Why She Leads: LaDawn Stuben
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?
As a professional Pastry Chef, my most memorable accomplishment is opening my own small business selling baked goods at my local farmer’s market, in addition to running the pastry department at a successful restaurant. Multitasking is my thing! Personally, sending my son off to Navy Boot Camp was a pretty incredible moment. He’s a strong and intelligent young man, even though he’ll always be my baby. I’m so proud to be Mom to two amazing young people!
We’d love to hear more about your leadership path. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always been an activist. My first protest was against the Iraq War. I was 23 and didn’t know what I was doing, I just knew I had to do something. I then became involved in local politics as a volunteer for campaigns I believed in. When Bernie Sanders announced his run for the presidency I was overjoyed. I was fortunate enough to attend the People’s Summit in Chicago last summer where Bernie gave the keynote speech. He asked anyone in the audience who was willing to run for local office to stand…and I stood up! I researched online and taught myself to file all the campaign paperwork, then a friend nominated me for She Should Run! The modules in the Incubator and the Facebook group have been essential in helping me figure out what the heck I’m doing!
What is your personal mission related to running for office? Why?
I’m a working mom. I know what it’s like to not be able attend the PTA meetings and band concerts because you’re at work and struggling to make ends meet. I want to fight for working families in Arizona. Our schools are underfunded because big corporate money has poured into our elections. We’re giving giant tax breaks to corporations at the expense of our children’s futures. Our for-profit prison system is creating a school-to-prison pipeline that targets our minority populations. Our beautiful immigrant community is under attack and needs protecting. If I can effect change, in any way, this will all have been worth it.
How has the Incubator helped you clarify your leadership vision?
I was scattered at first. I had good intentions, but I hadn’t distilled them down into a few key points. The exercises in the Incubator were essential in that process, as was feedback from the Facebook group.
What are steps you’ve taken on your path to a future run?
I have filed for the 2018 State House election. I’m in the process of getting signatures to get on the ballot and Qualifying Contributions to run as a Clean Elections candidate. It’s on!
Tell us about your favorite She Should Run “aha” moment or success story. Why are you an Incubator member?
I think when I was first considering running after my friend nominated me for She Should Run, and everyone on the Facebook group just piled on with “Do it, run!” messages. I think as women, we tend to doubt ourselves much more than men do when it comes to leadership. We think we need to be perfect, when all we really need to be is willing. We’re so qualified! She Should Run is a place I can turn to when I’m having doubts and need encouragement or even if I’m wondering if my new logo stinks. It’s just such a great group of women.
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?
Get a planner. Seriously, my husband bought me one for Christmas and it doesn’t leave my side. I work full-time in addition to campaigning and raising a family, so everything has to be scheduled. I’ve learned to take full advantage of the “free” days when there’s nothing scheduled after work. I make sure I turn off social media and actually enjoy my family. It’s also important to make some time-outs. I recently told my campaign staff that the week my son left for Boot Camp was a campaign time-out, it was just for us, no events. Nobody is going to lose an election because they took a few days to hang out with their family. If anything, you come back refreshed and remembering why you’re doing this in the first place.
Views reflected by those featured in our content do not necessarily reflect the views of She Should Run. As you know, She Should Run is a nonpartisan organization. However, some of our guest contributors (and readers) may not be. That is totally okay! It means we’re all human. She Should Run is committed to celebrating the diversity of backgrounds in our community and lifting up the voices of allwomen.