A year ago, I joined the board of The Campaign School at Yale University (TCS) because I believe our governments – local, state and federal – need more diversity of thought. Diversity of thought often comes with diversity of experience. The number of women serving in elected positions has long lagged men and it’s often felt in the back rooms of Washington, D.C. I’ve been vocal about how many meetings I attended where I was the only woman at the table.

While we saw record numbers of women win congressional seats in 2020, many Republicans for the first time, there is still more work to be done.

That’s why I believe in what TCS is doing, training and mentoring women of all ages to be ready for public service at whatever level and wherever they live.  

As with many things in our COVID-19 world, it’s been a wild year at TCS, we’ve done regular virtual trainings and we decided to host our 5-day intensive campaign school virtually as well. We didn’t know how it would go. Imagine doing five days of 9-5 presentations plus group homework until the wee hours – virtually. While it wasn’t the same, it was a great experience.

I presented about communications planning for campaigns.

  • What is earned media and why it should follow paid media.

  • Ideas for communications tactics often used to increase content to get earned media attention, including how gimmicks are often the most memorable campaign messaging tools that can help paid media.

  • Why a campaign should plan and how, walking through components of the planning process. This includes getting physical calendars and plotting messages into each week and then layering in tactics like speeches, press conferences, etc.

 So why do we plan? People often think communications planning isn’t necessary because the world tends to dictate what we’re talking about. The problem is you’ll wake up the day after the election and have a list of messaging priorities you failed to utilize.

You must be intentional about your messaging, what you are saying on paid media and earned media and what are the tactics you are using to make sure it sticks. Your calendars will be living documents but that’s the point. The balancing act of planning and being flexible with what’s happening in the world.