Ready to Run™ is a national network of non-partisan political leadership and campaign training programs committed to electing women to public office. On Saturday, June 16, 2018, Fairfield University will host Connecticut’s second annual Ready to Run™ program, a one-day conference designed to empower women to become active participants in the political process and their local government.
Developed by Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) in 1998, Ready to Run™ offers women an annual workshop series that equips them with the necessary strategies, knowledge, and networking tools to effectively pursue leadership positions in state and local government. Participants develop significant leadership skills while gaining an understanding of the impact and importance of diverse voices in politics. In locations where Ready to Run™ is currently offered, 70% of all program participants who chose to run for office following their training have successfully won their political races.
Ready to Run™ Connecticut promotes knowledge and awareness about women’s participation in political and civic life and encourages them to engage with government and influence public policy. The program furthers Fairfield’s commitment to lifelong learning, community engagement, and social justice, of which gender equality is an important facet.
Central to the Ready to Run™ Connecticut program is an innovative and comprehensive curriculum that addresses Connecticut’s unique political culture and employs the help of state and local experts to advance participants’ political aspirations by highlighting the specifics of running a successful campaign in state. Workshops are offered on two different tracks to meet the needs of women at different points in their political life and are facilitated by an expert panel of campaign strategists, media specialists, and elected officials.
Track 1: I’m Ready to Run, Now What?
Geared toward women who are immediately planning to run for office, Track 1 features interactive workshops that cover the fundamentals of launching an effective campaign and how to navigate the political parties as a potential candidate.
Track 2: I’m Not Ready to Run Yet, But…
Geared toward women who may have an interest in running for office in the future but are currently exploring other ways to get involved in politics, Track 2 covers such topics as how to position oneself for future office, getting appointed to boards or commissions, getting involved in the political parties, and turning advocacy experience into political experience.
Participants in both tracks participate in media training, Internet strategies, and fundraising sessions.
Saturday, June 16, 2018
8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Keynote Address: Women Can Change the World - Amplyfying Your Voice, Empowering Grass Roots
Presenter: Tara Cook-Littman, Esq., Political and Advocacy Consultant, Visionary Campaign Group LLC
10 a.m. – Noon
Track 1: Launching Your Campaign
This session provides an overview of the key elements of a campaign, including establishing oneself as a candidate, developing a campaign plan, and launching the campaign.
Presenter: Randall Thompson, President, Pulse Communication LLC
Track 2: Introduction to Connecticut Politics
The session provides a “nuts and bolts” overview of the government and political party structure in the Connecticut and answers the most common questions about how to get involved in political life. Topics include how to position oneself for appointment to a public board/ commission and how to become active in the political parties.
Presenters: State Representative Terrie Wood (R-141) and Nancy DiNardo, former Connecticut State Democrat Party Chair
Noon – 2:30 p.m.
Luncheon Plenary: Using Social Media and Data in Politics
This session provides an overview of how to use social media to your advantage and how to use data to micro-target various audiences.
Presenter: Randall Thompson, President, Pulse Communication LLC
2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Track 1: Crafting a Campaign Message
The session provides an overview of how to develop a campaign narrative, create a campaign message(s), and key tactics that help deliver your message to a variety of audiences.
Presenter: Liz Kurantowicz, Political Analysist, The Drury Group
Track 2: Laying the Groundwork for Public Life
This session offers advice from the experts – women who already serve as public leaders. Topics covered include learning to raise one’s public profile, leveraging community leadership for political leadership, the various types of elected office to consider, working on campaigns, and balancing competing priorities of political and family life.
Presenters: State Representatives Laura Devlin (R-134), Brenda Kupchick (R-132), Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-Fairfield), and State Senate Candidate Carolyn Vermont (D-23)
4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Plenary: Fundraising for Success
This interactive workshop covers key components of campaign fundraising, including special emphasis on understanding why people give and the in-person “ask.” The session will also address developing a strategy for your campaign, building a donor list, recruiting and motivating a Finance Committee, and special events.
Presenter: Brian Farnen, Former Republican Campaign Strategist and Current Elected Official, City of Fairfield
5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Join us after the conference for a networking reception featuring complimentary cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres.
National research conducted by the Center for American Women and Politics shows that women make government more transparent, inclusive, and accessible. They bring different priorities and experiences to public life, including perspectives that have been largely absent in public policymaking. Women change the way government works, and their voices are needed around the country.
Ready to Run™ was created in 1998 to address the historic and contemporary underrepresentation of women in American politics. Although women represent 51% of the U.S. population and 53% of registered voters, they continue to be significantly underrepresented in our nation’s policymaking bodies. According to a 2017 CAWP report, women hold a mere 25% of the 7,383 state legislative positions available in the U.S., and in Connecticut, only 28% of legislative seats are held by females. These low numbers are indicative of the problems that women face at all levels of political involvement, and as the number of elected women officials continues to plateaus, the need for education programs that help women enter local and state office continues to grow.
Visit the CAWP website for more fast facts and historical data on women in politics.
In celebration of the Ready to Run™ Connecticut program launch on October 14, 2017, Fairfield University invited community members, elected officials, and Fairfield alumni to attend a special kick-off reception on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, featuring keynote speaker and former Connecticut governor Jodi Rell.
Attendees had opportunity to learn more about the program while enjoying light refreshments and networking with other civically-minded individuals.
View photos from the event
Registration for the second annual Ready to Run™ Connecticut opens on May 14, 2018, and includes all meals and conference materials.
Early Bird Registration Fee: $95 per person (available until May 31, 2018)
Regular Registration Fee: $125 per person
Supporting Ready to Run™ Connecticut is easy. A simple $100 gift covers the cost for one women to attend the program and helps ensure Ready to Run™ Connecticut's prosperity for years to come.
For more information regarding Ready to Run™ Connecticut, contact Program Director Dr. Gayle Alberda, assistant professor of politics and public administration, at R2RCT@fairfield.edu.