In 2016, I took the Emerge California training for women who want to run for office. I found the program profoundly helpful and am committed to expanding the wonderful things that can happen when women support each other. It was great to stretch my wings and consider new possibilities.
My journey from awkward, very solitary teenager to becoming an elected official in Silicon Valley has been a long one requiring lots of help from friends. I grew up on a farm in the Midwest as the only child of a widower. Cancer took my mother when I was very young. Only my father and I lived in our farm house, and he worked the night shift in a manufacturing job. I knew going into my race last year that I had to work hard to come across as confident and decisive enough to win.
The content of the training was enormously helpful – everything from fundraising, structuring a campaign team, setting up field operations and defining and protecting your image as a candidate. I soaked it all in. I worked hard, putting in dozens of hours honing my message. Throughout the training, I felt acceptance and concern from the other class members. I commend Kimberly Ellis with building an organization of integrity, and compassion.
As great as the Emerge California training itself is, the network of supportive connections I’ve made is outstanding. During the CADEM 2016 weekend, I got a harassing phone call from a woman political leader in my community. Emerge sisters from 2006, 2008, and 2012 took me out for dinner and talked me through the dismay I felt at being threatened. Making time for this program has been an investment that continues to provide benefits over and over. It feels to me like we California Democratic women have reached a point where there is a network of powerful women who can help each other.
The beauty of the Emerge program is that the skills and knowledge and connections help get more women in positions of power, a mission I wholeheartedly support. I’m a proud supporter of Emerge California.
Just last week, I heard a compassionate Emerge alumna state that we need similar support for male candidates as well. For now, Emerge California is seeking women who are ready to step up as public servants.
If you are thinking about stepping out of your comfort zone to consider running for public office, check out the application form here. The deadline is September 1st and you’ll need to leave time to get at least two references.