Tower Center Student Forum | Elect Her: Campus Women Win Training

Presented by Jessica and Morley Campbell.

Friday, April 25, 2014 (10:30 AM – 4:00 PM)
Hughes-Trigg Student Center (map)


Elect Her_SMU logo-01

FREE Student Leadership Training Program!

Build your expertise by learning the nuts and bolts of running a student government campaign. This training will demystify the campaign process and teach you how to develop and communicate an effective message, how to reach out to your constituency, and how to win a campaign. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn key leadership skills and take the first step towards inspiring your peers!


Program Trainer

Jessica Grounds, Director of the Women’s Office, Ready for Hillary

Jessica-Grounds-Headshot-2014-232x300Jessica N. Grounds has devoted her life to empowering women to become political leaders. She recently became the Director of the Women’s Office for Ready for Hillary, the grassroots organization building a network of supporters to encourage Secretary Hillary Clinton to run for President in 2016. Most recently, she served as the Executive Director of Running Start, a non-profit that she co-founded which inspires girls and young women to run for elected office. Jessica is also the founder and principal strategist for Solid Grounds Strategy, a firm she created to consult women candidates who have never run for office before. In 2010, she co-founded Women’s Campaign Consortium, a collaboration of female campaign consultants dedicated to serving women candidates. Jessica was named a rising star in Politics magazine and was honored to receive the Young Woman of Achievement Award from Women’s Information Network.


Training Agenda

Friday, April 25   Hughes-Trigg Student Center
10:30 a.m. Registration & Coffee
11:00 a.m. Welcome and Introductions
11:15 a.m. The Importance of Young Women Running for Office

Jessica Grounds, Director of the Women’s Office, Ready for Hillary

12:00 p.m. Working Lunch – Making an Impact

Invited Speaker: Rep. Cindy Burkett

Burkett-Cindy_jpg_131x197_crop_q100Cindy Burkett is a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives. She is the co-owner of Highline Enterprises, a company that operates several Subway sandwich franchises. Burkett is a former member of the Mesquite Board of Adjustments and has been active in anti-littering campaigning. In April 2004- January 2006, she was Deputy Regional Director to Texas State Senator Bob Deuell. She is currently the State Republican Executive Committee Woman for Senate District 2 as well as member of the Texas Federation of Republican Women and the Network Advisory Council of the Women’s Legislative Network. She is also a member of the National Conference of State Legislators. Her past involvements in women’s networking include being the State Delegate for Texas Federal Republican Women Convention in 2005 and serving as Campaign Officer for Sunnyvale Republican Women’s Club in 2009.

12:45 p.m.  The Nuts and Bolts of Running for SGA & Elect Her – Campus Women Win Campaign Strategy
1:30 p.m. The Importance of Message

Dr. Rita Kirk, Professor & Director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethic & Public Responsibility, SMU

RitaKirk-smRita Kirk, Director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, holds the rank of Professor at SMU and is both an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor and a Meadows Distinguished Professor. Kirk has been awarded both the prestigious “M” Award and the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award by the SMU student body. As an academic, she is recognized for her analysis of political and persuasive campaigns. She is the author of several award-winning books and numerous articles, including Political Empiricism: Communications Strategies in State and Regional Elections; Hate Speech, a book analyzing implications for hate discourse in public communication, with coeditor David Slayden; and Solo Acts: The Death of Discourse in a Wired World. Specializing in communication strategy, she has more than 30 years of experience as a strategist for city council, mayoral, state, U.S. Representative, and gubernatorial races.In addition to her political consulting, she has served as a communication consultant to several national and multinational corporations on public policy matters. Kirk and research colleague Dan Schill conducted dial tests for CNN and ABC-Hearst/Argyll during the 2008 Presidential primary and general elections debates and continue to work with them during Presidential State of the Union addresses.

2:45 p.m. Strategy Sharing and Elect Her Network

Jessica Grounds, Director of the Women’s Office, Ready for Hillary

3:00 p.m. Beyond College Politics: Why Run After Graduation

Dr. Barbara Palmer, Associate Professor, Baldwin Wallace University

Headshot PalmerBarbara Palmer is Associate Professor at Baldwin Wallace University and is an expert on congressional elections and the success of women candidates. Her most recent book, co-authored with Dennis Simon, is entitled Women and Congressional Elections: A Century of Change. Professor Palmer teaches courses on American politics, civil rights and liberties, elections, and women and politics. At Baldwin Wallace, she serves as the Legal Studies Coordinator and Pre-Law Advisor. Prior to her arrival at Baldwin Wallace, she taught at American University in Washington, DC for nine years. She has given interviews and invited talks to a wide variety of groups across the country and internationally on American elections, the history of the integration of women into Congress, the challenges faced by female candidates, and the importance of getting young women interested and involved in politics. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Dennis Simon, Professor & Senior Fellow, Tower Center, SMU

SimonDennis Simon is an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Political Science at Southern Methodist University. He is the recipient of SMU’s “M” Award, the Willis Tate Award, and President’s Associate award. He is a founding member of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies and currently serves as the Director of Programs in American Politics. His research and teaching interests include the American Presidency, national elections, and the politics of change in the United States. He is the recipient of the Southern Political Science Association’s Pi Sigma Alpha Award for his study of national forces in state legislative elections and, with Barbara Palmer, has twice received the Miriam Irish Award for their work on women in the electoral arena. Since the spring of 2008, he has taught a course on the Politics and Legacies of the Civil Rights Movement and served as the faculty leader of SMU’s Civil Rights Pilgrimage. His most recent book, with co-author Barbara Palmer, Women and Congressional Elections: A Century of Change was published by Lynne Reiner in May 2012. He is currently working on a manuscript entitled The Great Contradiction: Race and Congressional Elections in the American South.

RSVP required and preference will be given to female students currently enrolled at SMU.


Elect Her—Campus Women Win, a collaboration between AAUW and Running Start, is the only nationwide program that encourages and trains young women to run for student government on their campuses. This five-hour training will provide students with research and information about women and politics, inspiring local speakers, and interactive campaign exercises.