Why She Leads: Jennifer Radics-Johnson
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.
What is your most memorable career and personal accomplishment?
My most memorable career accomplishment was becoming an Executive Director for a statewide organization at the age of 29. I was honored to take the helm of a four decade old organization that ran the largest summer camp for burn injured children in the world.
We’d love to hear more about your leadership path. How did you get to where you are today?
I have always been very driven and ambitious. From graduating valedictorian in high school, completing college in 2.5 years and finishing grad school by 23, I always lived my life trying to achieve the most that I can. I have been in the nonprofit industry for more than a decade and absolutely love it. I find new ways to advance the mission of my organization, while continuing to grow professionally and personally. I currently chair the American Burn Association’s Burn Prevention Committee, I am the President of the Federation of Burn Foundations, I am the Founder of the California Burn Foundations Association, I am the Founder and President of the Albany Democratic Club, I am a Charter Review Committee member for the City of Albany and I was appointed as a Fire Commissioner for the Alameda County Fire Department. I’m always trying to find new ways to support my community and continue to develop my skill sets.
What is your personal mission related to running for office? Why?
My personal mission is to bring my nonprofit experience- bringing communities together, working with scarce resources, allowing everyone to have a voice while making tough decisions, etc.- to the community in which I live. I bring a unique perspective of being a first generation born American, student debt carrying millennial, biracially married stepmother. I bring passion, heart, determination and spunk into everything that I do.
How has the Incubator helped you clarify your leadership vision?
The incubator has made me think introspectively about why my life experience has prepared me to run. I never really thought about running for politics and did not think that my career path and life choices made for a good politician. But the incubator helped me realize that everything that I have done in my life has led me to be a great leader today.
What are steps you’ve taken on your path to a future run?
I have founded and serve as the President for the Albany Democratic Club; I have been appointed to the Charter Review Committee for the City of Albany; I have been appointed as Fire Commissioner for the Alameda County Fire Department Fire Commission; I have attended political trainings with She Should Run, California Women Lead and Ignite and I attend as many local political events and fundraisers as possible.
Tell us about your favorite She Should Run “aha” moment or success story. Why are you an Incubator member?
I didn’t know that there was actually supportive organizations to help women (or men) run for political office. I thought that running for office was a solo decision, not a team effort. She Should Run is unique as it tries to encourage women to even CONSIDER the possibility of running for office. It works on eliminating the fears and “what if’s” about running for office and encourages women to just run!
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?
Life is short- you need to have fun. Having a husband, stepson and two new puppies in the home makes it hard to work 24/7. Life gets in the way…and I welcome that. I need to stay connected to my best girlfriends with dinner dates and silly texts. I need to stay connected with my husband with meaningful conversations and exploring new towns and restaurants together. I need to stay connected with my stepson by volunteering for his Boy Scout Troop and helping him with his merit badges. I feel like I excel as a leader because I genuinely care and enjoy spending time with others. This is who I am professionally and personally.