V Busy with Melissa Ivone of She Should Run
Okay ladies, time for some real talk. When we were 6 years old, most of us were dressing up as princesses and not— the President. That isn’t because we didn’t dream of being in positions of power, but because we couldn’t fathom places for women beyond our supporting roles to men.
Today, our role-models for women in leadership have multiplied…but it’s still not enough. There are over 500,000 elected offices.. Less than 1/3 are held by women–and it’s not that women aren’t winning ,when women run, we win at the same rates as men¹– it’s that women are not running. Which is why She Should Run exists as an organization to support women running for elected offices.
Melissa Ivone, Marketing and Communications Director for She Should Run and headliner for our Pretty Thing Tour, spoke to us to let us know why she dedicated her career to get more women elected.
Melissa, first of all your hair is amazing. Tell us a bit about how you got here and started working with She Should Run.
When I started college, I was an elementary education major. It took exactly one summer as an Applebee's hostess to realize that I didn't like working with children. So, my sophomore year, I switched to graphic design and went on to work in the design field for about 15 years. But in my last role, I had the chance to lead the Marketing department, and absolutely loved it. It felt more black and white, less subjective. Then last summer, I got an email newsletter from She Should Run, announcing their open role for a Marketing and Communications Director. It was exactly what I wanted to do, but I wasn't 100% qualified. You know that stat of how men will apply for jobs when they're only 60% qualified but women wait until they're 100% qualified? I thought about that and said, "Screw it, I'm applying!" I even started my cover letter by saying, "I'm not what you're looking for." I still feel like I won the lottery, landing this gig.
I just got goosebumps. Because it’s so true, self-doubt is our worst enemy. How is She Should Run helping women who might have the same reservations about running for office?
She Should Run is in a really unique spot. There are a lot of organizations out there that help women run for office and provide the nuts and bolts training to get those women who have committed to running launching their own campaign. But, if we only focus on women who have committed to run, we'll never reach equal representation in our lifetime. Our goal is to reach those women who will make fantastic leaders and show them the opportunities in public service. We want to let women know that they don't need permission to run for office.
Yes! Men don’t have to ask for permission and neither should we. Today, women have been more present in politics than ever, with people like Hillary and AOC frequently trending on the timeline. But what is the overall situation of women representation?
Where do I start? Women are 51% of the population but we only hold approximately 25% of all elected offices. The U.S. ranks 76th in women's representation in government worldwide. It's actually embarrassing. However, we are seeing good signs that the tides are turning. The midterm elections were a record-breaking and milestone-making moment for women (although the numbers were not quite as positive for Republican women). The more visibility the public has into female leadership, the more women can see themselves in these roles. Having 6 female candidates for President is amazing! But there is a lot more for us to do. We all have a role to play, whether it's recruiting women to run, supporting them financially, or just being a vocal cheerleader.
That’s facts. Women have to support each other first! Well, I personally cannot wait to hear you speak at Tour. Can you give us a sneak preview on what you’ll be talking about?
II'll be talking about ways that we can all play a role in solving gender inequality. This applies to politics, of course, but obviously, women's representation is an issue that plagues a number of industries and groups. What can we do to feel ready to take on the world?
Come see Melissa at Pretty Thing Tour 2019 and use checkout code “MELISSAIVONE” for $20 off your General Admission ticket.