Since the election of Trump, the Women’s March, and the #MeToo movement began, a record number of women have stepped up to the place and signed on to run for office. From seeking out seats in Congress to taking over the Governor’s mansion to local elections, women of color—specifically, black women—are taking a hold of the political reigns to get America back on track.
However, women are not only running for office, but they also have been working behind the scenes to help get candidates elected to office. In fact, here in Atlanta, some of the top campaign operatives are African American women.
From running presidential campaigns to training future candidates to prepare for office, these top Atlanta women are breaking barriers, glass ceilings, and stereotypes as they take over the political scene throughout the state.
Meet Georgia’s top political consultants who are also African American women: Myesha Good, LaDawn Jones, Meredith Lilly, Keisha Carter, and Candice Franklin.
Good and Jones are co-owners of PolitaCoach LLC., a training company that prepares future candidates to run for office.
“Running for office is a science and the most successful candidates combine political science with their community engagement to be successful. PolitaCoach helps candidates get the elements to win their race,” Good explained.
In addition to training candidates, the duo has opened The Headquarters, a co-working space designed with other political consultants in mind.
Located on Auburn Avenue in the old Open for Business co-working space in downtown Atlanta, The Headquarters is one of the first political co-working spaces in the country. Jones and Good designed it to allow progressive political consultants a space to host meetings, campaign events, and fundraisers, as well as to coordinate field organizing activities like phone banking.
“We wanted to build a community of campaign managers, field managers, communications directors, graphic designers, and fundraising consultants so that The Headquarters is a one-stop shop for serious candidates,” Jones added.
The co-working space boasts both modern and patriotic décor and is centrally accessible to the entire metro Atlanta area.
The PolitaCoach duo met when Good served as the campaign manager for Jones’ successful bid for the Georgia House. Independently, the women have helped several candidates from judges to school board members run for elected office and win.
In 2017, the politacoaches realized that to increase wins for Democrats around the country, more attention needed to be paid to recruiting candidates and preparing them for their run for office two or more years before they decide to run.
After training viable candidates, Jones and Good hand them off to other African American political consultants to win their race. Carter and Franklin are a couple of those consultants.
In the political arena, both Carter and Franklin are two of the most prolific campaign fundraisers in the state. Boasting millions of dollars raised for candidates, both women are heavily sought after for their experience in raising the money to win the race.
Also, in this small sorority of consultants is Meredith Lilly, who worked on the race to elect President Barack Obama and Mayor Kasim Reed among many others. Both Lilly and Franklin have worked on campaigns as campaign managers which act as the brain of any successful campaign.
These women make consulting on campaigns look easy. However, the high-stress and often combative world of politics requires a level of sophistication and passion that these women possess.
The women all understand the importance of having quality elected officials to make America progress.
On women in politics: Being involved behind the scenes as afforded me the ability to recognize viable candidates and help them through the political process by providing training, consultation, mentoring, support and encouragement, in particular, for first-time candidates and women. My goal is to help you get to the finish line and win!
My most memorable campaign:
My most memorable campaign was serving as campaign manager for former State Representative LaDawn Blackett-Jones’s race, in which she was the only woman on the ballot against three men. With a strategic and well thought out field plan and a dynamic team, we were able to go to the run-off against a well-known candidate and won the runoff election.
What is the best piece of advice you would give someone considering running for office:
Running for office is admirable but my advice is to understand what the office you’re running for does, make sure you are already involved in your community, and understand what the needs of the district are before you run for office. Also, please call PolitaCoach for all your campaign needs.
On women in politics: Anyone can do anything when they only do things for themselves. Women must serve to help open the door to issues only women truly understand.
Most memorable campaign moments: My most memorable campaign was serving as state director for Sanders for President 2016. It was exhilarating the type of support the campaign received and witnessing how a grassroots organization began the political revolution we are experiencing today. Being a part of a small organization that made such a big impact on modern politics was a life-altering experience.