WeLead, a nonpartisan leadership training program run by the Women & Politics Institute, works to increase the number of women working in politics and running for office.
Madeline Babin is a Research Associate at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where her policy specialization encompasses international climate change policy, foreign policy, and international human rights law. She conducts research and analysis to inform policy recommendations aiming to address critical issues in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. She also serves as a co-director of the CFR research associate discussion group series, in which she and her co-chairs organize meetings to foster roundtable discussions across diverse policy specializations. Originally from Tampa, Florida, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies with a concentration in Political Science and a minor in Arabic Studies from Boston College.
Prior to joining the Council on Foreign Relations, Madeline interned at the Hudson Institute as a national security and international affairs research intern, where she contributed to an assessment report for the Department of Defense on the future of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East based on emerging strategic challenges and examined the U.S.-China relationship through the lens of strategic competition. While in college, she worked as a program associate at WorldBoston, a World Affairs Council, to facilitate the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI). Launched in 2015, the citizen diplomacy program aims to empower emerging entrepreneurs from across Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States to promote inclusive development and address the opportunity gap for young people, especially women.
Madeline’s authored and co-authored pieces have appeared in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Crisis Response Journal, CFR.org, and other publications. She is particularly passionate about elevating the voices of women and other historically under-prioritized and underrepresented communities as powerful levers of political change.
Marshele Bryant is a Legislative Assistant for Congressman Mike Quigley and manages a diverse portfolio that includes Foreign Affairs, Racial Justice, Immigration, Homeland Security, and Veterans. She hails from Chesapeake, Virginia and credits Election Night 2000 – when she was just 8 years old – as the moment that sparked her passion for politics and public service. She has carried that passion with her throughout her career in community and political organizing, and now during her time on the Hill.
She previously completed a Women’s Congressional Policy Institute Fellowship in the office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee. During the 2020 election cycle, she served as a trainer and coaching specialist for numerous local, state, and national organizations, including Black Voters Matter and Rock the Vote. She also served as a national organizing staffer on the 2020 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and as the Statewide Vote Director for the Virginia Student Power Network.
Marshele received her Master's in International Relations and Global Studies from Northeastern University and her Bachelor’s in Political Science from Howard University. While attending Howard University, she interned in the Office of the Vice President during the Obama Administration. She was initiated into the Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and remains an active member. She loves music, history, food, fitness, and spending time with her amazing family, including her dog Leonidas (Leo) “The Legend.”
Gianna Judkins is a Howard University graduate and proud native Angeleno. In 2017, Gianna earned her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Strategic, Legal, and Management Communication from Howard University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) at The George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management.
Gianna is deeply passionate about advocacy, community service, civic engagement, and public policy. She proudly served on the Empowerment Congress Southwest Area Neighborhood Development Council to serve the Gramercy Park, Manchester Square, Morningside Circle, and Vermont Knolls communities in Los Angeles.
Furthermore, Gianna has experience working for DC Government (Executive Office of the Mayor), the US House of Representatives (Congresswoman Jahana Hayes), the US Senate (Fmr. Senator Claire McCaskill) & non-profit organizations. She has also worked in two presidential campaign cycles (HFA 16’ & Booker 20’) while supporting local municipal elections and issue-based campaigns.
Gianna’s volunteerism and advocacy efforts have led her to join community engagement organizations such as the YWCA (2019-2020 YWCA Young Women’s Advisory Council Member), Anbryce Foundation (College and Career Coach), Young People For (Vote Fellow 2016-2017) and New Leaders Council (2020 Fellow). She now serves as a board member on the Reading Partners Young Professionals Board to advance educational equity by closing the literacy gap. She is also a proud member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Los Angeles Chapter.
Gianna is truly passionate about using her experiences to empower other young people to create the change they wish to see in the world. Gianna firmly believes that it doesn’t matter who you are or your background; you aren’t limited to your zip code or tax bracket to make a change. Gianna believes that the best part of making a difference is serving others and making room for everyone to have a seat at the table.
Lisa Vedernikova Khanna is the Director of Strategic Planning at the DNC. Prior to her time at the DNC, Lisa served as the chief of staff to the publisher and executive chairman of the New York Times for five years. She also previously worked in the office of the COO on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Lisa is an alumni of New York University. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and ten week old cavapoo, Mishka.
The Women & Politics Institute provides practical and academic training to women that encourages them to become involved in the political process and facilitates research by faculty and students that enhances our understanding of the challenges and opportunities women face in the political arena.
Only with your help can we offer more courses, enroll more students, train more young women to run for office, conduct more research, convene more special events, and ensure that women have a seat at all of the tables where the most important decisions are made.
Together, we will change the face of politics!
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