ANNOUNCING THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE
For the past year, the staff of the Dallas County Democratic Party (DCDP) and I have been meeting with various elected officials, precinct chairs, and representatives of the community to get their suggestions for the needs of local Democrats. The result of this research is the creation of the Democratic Leadership Institute.
The Institute will provide training, workshops, community outreach programs and, ultimately, a fellowship program. The programming provided through the Institute will enable DCDP to better prepare precinct chairs, candidates, activists and volunteers.
The first workshops and training sessions of the Institute will begin in mid-July of this year. We will soon be publicizing a "Summer Syllabus" with the topics, dates, times and leaders of our initial programs, which will include voter registration, field work, running for office, fundraising, community organizing, volunteer recruitment, the Democratic platform, social media, and many other topics.
Meanwhile, the DCDP will continue to offer precinct training every week, as well as training for using VAN (Voter Activation Network) upon request. These training sessions are available for groups at the DCDP office, as well as in targeted neighborhoods. You need not be a licensee of VAN in order to receive training.
In addition to the training available through the DCDP, the Precinct Chair Matters Committee is offering a precinct chair mentoring program, through which experienced precinct chairs can work with newer precinct chairs and share best practices. We plan to expand this mentoring program to include interns, fellows, and activists who are interested.
Studies of mentoring programs show that the benefits of mentoring flow both ways. Persons who receive mentoring are five times likely to be promoted to higher positions. The mentors are six times more likely to be promoted to a higher positions. [See "How Becoming a Mentor Can Boost Your Career," Forbes.]
Don't hesitate to be a mentor because you don't think you have achieved an expertise in any one area. Mentors are also needed for encouragement, inspiration and navigation. Help us encourage newer and/or younger Democrats by helping them find their niche. They will learn from us, and we will learn from them. Help them feel confident and appreciated for everything they have to offer. In the words of Maya Angelou: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
The possibilities for the Institute are endless. If you have suggestions for topics, please contact DCDP Executive Director Carmen Ayala at 214-821-8331. It's not too late to make suggestions for the "Winter Syllabus." Additionally, we are seeking mentors for precinct chairs and for the upcoming fellowship program. If you are willing to assist in this way, please let us know.
Additionally, you can help in any of the following ways: