Politi­cians’ sto­ries, ex­pe­ri­ence in­spire oth­ers at Run Jane Run

Wiarton Echo - - PAST AND PRESENT -

DON CROSBY/COR­RE­SPON­DENT WITH FILES FROM ZOE KESSLER

Ed­i­tor

Or­ga­niz­ers of a mu­nic­i­pal cam­paign school for women are pleased with par­tic­i­pa­tion over the week­end.

Pat Far­rar, chair of the work­shop, said the event had ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions.

“The qual­ity of the speak­ers and the in­for­ma­tion peo­ple have been given, I think one of the best things I at­tended for a long time,” she said.

The event was held in Ch­es­ley on Satur­day, Nov. 4 with about 25 women in at­ten­dance.

The key­note speaker was Brenda Hal­lo­ran.

Elected mayor of Water­loo in 2006, she led the city through one of its most in­no­va­tive pe­ri­ods, win­ning the in­tel­li­gent com­mu­nity award in 2007 and IBM’s Smarter City Chal­lenge in 2012.

Hal­lo­ran stressed the se­ri­ous­ness of the de­ci­sion to run for mu­nic­i­pal of­fice and the ef­fects on fam­ily and per­sonal life.

“There are a lot of de­ci­sions to be made and you make them based on your own in­for­ma­tion, lis­ten­ing and learn­ing you have to know all of the ins and outs be­fore you make that de­ci­sion,” she said.

Hal­lo­ran said if a woman is pas­sion­ate about her com­mu­nity she should se­ri­ously con­sider get­ting in­volved and stressed the im­por­tance of bring­ing a fe­male per­spec­tive to the council ta­ble.

“If you are re­ally pas­sion­ate about your com­mu­nity and see things you don’t like hap­pen­ing, then you should think about step­ping up and get­ting in­volved,” she said.

“We do need 50 per cent rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women on council, be­cause we are half the com­mu­nity.”

Among the guest speak­ers was Judy Gay, a mem­ber of the “women’s council” in Lon­don, headed up by Jane Bigelow, the first woman to serve as mayor in that city.

Closer to home she served on Geor­gian Bluffs council where she chaired the town­ship fi­nance com­mit­tee and was a mem­ber of the Geor­gian Bluffs en­vi­ron­men­tal com­mit­tee. She also served on the boards of Grey Sauble Con­ser­va­tion Au­thor­ity and Owen Sound and North Grey Union Pub­lic Li­brary.

She pre­sented tips on how to run an ef­fec­tive cam­paign, which in­cluded at­tend­ing council and other pub­lic com­mit­tees and meet­ings to be­come a more fa­mil­iar pub­lic face. She also touched on the use of signs and brochures in a cam­paign and the im­por­tance of go­ing door to door.

An­drea Sten­berg stressed the im­por­tance of so­cial me­dia in a mod­ern day cam­paign. Sten­berg is a so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing con­sul­tant who helps baby boomer en­trepreneurs nav­i­gate a crowded mar­ket and po­si­tion them­selves as ex­perts and get clients to con­tact them us­ing Linkedin, Face­book and other on­line mar­ket­ing tools.

In her pre­sen­ta­tion she drew heav­ily on the suc­cesses of Cal­gary Mayor Na­heed Nen­shi and his use of so­cial me­dia. She noted a re­cent change in the use of so­cial me­dia that in­cludes use of video, some­thing that can eas­ily be done us­ing a cell­phone.

She said Nen­shi was par­tic­u­larly suc­cess­ful at get­ting the 18- to 29-year-old de­mo­graphic in­volved.

Anne Fin­lay-Ste­wart dis­cussed ways of mak­ing the tra­di­tional work in a cam­paign.

Fin­lay-Ste­wart wrote a col­umn for the Sun Times, then went on to be­come a writer for Owen Sound Hub.org, which she later bought. A cam­paign man­ager in the days be­fore so­cial me­dia, she learned the joys and pit­falls of work­ing the main­stream me­dia.

She stressed the im­por­tance of us­ing main­stream me­dia through writ­ing let­ters to the ed­i­tor. She also stressed the im­por­tance of get­ting pub­lic­ity by at­tend­ing council meet­ings. Get on lo­cal phone-in shows and ca­ble net­work pro­grams and at­tend events when in­vited, she said.

The day ended with a panel dis­cus­sion, along with guests ed­u­ca­tion trustee Jim Daw­son and Kim­ber­ley Love.

Sev­eral women who at­tended the work­shop said the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the speak­ers helped them firm up their plans to get more in­volved po­lit­i­cally.

Ann Marie Had­cock of South Bruce Penin­sula said she plans to run in the up­com­ing mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

“I love pol­i­tics,” Had­cock said in a tele­phone in­ter­view.

Be­fore now, she said, she was un­sure about whether or not she had the skills to get into pol­i­tics.

“I’ve had peo­ple tell me you shouldn’t do a lot of things; I think women are of­ten un­der­es­ti­mated.”

Had­cock said the life sto­ries and anecdotes shared by the pre­sen­ters at Run Jane Run were the most valu­able el­e­ment of the seminar, es­pe­cially Hal­lo­ran’s story.

“She’s a re­mark­able woman,” Had­cock said.

Had­cock said Hal­lo­ran’s story of over­com­ing the ad­ver­sity of poverty, di­vorce and tak­ing on city hall – which led Hal­lo­ran to run for pol­i­tics – was par­tic­u­larly in­spir­ing.

On a prac­ti­cal level, Had­cock said, she was re­minded that mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics is non-par­ti­san – so it’s im­por­tant not to choose signs in blue or or­ange, for ex­am­ple.

Is­sues like how to find a cam­paign man­ager – make sure it’s some­one you re­ally trust and who’s su­per-or­ga­nized, Had­cock said – and how to work with lo­cal me­dia were also im­por­tant.

“I fol­low pol­i­tics re­li­giously,” she said, but this would be her first time run­ning for of­fice.

“I re­ally like Mayor Jack­son; I think she’s do­ing a great job. She was an in­flu­ence on my de­ci­sion to run,” she said, adding, “I had to get up the nerve to do this.”

Had­cock feels she’s at the right age (38) with enough Ann Marie Had­cock, of South Bruce Penin­sula, at the Run Jane Run seminar in Ch­es­ley, Nov. 4. life and busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence un­der her belt to take the plunge.

“I have enough con­fi­dence now. I think I’d be a good de­ci­sion maker.”

Had­cock, who is from the area, moved away to study but re­turned sev­eral years ago where she now lives and has an art stu­dio in Oliphant.

“I can see some ar­eas where we can make things bet­ter,” she said, es­pe­cially in be­ing able to keep youth in the area and through arts and cul­ture – which ul­ti­mately leads to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, she said.

Vicki McKague of South Bruce also said she is pretty de­ter­mined to run for council.

“I have seen our town have chal­lenges with growth and de­vel­op­ment and I would like to think that I could pos­si­bly make a change for the bet­ter,” she said.

An­drea Ma­trosovs of The Blue Moun­tains ran in the 2006 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion but was de­feated. Later she was nom­i­nated as the fed­eral Lib­eral can­di­date for Sim­coe Grey in 2007. She was de­feated by Helena Guer­gis.

“At this point I want to be en­gaged in, ac­tive in, the next up­com­ing elec­tion cam­paign whether it’s my own cam­paign or sup­port­ing an­other woman,” she said.

Long time South­gate res­i­dent Carol Wat­son said she is giv­ing care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion to run­ning for deputy-mayor in the up­com­ing elec­tion.

“It’s not of­fi­cial un­til nom­i­na­tion pa­pers are filed,” she stressed.

Carol Mer­ton of Owen Sound said after at­tend­ing the work­shop she has been en­cour­aged to run for Owen Sound council.

“I’m re­ally se­ri­ously think­ing about it now,” she said.

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