Ready to Run: To prepare women for leadership


Photo: Megan Wolff/Iowa State Daily

A celebration in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics was Sept. 23 at the Plaza of Heroines in front of Catt Hall.

The Carrie Chapman Catt Center is calling all women looking to get into political leadership positions and learn more about the campaign process.

The center is hosting a Ready to Run event series. The three day workshop is catered to women who would like to learn the process of elections and meet people to advise and inspire them to run their own campaigns.

The event will offer advice for a broad range of positions from student senate and local elections to campaigning for the House of Representatives according to the center’s website.

“We find that women just don’t envision themselves in those roles and that they need more encouragement and more demystification […] it is a pattern,” said Karen Kedrowski, director of the Catt Center.

Kedrowski said she believes there is an ambition gap between genders in politics that should be nonexistent. Through the Ready to Run event, she said she hopes to help inspire women to take on larger roles in politics.

The first of three sessions will be held virtually on Feb. 24. There will be speakers from all over the state to give information about campaigning and personal experiences of running for office as a woman.

The February session will include:

  • Kimberly Baxter, an advocacy chief for the Iowa Department of Human Rights.
  • Kelly Winfrey, director of Women and Gender Studies and associate professor for Iowa State University’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication.
  • Heidi Burhans, director of elections for the Iowa Secretary of State.
  • Danielle Brazant, an author, public speaker and civic volunteer.
  • Blake Hanson, attorney at Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C.
  • Gloria Betcher, Ames City Council representative for Ward 3 and a teaching professor in English at Iowa State.
  • Sen. Claire Celsi, an Iowa state senator for district 21.
  • Latifah Faisal, chair of the Story County Board of Supervisors.

The three sessions offered will each have a primary focus and topic. The session on Feb. 24 will be centered on how to get involved. March 24 is about launching a campaign and how to fundraise, and the May 21 session is about social media management and voter mobilization.

The Ready to Run event has been held every two years since 2007. There have been several notable alumni including former state representative Cindy Axne.

“Women are still highly underrepresented at every government level,” said Carrie Ann Johnson, research and outreach coordinator for the Catt Center and a postdoctoral research assistant in geological and atmospheric sciences. “It is so important to be involved in the rules that govern your life. Getting involved with Ready to Run will give you some of those tools.”

While women running for office are the primary focus of the sessions, anyone with an interest in helping women achieve their goals in politics is welcome to attend.

There is no registration fee, but donations will be accepted. Register for sessions of interest here until Feb. 21.