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Building a POWERful Future

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Pictured: Presenters speak to a class at Ready to Run, the Glenn College's POWER campaign training conference.

Featured Experts

Pamela Siekman
Co-founder, Siekman and Siekman
Erin Scott
Co-Founder and -Director, Ohio Women’s Alliance, Program Manager, Glenn College POWER Programs
Emily Quick Schriver
CEO, The Matriots

By Erin Trueman

Female leaders are working together to “avert a fiscal disaster” in a polarized Washington, D.C., wrote Emily Cochrane in a February New York Times article.

For the first time ever, the five individuals leading federal spending negotiations are all women: Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Representative Kay Granger (R-Texas), Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) and Shalanda Young, the first Black woman to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

“All of these women have achieved this stature in U.S. politics because they seek to put the American people and the good of the country before power and partisanship,” said Pamela Siekman, co-founder of Siekman and Siekman, a public affairs firm in Columbus. “Good policy is good politics.”

In news articles discussing the bipartisan committee and their work at the center of the funding debate in Washington, the themes about the women and their work are consistent: compromise, collegiality and concern for their communities and the people who would be impacted by a government shutdown.

Siekman and other members of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs POWER Commission discuss trends in storytelling on women’s leadership, including stories about leaders at the highest levels of government, and how we can ensure the success of women in public service.

POWER Balance

Erin Scott, co-founder and -director of the Ohio Women’s Alliance and program manager of the Glenn College POWER programs, is reassured by the women and their unique talents for compromise and negotiation, but she is honest about certain truths of power in politics.

“It’s encouraging to see collegial, civil discourse among women leaders of opposing political parties, especially in the name of budgeting and financial oversight of our government,” said Scott. “Unsurprisingly, the narrative is about women serving the role of convenor and bridge-builder.”

We are constantly called upon to ‘reach across the aisle’ and embrace people with differing viewpoints who often seek to take away our power, particularly women of color or LGBT+ women leaders.

Erin Scott
Co-Founder and -Director, Ohio Women’s Alliance, Program Manager, Glenn College POWER Programs

While some power struggles are inevitable, Emily Quick Schriver, chief executive officer of The Matriots, a nonpartisan political action committee dedicated to supporting, endorsing and encouraging Ohio women candidates, is more frustrated with the imbalance in storytelling. She doubts an entire article would be dedicated to explaining why five men, with similar time in office, deserve their roles.

“The women in charge of Appropriations and OMB — and the Department of Treasury, not mentioned in the (New York Times) article — are seasoned, knowledgeable and courageous,” Quick Schriver said. “Plus, they have the drive to find solutions instead of political rancor. However, the article spends so much time explaining that the women have the experience to do this work.”

Leveraging POWERful Strengths

The women on the appropriations committee are not monoliths for female leaders everywhere, but they have strengths that make them uniquely qualified to work together.

“Women leaders rise to the top because we communicate directly and with purpose,” said Scott. “I look for people who can say a lot by saying a little. In my experience, women are poised to take a position and defend it succinctly or find a solution and communicate it through the right channels with haste.”

Quick Schriver feels hopeful about the committee’s work and the future of women in politics. 

“Women leaders often work to understand the business, political and economic implications of a decision and the real-life impact on their community,” Quick Schriver said. “Because they balance these things, they are often determined to work toward solutions that actually resolve a problem for people.

While understanding politics matters for the negotiations, women are putting people, communities and families ahead of divides. I’m hopeful it leads to creative solutions.

Emily Quick Schriver
CEO, The Matriots

A POWERful Future

If creative, community-first decisions happen with women around the table, how do we ensure a future with more committees that look like this one? 

Siekman explained that spotting talent isn’t easy, but there are certain qualities that make a solid public leader. 

“What I look for are women who ask questions, don’t make excuses, remain steadfast and are coachable,” she said. “They should have a desire for curiosity and a healthy level of confidence in their abilities.”

When women have no female peers in a boardroom, it can be hard to develop confidence, so Siekman focuses on creating space for mentorship. 

“I try to make myself available to share my experiences, my story, and my path,” Siekman said. “This means sharing the uncomfortable and embarrassing parts of the story. The failures, setbacks, as well as the smiles. Ultimately, I seek to inspire through deeds, not words.”

Scott encourages young women to start careers in public service. To do so, she said, representation matters. 

“To continue recruiting women into public service, we need more stories like this one featuring the women who are proudly taking up space in American politics,” Scott said.

If we ever envision a day, however, when articles about high-achieving women are commonplace, we need to build a pipeline of leaders into politics, said Quick Schriver. 


Programs for Ohio Women Empowered to Represent

The Glenn College POWER commission is dedicated to supporting women seeking public office.

Learn more about POWER.

“We build a pipeline of future women,” said Quick Schriver, “by doing three things: explaining political concepts in laywomen’s terms, making it accessible; showcasing both political and political-adjacent work and how women can bring a fresh perspective; building strong networks that support women as they seek space in public service.”


Explore professional development programs offered by the Glenn College.