By Clare S. Richie
Before the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and the 2017 women’s marches that followed, Jina Sanone put her corporate career on hold to pursue her lifelong interest in women’s leadership.
After a year of researching national and local efforts, finding her niche and forming partnerships, she’s ready to launch Elect Her. It’s a nonprofit focused on the targeted recruitment of progressive women in viable districts to run for elected positions in Georgia.
“We don’t have enough women representing us in government,” Sanone explained.
Georgia ranks near the bottom on that score. No woman currently serves in an elected statewide office in Georgia, and the state has never elected a woman governor or woman senator. At the state level, women comprise just a quarter of the General Assembly.
“It’s really about building a pipeline,” Sanone said. “Women need to be asked and often aren’t.”
Elect her will recruit accomplished women active in their communities, such as alumni of leadership trainings or referrals from advocacy groups. Though, since the presidential election more women are starting to raise their hands.
“Women are coming to us – motivated right now by national politics but wanting to also have a local impact,” Sanone said.
Sanone and her growing team, which includes newly elected state representative Rennitta Shannon (District 84), are ready to provide guidance to help women decide whether or not to throw their hat into the ring.
Elect Her will help each potential candidate think through, “What does she want to accomplish? What interests her – local, state or federal office? What does she have to run on?” Sanone explained. When applicable, Elect Her will refer these women to partners that offer training, like Georgia’s Win list and Vote Run Lead.
Simultaneously, Elect Her is building a list of districts using election results and new research to map out opportunities where women can win at the city, county, state or federal level.
Women’s leadership and politics has always been in Sanone’s blood. During her 17 years at Delta, she founded She Leads, an organization that brings awareness to barriers women leaders face in their careers. Prior to that she worked for a polling firm that specialized in candidate and issue strategy.
Through Elect Her, Sanone will focus on the 2018 elections but recognizes this effort is a marathon not a sprint.
“Targeted recruiting can move the needle, drive results and elect more women,” Sanone said.
For more information, visit electher.org.