Join Patrice Lee, National Spokeswoman for Generation Opportunity and Independent Women’s Forum Senior Fellow, at American University on March 28 to hear her speak about how big government hinders big dreams and why young people should care about the size of government. We caught up with her and asked her advice for NeW members. Check out her recommendations and insight below.
What advice do you have for young conservative women today?
You have a voice, we need you to make it heard. The lift to preserve the structures and institutions that created this country and continue to make it great is heavy. The attacks on the free market and blessings of a free society from those who cloak socialist policies in free-market language are only intensifying. We need as many voices weighing in within their spheres of influence as possible. What’s great is social media is the biggest microphone to come along since TV.
What is the best lesson you learned early on in your career?
Speak up – don’t wait for someone to call on you/recognize you/reward you. Women tend to put their head down and get to work expecting someone to notice their efforts. Whether asking for a raise or voicing your opinion in class, you have to be proactive and vocal. Otherwise, you may never get what you’re looking for or contribute your voice.
And when speaking use assertive, affirmative language. Stop being apologetic for your ideas and opinions or framing your comments as questions.
Many of our students want to become writers. How would you recommend becoming a writer for young professionals?
Three things a writer needs: passion, consistency, and a thick skin. It begins with figuring out what issue(s) get you riled up enough to rant about it on social media. Now, think about taking that rant and expanding it to 500-600 coherent words for a blog post or article. Next, identify someone willing to run what you have to say (even if it’s your own blog). You’ve now become a writer.
The hardest part is not starting out as a writer, but consistency. To build a career or even have a side hustle where you regularly get published, you need to constantly put out content. If you’re not passionate about the topics, you won’t be motivated to keep writing.
Once you’re published and shared on social media, your writing may get beaten up and it will feel like they’re punching you in the stomach. Recover from the gut-punch, take the feedback and change what’s wrong, but otherwise stick to your guns. At least you know people are paying attention to what you have to say.
What political issue is most important to you and why?
Economic mobility is number one. The lack of mobility touches every person and explains the social and political issues exploding in society. Economic mobility is why my parents uprooted us from the Caribbean to restart life in a dangerous Boston neighborhood. It’s what I think about when I look at our generation struggling under the weight of high student loan payments who can’t afford to save for a house or to buy a car. A lack of economic mobility creates an opening for young men and women to be exploited by evil people for sinister motives both here and abroad: human traffickers, terrorists, racists demagogues.
The conservative world is in the best position to push policies that lift economic mobility. We don’t want to put everyone on the same path to mediocrity. We want young people to have a better adulthood and future than our parents or grandparents. We want to give everyone a fair shot at success. That is especially inspiring for young people and for immigrants. It’s what I fight for every day.
What value do you think groups like NeW add to the public discourse?
We may be too young for mommy yoga groups and soccer mom coffee sessions, but young women still need a circle to regroup and recharge before we go out to serve those around. Network of enlightened Women creates a place for young women to read, learn, and get active on the issues they care out.
Perhaps, like me you were raised on the milk of freedom, opportunity, and independency from government, but you’ve found your beliefs attacked by those who paint you as narrow-minded. It’s critical to know that on your campus or on a campus a few miles away, another young woman is facing the same challenges. You can encourage each other, share best practices, or find ways to magnify your impact on campus.