Why She Leads: Clarisa Treviño

By Kathleen Kiernan
June 5, 2018

Over 13,000 women have started their journeys to elected office with the She Should Run Incubator. These are their stories. There is no shortage of fierce women leaders, and with over 500,000 elected offices across the country, there is no shortage of seats waiting to be filled by them.

Through our Incubator Spotlight series, She Should Run is highlighting the voices of women in the Incubator program who have decided to step forward and run for elected office. These women running for office all across the country and at every level of government draw their inspiration from different places. Today, you’ll learn about how Clarisa Treviño, who is running for state representative in Michigan, turned a profound personal loss into a sense of purpose.

What is your most memorable career and personal accomplishment?

My most memorable accomplishment came during a session at an Alternative Ed High School. From my own public High School experiences, I knew the hardship of just graduating. These kids were facing their last chance. So I spent a week putting together a PowerPoint called "Why You Matter." I knew that for some, it would be the first time they heard those words. So I went in and we began. I started off by introducing myself as a Relationship Manager at Bank of America and small business owner. After that, I began to tell them about my past. How, during my high school years, I was actually homeless living place to place. About the abuse that my family and I suffered as well how we lived in poverty a lot of my life. I was as real as I could possibly get to express their importance to society. The fact that they too could be standing in my position giving back to our community to help encourage the next generation of kids to do better. Honestly, I can say I really saw a difference in those kids. It was, of course, emotional because no one had ever resonated on that type of level with them. I knew what some of them were struggling with and why they ended up in this school for troubled young adults. I received an email a few weeks later from their teacher thanking me and telling how it really changed one student who really started putting his best foot forward in life. It was truly an amazing feeling.

We'd love to hear more about your leadership path. How did you get where you are today?

My life experiences really shaped who I am today. Growing up in some of the hardships I went through, I always reminded myself that one day I would have control over my life. When that day came, I would be the person that someone needs because I know how it felt to be alone. Sure, my mom was there in her own way but I always felt alone and distant from my family. I knew that there was something that just wasn't right about how we lived. That is one of the reasons why I dedicated myself to my community to help instill family values and a confidence of one's self.

What is your personal mission related to running for office? Why?

My running for office was solidified by the death of my daughter. I lost a part of myself that day when I stared at the monitor and she had no heartbeat. I lost my purpose, my motivation. One day, I woke up to a disturbing message on my business page about how they were glad my child died. This message used a lot of racial slurs and this person was so hateful that I couldn't believe what I was seeing. This was about three or four months after I had given birth to her. It really woke me up. I had pitied myself long enough. At that moment, I promised my daughter and myself that from that moment forward all things I was going to do would be dedicated to her memory. This would ensure that I made the most out of her memory. I will use my God-given talent to help spread more love in my section of the world.

How has the Incubator helped clarify your leadership vision?

Honestly by just having other women that have the same vision of serving our communities has motivated me to continue this journey. I no longer feel so alone.

What are steps you've taken on your path to a future run?

I have already filed my documents to run for State Representative here in Eaton County. I have hosted a few town halls, gathered some individuals that interested in helping me on my journey. I actually designed all of my marketing materials and website. Door knocking is the final step. After that, we will see what happens on August 7th.

Tell us about your favorite She Should Run 'aha' moment or success story. Why are you an Incubator member?

Just recently, there was a member that lost her race. In her moment of sorrow, she turned to our page we share to express her disappointment. I was so glad to just be able to help her through that moment. It also helped to to see what the Incubator really offers. We will all face our victories or possible losses but through it all we have each other. Which truly means a lot to me.

What's your advice for finding time for your personal life (family, personal growth)? Dare we say it, how do you make time for fun in your life?

I don't really don't know what fun is right now. Campaigning is tough. I know there is supposed to be a work life balance but right now, with everything I am doing, fun is not in my vocabulary.

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