BRINGING MORE WOMEN TO THE TABLE
by Anne Szkatulski, @RodhamConsult
In the immediate aftermath of the recent election, I didn’t know how to process what had happened. I was devastated for our country, for our friends and neighbors, and for our future. But what upset me the most was the thought that women all over the country might have seen a highly qualified, capable, and confident woman lose to an absurdly unqualified man and think, “I could never run for office.”
I knew exactly what I had to do: create a system to ensure that no Democratic woman in Illinois who wants to run for office walks away from the opportunity.
There are some wonderful programs that exist in Illinois to cultivate future Democratic leaders. I am a proud graduate of the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership (IWIL), a program that for many years has been “successfully preparing and propelling women to take on elected and appointed positions to advance Democratic ideals.” IWIL is without a doubt the best resource in Illinois for a Democratic woman who knows she wants to run for office.
But many women need encouragement to even get to that point. There are so many Democratic women across Illinois who want to get more involved in their communities, who want to take on leadership roles, who want to run for office — and who would truly excel in those positions — but they don’t know where to start. Enter Rodham Consulting.
Rodham Consulting (www.rodhamconsulting.com) is a pro bono political consulting firm offering one free hour of initial guidance to any Democratic woman in Illinois who is considering running for office, or who just wants to understand how to get more involved in Democratic politics. We have a team of over 30 women with expertise in political strategy serving as advisors, and in the four weeks since we launched, we have signed up almost 100 clients.
Rodham Consulting is meant to be the first call a woman makes when she thinks to herself, “I might want to run for office, but don’t know how to get started.” So far our clients have included artists, accountants, new moms, retired lawyers, and everyone in between, from all over Illinois. Many of these women are ready to step up to the plate, and we work with them to plan out and ultimately take those first few steps.
We constantly hear “I’m not qualified,” “I don’t know anything about politics,” and “I don’t have anything to offer.” But as I tell any woman who suggests she isn’t qualified to run for office — that didn’t stop Donald Trump, and it shouldn’t stop you. Everyone has knowledge and expertise to share, and a potential candidate just has to find the best outlet for her strengths. And when women run for political office, they are just as likely as men to be elected.
Rodham Consulting has three ways to engage — as a Client, someone who is considering running for office and wants advice on how to get started; as a Connector, someone who is willing to help Rodham Consulting by utilizing your networks to plug our clients into their communities; or as a Supporter, someone who supports our mission and wants to stay in touch with us.
If this applies to you or someone you know, check out our website, www.rodhamconsulting.com, share it with a friend, and give us a like on social media. Stay updated by joining our email list as a Supporter or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. By growing our network, we can reach every Democratic woman from Granite City to Waukegan, from Moline to Carbondale, from Cairo to Chicago.
We believe that if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. And at Rodham Consulting, we’re doing our best to ensure that more Democratic women have seats at the table.