What I Saw: My Journey to the Leadership Institute
January 7, 2022
What I Saw: My Journey to the Leadership Institute
In early September, I found myself driving down the New Jersey turnpike towards Virginia. My car was loaded with suits, toiletries, and most important, my collection of tattered G.K. Chesterton books. I was unusually stressed, not just because I was surrounded by the turnpike's notoriously aggressive drivers, but because I was on my way to start a fall internship at the Leadership Institute (LI). Like anyone who's starting a new job or internship, I was nervous and unsure of what to expect. I was somewhat familiar with LI, having taken their (excellent) Youth Leadership School, but accepting an internship there had been a spur-of-the-moment decision. Eventually, I pulled into the driveway of LI's intern house and started my journey. Four months later, I'm beyond blessed to be working here at LI full-time. As an intern who transitioned into a full-time role, I've become intimately familiar with LI. The fifth-floor coffee maker is by far the best. Kirsten Holmberg, our Deputy Director of Political and Fundraising Training, always has a bowl of gourmet sweets on her desk. There's a faucet in the third-floor Men's restroom that randomly runs scalding water, so always be careful. But most important, I've become familiar with LI as an institution, and what exactly this organization does. The year 2021 was a great year for me (except for the fact that I got blown out in my Fantasy Football playoffs), and it was an even better year for LI. In 2021, the Leadership Institute (LI) prepared 18,195 trainees - from college students to campaign managers - to advance and act on their conservative principles. Each week, LI provided an average of 57 hours of live training, boosting the conservative movement towards electoral successes in 2022 and beyond. My journey with LI started when my friend invited me to attend LI's Youth Leadership Workshop (YLW), a three-hour training that equipped 1,606 young conservatives last year with tactics and tools they can use to advance conservatism on campus and beyond. After I attended the Youth Leadership Workshop, I was hooked and wanted to learn more. Being a conservative student on a heavily left-wing campus just outside of Seattle was extremely intimidating, but the YLW sparked an epiphany in me. Remaining quiet meant that I was letting the radicals on my campus win. Remaining quiet is exactly what they were hoping I would do. This epiphany motivated me to take the LI's two-day Youth Leadership School (YLS), an intensive 29-hour training that extensively expands upon the content taught in that first three-hour workshop I took. It teaches young conservatives how they can win. In 2021, 532 student leaders were trained in the YLS. Sixty-four YLS grads organized efforts for conservative candidates across the country, enabling candidates to capture the youth vote and drive a youthful image that has become increasingly important in elections.Some Youth Leadership School graduates eventually become interns at LI, like me!Over the course of 2021, 32 interns came through LI, including 11 in my fall class. We came from all over the country, from the urban megalopolis of NYC, to rural Georgia. Despite coming from different regions and cultures, we became incredibly tight knit. I've made lifelong friends and I know many of us will be attending each other's weddings. One highlight of the internship was our Book Club, where we read a classic work of conservative literature each week. From Hayek to Goldwater, LI interns collectively read more than 45,600 pages of conservative literature. My personal favorite was Douglas Hyde's Dedication and Leadership, which I'd highly recommend to newer conservatives.I'm currently in the External Affairs division, but my time at LI started as an intern in the Career Resources department. Helping fellow conservative jobseekers was important to me during my internship. My supervisor went out of his way to train me how to help others secure employment and jumpstart their careers. Ultimately, I was able to use what he taught me to land my own full-time position here at LI! In 2021, LI released an updated version of ConservativeJobs.com. The website attracted more than 33,800 unique visitors in 2021 and helped job-seekers streamline their job searches. On top of that, LI's careers team also met one-on-one with 451 conservatives for personal career consultations, offering conservatives customized advice and guidance to help them navigate the often-turbulent job market. While I lived in the intern house, one topic that continually came up during our conversations, other than whether the North or the South had better food, was the dramatic growth of Critical Race Theory within the halls of our schools. 2021 was the year when the encroachment of divisive left-wing ideology into every aspect of American society, even into the classrooms of our children, was made abundantly clear to conservatives. Unfortunately, many school boards are now used as social engineering tools instead of focusing on preparing our children for higher education and the workforce. Parents knew that they couldn't simply stand by. Thanks to the generosity of LI's donors, LI supported these parents through the creation of the on-demand School Board Campaign Training, which more than 1,500 concerned citizens have registered to take. This training provides parents with the skills to wage and win successful campaigns for their local school board, where they can help protect the integrity of their children's education. LI also offers other on-demand courses, a diverse array of training that educates conservatives on both principles and practice. The History of the Constitution and Conservative 101 on-demand trainings both had more than 1,000 registrants this year. Many also took the Social Media Bootcamp, where they learned how to translate their conservative principles into action. It's not just parents who are standing up for education, college students are too. Being openly conservative on a college campus is a difficult task. I attended college in Washington State, just outside of Seattle. Though I was surrounded by gorgeous mountains and enchanting evergreen forests, I was also surrounded by leftist students who lacked any tolerance for even the slightest differing opinions. Once, when I was reading Ronald Reagan's diary on campus, I was so afraid of being confronted by these leftists I replaced the book sleeve with a sleeve from one of my Harry Potter books, just so I could read in peace. LI's Campus Leadership Program (CLP) directly supports conservative students like me, who feel as if they must remain undercover. Thanks to LI's generous donors, LI gives students the resources and training they need to speak up and restore balance on American campuses. LI's CLP program now includes more than 2,000 active student groups. In 2021, CLP added 816 new student groups and newly identified more than 96,900 conservative students. With CLP's support, conservative students were able to put on 2,583 public events on their campuses; each event promoted conservative ideas and values to students. Just a few decades ago, the average college campus was a bastion of intellectual openness, a place where students of all political stripes could freely discuss their beliefs without any fear of judgment or retaliation. Now, campus institutions are saturated with left-wing bias.This left-wing bias is exactly what motivates the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform (CRO), a team of journalists who identify and expose left-wing bias on America's campuses. CRO uses a nationwide network of investigative student reporters to expose these institutional left-wing biases, restoring integrity to American campuses in the process.In 2021, local and national television programs featured LI's Campus Reform students, staff, and stories 994 times.Online, the Campus Reform stories and YouTube channel garnered 27.2 million views over 2021. Campus Reform's popularity is a testament to the fact that America's conservative students have had enough. Unfortunately, what is happening on our college campuses is just a microcosm of what is happening across the country. From Alaska to Alabama, and everywhere in-between, institutions are slowly being captured by left-wing bias. Thankfully, conservatives are standing up for their rights. The effort to safeguard America's principles is a multi-faceted effort, and that's why LI offers a diverse array of political trainings, both online and in-person. While I was an intern, I was granted free access to these trainings, and I can attest to the fact that they are a huge tool in the toolbelt of the conservative movement. In 2021, the Leadership Institute (LI) expanded the number of trainings offered, ultimately training more than 18,195 conservatives. LI now has 51 different trainings available. Each one equips conservatives with a range of skills necessary to make a difference in communities across America. For selfish reasons, I wish LI had a training on how to meet conservative women in a heavily liberal region, but given that there are more pressing issues at hand, I doubt that training will be created anytime soon! Currently, three US senators and 27 members of the House of Representatives are graduates of LI's political trainings. Having met some of the motivated individuals attending these trainings, I'd bet my entire savings account that this number will only increase. As the midterms approach, and as liberal politicians continue to lurch even further leftward, it's more important than ever to become involved. If you are motivated in 2022 to use your talents for conservative activism either on campus or in your community, visit LI's website for the complete list of 2022 trainings available. Thanks to LI's generous donors, they are low-cost or no-cost, and can be found here: LeadershipInstitute.org/Training.
Are you listening? Learn how to win through Leadership Institute’s Podcasts!
Carol Wehe Cocks
December 9, 2021
Are you listening? Learn how to win through Leadership Institute’s Podcasts!
Conservatives are learning to win everywhere these days!In addition to its 48 different types of online and in-person trainings, Leadership Institute (LI) also produces podcasts to help reach and train conservatives where they are. These high-quality, accessible podcasts are educational and entertaining. They further the movement by training conservatives to win.The Leadership Institute provides trainings in so many areas and the additional podcast content produced is top notch. But, you don't have to take my word for it. Here are a few comments from LI's podcast fans.“I started with Tech Talk #8,” said one Instagram listener. “I enjoyed it so much, I have been working myself backwards to watch them all.”“This is great!” said another.Here are three Leadership Institute podcasts I subscribe to, that I think you'd enjoy too:Learn Right: School Board Campaign Training Podcast -- listen in every other week to new content and dive into political technology for conservatives to use in School Board campaigns. You'll learn how to campaign, how to raise funds, and what to do once you are elected. You can listen on Apple, Amazon, Acast, Spotify, and iHeart Radio.Tech Talk -- watch this weekly podcast about new digital technology and effective strategies to support your online activism. You can watch on YouTube.Campus Countdown -- watch this weekly podcast to get the top campus stories of the week, straight from a student who's a Campus Reform reporter. Campus Reform, a project of the Leadership Institute, is America's leading site for college news. As a watchdog to the nation's higher education system, Campus Reform exposes bias and abuse on the nation's college campuses. You can watch on YouTube.Make sure to hit the subscribe button, so you'll get each new episode!
Disney Fan and California Girl, Madison Marks-Noble helps college students have a voice on campus
Alyssa Jones
December 1, 2021
Disney Fan and California Girl, Madison Marks-Noble helps college students have a voice on campus
Meet California girl Madison Marks-Noble. A Disney lover and fervent conservative activist, Madison loves to encourage college students and give them the resources and network to find their voices on campus. Madison is from Fresno, California. She graduated from San Diego State University. Madison is the Leadership Institute (LI) Regional Field Coordinator for California and Hawaii. She shows selflessness in her work and wants students to become humble leaders. How does your job fulfill you?I get to make an impact in my community and my state. Many see California as a lost cause, but there are young people fighting for conservative principles every day on campus. Traveling around this beautiful state is also a great perk! Outside of the Leadership Institute, what are some things that you enjoy?A few things I enjoy are true crime podcasts and anything Disney. Everyone is so drawn to true crime, and I have hopped on the bandwagon! It passes the time on my long drives to various parts of the state. Disneyland is special to me because some of my best memories are from childhood family trips to Disneyland. My dad and I had always loved the park's history and how magical a place it is. I have been an annual pass holder since 2017, and it is a great escape from stress!As a Leadership Institute Regional Field Coordinator (RFC), you work with students daily who are where you were just a few years ago. How do you use your position not just to give resources, but to inspire them as young conservatives? It's great for students to host speakers and fun activism events, but honestly, the most important things I can do as an RFC are empower them and give them confidence. A lot of conservative students in college feel alone. When they bring up their politics on campus, it can result in rejection. Without visible conservative peers, some students start to censor themselves. I want students in LI's network to leave college knowing they have a voice and that they matter to the conservative movement. They should move into their career - in whatever field they choose - empowered with leadership abilities they learned working with their campus groups.How has the Leadership Institute impacted your life?The Leadership Institute gave me my first job after college - as a field representative and now as an RFC helping college students. I had zero political connections or experience, and LI gave me the chance to work hard and work my way up. Working here has also taught me how important it is to be movement-minded. In politics, it's very easy to get caught up in what "you" do and "your" accomplishments, but LI is not here to self-promote. As Morton says, "build a movement, not an empire." I keep that in mind constantly. Do you think what you have learned at the Leadership Institute will help you in other areas of life?I've learned that you can apply almost any skill regarding grassroots organizing to anything you do. Recruitment and being a people person are valuable skills for any job or position in life. Problem-solving is useful. When students consult with me about an issue in their club or with the school administration, my mind is trained to think outside the box to find solutions to a multitude of problems. Public speaking is also very useful, and while I've had tons of public speaking experience throughout my life, I can never practice too much.So, absolutely. I've gained many invaluable skills. Are you a college student in California or Hawaii? Contact Madison for help. You can find more information about getting help on your campus at LeadershipInstitute.org/Campus.
Campus Leader turned Campus Resource, Michigander Monika Konrad shows college students how to make their mark
Alyssa Jones
November 15, 2021
Campus Leader turned Campus Resource, Michigander Monika Konrad shows college students how to make their mark
Meet Michigander Monika Konrad. She thrifts, campaigns, prays, and shows college students how to make their mark. Monika is a Leadership Institute (LI) Regional Field Coordinator who helps college students in Michigan and Wisconsin. Monika is from Chesterfield, Michigan and earned degrees in political science and international relations from the University of Michigan upon her graduation in 2019.Monika believes in saying yes to opportunity. She teaches Leadership Institute students how to find those opportunities throughout the conservative movement. In her answers, Monika shows that she cares about building up the next generation of young conservatives. What first drew your interest to the conservative movement? I was fairly apolitical throughout high school. The summer of 2016, after my first year of college, I was offered the opportunity to intern on a congressional campaign in my home district for a conservative state senator. Throughout that summer, I was exposed to conservative ideas and discussion that resonated with me. I realized that my beliefs and values aligned best with the conservative movement. After that, I invested my time in conservative groups on campus and in the community. I went on to intern for various conservative leaders, organizations, and campaigns, and then worked full-time in the movement following graduation.What is your favorite event that you have helped students put together, and why? My favorite event so far has been working with Turning Point USA at Lake Superior State University to host the Michigan Abolitionist Project for a speaker event on preventing human trafficking. Through this event, I think that more students have also developed a heart to bring awareness of this issue to their campus. Students are eager to learn how they can make a positive impact on their community and what they can do to make a difference on their campus. How has the Leadership Institute impacted your life? Over the years, the Leadership Institute has been an integral part of my conservative career. In college, my LI Regional Field Coordinator (RFC) guided me through the process to start a chapter of Network of Enlightened Women, which helped me make my mark on my campus. During my time as field staff for one of our partner organizations, the LI staff members I collaborated with were always so kind and helpful. After my time managing a political campaign, I was looking to move to the Washington, D.C. area. A job offer from the Leadership Institute allowed me to follow my dreams of moving to D.C. The people I have met since working for LI have become lifelong friends. I have been able to network with D.C. locals that I would not have met had I not come to work at the Leadership Institute.Outside of work, what are some things that you enjoy?I love adventuring around the DC area, thrifting, attending DC networking and educational events, spending time outdoors, and traveling. One of the best parts about being a Regional Field Coordinator (RFC) is that there is a lot of opportunity to travel around the country, whether for one of our Student Activism Conferences or to work a table at a partner organization's conference.What is your advice to students who hope for a career in DC or the conservative movement?Apply for the job, network, and get involved. I interned in DC in 2017, graduated in 2019, and moved to DC in 2021. I interned in DC in 2017 and it was the best decision I could have made. Due to COVID, my initial move to DC was slightly delayed, but when I finally moved, I had a feeling of relief and realization that this is where I was meant to be. I had been praying and praying for an opportunity to move to DC during uncertain times, and LI was the biggest blessing.My advice is simple. Pray about it. If you feel called to make the move, take the risk. The conservative movement has so many different opportunities and there are numerous pathways you can take to be successful in whatever field you want to pursue. If you need an internship, apply for the program at the Leadership Institute!Are you a college student in Michigan or Wisconsin? Contact Monica for help. You can find more information about getting an internship or job at the Leadership Institute at LeadershipInstitute.org/Jobs.
Avid Fisherman and North Carolinian, Ryan Glennon Helps College Students Make a Difference
Alyssa Jones
November 8, 2021
Avid Fisherman and North Carolinian, Ryan Glennon Helps College Students Make a Difference
Meet Ryan Glennon, Leadership Institute (LI) Regional Field Coordinator. Ryan helps college students in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Ryan is from North Carolina and holds two Bachelor's degrees and a Master's degree from North Carolina State University. Ryan first got involved with the Leadership Institute when he attended an LI Youth Leadership School. Ryan felt empowered by LI's training and began his career at the Leadership Institute as a Summer 2020 intern. Upon the completion of his internship, Ryan was hired to be an LI Regional Field Coordinator. I recently interviewed Ryan to discuss favorite aspects of his career and learn about how the Leadership Institute continues to build the conservative movement on college campuses across the nation. In his answers, Ryan shows that he truly enjoys his career and genuinely cares about the success of his students and their campus movements.Outside of the Leadership Institute, what are some things you enjoy?I have loved to fish since I was a little kid. It was something that my Dad and I have always enjoyed together, and it is still something that brings me immense joy. I fished tournaments with the bass fishing team in college. It's a very challenging sport that teaches you adversity and patience, but it can also be a relaxing activity with friends and family.How does your job fulfil you?The biggest thing is just seeing the groups I have helped make a difference.Starting groups has given a lot of people a sense of direction in college along with community and friendship. That is so important, and it goes beyond politics.What is your favorite event that you have helped students put together, and why?The Cabot Philips speech at Liberty University (October 2021) and the Andres Guilarte speech at Virginia Tech (February 2021) were both pretty great. Both events attracted more than 100 attendees and were the two of the best speeches I have ever heard. There was a lot of enthusiasm. It generated a lot of support for what groups were doing on campus. Students gained confidence in what they were doing and their abilities, and it created a lot more conversation on campus.There is nothing like a solid speaker event to really drive up the enthusiasm, get people involved, and stay involved. These events create excitement.As a Regional Field Coordinator, you work with students daily who are where you were just a few years ago. How do you use your position to inspire them as young conservatives? I try to figure out what they want to accomplish. From that moment forward, I come up with a plan to help them start and build a club. I help them realize I am there to be a resource. I am invested in their efforts and success.I am there to help and guide them, give them advice and opportunities, and motivate them.I've seen a lot of people just appreciate the fact that someone came along and helped. When I was a chapter leader, any kind of help I got was exciting. It goes a long way when I say “Hey, I'm Ryan. I'm here to help your club. What can I do?”How did the Leadership Institute change your life?Nothing helped me more than attending a Leadership Institute training and learning how to be effective. It has helped me in my job and has helped me guide and instruct others to make a huge impact on campuses.Training yourself and investing in your own knowledge and competence leads directly to helping others and improving their effectiveness.That's the beauty of LI trainings. You take what you know and spread it to others, who spread it to other leaders, and the process continues. It creates a well-trained movement.Do you think that what you have learned at the Leadership Institute will help you in other areas of life?Absolutely. Working at the Leadership Institute and being able to network and communicate with dozens of student leaders, guide events, and speak at trainings personally has helped me build my confidence as a leader, mentor, trainer, and public speaker.This job has helped me learn to work independently to achieve my goals and see work pay off. It has helped me build meaningful relationships.Are you a college student in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, or Delaware? Contact Ryan for help. You can find more information about getting a job at the Leadership Institute at LeadershipInstitute.org/Jobs.
Campus Reform’s Correspondent Director, Kate Hirzel is Leadership Institute’s Employee of the Quarter
Carol Wehe Cocks
October 28, 2021
Campus Reform’s Correspondent Director, Kate Hirzel is Leadership Institute’s Employee of the Quarter
On October 26, 2021, Morton Blackwell announced Kate Hirzel as Leadership Institute's Employee of the Quarter.Speaking to a room full of Leadership Institute (LI) staff in LI's Stephen P.J. Wood Building in Arlington, VA, Morton said:“Since joining LI in March 2021, Kate has grown the Campus Reform Correspondent Program from fewer than 50 to 159 correspondents, representing 37 states plus D.C. and 114 colleges and universities.“Not only has Kate set a record for the number of correspondents, but she has also improved the quality of experience for correspondents, facilitating quality training and networking opportunities with notable Campus Reform alumni.“Thank you, Kate, and congratulations.”Join Morton and the rest of Leadership Institute staff congratulating Kate on a job well done.If you're interested in working with Kate to become a Campus Correspondent for Leadership Institute's Campus Reform, you can apply here. The Leadership Institute's Campus Reform Campus Correspondent Program recruits, cultivates, and pays conservative student journalists all across the country to investigate and report liberal abuses and bias on college campuses throughout their state.These student contributors, working as investigative reporters, will work hand-in-hand with Campus Reform's team of professional journalists to develop their writing and reporting skills, build a professional network, and get published in national media outlets.
Mark Levin’s new book American Marxism
Morton C Blackwell
October 15, 2021
Mark Levin’s new book American Marxism
Here's a book you simply cannot miss. I read it very carefully. It's so powerful I encourage all my friends and fellow conservatives to read it as well. The book is the latest from my dear friend Mark Levin, the constitutional champion and radio personality. It's called American Marxism. And it couldn't be more timely.For many decades, Marxist tacticians and strategists have waged war against the timeless principles of America's founding. The lawlessness, censorship, and agitation you and I witnessed in recent years result from this decades-long plan to undermine all the good our country represents.In his new book, Mark exposes the Marxist roots of today's leftist activism. He details and denounces the academic, cultural, and political voices pushing our nation down this dangerous road.As Mark puts it: “The counter-revolution to the American Revolution is in full force. And it can no longer be dismissed or ignored for it is devouring our society and culture, swirling around our everyday lives, and ubiquitous in our politics, schools, media, and entertainment.” I strongly urge you to get your hands on Mark's new book today. It'll give you a solid foundation to explain to your friends, family, and loved ones how America got off the rails. And you'll see how you can fight back to help save our country.You can order a copy of American Marxism at the link below:https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/American-Marxism/Mark-R-Levin/9781501135972Thank you for standing for conservative principles and for our great nation.Morton Blackwell is founder and president of the Leadership Institute. Since 1979, the Leadership Institute has trained more than 239,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders on the skills and techniques of politics. Learn how to win for conservative principles at one of the many Leadership Institute trainings coming up. You can find those trainings listed at LeadershipInstitute.org/Training.
Leadership Institute Grad, Intern, University of Oklahoma Senior – Published in National Review
By Morton C. Blackwell
July 27, 2021
Leadership Institute Grad, Intern, University of Oklahoma Senior – Published in National Review
Your Leadership Institute's summer interns still have one month left in their program, but many of them already put their training to use.One intern, Kiara Kincaid, used her experience in LI's Political and Fundraising Training department to write an article for National Review's website.Kiara is a senior at the University of Oklahoma. In her piece, she exposes the censorship tactics used by leftist professors on her campus. As Kiara explains, many of the faculty at the university undergo training on how to shut down speech they disagree with in the classroom.Kiara's piece reveals that even at relatively conservative universities like hers, liberal bias undermines students' freedom of speech.You can read Kiara's National Review article here: https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/07/classroom-censorship-comes-to-the-university-of-oklahoma/Young conservatives like Kiara give me great hope for the future.Thanks to Leadership Institute donors' generous support, Kiara was able to expose leftist bias for a national audience and inspire other young conservatives to stand up for their principles.The Leadership Institute's donors truly invest in the next generation of conservative leaders and make a tremendous difference for America.
I had to talk to him
Morton C Blackwell
March 31, 2021
I had to talk to him
It's not often that a young person impresses me so much that I have to pick up the phone and call: but I had to talk to Ben Zeisloft.Ben studies Finance and Marketing at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. He's also my Leadership Institute's top Campus Correspondent -- among the 134 student journalists who expose liberal bias and abuse on college campuses.Ben is amazingly productive. Since he started writing for LI's Campus Reform website almost one year ago, he has published more than 300 articles on CRO!Ben's work so impressed me that I called to let him know how grateful I am for his dedication and powerful productivity.Ben was surprised to hear from me, as you might imagine. But he happily shared how writing for LI's Campus Reform benefits him. Campus Correspondents earn a modest sum for each article they publish. Would you believe Ben has earned so much by exposing liberal abuses that he's putting himself through college? Please check out some of Ben's articles on CampusReform.org. I think you'll be just as impressed as I was.In his most recent report, Ben exposed Cornell University for considering partnering with a Chinese university to offer a dual degree program. Even worse, Cornell officials claim this “partnership” would have no influence on academic freedom! Sure.You can read how Ben exposed the Cornell/China connection here: https://www.campusreform.org/article?id=17026.If like me you can't get enough of Ben's reporting, you can access the rest of his 300-and-counting articles here. Thanks to the generous support of LI donors, students like Ben share thousands of shocking stories with a national audience. They report what's really happening on college campuses. By exposing the truth, you and I score clear victories for freedom. Last year alone, Campus Reform reporting led to 36 victories over leftist bias and abuse. That's harmful policies changed, abusive professors and administrators punished or fired, and free speech upheld. As you can see, students like Ben drive real change on campus, thanks to the generous support of Leadership Institute's donors.
LI Trained 230,788 Graduates Since 1979
Karla Bruno
January 12, 2021
LI Trained 230,788 Graduates Since 1979
Did you know the Leadership Institute (LI) offers 47 different conservative training programs? And did you know that LI training continued strong in 2020? In 2020, LI helped prepare 14,874 trainees – students, activists, and leaders – to win for their conservative principles. LI provided an average of 41.9 hours of live training every week.LI training gives committed conservatives the tools they can use to be successful in campaigns, the media, and public policy. Nothing about 2020 was easy, but thanks to LI's experience, skills, and donor support, LI pivoted smoothly into increased online training while continuing in-person training where possible. LI's training falls into two major divisions: Campus Programs and Political Training. Campus Programs is by far LI's largest program, with Campus Reform (CRO) its most visible component.Conservative students often face intimidation and hostility in an arena once prized for open debate, intellectual curiosity, and balanced discourse.The Leadership Institute helps conservative students fight back against liberal abuse and bias on campus, training them with proven techniques. The Campus Leadership Program (CLP) organizes conservative students and trains them to restore balance on American campuses, making them once again places for freedom of thought and diversity of opinion.Campus Reform (CRO) uses a news platform and a national network of conservative investigative student reporters to expose flagrant examples of liberal abuse and bias on college campuses. You may have seen LI's Campus Reform reporters, who appear often on Fox News.In 2020, Campus Reform published 1,957 stories, earned 6,106 republications in other media and 461 national and local TV hits – and 36 victories. A victory is defined as any policy change, apology, or administrative/faculty firing resulting from Campus Reform coverage.Campus Reform's website attracted 11.8 million pageviews; Campus Reform's YouTube channel attracted 34.2 million views.LI's National Field Program trains student leaders to organize conservative student groups and teaches them how to combat liberal bias at America's universities.In 2020, LI's field program now includes 2,001 active student groups, with 287 new groups added, and 29,837 conservative students newly identified. Students held 2,648 on-campus events and 1,219 online events.Youth Leadership Training recruits promising conservative students and teaches them proven techniques to organize and lead conservative youth organizations and activities for candidates and causes of their choice. In 2020, LI's Youth Leadership Workshop (a 3-hour session) trained 1,042 students. LI's Youth Leadership School (YLS – 29 hours of intensive training) trained 428 select student leaders, with 71 YLS graduates going on to work on conservative campaigns – that includes 16 Youth Coordinators.LI's Normandy Coalition helps students fight for free speech on college campuses. LI leads the Coalition of 30 groups which includes 5 pro-bono legal defense organizations, 15 national conservative youth organizations, and 10 conservative non-profit organizations.Since its creation in 2017, the Coalition has held 9,384 campus speaker events using 4,197 conservative speakers on 681 campuses.Forty-seven anti-free speech protestors have been arrested. Damages from 34 lawsuits filed in protection of free speech total $816,800, with 52 free speech victories on record. LI's Political Training encompasses all programs not included in the Campus Program: Activism, Campaign, Communications, Career, Fundraising, and Digital. All combined, these trainings produced 6,428 of LI's total graduates in 2020.Notable LI graduates include Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02), Jim Jordan (R-OH-4), Kat Commack (R-FL-3), Katherine Timpf (Fox News), Amanda Carpenter (CNN), and Tom Fitton (Judicial Watch).If you are motivated in 2021 to use your talents for conservative activism either on campus or in your community, visit LI's website for the complete list of 2021 trainings available. They are low-cost or no-cost to you, thanks to Leadership Institute donors. Go to LeadershipInstitute.org/Training and sign up now to be successful in 2021 and for years to come.If you are interested in seeing more Leadership Institute 2020 accomplishments, click here.
Six Reasons to Recruit Young People Now
Lee Jackson
December 21, 2020
Six Reasons to Recruit Young People Now
One of the biggest misconceptions about campaigns is how much work and preparation it takes to be successful.My all-time favorite alliteration is prior planning prevents poor performance. As my Algebra 1 teacher used to say, “People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan, Mr. Jackson.” This was true for those of us who struggled with Mr. Quimby's class, and it is even more true for political candidates.As the country recaps and tries to understand the breakdown of the 2020 election, now is the time for you to start thinking about your 2022 campaign. As you build your campaign plan and chart your road map to success, do not overlook what young people can do for your campaign. They can propel you to victory.Below, you'll find six reasons why you should make young people a pillar of your campaign.1. Provide VolunteersIf you spent any time looking into running for office, you might have been overwhelmed at all the things a campaign has to do to be successful. From scheduling to knocking doors, organizing events, building and placing yard signs, and more. It does not matter if you are running for dog catcher or President of the United States, there are only 24 hours in the day. You will need a dedicated team of volunteers to make sure you win.After spending more than one million dollars, the last candidate I worked for won by fewer than 500 votes. Our campaign had more than 70 active young volunteers. My candidate would not have won without their help.2. Provide VotesThere is a common misconception that young people do not vote. If 2020 taught us anything, it's that young people are voting more than ever before.According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), 55% of eligible voters between the ages of 18-29 voted in 2020. Young voters are also growing as a voting bloc and make up a larger share of the electorate in years past. In the November 3rd election, young voters counted for 21% of the entire vote in Georgia.It's hard to win an election if you ignore one out of every five voters.3. Create a Youthful ImageHaving young people around you will also create a youthful image and, let us be honest -- youth sells.If you were to turn on the TV right now, you would find commercials full of young people. Even commercials targeted to senior citizens have actors that are a little too young for the roles they are playing.Candidates who surround themselves with young people look like they have a large range of support, more energy, and are more likely to win.4. Create a Win PsychologyThere is a lot of insider baseball in campaigns. One of the most complex elements in our game of 3D chess is to show that you are beating the other side on the campaign trail. You can do this with endorsements and fundraising numbers, but the easiest way to get it done is to surround the candidate with enthusiastic young people. More young people walking with the candidate in parades, more young people in photos of social media.Young people help you show that you have a diverse group of supporters who will carry you to victory.People like to be on the winning side. Sports teams have the greatest number of fans when they are having a strong season. Those fans come out and support the team, attend the game, and buy merchandise.Having young people on your team presents you as a winner. If people expect you to win your campaign, more people will donate, and more volunteers will show up to knock doors next Saturday.5. Train LeadersIt is frustrating to see, but the truth is fewer people are involved with their community than generations ago. Instead of spending the evening at a Knight's of Columbus or Rotary meeting, most people just decide to head home.Regardless of your political ideology, everyone can agree that more people should be involved in giving back to their communities and taking a leadership role.A great way to give a local young person leadership training and get them more involved in your community is to enlist them in your campaign now. A young person on a campaign will learn important skills like public speaking and how to lead and organize a team.Early involvement in your team will provide crucial leadership opportunities for the next generation. These opportunities will lead to more community leaders, to better neighborhoods, and maybe even to a candidate of the future.6. Make Good CitizensThe bedrock of our republic is individual participation. From a very young age, people are taught to make their voices heard and be involved. A great example of this is when children disagree on a game's rules on the playground. Instead of running to a teacher, most groups of students will say, “majority rules” and ask their peers to vote on the final rule verdict of a rule or what just happened. There is no instant replay in four square, but the third graders watching will vote and make their voices heard.Some young people who volunteer on your campaign will end up voting for the very first time. If they enjoy their time on the campaign, they will continue to vote every election down the road. And more active local participation in the political process is good for society.Those may be the top six reasons, but there are countless reasons why you should make young people a pillar of your campaign.When planning, you spend a lot of time on data, fundraising, and endorsements. All these things are important, but do not overlook your local college campus or high school. If you find the right students, they will be worth their weight in gold and do much more for your campaign than 90% of the formal endorsements your campaign announces.If you find young people in your area who are willing to help you, send them to one of the Leadership Institute's Youth Leadership Schools, and our staff will teach them how to organize and get as many votes for you as possible. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at LJackson@LeadershipInstitue.org.
Do Antifa’s Bad Ideas Make Them Bad People?
Christopher O'Neil
November 22, 2020
Do Antifa’s Bad Ideas Make Them Bad People?
Have you tried and tried to be the voice of reason and others sometimes just don't get it?Did you know that when you disagree with someone, parts of your brain literally shut off? Your pMFC (posterior medial frontal cortex) tells you about others' convictions, passions, and confidence and it just stops working. This means you dehumanize people close to you like friends, peers, and even family over pointless disagreements.Explains quite a bit, doesn't it? Well, no need to accept it, because as long as you have GRIT, you'll be the real voice of reason in every pointless division and actually bring people together. Even better, people will actually listen to you. How would you like to be the one who finally helps your dad and your aunt realize they agree on more than they disagree at the next family gathering? If you would like that, Lead Your Future Episode 9 is definitely worth your time. You'll even get to hear an ex-Antifa member share his experiences and how he began to think differently. Let's take a look at how science and history teach us how to have GRIT.Grace - “Be ready to be wrong”Socrates teaches us that we can only be certain of our own mistakenness. Treat conversations like a dance instead of a war to be won. If either of you is focused on winning, you'll both lose. Be ready to be wrong, forgive yourself, and people will find that you're right far more than they would otherwise. Respect - “Apply the golden rule”Social Psychology tells us that listening is a universal form of respect and that if you listen well, people will listen to you. Always remember that if you express genuine respect for the other person and their perspective, they are far more likely to listen to you. Make sure you understand their viewpoint and can make a case for it in a way that they would agree.Identity - “Separate idea from identity”Your opinions aren't who you are. Without knowing this, we severely limit our ability to learn and to avoid some pretty meaningless fights. To learn the truth, we have to listen, understand, and empathize. Charles Munger, partner to Warren Buffett said, “I never allow myself to hold an opinion on anything that I don't know the other side's argument better than they do.” Ties - “Find common ground”The ultimate goal is to reach what psychologists refer to as “shared identity,” where you and your conversational partner are seeking truth together. As long as you work your way here with grace and respect, all while recognizing that your ideas don't define you, you should hear a lot less yelling the next time the family comes together for a barbecue and someone mentions “The Donald.” We all know how that normally turns out…Learn more about GRIT in Lead Your Future's Episode 9, where ex-Antifa member Gabriel Nadales explains his experience as a radical. Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: Youtube, Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Facebook, and Twitter.
Write an Op-Ed, Get Published, and Land on the News
Christopher O'Neil
November 18, 2020
Write an Op-Ed, Get Published, and Land on the News
Are some things obvious to you that others don't seem to understand? Do you often believe that if only you can get your thoughts out there, people might change their minds? Sometimes it doesn't take a Sherlock Holmes to crack the case, but maybe you're just the one for the job. Let's answer the riddle of how you can shape your thoughts so people can't keep their hands off them. An Op-Ed, shorthand for Opposite the Editorial, is an opinion piece. Episode 8 of the Lead Your Future Podcast will give you the invaluable insights from Beverly Hallberg, Director of District Media Group, on how to maximize your exposure. In order to successfully write an Op-Ed, you should know its anatomy. After we dissect topic, contents, and follow-through, you'll find all the puzzle pieces you need to take your ideas public. Topic Before you dive in, you need a worthy topic. It's easy to find something worth writing about, but finding one worth reading can be much more of a challenge. A good topic for an Op-Ed is one that is: 1. Timely: It fits the news and is relevant enough right now that a wide audience would seek it out. 2. Meaningful: Choose a topic that you care about. People will feel your passion (or lack thereof) through your writing. 3. Well-founded: We all have opinions, but they won't mean much if you can't support them. Choose a topic you can lend credibility to in your work. You'll be thankful you did. With these three boxes checked, you're ready to ask the question: how do I actually start writing? Contents An Op-Ed is a gateway to bigger and better work. This is where you can show off your writing abilities and show your reader you mean business. Harvard's Communications and Government Department has a structure you can follow to tackle your next case: 1. The perp: Reel the audience in with a good hook, give them a basic run down of your topic, and establish your goals and overall point. 2. The hole: Explain the central issue. 3. The patch: Break down your solution, how it works, and why. 4. The competition: What do other people say who disagree with you? 5. The call to arms: Remind me why you're writing and drive it home so that the reader won't soon forget! With these five elements, you'll lead the reader right where you want them. Follow-through Great! You're done writing, but you've only just begun! An Op-Ed is a gateway to bigger and better work so it's time to aim higher. The next step is to follow the news closely so you catch every relevant idea you can. Be an avid reader and develop your point of view, network, and credibility. Don't forget upcoming and seasonal events like presidential debates, the 4th of July, and other “evergreen areas” that you can use as a framework. Build the habits of success. Most importantly: Don't get discouraged when you get rejected! Even the most successful writers and journalists in the world know what it's like to be shot down. But, as Sherlock Holmes always said, when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is undeniably within your grasp. Learn more about writing an Op-Ed in Episode 8 of the Lead Your Future Podcast. Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Facebook, Twitter
Your Post Election Resource Guide
Morton Blackwell
November 17, 2020
Your Post Election Resource Guide
Click here to download the full Post Election Resource Guide with open positions and training opportunities.Dear Fellow Conservative, Elections have consequences. While some elections present an exciting opportunity for new talent to staff the White House and Congress, other elections are a harsh reality for those who lose their jobs. Fortunately, either way the election goes, conservative organizations are hiring! In my Leadership Institute's Post Election Resource Guide, you will find a comprehensive overview of the opportunities available. Please use this guide to discover how you can apply your talents in a new role! Enclosed, you will find:Summaries of organizations and their open positions;points of contact to apply;upcoming trainings at the Leadership Institute; anda ConservativeJobs.com flyer. In case you are not familiar, let me tell you about ConservativeJobs.com -- it is the Leadership Institute's free, online solution that connects conservative job seekers with potential employers. You can create a detailed profile, browse job postings, and apply to new opportunities with a single click. If you have any questions, contact a member of my careers staff at resumes@leadershipinstitute.org. Good luck in your job search!Cordially,Morton C. BlackwellPresident, Leadership Institute
Virginia Allen: Podcast Co-host
Emma Siu
November 9, 2020
Virginia Allen: Podcast Co-host
15 minute readI got the chance to interview Podcast Co-host Virginia Allen. Here's her story. Virginia Allen is a news producer at The Daily Signal, The Heritage Foundation's multimedia news outlet. She writes on a range of topics and co-hosts The Daily Signal Podcast and Problematic Women. Virginia Allen earned a bachelor's degree in government from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After graduation, she moved to South Africa for a year to serve as a missionary volunteer, and worked with vulnerable children and youth. Upon her return to America, she moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue new opportunities. Before she joined The Daily Signal, Virginia worked as the administrative assistant in Heritage's communications department for nearly two years. 1. How did you become involved in the Problematic Women and Daily Signal News podcasts?I began my journey at The Heritage Foundation as an intern and then was blessed to get a job in Heritage's communications department in the spring of 2018. I remember observing my colleagues, as they hosted “The Daily Signal Podcast” and “Problematic Women,” and frankly I was quite intimidated! I secretly thought podcasting might be a medium I really would enjoy -- as someone who loves to connect with people and discuss important issues -- but I was nervous to leap into the unknown. One of these colleagues, who helped on “The Daily Signal Podcast” Monday edition, moved back to Texas a little over a year after I started at Heritage. My supervisor, Rob Bluey, asked me if I would be interested in stepping in to help on the show once a week, and I said I would! I still remember how nervous I was the first time I walked into the studio to record. It took months before I finally felt comfortable speaking into a mic, but I work with excellent people and they were so supportive. I helped with the podcast for a few months before Lauren Evans, co-host of “Problematic Women,” asked me if I would consider helping with the show while another colleague was out on maternity leave for a few months. “Maybe,” was my response to Lauren. “Problematic Women” is a high energy 45 to 60-minute show with a good mix of interviews, commentary, and straight news reporting. I was used to only doing interviews and one short news story a week so “Problematic Women” was going to be a big leap! But Lauren convinced me, and after only one episode I was all in. I loved reporting on issues I care deeply about and having the opportunity to be creative and craft a dynamic and fun show with a fellow staffer and friend. Then, about seven months ago, an opportunity opened up on Heritage's Daily Signal team to take on the role of both news producer and regular co-host of “The Daily Signal Podcast.” I was thrilled to take on this new role and again stretch my podcasting abilities. I am loving the opportunity to co-host two very different podcasts and continue to grow in this great field.2. What do you feel is the biggest difference between writing an article for print media and creating a podcasting segment?We all speak a little differently than we write, so even when making notes for a segment, I try to think about how I want to verbally communicate the information in a way that is relatable. Segments on “Problematic Women” tend to be a little more conversational than those in a written news story. Interviews for a written story versus a podcast are very different, both in regard to the content used and how the content is relayed. I may spend half an hour talking with someone for a written story, and then pull four or five quotes, or bits of information, depending on the nature of the piece. When doing a podcast interview, on the other hand, I guide the conversation, but the guest chooses what they will share.3. What does your decision process look like for finding someone to interview?I love personal stories, and so any time I hear about someone who has firsthand experience around a policy issue or a situation in the news, I am eager to have them on the show. I think a person's “lived experience” is powerful when we are considering how policies created in Washington, D.C. actually impact people. But I cannot take all, or even most, of the credit for finding great people to interview on either podcast. My colleagues often send me the names of people they think would be a good fit for “Problematic Women” or “The Daily Signal Podcast.”4. What are some strategies that you use to build a loyal audience?My co-hosts and I want our listeners to feel like they can always trust us to report the news honestly; and that they are a part of a larger community of people who love America. We are especially focused on building community on “Problematic Women” because the show was created as a platform for conservative women to have a voice. We recently started a weekly Twitter poll question on the show, which appears every Thursday morning on my Twitter page, @Virginia_Allen5. The poll provides a fun way for our listeners to engage with the show and share their thoughts with us.5. What has been the most difficult part for you when creating and hosting a podcast?I have learned a lot about my own voice and my own speaking idiosyncrasies as a podcaster. You quickly realize that you repeat certain words way too often or that you have a tendency to slur certain words. It has been challenging learning to pay close attention to how I sound, and critiquing myself, as I seek to communicate in the clearest way possible. I am very much still learning in this field!6. What would you say differentiates a professional podcast from a podcast that is just starting out?Podcasting is frankly quite new, so many podcasters have only been hosting shows for a year or two -- yet they may already have a very large audience. Often the difference between a new podcaster and an old pro can be heard in the level of confidence and voice control they exhibit. And of course, production quality really makes a big difference when it comes to podcasting. A skilled editor can truly make all the difference!7. What advice would you give to someone looking to start a podcast, especially with a saturated topic like politics?Find your niche! It is much easier to start a podcast when you know who your audience is -- moms with young kids, or basketball players, or nature enthusiasts. If you want to launch a more general podcast, then take time to think about what your “value add” is to that field. There are a lot of political podcasts out there. So, if you want to speak out on policy issues, maybe brand your show as a podcast that takes issues in Washington, D.C. and explains how they will impact people in your home state.8. Has creating a podcast changed the way you listen to podcasts?Yes. I am always listening to how podcasters ask questions of their guests, and how they discuss issues. Some podcasters are really good at making you feel like you are just sitting on the couch with them and a part of the conversation. That is something I aspire to, especially on “Problematic Women” because it is more conversational in nature.9. What are some of your favorite podcasts right now?I do enjoy listening to Joe Rogan's podcast because he is very talented at keeping interviews interesting and engaging for the listener. The stock market always has fascinated me, so I frequently listen to “Snacks Daily,” which is an entertaining business news podcast. I also really enjoy “Heritage Explains” because the episode are short, very informative, and the production quality is excellent.
5 Things You Should do Before Election Day
Lee Jackson
September 25, 2020
5 Things You Should do Before Election Day
Every year, young people around the country ask me what they can do to make a difference as the country inches closer to election day.As someone who has been responsible for volunteer recruitment and Election Day Operations, I am always going to point you to your closest campaign and tell you the best thing to do is to volunteer. Here is a list of five things you should do prior to election day (in addition to voter contact):1. Check Your Voter Registration Status After spending roughly one million dollars, I won my last election by less than 500 votes. Believe me when I tell you that every vote counts. This November, positions from School Board to President of the United States will be on the ballot. Do not miss out on exercising your right to vote because you forgot to register to vote or you are registered to vote at the wrong address. I have seen students turned away from the polling booth because they thought they were registered to vote at school, but they registered to vote at home. You can check your voter registration HERE. 2. Vote EarlyI'm not aware of a single state in America that does not give the option to vote early in one form or another. Although the terms and guidelines vary from one state to the next, you should have the option to vote early regardless of where you are currently located.You never know what's going to happen on election day. Vote now and get it out of the way. Additionally, there are likely a few races or referendum questions you did not expect to see on the ballot. Getting your ballot early will give you a few days to research this new-to-you-content and allow you to vote responsibly. You can find more information about how to vote early HERE. Side note: Don't let the lingo about voting early intimidate you or stop you from doing so. In Maine, we don't have early voting, but we do have in-person absentee voting. Which is a fancy way of saying you vote absentee, in-person, prior to Election Day -- aka early voting. Also, a lot of jurisdictions are allowing voters to drop of their completed ballot at some sort of drop-off box or track where their ballots are in the mail. Make sure you leave plenty of time for the postal service to return your ballot after you vote. Like I said, this is going to be the year of close elections. Every note needs to count. Double check to see if you need a stamp.3. Keep an Eye on Campus Administration Classes, meetings, and liberal bias: three things a conservative student is pretty much guaranteed to experience during any given semester. When it comes to liberal bias on college campuses, the best disinfectant is always sunlight. If you see something that doesn't pass the straight-face test, you can send an anonymous tip to Campus Reform HERE.4. Take an LI training As we get closer to Election Day, the Leadership Institute (LI) is laser focused on training as many conservative activists as possible, so you can play your part in the upcoming election. LI hosts safe, in-person and online trainings. Many of these trainings are available to you at no cost thanks to the generous donors of the Leadership Institute. You can find LI's upcoming list of trainings HERE. Additionally, the campus leadership team has created three-hour trainings for club leaders and members. These Youth Leadership Workshops (YLWs) are flexible and range from Media and PR to how to recruit on campus. If you would like to organize one of these trainings for your group, you can email me at LJackson@LeadershipInstitute.org.5. Volunteer (Get Paid) to be a Poll Worker on Election DayHave you ever thoughts about what it takes to run an election? Not a campaign, but the administration part of an election? One of the crucial pieces of running an election is poll workers, who help check-in voters, answer clerical questions, and do tasks throughout the day. Due to coronavirus, election administrators are struggling to find people to work the polls. Not only do poll workers protect the integrity of elections, they can also get paid more than $100 for a days-worth of work. You can find out more information in this video by Campus Reform's Editor in Chief, Cabot Phillips. Decide now. What will you do to make a difference for your conservative principles as the country inches closer to election day?
Lead Your Future: College Students Shape a Brighter Tomorrow
Tiffany Roberts
September 12, 2020
Lead Your Future: College Students Shape a Brighter Tomorrow
Do you want to make a difference, but you don't think your vote is enough? According to the NY Times, less than 50% of Americans think their vote will make a difference. Not only are they wrong, but there's far more than just voting that you can do to make a change.The mark you can make is far bigger than you likely realize. Youth and grassroots campaigns are absolutely vital in politics. According to Forbes, college age voters dramatically swayed the 2018 elections with double the turnout of 2014. If you're in college, it's prime time to get involved.Around 20 million students attend college in the US every semester. That's 15% of the voting age population at your fingertips. Less than one fifth of college students vote in congressional elections. If you want your candidate elected, you can easily have a hand in making that happen. In Episode 7 of the Lead Your Future Podcast, you will learn about all the information you'll share and gain, the impact you can have, and how you can start getting involved right now!1. Help Educate Your PeersThe vast majority of people on college campuses don't know who their representative is, let alone what they're doing. When students learn how policy affects them, they head to the polls in much higher numbers. When you help other students learn, you can easily become an expert on the relevant policy issues. Most college students tend to have very internally conflicting beliefs. Youth campaigns give you an opportunity to help countless students educate themselves.2. You Can Impact Elections and PolicyBelieve it or not, you can be an integral part in turning the tides of elections. The hours you volunteer may be easy for you now, due to class schedules; but they are invaluable to any campaign. You may be saving a campaign thousands of dollars just by volunteering some of your time. Moreover, your impact is long-term. Statistically speaking, when you start voting a certain way at 18, you're likely to vote the same way for the rest of your life. When you campaign as a college student now, you help nurture fellow students into lifelong supporters of causes you believe in.3. Learn How to Get InvolvedThe first step is to attend “the bootcamp of politics,” the Youth Leadership School. This will teach you everything you need to know about the ground game of youth campaigns. The next step is to seek out organizations like the Conservative Leadership PAC and help lead the future of grassroots movements.Joining a youth campaign is not only a rewarding way to beef up your resume, but it's an invaluable opportunity to help shape a brighter tomorrow. Listen to Episode 7 of the Lead Your Future Podcast to hear more from a youth campaign leader and veteran. Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Facebook, Twitter
Epidemic of the Modern Workplace: Burnout I Lead Your Future Episode 6
Christopher O'Neil
August 14, 2020
Epidemic of the Modern Workplace: Burnout I Lead Your Future Episode 6
You're floating in the clouds, your childhood friend you haven't seen in ten years flying next to you until a blaring siren strikes you from the sky like Icarus. You half open your eyes and face the grueling task of deciding whether or not to hit snooze. You may resist it and sun's ruthless, unforgiving rays with every ounce of your being, but you must arise. The world is counting on you!If you've ever lived through that saga, you're probably familiar with workplace stress. It's imposing, formidable older brother is something you may have also contended with: burnout. You may have had a good laugh like I did at the dramatic story above, but burnout is no joke.Symptoms include demotivation and detachment from work, ineffectiveness, feeling a lack of accomplishment, emptiness, self-doubt, self-isolation, a neglect of personal needs, and even a desire to drop out of society completely. It can even lead to depression, memory loss, sleep problems, alcohol abuse, weakened immune systems and poor job performance.Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, unchecked buildup of stress across long periods of time and it has been called the epidemic of the modern workplace. The line between stress and burnout can often be hard to draw, but they are two very different things. Dr. Cregg Dyke explains how it's difficult to pinpoint where stress becomes burnout, but stress always comes first. Sometimes, burnout can be harsh enough that you won't even recognize who you used to be beforehand. This can all seem rather overwhelming, but you're not helpless to stop it. Don't be discouraged, and don't think for one second that you're alone.There are three steps you can take to stand your ground.1. Get Help!Work with your employer to change your circumstances. Organizational psychologist Adam Grant says “burnout is not in your head, it's in your circumstances.” That means you must take charge of your surrounding stress points. Your organization plays a large role in your circumstances, so it's their duty to take part in the solution.There are three ways you can work with your employer to change your circumstances. The first is to reduce the demands of the job. There's no shame in recognizing that you've been given more than you can handle. No one can carry the weight of the world. The second is for the organization to give you more control to manage the load you carry. Finally, an organization can provide plenty of resources for support and help in the form of counseling and other methods to help you cope. 2. Find Purpose!We, as people, are meaning seekers. Without it, life can look pretty bleak; and whether we recognize it or not, we need meaning in our lives. Author, philanthropist, and entrepreneur Bob Bufford referred to “smoldering discontent” as something many workers contend with when they build their lives of success for decades, and then realize their lives have no deep significance to them. Psychologist Adam Grant says the strongest buffer against burnout is a sense of daily progress. Take small steps forward every day. While they don't have to be large, be sure to keep them consistent.3. Track, track, track!The best way to stay on track is by keeping track. Make a list of everything that makes you feel anxious, stressed, and worried. For each item, write at least one way to modify or mitigate the stress you face. Find a routine that addresses behaviors that contribute to your stress and meet it with solutions at every change you get!To learn more about how you can help yourself and others take arms against the ferocity of burnout, be sure to listen to the Lead Your Future Podcast Episode 6, called Epidemic of the Modern Workplace: Burnout. In the second half of this episode, Patti Rausch, the Director of Career Programs at the Leadership Institute shares her own story with burnout. She took a leave of absence to work on a campaign where the weight of a family member's death placed an immense weight on her shoulders, and she came face to face with the foreboding force of burnout. The only way she was able to conquer it was by working with her supervisor, recognizing the burnout was only temporary, and facing it head on together. In order to fight burnout, remember that you are not helpless! You can stop it! Be sure to know your needs, know your circumstances, and develop effective coping mechanisms that work for you. You can get out of bed in the morning with an energy you don't think you have, don't let depression win, and listen to Episode 6 of the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: YouTube, Acast, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Facebook, Twitter.
3 Steps to Effectively Juggle Work and School
Spencer Evans
June 12, 2020
3 Steps to Effectively Juggle Work and School
Hearts pounding, anxiety going through the roof; the whole room went quiet as the final results came in. I was six months into the Louisiana Gubernatorial Election, and we were going into a highly contested primary. I had spent countless hours at the office and in the field doing everything I could to win this election for my candidate. All the while, I was taking 18 hours of college classes. I had my fair share of challenges along the way to manage my time and balance both a rigorous workload and the demands of college classes. Let me share with you the three steps I used to successfully balance both a 3.9 GPA and win a primary election.1. Be a Master of Your TimeTo be a master of your time doesn't mean you have a crazy calendar and have everything preplanned and written down. It just means you effectively use the time you have to your advantage. In the middle of work and school, you have a lot of things flying at you at once -- like assignments, due dates, and personal life. It can seem very hectic at times, but don't panic. Instead, prioritize what you must get done first, then go from there. Often, people get overwhelmed with how much they have to do. Instead, you can focus on what needs to be done and do it effectively. The best thing I did was set a timer for myself. This did two things for me. It allowed me to dedicate a certain period of time to one particular project, then once the time was up, switch to the next item. It also pushed me to get the most work done in that time. I created a competition for myself. 2. Turn Off Your PhoneThis one should seem self-explanatory, but it needs to be said. I don't know how many times at work or during a school assignment I would take a “break” on my phone and it turn into a 30-minute Twitter scroll. Nothing is more distracting than seeing a notification, and not being able to answer it.Instead, just turn off your phone. I would say, “I'm not turning it back on ‘till I am done with this work project or school assignment.” You will be surprised how much time you will save and how much more work you will get done.3. Communicate with your boss and professors Probably the most used relationship advice phrase ever is, “communication is key.” This couldn't be any closer to the truth. Having a good relationship with your boss and professors is very important. You need to communicate with your boss often in order to establish that connection with them. A great way to establish that connection, is to prioritize their time. I'll give you an example. Let's say you have a school assignment due next week and you know it'll take a good chunk of your time to complete. Instead of telling your boss the week of, tell him, “Boss, I have a big school project coming up and it's going to take a lot of time. Is there anything I can do for you early, so I can have more time later in the week?” They love this, because it shows you care about their time and getting your work done. Likewise, the same goes for professors. They will appreciate you communicating with them, and you'll be surprised on how many professors will give you the homework early or give you an extended due date. Final Thoughts…Managing both a job and school is very tough; it is not for the faint hearted. You'll have to make many sacrifices to effectively get everything done. You have actively taken the first step in balancing your job and education. If you incorporate these small steps into your daily life, you will be well on your way to success.
Dealing with Stress in the Workplace | Lead Your Future Episode 5
Chris O'Neil
June 11, 2020
Dealing with Stress in the Workplace | Lead Your Future Episode 5
Do you ever struggle to stay focused? Does your to-do list ever look overwhelming? If so, you're far from alone. According to the American Psychological Association in 2017, more than 60% of Americans cite work as the highest source of stress in their lives.Stress can be a serious barrier to your progress in the workplace and life in general. Your health suffers, your productivity slips, and your happiness falls with everything else. Job stress is a set of harmful physical and psychological responses that can occur when the requirements of the job do not match your capabilities, resources, or needs. While it can manifest in many ways, the most common you'll recognize are inability to stay focused, inability to meet expectations, and money. It can often feel like a constant battle.But don't be discouraged! Your stress is not going to win. The Leadership Institute's Lead Your Future podcast addresses your stress in Episode 5.Here, you'll find three steps to reduce your stress.1. The Nose MethodDon't look further into the future than the end of your nose. Thinking about the future compounds stress, even if it's only 5 minutes in the future. “Taking the burden of the future and dumping it on today, makes today unnecessarily heavier.” “The future of our nation” is cited as the most common stressor in America today, according to the American Psychological Association.2. Replace ExpectationsOften, you and I can treat valuable ideals like being confident, relaxed, respected, or reciprocated as expectations. In cognitive behavioral therapy, they call this “shoulds” and “musts”. This phenomenon can be a serious source of stress, and when we expect them, we are not being fair to others or ourselves. Not only will you be happier, but also more likely to achieve them when you treat ideals in a much healthier way.3. AwarenessCognitive Clinician, Alicia Anderson, explains how being aware of your stressors is one of the most vital steps in solving them. There is even healthy, beneficial stress called eustress. Increasing your own self-awareness can help you make the most of it. The more self-aware you are, the more this enables you to get help when you really need it. Stress is corrosive. It damages your relationships, physical health, and even compromises your immune system and cognitive functions. Don't be discouraged though! With the right methods, you can overcome it.Listen to Episode 5 of the Lead Your Future Podcast to hear more about these tips from a cognitive behavioral expert. Click here to listen and follow the Lead Your Future Podcast on your favorite platform: Youtube, Acast, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Facebook, and Twitter.
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