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I am excited to announce we launched VoteRunLead last week, the first online platform for women to learn to run and lead. We are challenging the nation to invite 50,000 women to run by election day on November 4th. If each of us invites three women to run we can exceed our goal. You'll be hearing more from me in the coming weeks and months. So excited to be part of this talented and vibrant community!


September 9, 2014

VoteRunLead issues challenge to nation to invite 50,000 women to run for political office by election day and half-a-million by 2016

Partnering with Target and Omidyar Network, VoteRunLead to build largest network of women leaders in history

NEW YORK--On Wednesday, September 10, VoteRunLead will launch the first online platform to reshape who leads America and release Invitation Nation, an e-tool for Americans to invite the women in their lives to run for office. VoteRunLead Executive Director Erin Vilardi announced that the organization’s signature program Invitation Nation will reach five million people who will invite half-a-million women to run for local and state offices across the United States.

VoteRunLead is partnering with Target and Omidyar Network, as well as a growing list of top national and local organizations to help launch this innovative initiative.

“With women comprising 45 percent of our leadership team, we not only value women’s leadership and participation within our corporation, it is a critical part of our success,” said Irene Quarshie, Director of Government Affairs for Target. “We’re stronger because of our diverse leadership, and we want to help build the same kind of diversity and strength in communities across the country by helping to encourage the next wave of women leaders.”

At the current rate of progress for female representation, men will be the majority of political officeholders for the next 500 years. Currently, in the nation’s 100 largest cities, only 13 percent of mayors are women and three percent are women of color. Nearly half of all U.S. states have never had a woman governor. And women of color comprise only five percent of the nearly 7,500 state legislators across the country. VoteRunLead believes that critical voices are missing from policy discussions and solutions across the nation, but this exciting initiative can change this around. “Invitation Nation is tapping into the brilliance of American women to create a tidal wave of diverse new state and local leaders,” Vilardi said. “We need to unleash the full potential of this democracy by inviting a nation of women to run. VoteRunLead uses the power of our social networks and the ease of technology to reach them. Our mobile phones and laptops are our best recruitment tools.”

VoteRunLead’s strategy to accelerate the number of women at the leadership table is simple: Invite them on a massive scale. In our peer-to-peer economy, people donate to causes their friends support and read news stories their friends send them. VoteRunLead is challenging the nation to spend their peer social capital to get more women in office by asking three women in their lives to run.

“We’re going to hurry history by identifying political talent and by building the largest network of women leaders this country has ever seen,” said Vilardi.

VoteRunLead is the first women's initiative funded by the Omidyar Network. “A vibrant, well-functioning democracy requires active participation by all segments of society. For too long women have been underrepresented in our country, and VoteRunLead’s use of technology will enable millions of Americans to strengthen their communities by recruiting women candidates to run for office and shape representative governments that ensure all voices are heard and all perspectives are represented,” said Stacy Donohue, investment partner, Omidyar Network.

 VoteRunLead will continue its rollout throughout the fall with the launch of a new website with crowd-sourced resources, and its first national “Go Run” training for women to be held in Minneapolis following the November elections.

“We’re excited to help host the first ‘National Go Run’ training here in Minnesota,” said Lee Roper-Batker of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. “We have seen firsthand the power of women leaders - from grantees to elected officials – to positively affect our communities across the state. VoteRunLead will only help accelerate progress all over the country.”


VoteRunLead is unleashing the power of women in our democracy. Through Invitation Nation, 500,000 women will be invited to run for office. VoteRunLead supports women candidates with training, innovative technology, and is poised to create the largest online network of women leaders across the country.

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