Last summer, I found myself standing on the Oregon Capitol steps smiling, taking photos and shaking hands with former Governor Barbara Roberts and Secretary of State Kate Brown. The reason why I was there that day was because of a program called New Leadership Oregon that is run through the Center for Women, Politics, and Policy at PSU.
We had just finished an intensive week of workshops, panel discussions, and research to write our own legislative testimony to present to our peers. Before that week, I had only the vaguest interest in politics or public policymaking, but after meeting countless female community leaders (who were offering business cards, mentoring, referrals for new contacts and many other invaluable resources) it got me thinking: Would it not be too far of a stretch to think that one day I might want to or serve on a government or non-profit board? Perhaps I would just start off with helping one of the dozens of ongoing political campaigns, with thoughts of my own future candidacy.
These new possibilities were awe inspiring and even a little nerve-wracking. The one lesson that I game away with is: you’ll never know if you don’t try. Now that I am an alumnus of the program, I see the value of getting more women into power and political advocacy. So all you female-identified people (sorry guys), if you’re interested in exploring new possibilities, the 2012 application process is now open.