Tanya Neslusan is a lifelong resident of the conservative Central Massachusetts district where she is now running to unseat an incumbent. The first district is gigantic - and diverse - and Tanya tries to find common ground at every door she knocks. And she knocks on those doors every single day. Tanya lives in Sturbridge with her wife, Rebecca, her teenage son, Nick, two dogs and cat. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts and has spent the majority of her career working in health insurance information technology.
Sophie Hansen, LCSW, is Political Director of National Association of Social Workers, MA chapter. She is an expert on talking to legislators, because getting lawmakers to do things is pretty much her job. Plus, Sophie helps get social workers to be legislative advocates. Here's her expert tips on speaking to lawmakers. First, establish common ground - find something in the district to establish a bond as people. Then tell your reasons for asking for action. Sophie cautions that you don't have to be an expert on the language of the bill - but you should share your passion. Don't forget to have a definite "ask," either to vote a certain way, to sponsor a bill, etc. And finally, make the legislator accountable. Ask when you can contact again to check in, ask if there is a certain aide that works on the issue. Find a way to get a response to your request. You're their constituent, she reminds us. They need and want to talk to us, to hear what we care about.
Sophie is also a member of the speakers' bureau at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARC). where she takes off her social work and lobbyist hats to talk about her own personal experience. It's a different type of speaking than she does at her day job, and she shares her experience of the vulnerability and power of telling her own story.
Take the Mic, Episode #13 Guest Tahirah Amatul-Wadud is running for Congress in the First Massachusetts District. You should know about her.
When Tahirah Amatul-Wadud was a little girl, her mother used to say that there was "no adult conversation she couldn't find her way into." (She admits she was pretty "nosy and vocal" as a child.) She's harnessed that interest and energy to become an exceptionally confident and engaging speaker and an electrifying candidate for US Congress. She tells us about why she is so confident, why she's taking on a long time incumbent, and some of the challenges she's overcoming.
Take the Mic, Episode #13 - Guest Sabrina Heisey is "done" with the status quo in MA state policy. That's why she's running for a 36th Middlesex State Rep Seat.
Sabrina Heisey is a professional, a mother of six, and a candidate for MA state office. That means every night after work, she and her family head out for canvassing. What is it like to canvass as a progressive in a district that voted for Trump? And what's it like to campaign as you truly are - with the confidence, bravery, and at times, vulnerability? Sabrina Heisey has a unique story and a unique campaign, and you should know about it.
Take the Mic, Episode #12 - Guest Marie K. Shanahan talks about "The Lord of the Flies" world of online commenting.
Marie K. Shanahan as been a journalist, both print and online, for many years. Now an associate professor of journalism at the University of Connecticut, she focuses on the intersection of journalism and digital communication. Marie is the author of Journalism, Online Comments, and the Future of Public Discourse. You can learn more about her at mariekshanahan.com. Also, check out“Troll Busters,” which Marie referred to. They provide "online pest control for journalists."
What's your experience with online commenting? Great? Terrible? Please share in comments below.
Take the Mic Episode #11, Becca Rausch, candidate for MA State Legislature, talks about how her choreography experience makes her a better public speaker.
Becca Rausch is a lawyer, a candidate for Massachusetts State Senate, and a professional dancer. She tells us how that background in performance has helped her become a much better speaker. (Hint: It's all about choreography!) Becca shares how her activism, her family, and experiencing anti-semitism as a student helped shape her candidacy. And, she gives a secret remedy for calming ourselves right at the podium.
You'll notice when you listen to Michelle Ciccolo, that she sounds confident. Perhaps it's that she's honed her speaking skills in her long time work as an Assistant Town Manager, interim Town Manager, and Community Development Director of towns in her region of the state. And now as an elected official in Lexington, she's always talking to constituents - and she's got opinions on how best to engage and involve those citizens - even when they don't agree with the plan! She also has some encouragement for women candidates who would also like to sound more confident. Learn more about Michelle's candidacy here. Like the podcast? Subscribe at iTunes!
Take the Mic Episode #9 Lindsay Sabadosa and the journey from 9-year-old activist to candidate for statewide office.
Take the Mic Episode #8 Guest Julie Flowers talks about being a shy kid who became a city councilor and an ordained minister- and does both at the same time!
Julie Flowers was so as shy as a kid that she says "Nobody would have picked me out as a future politician." But that's exactly what the Beverly, MA resident is - at-large city councilor and a pastor at the First Baptist Church.. Julie credits a somewhat surprising experience with helping her become more outgoing - retail! Working in clothing stores helped her approach strangers more easily and quickly make human connections. Now of course she uses those "Can I help you?s" with citizens and parishioners, and its never as simple as just getting a new size of jeans!
Listen to Julie talk about the fun and the challenges of speaking everywhere from candidate forums to the pulpit and also explains her new appreciation of door-knocking.
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Take the Mic Episode #7 Playwright and performer Laurie McCants on telling the story you didn't think you would tell
Laurie McCants shares the process of how she created Industrious Angels, a story "about the crafting of stories," which she'll be performing at KO Festival of Performance in Amherst, MA Aug. 3-5. Laurie, the co-founder of the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble , reveals her challenges, surprises, and discoveries in a way that will inspire any woman who has struggled to find her story. (Even if her story is not, like Laurie's, "a solo hand-crafted-story-spinning-shadow-puppet-memory-play-with-music evoking the secret creative lives of women, mother/daughter bloodlines, and the ghost of Emily Dickinson.")
Laurie also tells us something surprising about her experience of public speaking, and offers some great tools to feel more relaxed and grounded on stage.