WPI Fellows Create Messages that Stick

Photographs by Michelle Chandra, Communications Associate, Women’s Foundation of California

Each year the Women’s Foundation of California trains up to 30 women on how to use public policy to create change in California. Our Women’s Policy Institute (WPI)  fellows learn how to write bills, influence legislators and organize community support to pass proposed legislation. Since 2003, we have trained 200 women on California’s legislative process. WPI fellows have achieved 12 legislative wins:  11 bills passed into law and one resolution passed by the legislature.

Anna Lee and Miya Yoshitani, Environmental Justice Team

Throughout the year, fellows work in issue-focused teams to draft a bill addressing an important problem, challenge or concern. Team issue areas this year include criminal justice reform, economic security, aging justice, environmental justice and labor rights for domestic workers. This past week, our WPI fellows gathered to learn how to design effective messages to rally attention and support for their proposed bills.

Katie Joaquin, John Beilenson and Claudia Reyes

During the hands-on workshop, communications strategist John Beilenson talked to the teams about how to frame their messages so that they resonate with shared values, and “stick” in the mind and the heart.  There were  many lively discussions and collaborations as WPI fellows got down to the nitty gritty details of designing effective messages that use metaphors,  stories and clear language to convey the importance of their bills.

Gwendy Donaker Brown and Stella Kim, Economic Justice Team

The workshop provided critical communications tips that helped the fellows prepare for an intense day of mock hearing in the state capitol.  This morning, the fellows did a great job of  presenting their bills. They delivered  well-thought out responses to the clarifying questions from the mock assembly members  who represented supporters and as well as the opposition.  What a difference a message makes!

Alicia Harris of the Environmental Justice Team

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