UPDATE: Congratulations to Young Women of Achievement awardees Jessica Livoti-Morales and Angelique Roche (community organizing/labor work), Elizabeth Lindsey (innovation), Tenley Peterson (leadership), Ali Rozell (political/campaign work), Merry Michelle Walker (service/nonprofit advocacy), and Julia Reticker-Flynn (women in the choice movement).
As the third of three daughters, I grew up in a family full of strong-willed, opinionated, and very vocal women. In my household, strong academic standards, applying to college and constant engagement in social and community service were only second to God and breathing. So, when I stumbled into the world of politics and policy after law school I was surprised to see the dearth of women. In particular, there was lack of African American and multiracial women in elected office or even working on the issues that affected women and minorities the most.
Even while working in the United States Senate, it became apparent to me it was not for the lack of necessity or passion that we were not present, but because the lack of training, opportunity and encouragement that we failed to see our own strength and capacity to lead. In 2009, I was given to the opportunity to serve as the Leadership Institute Chair of the New Leaders Council in Washington, DC. Although I had been a part of boards and participated in dozens of other leadership training institutes, working closely with young professionals with a passion for change motivated me to pursue a more active role in shaping the political landscape.
Although difficult, the most rewarding part of the work that I have done since 2009 was last year. My work as Regional Field Director for Organizing for America in North Carolina allowed me to have daily interactions with passionate people fighting to have a voice. There is nothing more powerful than proving wrong the assumption of disenfranchisement. In particular, the moment when someone realizes that their vote does count and their voice has been heard.
Currently I am working on my own political consulting firm, A2 Strategies, focusing on campaigns and legislative outreach. My partner and I are working on several issue campaigns including a teen pregnancy prevention campaign for the City of Baltimore.