GOOD QUESTION

Tell us about a project you managed from start to finish … one of the many questions posed during a job interview.

There’s a reason we include volunteer work on our resumes. I’ve managed a great many projects over the years, but I’m most proud of my efforts on behalf of Democratic candidates through coalition-building and online organizing. 

Feet First With the Flying Monkeys

In the Spring of 2007, I tested the waters on a national progressive blog in search of other Clinton supporters. I knew it’d be an uphill battle (the site’s administrators backed other candidates) but this was where the online conversations were taking place, so off I went! I typed up some of her position papers, posted them on the site and engaged with other writers in the comments to see if we could join forces. (This was an organic effort, independent of Clinton’s campaign.)

I set up a private Yahoo discussion group to coordinate efforts and we soon built a core team of about 50 active writers, each with a variety of policy backgrounds and talents. (I focused on health care and the climate crisis.) I researched her record and proposals as well as those of her rivals, and I raised over $50,000. As leader of our group, I used my enthusiasm and energy and helped drive our team to write persuasive and fact-based content. My constant reminders helped keep our group focused – we followed our candidate’s example by not getting into flame-wars or arguments, and used humor to diffuse tense situations. Hillary’s troupe of Flying Monkeys (as we came to be known) soon gained the reputation of refusing to sling mud while sticking to the issues.

Through our efforts on an initially hostile site, people who’d once hated Clinton became ardent supporters, moved to not only donate to her campaign, but to volunteer in their own communities. My posts were often featured on Clinton’s website, and our group’s efforts were covered by national and foreign press. I was even highlighted in a book detailing the impact of the Internet on the 2008 election (Bloggers on the Bus, Boehlert, 2008).

From a Fellow Flying Monkey

You’ve taught me that my little voice can be heard.  You’ve shown me that words do matter. Most of all you’ve given this guy new insight into the feminine strength that Hillary herself calls upon every day. You are one classy lady and I am truly honored to have been a part of your team. You are my hero.

HillRaisers / Hillary Sent Me

On the local level, I was co-chair and digital director of a group called HillRaisers. We initially worked to get Clinton elected, and went on to support other Maryland Democrats. I set up and managed our website, sent out regular newsletters to our members, updated and migrated our database, raised money and organized events. Initial work involved researching community events and potential event venues, and identifying potential endorsements from elected officials, local organizations and activists (I used DropBox to share my research). Ongoing efforts involved outreach and engagement, organizing and leading events, and identifying and mentoring leaders for clip-boarding, visibility and parade teams. Active members soon grew to several thousand, and we worked throughout the county and with other groups around Maryland for 10 years.

Our efforts paid off. In Montgomery County’s 2016 primary, we helped Clinton beat her closest rival by 34.36%, and she won the General Election in our county by over 55%.

From a Founder of HillRaisers

Her enthusiasm is infectious. She has great writing skills and really understands how to use the internet and other cutting edge media to get out a message, inform, persuade, and influence others.

Bottom Line

While these skills were put to use on campaigns in these specific examples, they are readily applied to any advocacy work on behalf of other organizations, elected officials and nonprofits.

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