Ashley E. Kingsley

Posts Tagged ‘Leader’

Running Free

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2008 at 5:01 am

ShoesI got a piece of mail. This is not exciting. However, I realized when I looked at it closely…(rare) it was a fundraiser/race for Pancreatic Cancer.

A few things that are interesting about receiving a mailer about pancreatic cancer: 1) My mom has just conquered pancreatic cancer (only 4% of the people diagnosed with this awful cancer, survive.   2) When my mom was sick (for the last 2 years) I never ONCE looked online at information regarding pancreatic cancer, or any of the procedures she went through. I couldn’t. I did NO research which is totally unlike me.   So, why was I receiving a mailer about PANCREATICA – a 10 mile race to raise money for research?  Hmmm….

I knew I would have to “look into it.”  It took a few days as I was busy with ramping up a new job and traveling.

I thought about it every day. A 10 mile race.  Let’s just say… I have only ever run two miles at the MOST and that was when I was 15 years old.  I also took a running class my first year of college which was not enlightening. I would show up to class for roll call and then run back to my dorm and go to bed. I got a low “C.”

Running is not my thing. Never has been. It hurts. I hate it. I have never wanted to run anywhere, for anything, ever. I have never had the endurance of a runner. I had the strength of a gymnast at one time, but that is it. Oh, and Yoga is my friend. Slow, soft, difficult but quiet.

I decided to run the 10 mile race. I made the choice after someone asked me (right after I got the mailer) “how my mom was doing?”  When I burst into tears and said “she is doing SO well, it is a miracle she is alive,” I knew I needed to do something to heal the pain of the last few years.

Watching my mom go through surgery and suffer so many complications and endless hospital stays, shady diagnosis-es, pain and strife, the unknowing… it was overwhelming. I haven’t had a chance to process the enormity of the situation. We almost lost her several times to complications from the Whipple procedure. We didn’t know if she would still be with us. She is. It is such a blessing.

And now I need to heal. I need to get angry and pissed off. Why does anyone have to get sick? I want to cry for days. I want to process the meaning of my relationship to my mom and how this illness changes us all. I want to be with myself for a while and get through the sadness and on-going fear that I have around the entire experience.

I have committed to training for and running a 10 mile race on September 1, 2008.  I have raised about $750 as of June 20th and my goal is to raise $2000.

I begin training tomorrow morning at 7:00am. Oh, the other thing: I don’t do mornings. Really, I don’t. I have been pissed off at myself all week that I even signed up to do this? Who the hell runs (at all) at 7:00am on a Saturday?

I have so much fear around failing. I keep telling myself “how silly it was for me to do this in the first place… and that there is NO way I will make it through 10 miles. What the hell was I thinking?

I am making myself go. Tomorrow is the first step to training for a run and running to heal. Sometimes you have to follow in order to become a leader.

Tomorrow, I will follow… and the next day and the day after that.

For more information on how to contribute please visit: RUNNING TO HEAL

Into the Night with Polly Baca

In Uncategorized on April 6, 2008 at 5:59 am

After the first evening of my training with The White House Project, I ran up to my hotel room and dropped my notebooks from the day so I wouldn’t have to carry them to the bar/networking that was taking place.  I was not sure how long I would stay up – it was already 10:00pm.

PollyBacaI noticed one of the panelists was standing outside of the bar looking in. I tapped her shoulder and thanked her for her time and for being part of the panel on Women’s Leadership in politics. Her name, Polly Baca. I had NO idea who this woman was. Quite honestly, I haven’t paid much attention to local politicos over the years. My attention has always been on the major Presidential race every four years.

I asked Polly if she wanted to grab a drink.  We passed through the crowd of women who were already comfortably networking in small circles.  Polly and I sat in the very back side of the bar, removed from everyone, except the bartender.  Little did I know, I was sitting with the first woman elected to the Colorado House of Representatives and, later, to the state senate, Polly Baca-Barragán (born 1943) was the first Hispanic woman elected to those offices.

I sat in awe as Polly shared her life experiences with me that included being one of Bobby Kennedy and JFK’s staff members as well as Special Assistant to Bill Clinton during the Clinton Administration. We talked about the Bay of Pigs, her longstanding relationship with the Democratic National Conventions and her love affair with politics and history.

Polly and I talked about women and politics and the need for more LAND the role of leadership in this country. Sadly, we fall short when it comes to women leaders – not because they don’t exist but because electing women isn’t the norm, YET.

Polly was so dear and kind. We laughed, especially when she told me she married and divorced, TWICE, the father to her two children, who was also a Priest!!!

Polly has been working with LARASA as the Executive Director. The mission of the Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA) is to lead and influence change to improve the quality of life for Latinos in Colorado.

POLLY BACA’S BIG LIFE

It was as if two old pals had been reunited. It was one of the more interesting evenings of my life.

The White House Project

In Equality, Leadership, Motherhood, Nimble, Politics, Social Media, Women on March 31, 2008 at 4:59 am

WhitehouseProject

I have no idea where I got the email about The White House Project Leadership Training. I am not surprised however, as I tend to sign up for newsletters by the dozen. The newsletter arrived in my email box late one night and I decided to sign up for the training that was coming to Denver, CO. Why not?  The application process was straightforward and I sent it off without hesitation.

I have often toyed with the idea of getting involved in politics and perhaps running for office. This was a perfect segway into my aspirations of getting involved and learning more about the process and what it really does take to run.

*I will share the weekend in several parts as it was vast!*

MISSION:

The White House Project, a national, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization, 501(c)(3), aims to advance women’s leadership in all communities and sectors, up to the U.S. presidency. By filling the leadership pipeline with a richly diverse, critical mass of women, we make American institutions, businesses and government truly representative. Through multi-platform programs, The White House Project creates a culture where America’s most valuable untapped resource—women—can succeed in all realms.

To advance this mission, The White House Project strives to support women and the issues that allow women to lead in their own lives and in the world. When women leaders bring their voices, vision and leadership to the table alongside men, the debate is more robust and the policy is more inclusive and sustainable. By supporting women and the values that allow women to succeed—the full range of health options, security platforms that utilize all our resources, economic stability for all—we work to create an equitable culture.

FRIDAY NIGHT:

What an amazing night! Let me just start by saying… the enthusiasm was awesome! When women come together is always very powerful because we are not afraid to express what we are passionate about. I was honored to be surrounded by such strength and wisdom. The women ranged in age from 17-65.  The evening kicked off with a ‘Why Women Matter Panel.’

  • Polly Baca – First woman of color to serve in the Colorado State Senate, President and CEO of Latin America Research and Service Agency (LARASA)
  • Nancy McNally – Mayor, City of Westminster
  • Gail Schoettler – Former Ambassador and Lieutenant Governor
  • Suzanne Williams – Colorado State Senator, SD28

As you can see, the panelists were impressive. Their accomplishments great and each one spoke with such integrity.

WOMEN DO MATTER and the reason we have to continue to remind people of this is because of these startling statistics:

If this isn’t enough to make your jaw drop you can visit CAWP for more information.  As you can see, there is a problem. Women need to be at the table having the conversations, leading the decision making process and orchestrating PRO-ACTIVE strategies rather than REACTIVE responses and sometimes no response.

So, yes, it is imperative that women GO, LEAD, RUN!

Shirley Chisholm: Unbought and Unbossed

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2008 at 4:10 pm

chisholm I know that I didn’t read the history books from cover to cover when I was a student. I did however, educate myself politically over the years and somehow, I missed Shirley Chisholm. How is that possible?  She was the first African American women to run for the Presidency of the United States in 1971.

Through The White House Projectand the Political Leadership Training, is where I learned of Shirley Chisholm and where the Documentary ‘Shirley Chisholm: Unbought and Unbiased’ was featured.  I watched the documentary in awe and highly recommend you find it and watch it. It is one of the greatest clips of political history I have seen.  What I realized as I watched this film was how so littlehas changed, politically speaking. We were in Viet Nam in the lat 60’s and early 70’s and now in 2008 we have been in Iraq for five years… both  needlessly. We are watching a black candidate run for President and it is a really important time of transition.  How can we, as a country, as one of the richest and most developed nations in the world be in the very same place? I would have voted for Shirley Chisholm in the 1970’s. She was dynamic. She was a leader. Why do we always default to the white man? I wonder if things will change? Or do we continue to have the same wars, the same conflict, the same conversations?

Shirley Chisholm was the most dynamic candidate that I have seen in a long time. She spoke her mind and was incredibly strategic.  I haven’t in my lifetime witnessed such spunk in a candidate. She was indeed a trailblazer.

LEARN MORE:

In 1964, Chisholm ran for and was elected to the New York State Legislature. She then ran as the Democratic candidate for New York’s 12th District congressional seat and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1968, defeating Republican candidate James Farmer and becoming the first African-American woman elected to Congress.

As a freshman, Chisholm was assigned to the House Agricultural Committee. Given her urban district, she felt the placement was a waste of time and shocked many by demanding reassignment. She was then placed on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Soon after, she voted for Hale Boggs as House Majority Leader over John Conyers. As a reward for her support, Boggs assigned her to the much-prized Education and Labor Committee; she was the third-highest ranking member when she retired.

Chisholm joined the Congressional Black Caucus in 1969, as one of its founding members. In 1972, she made a bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, receiving 152 delegate votes,[citation needed] but ultimately losing the nomination to South Dakota Senator George McGovern. Chisholm’s base of support was ethnically diverse and included the National Organization for Women. Among the volunteers who were inspired by her campaign was Barbara Lee, who would go on to become a congresswoman some 25 years later. (Currently, Barbara Lee has a couple of pieces of legislation that would honor Shirley Chisholm, including H Con Res 9, calling on the US Postal Service to create a stamp honoring her, and HR 176, which would create a program to encourage educational exchanges between the US and Caribbean nations.) Chisholm said she ran for the office

in spite of hopeless odds, . . . to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo.”

Chisholm created controversy when she visited rival and ideological opposite George Wallace in the hospital soon after his shooting in May 1972, during the 1972 presidential primary campaign. Several years later, when Chisholm worked on a bill to give domestic workers the right to a minimum wage, Wallace got her the votes of enough southern congressmen to push the legislation through the House. Throughout her tenure in Congress, Chisholm would work to improve opportunities for inner-city residents. She was a vocal opponent of the draft and supported spending increases for education, healthcare and other social services, and reductions in military spending. She announced her retirement from Congress in 1982, and was replaced by a fellow Democrat, Major Owens, in 1983. After leaving Congress, Chisholm was named to the Purington Chair at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she taught for four years. She was also very popular on the lecture circuit.

In February 2005, Shirley Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed, a documentary film [4] was aired on U.S. public television. It chronicles Chisholm’s 1972 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. It was directed and produced by independent, black woman filmmaker Shola Lynch. The film was featured at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004. On, April 9, 2006, the film was announced as a winner of a Peabody Award.

Chisholm retired to Florida and died on January 1, 2005. She is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo.

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