We need our best advocates at all levels of government and Women Winning is committed to building the bench of pro-choice political leaders in Minnesota. Our Political Leaders of Tomorrow Training Program serves as an entry point for rising changemakers by providing in-depth campaign training, professional development, and personalized check-ins and coaching. PLOT alumni have gone on to work on presidential campaigns, in congressional offices and the state legislature, at top lobbying firms, and to run for — and WIN — elected office!
Two past participants, Shannon Holloman and Sam Tollefson, are continuing their leadership journeys with Women Winning as the 2020 PLOT Program coordinators! Read on to learn about Shannon and Sam’s PLOT experiences, what it was like working on a pro-choice woman’s campaign, and how they’ve leveraged the skills and knowledge they gained.
Applications for the Summer 2020 PLOT Program are open through April 30th. Learn more and apply today!
2018 PLOT Campaign Connection: Ruth Richardson for MN House of Representatives
Hometown: Excelsior, MN
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, Women Studies. Hamline University 2018
Preferred snack on the campaign trail: Cuties clementines and homemade granola
Favorite social distancing activity: Jigsaw Puzzles
Political Shero: Ayanna Pressley
“With my background in advocating for reproductive freedom and supporting women’s leadership, I was drawn to the Political Leaders of Tomorrow program right away. Women Winning staff encouraged me to apply and I enthusiastically joined the 2018 PLOT cohort the summer after graduating from college. Following the first training session in June, I was connected to Ruth Richardson’s campaign for Minnesota House of Representatives. Ruth was a first-time candidate challenging an anti-choice incumbent in one of the most competitive districts in Minnesota, so I knew it would be an exciting race!
With Ruth’s campaign, I was particularly drawn to organizing, jumped into fieldwork, and eventually took on a leadership role by representing the campaign at community events and connecting one-on-one with voters. Cultivating engagement among constituents and advocating for my candidate was incredibly rewarding. And working on a pro-choice, black woman of color’s campaign was a transformative experience for me. After the formal PLOT program wrapped up in August, I continued supporting Ruth’s campaign through the fall. It was thrilling to see momentum and support grow as the campaign progressed. Ruth and her team worked so hard and she won by 7 points!
The PLOT training sessions provided me with an in-depth understanding of what it takes to run for office and the many roles that contribute to a successful campaign. I never felt unprepared for the different situations I faced. The hands-on experience I gained and the connections I made with other community organizers led me to work as a canvasser for the Minnesota DFL, where I continued to organize and engage with voters throughout the election cycle. PLOT set me up with the tools I needed to be successful at every step and helped me grow into my own leadership.”
2019 PLOT Campaign Connection: Kristin Bahner for MN House of Representatives
Hometown: Burnsville, MN
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Environmental Policy, Luther College 2018
Preferred snack on the campaign trail: Trail mix
Favorite social distancing activity: Baking
Political Shero: AOC
“Growing up, I always knew I wanted to work on political campaigns. A year after graduating from college, I was introduced to Women Winning and applied to the 2019 PLOT Program. I was immediately impressed by the program’s breadth and depth, giving participants a comprehensive crash course on what it takes to launch and run a winning campaign. When I was connected with State Representative Kristin Bahner’s team, I was surprised by the work I enjoyed most — organizing campaign finances. Though I am happy to door knock and phone bank to support candidates and causes I believe in, I knew that moving forward I would focus on campaign finance and political fundraising.
The PLOT Program also taught me how to advocate for myself more broadly. For example, Women Winning’s Executive Director Meggie Wittorf led a powerful session about building networks and developing a personal brand. After completing the program, I knew I needed to keep Women Winning in my network, and I stayed in touch by attending LAUNCH Committee events and set up coffee meetings with other Women Winning members. Ultimately, those connections led to the opportunity to coordinate the 2020 PLOT program. I can’t wait to begin this summer’s trainings and am confident that the program will be impactful and inspiring for participants, just as it was for me!”