about successful written communications for your career, please register for the Leadership Institute's Written Communications Workshop.
3 Effective Ways to Boost Your Facebook Engagement
Stephen Rowe
June 28, 2017
3 Effective Ways to Boost Your Facebook Engagement
You may notice a pattern every time you scroll your newsfeed. It starts with a relevant update, then an advertisement, and it doesn't take long before a video starts auto-playing. The biggest question on people's minds when they see this pattern is, “How do I get my content to appear first in everyone else's newsfeed?” Here are three things you can start doing now: 1. Go Live Creating a video is one of the quickest ways to grow your online presence and spread your message. Between 2015 and 2016, video consumption on Facebook increased 800% (from 1 billion views to 8 billion views per day). Now that's a big boost. Making things even better, Facebook gives precedence to videos over other pieces of content. Facebook even sends push notifications when friends “go live.” It's very easy to use Facebook live. You just update your status as usual, click “Live Video”, make sure everything is ready in preview, and click “Go Live” (pro tip: get a stabilizer for your iPhone or camera and a microphone for less than $35). Even if you're camera-shy, Facebook Live can still be for you. You can create live Facebook polls very easily with free sites like MyLivePolls. Then ask your audience relevant questions and watch your engagement soar. Video is king. Start using it! 2. Great visuals = Great social media Almost no one will stop scrolling for a huge chunk of text. But an engaging image will get you everywhere! Your Facebook page posts should have high-quality photos. People love great visuals more than they care to read. You don't have to be a design expert to create compelling visual graphics. Check out Canva.com if you are new to the design world. It's a free and simple graphic design tool website. Learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator at the Leadership Institute. The next Digital Creative Workshop: Design is just around the corner. 3. Posting frequency “How often should I post on Facebook?” You should post on Facebook as often as you have quality content. Just ensure your posts are spaced out at least an hour. If you have tons of content, then posting up to 15 times per day is a good thing. However, 95% of people don't have the quality content (or time) to post that much. Let your content dictate the frequency of your posting. Do your best to craft a content schedule and make it consistent. The marketplace will let you know if you're posting too much if you're getting poor engagement on your posts. If you're getting a solid number of likes, comments, and shares then try increasing how often you post. 4. BONUS: Check out the Leadership Institute's online Facebook for Activism training! If you liked the tips above, you will love this training. The Leadership Institute's Online Training: Facebook for Activism will show you how to use Facebook to build a movement around the candidate, campaign, or cause you're committed to. You will leave this training with strategies you can use to accomplish your goals, whether it's starting chapters, recruiting volunteers, building your meetings and events, or even just connecting your friends to each other. Specifically, you'll learn: how to prime your Facebook for success to activate people in your online community; best practices to create conten­t that your supporters will respond to and want to share; and a proven, five-step process to build relationships with your supporters. Learn more about Facebook for Activism here. Let me know what you think. Have you used any of the resources/tactics above? Leave a comment below.
Interns Learn from Successful Conservative Leaders at Conservative Intern Workshop
Annamarie Rienzi
June 26, 2017
Interns Learn from Successful Conservative Leaders at Conservative Intern Workshop
Interns from across the conservative movement came to the Leadership Institute on June 21 for the Conservative Intern Workshop. The 94 interns who attended, representing the White House, Congress, FreedomWorks, Young American's for Liberty, and more than 32 other organizations. They learned how to make the most of their internships in DC beyond simply showing up to work every day. These interns learned from Steve Sutton, the Leadership Institute's Vice President of Development, about his method of impressing supervisors by understanding the philosophy and politics surrounding their roles. Next, the Young Americans for Liberty Director of Mobilization Justin Greiss spoke about how to best highlight their experiences by writing clean and consistent resumes. Justin also talked about the best way to communicate enthusiasm to potential employers by writing outstanding cover letters. During lunch, participants networked with each other and learned about new organizations. Dante Kari, an intern in the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership School was especially excited to meet with other interns. “I met folks interning for conservative organizations I didn't even know existed,” he said. Next, the Leadership Institute's Director of Digital Training, Abigail Alger, spoke about how to reach savings goals while living in as expensive a city as D.C. Andrew Magloughlin, the Economic Research Intern at FreedomWorks, said, “I learned how to apply my philosophy of fiscal conservatism to my own expenses and goals while flourishing.” Following Abby's presentation, the Leadership Institute's Stephen Rowe spoke about Social Media Branding. He taught attendees how to draw attention to their digital profiles in pursuit of full-time employment. The training continued with Networking to Find Jobs, a lecture from Lauren Bouton, a Public Policy Associate at Facebook. The interns found this information particularly useful because it emphasized that the point of networking is to meet and make meaningful connections with other interns. Katie Wilson the Leadership Institute's Technology Intern said, “I had no idea that it was acceptable to end a conversation with someone if it's gone on a bit too long! I really needed clarification on that point. Now I know that the point of networking is to meet many people!” The last session of the day was a panel with Leadership Institute's Director of Career Services Patricia Simpson, Americans for Prosperity's National Recruiting Manager Haley Pike, The Heritage Foundation's Recruiting Associate Kyle Bonnell, and Charles Koch Institute's Alumni Relations Coordinator Kasey Darling. Attendees were thrilled to hear from recruiters from such high profile organizations. Giovanni Triana, an intern for the American Legislative Exchange Council said, “The Job Seeking and Networking Panel at the Leadership Institute's Conservative Intern Workshop played a significant role in preparing me to be bold and effective in my outreach efforts. I learned tips and techniques from the experts themselves and I can honestly say that I am more confident in the way I approach networking after hearing from the seasoned panelists.” The day ended with a complimentary headshot photo shoot at Leadership Institute in the Steven P. J. Wood Building lobby. Attendees said the Conservative Intern Workshop was an extremely valuable training. Sarah Persichetti, an intern for In Defense of Christians, said, “Everyone that LI brought in to speak to us was so knowledgeable and passionate! I could really tell they were dedicated to helping conservative interns navigate the intimidating world of networking and professionalism.” The Leadership Institute's Career Service Department will hold its next event on July 11. To register for the Professional Development Workshop please follow the link here.
The Leadership Institute’s Think Tank Opportunity Workshop
Ben Woodward
June 20, 2017
The Leadership Institute’s Think Tank Opportunity Workshop
On July 13 and 14, the Leadership Institute held the very first Think Tank Opportunity Workshop. Eighty-six conservatives attended to learn how they can successfully build a career in this field. The workshop contributes to the Leadership Institute's mission to increase the size and effectiveness of conservative activists because conservative think tanks are only effective in influencing public policy if they have principled conservatives, passionate about quality research, working for them. The first day covered the career opportunities within think tanks. Our first speaker, Lori Sanders who is the Associate Vice President of Federal Affairs at the R Street Institute discussed the types of think tanks currently operating in the movement and the routes in which people take to secure a career. The second speaker, Helena Richardson, Director of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation taught attendees about the different career paths within think tanks such as events, marketing, development, and more. Helena also discussed how to go about finding the first job and internship in a think tank. Finally, Michael Bowman, Vice President of Policy at the American Legislative Exchange Council taught attendees how to be a leader in their field and establish themselves as an expert. He also taught attendees what senior recruiters are looking for when hiring and the importance of being passionate about their chosen field. The second day placed a focus on research and influencing public policy. The first speaker, Trevor Burrus, who is a Research Fellow at the CATO Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies, taught attendees how to research and compose policy proposals that make an impact and are easily readable. The Hon. Becky Norton Dunlop followed Trevor; she is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. She covered how a think tank uses its research to influence decision makers and public opinion as a whole. Finally, Karen Czarnecki, Vice President for Outreach at the Mercatus Center, concluded the workshop by teaching attendees how think tanks build coalitions and how they can collaborate with organizations to maximize the effectiveness of their research. Following the workshop, feedback was overwhelmingly positive with one attendee remarking; “An excellent program with generous speakers and staff. All speakers were willing to network with students involved and were very willing to invest in our futures!” Due to the success of the Think Tank Opportunity Workshop, the Leadership Institute will be holding another on November 6 and 7, 2017.
5 Reasons You Should Consider Working for a Conservative Movement Abroad
Ben Woodward
June 15, 2017
5 Reasons You Should Consider Working for a Conservative Movement Abroad
You can probably recall a number of sobering moments in your life where you had the opportunity to either step up or retreat from a challenge. When I was 23, I moved to the United States from the UK to work for the Leadership Institute. The prospect to work in the American conservative movement for an organization like LI, which is so pivotal, was an exciting one. However exciting the opportunity, I remember the moment I arrived at my accommodation. I put my cases down and froze. It dawned on me that I had just quit my job, and left the security of my friends and family. It was a scary prospect; but nine months later, I would recommend the experience to anybody. Here are five reasons you should consider working for a conservative movement abroad. You learn a lot from another country's practices Conservative movements, or indeed any kind of industry, do things differently in different countries. This makes you both an asset and a liability. An asset, because you bring new ideas and experiences to the table. A liability, because your knowledge of basic work practices in your new country may be lacking. Nevertheless, you can be confident that having worked for a conservative movement abroad will make you an asset in your home country. If conservative movements are to be successful, they should be open to new ideas and employ talent globally, just as the private sector does. It's a test of character Throwing yourself into unfamiliar territory is an opportunity to prove yourself. A good employee should be able to adapt to new challenges and face them head on. If you are able to build a network of friends, establish yourself in a new environment, and succeed in a different working environment, then you signal to employers that you can adapt to new challenges. In addition, it forces you to mature. When you move to a new country, you cannot depend upon the safety of your traditional support network. You are on your own, and rising to that challenge means you can be depended upon to support others. It will broaden your mind Conservatives in different countries have different ideas and policy priorities. The UK and US conservative movements are very different. The experience will challenge your views, and you will learn a great deal about areas of policy you know nothing about. Being an effective conservative requires you to have a broad understanding of policy, and the arguments for our movement. Working for a movement abroad, you will learn new examples of conservatism in action and be exposed to new organizations from which you can learn. You will work with inspiring new people Conservatives are dedicated to our cause; it's why we're winning. Working for a conservative organization abroad is an opportunity to network with a whole new pool of conservative talent. These people are future leaders and elected officials you can learn from. It is also a great chance to make new friends who share your values. You will have the chance to attend events like conferences, campaign launches, and more that you would otherwise be unable to attend. It's fun! Who doesn't love traveling? The opportunity to see new places, eat new food, and make everybody jealous on social media are some benefits of working abroad. It's an experience you'll remember forever. You only live once! If you're thinking about working for a conservative organization outside the U.S. consider the following: Hans Seidel Foundation International Democrat Union Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies (Think tank for European People's Party) Unión de Partidos Latinoamericanos (UPLA) Canadian Taxpayers' Association
When Your Work Life Becomes Your Personal Life
Ben Woodward
June 5, 2017
When Your Work Life Becomes Your Personal Life
When I think about the conservative movement, I realize many staff are close friends outside of work, and some even live in the same house. We are a closely tied movement, and that is a good thing. Within individual organizations, working alongside people you have strong relationships with means you are more likely to enjoy your job and collaborate on projects; it creates a positive working environment. But here are some things to consider when your work life and your personal life intertwine. Make your own decisions Remember that you are responsible for the decisions you make at work. If they are successful, then you take credit; if they are bad decisions, then you have to face the consequences. In the latter circumstance, nothing would sting more than knowing you were persuaded to make that decision against your better judgment because a friend, however unintentionally, misguided you. Make sure that you do not let your relationships affect your better judgment. With that said, use your friendships to your advantage. If you need help on a project, being close to a colleague can be an advantage. Conflicts in one portion of your life never intrude on the other There are two sides to this. Most importantly, if you work alongside a friend, spouse, or relative, your clashes stay at home. If your colleague is late on the rent, that is not a work problem. Letting personal conflicts affect your day-to-day working life will damage your reputation as a professional. Likewise, your work takes up a huge portion of your life. Do not let your professional disagreements follow you home. If you and your friend are both applying for the same promotion, do not let that destroy your friendship. It is also worth noting that if you get the job, you may have to give your friends direction; and if they get the job, you want a good relationship with your new boss. You may differ in seniority Most of us spend our professional lives working toward that next promotion. It means more responsibility, more freedom, and more money. The only problem is, there are only so many senior positions around, and chances are, you're not the sole applicant. If you find yourself in the awkward position of either working for your friend or being in charge of your friends, remember that standard rules still apply. There may be information you cannot share with each other. You cannot give or expect preferential treatment. Finally, there is a time for work and a time for socializing When it comes to working with friends, family, and partners, there can be new temptations. We have all been there, sat at our desks, struggling to motivate ourselves. It's tempting to procrastinate – especially when colleagues want to socialize. Of course, no employer expects you to be a robot and small breaks are common. I must confess that I enjoy pranking my colleagues on occasion. Just understand when to be serious, where the line is, and if you have a deadline, do not be afraid to make that clear.
I remember reciting my first speech
Autumn Campbell
May 25, 2017
I remember reciting my first speech
I remember reciting my first speech – “Respect the flag . . . “ – those are the only words I remember, maybe because that's the title. Although I don't remember the words, I do remember the feeling I had as a seven-year-old reciting the poem from memory in front of judges and others I didn't know. I was nervous. I had butterflies. And I knew I didn't want to mess up. I adjusted my sparkly Uncle Sam hat and waited for the judge's nod while my heart seemed to pound out of my chest. I drew a deep breath and began the poem. With shaky hands I held my props and waved my little flag at the appropriate time. And, I made it through. Whew! (Side note: I won at this particular competition. That is my claim to fame.) Maybe you're like me, and just reading about public speaking makes you nervous and sick to your stomach! Well, you're definitely not alone. In fact, public speaking is one of the most common fears. According to Toastmasters, fear of public speaking outranks the fear of death and loneliness! But I have great news! The Leadership Institute's Public Speaking Workshop and Advanced Public Speaking Workshop can help. LI has experienced faculty who can help you hone your speaking skills and give you personal feedback on your speech delivery. So overcome your childhood fear today! Register for the Leadership Institute's Public Speaking Workshop here. Or, register for the Leadership Institute's Advanced Public Speaking Workshop here.
Five things you should do in your first week at a new job
Ben Woodward
May 22, 2017
Five things you should do in your first week at a new job
Starting a new job is among the most daunting experiences in our professional lives. After all, you only get one chance at a first impression. As well as trying to wrap your head around your new responsibilities, learn the office culture, make friends, and demonstrate your ability, you're also trying to keep your feet on the ground and build a successful future for yourself. It is natural to want to keep your head down and not draw attention to yourself, like a mouse among sleeping cats. This is a mistake! Here are five things you should do in your first week: Ask your supervisor (and employees) to lunch By asking your supervisor to lunch, you are showing your new boss that you are confident in your new role and you are serious about learning the ropes. I would advise you to keep this lunch just the two of you if possible, as other employees may dominate the conversation. It is also an effective way to get to know your supervisor on a one-to-one basis, outside of the formal office environment. It is important for them to get to know you. This is your chance to tell them what you want out of this job and where you would like to go in your career. If you're a manager, take your staff out to lunch, either in small groups, or one-to-one if possible. This is your chance to understand what makes these individuals tick, and establish what you expect from them. Introduce yourself to everybody in the office You will be spending lots of time with the people in your department and organization over the next few months and years. So be sure to take some time to introduce yourself to everybody in the kitchens, boardrooms, or even by visiting their workspace. Understanding the office culture is critical to success. You will likely need to collaborate with other departments on a multitude of projects, so make friends with them quickly to establish your relationship. Too many new employees fail to integrate themselves into the social side of a new office and get left out in the cold. Learn about all of the current and upcoming projects Fully brief yourself on all of the current projects in your department. Wherever possible, you should do your research, but do not be afraid to ask smart questions. It is in your colleagues' interests to help you succeed, as your work will affect theirs. Try to establish what other people are working on and where you can be of assistance, but also what scope you have for innovation. Every employer is different; some will let you pursue your projects, whereas others prefer a top-down approach. Learn about the location of your office Being successful at work requires you to be happy in your job, and comfortable in your environment. However moving to a new place, especially if you have moved away from home or college for the first time can make you feel isolated and unsettled. This is not conducive to success in your new job. Ensure that you learn the area quickly. Where are the best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops? What activities are happening locally? With whom in your office do you share hobbies? This will help you to settle quickly into your new environment, and even take the lead in your office's social life. Reconnect with former colleagues It is easy when you start a new job to be swept up in your new professional life. As a keen networker, try to get into the habit of keeping in touch with your old colleagues quickly. You never know when you will need a referral, or when your new job requires a connection from your past. Remember to keep those professional relationships alive.
Recruiters hire through social media
Ben Woodward
May 8, 2017
Recruiters hire through social media
What if I told you that Facebook has been around since 2004? That's 13 years! Twitter has existed since 2006. Even seemingly newer forms of social media like Snapchat (2011) and Instagram (2010) are not new. Most jobseekers are only just waking up to the potential of social media for their careers. More and more, recruiters hire through social media. Even if they rely primarily on job boards, you can be confident they will investigate your social media for background checks. By failing to demonstrate your employability on social media, you are doing yourself a disservice. In this blog, I want to focus on how you can convey your skills and expertise on social media. During your day-to-day work life, you demonstrate your professional abilities. You may write articles, speeches, or research briefings. Perhaps you show your organizational skills by managing an event, or you demonstrate your communication skills by speaking at a conference. You should post these activities on your social media, partnered with a photograph, video, or site link. By failing to share them, you fail to give recruiters the opportunity to see you at your best. Worst of all, you have done the work, and recruiters may never know. Even simple gestures make a huge difference. If you have great coworkers or employees, for example, consider praising their work through social media. You will demonstrate your teamwork and leadership abilities, and they can share the comment on their pages. It is also better to share posts from your organization's page about your skills, or praise from a respected individual. This increases the validity of the post or tweet, rather than posting it yourself. Opportunities to demonstrate your expertise are not limited to your day-to-day work life. Here are some other ways you can get this across on social media: Write blogs, opeds, and articles in your spare time. Smaller journalistic organizations are always looking for stories to publish. If you want to show expertise in a particular area, consider writing about it. Retweet, comment on, and repost other people's social media. This is also an excellent way to engage people who can help your career. Make sure you like and follow relevant organizations and people who are successful in your chosen career path. Have a strong LinkedIn profile with a summary which outlines your experience and expertise. In addition, your LinkedIn should contain a full account of your professional experiences and achievements. Remember recruiters search your social media every time you apply for a job. This is your opportunity to not only tell them, but show them your skills and expertise. For more career tips, visit ConservativeJobs.com.
The Hiring Freeze Has Been Lifted, What’s Your Plan?
Ben Woodward
April 24, 2017
The Hiring Freeze Has Been Lifted, What’s Your Plan?
On Tuesday, April 11, the Trump Administration made a surprise announcement that could be good news for job seekers across DC. The federal hiring freeze will be lifted. Instead, the administration is calling for a reform of the federal government, and a plan to reduce the overall size of the Federal Civilian Workforce. But what does this mean for job seekers in Washington D.C.? Cautious optimism. First, the administration has been clear this does not give Departments the freedom to go on a recruitment spending spree. The intention is to reshape the federal workforce, with some agencies having the flexibility to hire more people, and others paring their staff, while others will make lay-offs. This means if you are hoping to take advantage of the opportunities, you may be competing with experienced and well-connected former Federal employees hoping to be hired elsewhere. Secondly, budgetary proposals must go through the appropriations process. This is no easy task. Congress has already expressed its opposition to cuts on agencies such as the EPA, State, Health and Human Services, and others. Therefore, there is still uncertainty about the opportunities that will arise from this decision. One thing is for sure, if you are a job seeker in DC, or if you are looking for a career move, you should be ready for anything! The administration has been clear it intends to fund spending increases for Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs. These departments were always exempt from the hiring freeze and now it looks as though the administration is freeing up budgetary space to prioritize these departments. If you are looking for a job in the Federal Government, and you want to make the most of the potential opportunities coming up, the strategic jobseekers will have a plan. If you're a new jobseeker, consider applying for internships that will get help you to establish yourself in the Federal Government. Opportunities such as the Presidential Management Fellowship Program for example are tough to get in, but provide great opportunities if you are successful. Start now by networking. Look for events across DC where you will have the opportunity to meet political appointees currently working in the administration. This is your opportunity to get to know people who can help you to find a place in the departments hiring. The Leadership Institute provides a number of resources to help you network, including workshops and our Job Seeker Guide. Your resume should be as strong as possible as you prepare to send it to potential recruiters. Have it ready to go now, and remember the Leadership Institute is available as a resource to you if you want to have your resume reviewed. You can arrange to meet with one of LI's careers staff to discuss ways to improve your resume through ConservativeJobs.com.
Your 5-point guide to writing an op-ed
Autumn Campbell
April 20, 2017
Your 5-point guide to writing an op-ed
With the Leadership Institute's Building Your Brand Workshop around the corner, here are some pointers to give you a head start on building your brand through op-eds. You have something to say. But sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. How do you get your voice out there? A good place to start is blogging. I know, I know, everyone has a blog. But there's a reason for that. You can practice putting your thoughts and arguments down while getting feedback from friends and peers. Through practice on your blog, you can begin to harness your thoughts and build a framework for your field of expertise. So you've been blogging – but you're ready for more. It's time to write an op-ed. An op-ed is an article or piece with an opinion and written with a strong point of view. Here's why you'll shine in an op-ed: You'll show your expertise Develop your argument Learn to use facts to back up your argument And establish your credibility Follow these general guidelines for your op-ed: Limit your word count to about 700 words or less Open with a strong lead Make your argument quickly and concisely Remember, you cannot submit a piece that's already been published Be patient and don't give up You'll find many informative websites on how to submit your op-ed. Here are a few links with guidelines for DC area news sources to get you started: Washington Examiner Washington Times Washington Post Politico The Hill Now go write! (And remember me when you're a rich and famous expert.) Still want more insight? Take LI's Building Your Brand: From Op-ed to On-camera Wednesday and Thursday evenings, April 26-27. Register here!
Stephen Rowe Employee of the Quarter
Carol Wehe
April 19, 2017
Stephen Rowe Employee of the Quarter
"Our first Employee of the Quarter for 2017 is Stephen Rowe," announced Morton Blackwell at the Leadership Institute's staff meeting. "Stephen, will you please come forward?" As Stephen walked to the front of the room, Morton continued. "Stephen Rowe has gone above and beyond in his work, both for the Digital Training Division and in support of other LI departments." "In the past three months, Stephen has spoken at three Young Americans for Liberty regional conventions and received high praise and positive feedback -- while giving a different combination of lectures each time; taught lectures for other training divisions, including Grassroots and Career Services..." And the list goes on. Stephen, Morton continued, "said an enthusiastic “yes” to joining a Campus Reform video broadcast; worked with External Affairs to generate new ideas for email marketing, social media content, and website analytics; and taught at 13 digital trainings, helping the division train 150% more conservatives than in the first quarter of 2016." "Stephen has a natural talent for speaking and teaching, and his work ethic, teamwork, and unfailing good cheer make him a valued member of the Institute staff," Morton said. Morton presented Stephen with a gift and congratulated him on a job well done. Please join me in celebrating Stephen's tireless work ethic and willingness to help all of the Leadership Institute succeed in training more conservatives to win.
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