The “It Begins Here” Fellowship Program directly supports women in Texas seeking political office and public appointments. 

Dallas, Texas (July 14, 2021) ReflectUS Texas is pleased to announce the first publication of a series of blogs featuring the stories of the inaugural cohort members of the “It Begins Here” Fellowship Program. The fellowship program is geared towards Texas women from working-class backgrounds and supporting them in their political leadership journeys.

Since April 2021, the start of this 12-month program, fellows have participated in workshops, capacity-building training, group discussions and networking opportunities to guide and support their new and existing goals of seeking political and government leadership roles throughout Texas. Workshops have been led by ReflectUS Coalition members, national partners, and local experts on topics ranging from campaign fundraising and financing, public speaking and storytelling, campaign staff selection, financial management, and much more.  

“Texas is filled with working class women who are natural leaders and caretakers in their families. This nontraditional program is specifically targeted to continue to develop their natural leadership skills, supporting them in creating an even greater impact. In just a few short months, the ReflectUS Fellows have learned how to launch their campaigns, budget their personal finances, seek public appointments to Boards and Commission, and carefully craft their personal story to shed light on the barriers that exist for women. ReflectUS continues to bring together national thought-leaders, experts, elected officials, and advocates in the women’s representation movement to Texas to invest in women,” said Cecilia Silva, ReflectUS Texas Program Manager.

One of the unique aspects of the “It Begins Here” Fellowship Program has been the storytelling training conducted with each Fellow. ReflectUS is working with each Fellow to elevate their profiles as community leaders and advocates. 

ReflectUS is working intimately with each Fellow to create compelling content that frames their experiences in politics and sheds light on the ways to overcome those obstacles. Each blog post is an insightful piece by the Fellows who highlight their personal journeys towards political leadership. ReflectUS will be publishing a new blog post monthly. With each publication ReflectUS Fellows will continue to add insight and personal examples while also offering solutions, suggestions and encouragement to other Texas women.

“Writing this blog post presented me with a chance to develop my own skills as a storyteller and feel confident that my lived experiences are needed and useful in political leadership,’ said Karem Montemayor, ReflectUS Fellow and author of the blog post, What It Means to Be Political, ‘I am proud to have used my personal and professional experiences to help shed light on the need for more diverse voices in government. Being an “It Begins Here” Fellow has given me the opportunity to create conversations around the importance of political leadership for women like me.“

The first of 12 blog posts can be read on the “In Her Words” Blog and Fellow profiles can be viewed at https://reflect.us/fellowship/

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ReflectUS is a national, nonpartisan coalition working to increase the number of women in office and achieve equal representation across the racial, ideological, ethnic, and geographic spectrum.

Coalition members include Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS), Empowered Women, Higher Heights Leadership Fund, IGNITE National, LatinasRepresent, RepresentWomen, She Should Run, Vote Run Lead, and Women’s Public Leadership NetworkFor more information or schedule an interview, please contact Cecilia Silva, Texas Program Manager, at cecilia@reflect.us.