August Leadership Spotlight With Rep. Mimi Walters
This month, Women’s Public Leadership Network (WPLN) continues our Leadership Spotlight series, where we highlight women of different backgrounds and industries who are paving the way for women in leadership.
In WPLN’s August Leadership Spotlight, we were excited to feature special guest Mimi Walters, Chief Commercial Officer of Leading Edge Power Solutions and former U.S. Representative, as well as WPLN’s inaugural honorary Co-Chair. As honorary Co-Chair, Rep. Walters will provide indispensable expertise and strategic guidance to the WPLN Leadership Team as they seek to educate, organize, and inspire more women across the country.
In her interview, Rep. Walters shared that it was her role as a mother that spurred her on to participate in government and give back to her community: “I’m a mother of four kids, and once I had a family I believed strongly that I had to lead by example and show my kids, the next generation, that it’s important to get involved and give back.”
Rep. Walters recognized that there are many responsibilities that women undergo when working as both elected leader and mother. She said that she had to be super organized and make her kids a priority every single day, no matter what else was going on. Looking back, Rep. Walters’ primary encouragement to anyone running for office who has a family is to have open discussions and dialogue with your kids about the changes and challenges your family will experience.
Throughout the interview Rep. Walters gave several practical pieces of advice to consider before taking the leap and running for office:
First, be prepared that “anything you have ever done in your life is probably going to be exposed.” As a candidate, having traits of ethics and integrity are non-negotiable:
“It’s really difficult in this day and age to run for office with social media… You’re constantly being scrutinized. You have to be able to believe in what you’re saying to people and hold yourself to a higher standard… You are setting the path forward of what is expected of people who are leading our country.”
Second, be sure you have a career or something financially supportive to fall back on before running for office, and understand that part of the job is raising money. Women are excellent at fundraising for others, but can find it difficult to raise money for themselves. At WPLN, we provide free candidate training on how to fundraise, where you can hear from experts on how to cultivate donors, prepare yourself for fundraising meetings, and earn PAC support. Register today for these free online courses.
Rep. Walters’ final piece of advice for women running for office is not to take yourself too seriously: “Keep your sense of humor… Let it roll off your back, laugh at yourself and enjoy [the experience].”
Watch the full Leadership Spotlight here: