In case you missed it, this Saturday, February 7th, Elect Her – Campus Women Win took place. In this 4.5 hour training hosted by AAUW and Running Start, women across Minnesota took place in a political leadership training to encourage them to pursue their dreams of being leaders and running for office. Skills that were covered included how to craft a message, and how to speak confidently and present oneself as a candidate. The day began with a breakfast and photo session, where participants had a chance to meet each other and speak about what position they wanted to run for. After this, Tasha Cole, who has helped train over 300 women to run for student government, took over as the facilitator of the event with an engaging presentation that got conversation flowing throughout the room. She also contributed facts that put the extent of U.S. female leadership into perspective. Facts such as 19.4% of US congress is made up of women and the U.S. ranks 75th in the world for women’s political representation, behind Singapore, Peru, Greece, and Saudi Arabia, were all discussed. Next, a panel of University of Minnesota women leaders took the stage. The panelists included Amber Jones of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority at UMN, Joelle Stangler, President of MSA, Abeer Syedah of MSA, and Ashley Hall, GAPSA Vice-President. These women did an excellent job answering audience questions and providing insight based on their own leadership experiences.
After a quick lunch break, Senator Patricia Torres Ray, the first Latina woman to serve in the Minnesota Senate, came to make a presentation. She talked a lot about her experiences as an immigrant woman and how she had to work hard and build a network to get to the leadership position that she is in today. The Senator has high hopes for the future generation of millennials and believes that this generation will be the one to help her succeed in empowering women leaders and to get the systematic change accomplished that she believes needs to occur.
The final speaker of the training was Catherine Gray who spoke and led exercises about communication and story telling. She emphasized the importance of using stories to build a connection with someone and create memorable moments. She then had participants work on telling their stories of why they wanted to run for their desired political office and had some speakers stand up and deliver their “elevator speech” to the entire room. This was truly an inspirational training and demonstrated the potential that women leaders have. The Women’s Center would like to thank all participants, speakers, and volunteers for being a part of such a fantastic day!