Local Focus, Transformational Impact

See how much progress our mighty community has made this year.


Vote Run Lead alumnae break barriers in 2021!

From left to right, Shahana Hanif becomes the first Muslim woman elected to the NYC Council. At 23, Aisha Chughtai will be the youngest person elected to the Minneapolis City Council. Julie Won will be the first Asian American woman to hold the seat representing the 26th district on the NYC Council. Sarah Stankorb Taylor was re-elected to the Wyoming, Ohio City council and will now become Vice-Mayor. Rita Joseph, a 21-year elementary school teacher, is the second Haiti-born Council member for NYC District 40.

You can contribute to the cause here

Pictured clockwise from top left:
Aisha Chughtai, Sarah Stankorb Taylor, Rita Joseph, Julie Won, Shahana Hanif



The New Majority

Highlighting some Vote Run Lead Alums making history in NYC:

  • 16 members of our community - including 8 alumnae - helped create the first-ever women-majority New York City Council.
  • 38 community members ran for city council.
  • 51 alumnae and community members in total ran in NYC elections this year.

There are new ‘firsts’ for the NYC council, including the first-time use of Ranked Choice Voting as well as the dynamic make-up of the 51 member body. Vote Run Lead alumnae include Marjorie Velásquez, Althea Stevens, Rita Joseph, Julie Won, Jennifer Gutiérrez, Pierina Sanchez, Amanda Farías, and Shahana Hanif, and community members Linda Lee, Carlina Rivera, Adrienne Adams, Sandy Nurse, Farah Louis, Carmen De La Rosa, Crystal Hudson, and Julie Menin. Together, they make up 16 of the 31 female members of the NYC Council, now more than 60% women. Learn more about each of them!

Pictured from left to right: Incoming New York City Councilwomen Althea Stevens, Marjorie Velazquez, and Linda Lee

2021 Timeline

  • January

    A New Strategy Revealed

    Our new mission, vision and values moved us closer to a world where women are the majority at every level of government. You can read more here. Are you with us?


  • February

    Personal Coaching Sessions

    Every Vote Run Lead alum now has access to a personal coach -- a current or former elected official -- who guides her on her journey to power. State Senator Faith Winter, Former Council Member Candice Quarles, and State Senator Julie Gonzales make up our coaching corps. They coach leaders looking to run and those looking to be more effective on the Vote Run Lead "Run As You Are" methodology.

    Sign up for a coaching session in 2022 here.


  • March

    Ranked Choice Voting

    We created toolkits and training sessions for voters and candidates on ranked choice voting systems. This resulted in informed voters and victories that increased diversity in city councils across the United States. Our work to ready women to run in a Ranked Choice Voting environment and to inform voters can be used in cities across the country to accelerate the pace of change of women's representation.

  • April

    Global Reach: Gender, Race and Systems in American Politics

    Vote Run Lead brought the U.S.'s leading experts on women and democracy to the Skoll World Forum, a global platform of thought leaders and changemakers. LaTosha Brown, Founder of Black Voters Matter, Senator Patricia Torres Ray of MN, and Pakou Hang and Erin Vilardi, co-founders of Vote Run Lead, were in dynamic conversation on a new gendered analysis around racial justice and systemic reforms as the solution to today’s challenges. See it here.


  • May - July

    Vote Run Lead launched RUN/51 to move our state legislatures to 51% women’s representation

    First, we mapped the baseline of every state in America to see how long it will take each state to reach 51%. Then, we got out the bullhorn to share how and why the state legislatures are vital to our democracy, from podcasts to social media to national news. We inspired women with stories of our alumnae making a difference in state legislatures right now. Today, everyone can nominate a woman to run for the legislature and she will get access to our coaches, a 10-week "ramp up" and a tool-kit of tips and trainings to run a successful campaign for the legislature in her state. Get an overview here and join the cause here.


  • August

    August 26th is now Women’s Majority Day

    Every year in August we celebrate the passing of the 19th amendment but this year we wanted to go further. Instead of asking for equality, we demanded the majority. Working with PopSugar.com, we elevated the voices of our team and alumnae with powerful articles like Running with Imposter Syndrome, Why Women and Femmes Must Call for the Majority, and How to be a Better Ally to Black Women Leaders. We created a powerful social media campaign to shift the narrative and get more women excited about running for the statehouse.


  • September

    Snapchat and Vote Run Lead

    Snapchat and political groups nationwide launched the largest-ever candidate recruitment campaign to increase the number of young people interested in public office, reaching over 3 million people. Read more about it here.





  • October - November

    Political Wellness

    Meet Penny Abeywardena, New York City's Commissioner for International Affairs, who over the last several years has been the face of international relations and building global trust. Hear from Irene Godínez, founder of Poder NC Action, who in less than two years is using creativity, art and love as political action to empower the Latinx community and redefine politics as usual. Watch Sung Yeon Choimorrow, who leads the National National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, outline how she is building power within and across the Asian American community. Meet Liuba Grechen Shirley, founder of Vote Mama, who is halfway to securing the use of campaign funds for childcare expenses in all 50 states.

    Watch the full 7-part Political Wellness series or listen to the Spotify Podcast here.

    Pictured left to right: Penny Abeywardena, Irene Godínez, Liuba Grechen Shirley, Sung Yeon Choimorrow


  • December

    A New Strategy Revealed

    At TEDWomen, Founder, Erin Vilardi took part in "Leaders building the multiracial democracy of the future" with Bo Thao-Urabe of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders & AAPI Civic Engagement Fund; Tiana Epps-Johnson, founder of Center for Tech and Civic Life; Liz Alarcón, founder of Pulso; Yordanos Eyoel of New Profit; Jade Begay of the NDN Collective; and Steph Sterling of the Roosevelt Institute. All women and organizations you need to know, so check them out! Vote Run Lead Board Member Kitty Kolbert gave her TED Talk on the fate of Roe v. Wade where she layed out a new, better future that prioritizes the health of all women and children. It requires that more of us run for "everything from the school board to town councils to state legislatures to Congress and the White House."



How Long Until We Are Represented?

A reflective democracy means that the folks who live in that democracy see themselves in leadership at the same rate. For women, who are the majority at 51% of the population, we will have to wait generations to see ourselves in state leadership.

Just one state in America has a female majority in their state legislature: Nevada. At 60% women’s representation, they are a model for what is possible: a country led by women.

How long will it take for your state to reflect you? Use our new tool and know the facts.

Access Our New Tool

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