How Everyday Women Are Preparing To Lead The Resistance

The rise of President Donald Trump has spurred everyday women from across the United States into action.

The devastation many felt watching Clinton’s historic campaign come to an unexpected close gave way to anger and contempt for a system that yet again, promoted the less qualified man into leadership. Hillary’s loss felt personal to many of us, so much so that I wrote about how it made me question my own ambition in a world that might never let us have our fair shot on top.

But then we decided to march on – literally and emotionally. The women’s march was officially deemed the largest protest in US history, a show of force and solidarity that reminded me that we women will not sit on the sidelines and be silent.

Now comes the time to turn all that energy into action and activism.

Progressive groups have seen record donations, Congress is being deluged with phone calls, and an unprecedented number of women plan to run for office.  But where can everyday women go to begin the process of getting more involved in their local communities? Where can we go to arm ourselves with the leadership skills, training, and community support we need to lead?

Here are 5 great organizations that are helping women get more involved in their communities this year:

  1. The United State of Women

You might recall the star-studded summit this nonprofit organization hosted in DC last year while it was still officially a project of the Obama White House. There were 5,000 activists present, myself included, convening to explore how together, we can build a better tomorrow for women right here in the United States.

A few months back I interviewed the United State of Women’s National Training Director, Renee Johnson, who is working to further the USOW’s mission to, as she put it, “[give] the next generation of women in politics the tools needed to get more involved in civic life and champion the causes they care about.”

Today the USOW is launching the Galvanize Program, a series of six separate weekend-long mini-summits in cities across the country this year, where they’re providing training on running for office, leading a campaign, developing your leadership skills at work, or starting a nonprofit or business.

(For full disclosure: I’m proud to be working with the USOW on this effort through my company, Bossed Up. You can learn more in our official announcement video here.)

  1. She Should Run

She Should Run describes itself as “a non-partisan 501(c)3 organization expanding the talent pool of future elected female leaders.”

Since it’s inception in 2008, it’s encouraged over 100,000 women from all walks of life to consider public office through their Ask a Woman to Run program. Now those interested in learning more can join the She Should Run Online Incubator, a platform where women can find resources and encouragement, and hear in-depth profiles of everyday women who decided to step up and get involved in their local communities.  

She Should Run made waves last year when they partnered with Barbie to release the first all-female ticket – President and Vice President Barbie set to “help more girls to envision the possibilities of leadership from a young age.

  1. Emerge America

Emerge provides a premier training program to support Democratic women in seeking office. It’s the only in-depth, 7 month, 70 hour program of its kind for aspiring women leaders seeking elected office. Emerge is active in 18 states and provides their program alumnae with a supportive network of women in politics well beyond their training program.

Since launching in 2002, Emerge America has trained over 2,000 Democratic women to run for office, 52% of whom have decided to run or been appointed to local boards or commissions. Of those who ran in the 2016 election year, 70% won!

If you’re interested in applying to join their program, find out if Emerge has a chapter in your state here.

  1. Yale Women’s Campaign School

    via the Yale Women’s Campaign School

A few weeks back I interviewed Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), who credits the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University as a major resource that helped her seek higher office – and equipped her then-teenage daughter to run her first few campaigns.

This non-partisan, issue-neutral leadership program has operated for over twenty years in partnership with the Yale Law School to “increase the number and influence of women in elected and appointed office in the United States and around the globe.”

This 1-week intensive program proudly brings together “the best in the business from both sides of the aisle” to teach participants everything they need to know to run – and win.

  1. Emily’s List

Emily’s List exists to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office, and their fundraising prowess makes them a critical queen-maker in the national political landscape.

They wasted no time after the November election in putting forth a compelling new video – and training program – to encourage women to channel their anger into action and run for office.

Just watch this oh-so-relatable video they released to promote their Run to Win program:  

There are countless resources available to women who want to step up and lead in their local communities and in the national landscape this year. The most important step is taking the first one.

So if you’ve been feeling frustrated and helpless in the face of the stomach-turning headlines you see on the news each day – it’s time to do something about it. You don’t have to feel 100% ready before you begin. Make your leadership development – at work and in your civic life – a priority this year.

This was originally published in my Forbes Leadership column and reposted here with permission.

Emilie Aries is the Founder & CEO of Bossed Up, where she brings work, love, and wellness together to help women craft sustainable career paths. Emilie received the 2015 Young Women of Achievement Entrepreneurship award from the Women’s Information Network, the 2015 YWCA Rising Star Award, and was named one of the LEVO 100 Change Makers, amongst such luminaries as Chelsea Clinton and Janet Mock.

Learn more and book Emilie to speak at your next event at wwwEmilieAries.com