Jarinete Santos, political pipeline director with She Should Run, shared resources for women who are in the consideration phase of a potential run for office.

Women Elected Municipal Officials held its inaugural spring symposium, Opening Doors for Women, virtually on April 30.

The symposium kicked off with a welcome from WEMO Chair and Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday, followed by a presentation by Jarinete Santos, political pipeline director with She Should Run.

She Should Run is a nonprofit organization that gives women who are curious about public office a starting place to explore their options.

Santos discussed some of the barriers that women face in considering a run for office, and provided some resources that women who are in the consideration phase can turn to for support.

WEMO Committee members each spoke briefly about why they ran for office, the challenges they faced when running, and what they have found rewarding about running for and holding public office.

The symposium concluded with a panel discussion featuring Sarah Johnson, executive director of Local Progress, and Erin Vilardi, founder and CEO of Vote Run Lead. The panel, moderated by WEMO First Vice Chair and Methuen City Councillor Eunice Zeigler, explored question like:
• How do you know if it’s the right time to run for office?
• Why does having women in governing roles matter?
• What are key resources that can assist women to prepare to run for office?
• What are challenges and obstacles commonly raised by women who are considering a run for office?
• What kind of people should women have on their team when considering a run for office?

Panelists responded to a number of questions about topics like preparing to move up to a higher level of elected office, combatting “imposter syndrome,” and strategies to increase voter turnout in local elections.

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