Ready to Run® New Jersey
March 18-19, 2016

Pre-conference programs for women of color on March 18
Douglass Student Center
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ

Online registration is now closed. Registrations will be accepted at the door.
The event is at the Douglass Student Center, 100 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ.
The $250 registration fee includes meals and all conference materials.

R2R 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016

Diversity Initiative

8:00 am Registration opens
8:30 am – 9:45 am  

Welcome and Opening Keynote 
Debbie Walsh, Director, Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP)


Michellene Davis, Esq., Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs for Barnabas Health

10:00 am – 12:00 pm Diversity Initiative Programs
Elección Latina, Run Sister Run, Rising Stars
Ready to Run®

12:15 pm – 1:45 pm



Lunch Plenary Session: What Women Candidates Need to Know

Celinda Lake, Lake Research Partners

Track 1: I’m Ready to Run, Now What?
Track 2: I’m Not Ready to Run Yet, But


2:00 pm – 4:00 pm


Track 1: Launching Your Campaign
This session provides an overview of the key elements of a campaign, including assessing and establishing oneself as a candidate, developing a campaign plan, structuring a campaign organization, and voter contact. 

Michael DuHaime, Mercury.

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Track 2:  Political Parties, Appointments, and Advocacy – Tools and Tips for Getting Started
This session, designed for those who are not ready to run but want to have an impact on important issues, offers an overview of the “nuts and bolts” of government and political parties in the state. Topics covered will include positioning oneself for appointment to a public board or commission, getting active in a political party, and using effective advocacy techniques. The first half of the panel will address how to become active in the political parties. The second section of the panel will cover positioning oneself for appointment to a public board or commission and learning how to be an advocate on legislative issues.




Ingrid Reed, Senior Fellow, New Jersey Future


Part 1: New Jersey Government and Political PartiesAn Overview

Lizette Delgado-Polanco, Vice Chair, New Jersey Democratic State Committee

Vanessa LaFranco, President, New Jersey Federation of Republican Women


Part 2: Appointments and Advocacy – Tools and Tips for Getting Started

Celia M. King, Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Newark, Inc. 

Kelly Yaede, Mayor, Hamilton Township

4:15 pm – 5:45 pm


Plenary: Fundraising for Success
Fundraising is one of the most crucial aspects of a campaign. This interactive workshop covers key components of campaign fundraising, including special emphasis on understanding why people give and the in-person “ask.” The session will also address developing a strategy for your campaign, building a donor list, recruiting and motivating a finance committee, and special events.

Gail Gordon, Of Counsel, Florio, Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader
Stephanie Wohlrab, SW Consulting 

5:45 pm


Networking Reception

















Saturday, March 19, 2016

8:00 am

Registration opens 


8:45 am – 9:30 am



Welcome Back and Opening Keynote
Welcome Back
Jean Sinzdak, Associate Director, Center for American Women and Politics


Keynote: My Story from the Campaign Trail

The Honorable Kim Guadagno, Lieutenant Governor, State of New Jersey


9:40 am – 11:30 am 

Track 1: Navigating New Jersey’s Political Parties As a Potential Candidate
The session will highlight the power dynamics of party organizations, building relationships with party operatives and gaining the party’s support, and will address how to respond when the party organization is not supportive.


Jean Sinzdak, Associate Director, Center for American Women and Politics




Mayor Angela Garretson, Township of Hillside

Christine Hanlon, Monmouth County Clerk

Candace L. Straight, Former Co-Chair, New Jersey Republican State Committee

Senator Loretta Weinberg, Majority Leader, New Jersey Senate  

9:30 am – 11:30 am

Track 2: Political Campaign Careers for Women
This session, designed for those who are not ready to run but want to work and volunteer on campaigns, offers an overview of the opportunities of getting involved in campaigns at every level and offer advice on how to build on those experiences.

Eva Campbell, Expert Communications


11:30 – 1:45 pm


Plenary Session: Conquering the Camera – An Interactive Media Training
This interactive media training workshop will include tips for successful interviews on tough topics, how to look poised and professional on camera, staying on message, and public speaking techniques. Selected participants will take part in mock interviews and on-camera practice sessions.

Christine Jahnke, President, Positive Communications



2:00 – 3:30 pm


Plenary Session: Internet Strategies for Candidates, Campaigns and Advocates
Internet outreach is a key aspect of today’s political and advocacy campaigns. Online tools including blogs, social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other online organizing and communications resources are increasingly important for getting campaign messages out to a broad audience of potential voters or stakeholders. This session will provide an overview of best practices and offer practical tips on how to get started or enhance your online presence.

Francesca Dulce Larson, Mosaic Strategies



3:30 pm Closing Remarks

For the past 15 years, our flagship New Jersey program has trained over 2,000 women to run for office, seek appointed positions, and manage campaigns.  Ready to Run® program attendees walk away with: 

  • How to” instructions on running for office
  • Fundraising and media skills
  • Real-world advice and best practices from experts
  • Strategies for positioning yourself for public leadership
  • Inspiration to launch a campaign
  • A better understanding of party politics
  • Internet strategies for political campaigns 

Not from New Jersey? Anyone may participate in the New Jersey program, or find a Ready to Run® in your state.

Increasing the Representation of Women of Color in Elected Office 

CAWP has developed a Diversity Initiative of Ready to Run® to attract more women of color into the political process and encourage them to seek public leadership. The Diversity Initiative in New Jersey comprises three separate programs for African American women, Asian American women, and Latinas. Since the creation of the Diversity Initiative, fully half of participants in the New Jersey Ready to Run® program have been women of color.

Directions to the Douglass Campus Center can be found here.

Nearby Accommodations:  Please note that this list is provided for informational purposes only. All participants are responsible for their own lodging reservations. Please check with the hotel for current rates.

Rutgers University Inn, New Brunswick

The Heldrich, New Brunswick

Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick

Hampton Inn, North Brunswick

Holiday Inn Express, East Brunswick

Interested in becoming an exhibitor? Download the form here

We rely solely on grants and donations to provide scholarship funding to program participants. At this time a small number of scholarships are available. To apply, please download and complete the application form here.

For more information, contact Jean Sinzdak at 848-932-8781 or by email at


"[Ready to Run®] is extremely encouraging and gives participants the necessary tools to run campaigns in an informative and fun manner." – Ready to Run® 2015 participant

"New Jersey and the United States need more female leadership. I attended Ready to Run® before I ran for the legislature. It's a great way to learn about the nuts and bolts of politics and things that you may not know about when you're starting out like fundraising, grassroots organizing, or who you get to volunteer on your campaign. All of those questions will be answered from some of the state's premier women leaders." – Former Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Legislative District 11(NJ)

“I found Ready to Run to be inspirational. It was encouraging to see other women who are mothers, wives, grandmothers, caregivers—all kinds of women—prepared to run for office. – Assemblywoman Shavonda E. Sumter, Legislative District 35 (NJ)

What participants are saying about our Diversity Initative Programs....

  • "[Run Sister Run] was very inspiring and made the run for office attainable. You convinced me to run!"
  •  “Elección Latina was so insightful and provided very practical advice.  It encouraged and enlivened in me the desire to become more involved.”
  • “This is an excellent platform for Asian American women to learn about public appointed positions, non-profit work, politics, and running.  It was a worthwhile experience!”