2019 National Women’s Political Caucus

24th Biennial Convention

Donna Lent, NWPC President

Hosted by: Missouri Women’s Political Caucus

Margo McNeil, Convention Co-Chair & Paula Owen Willmarth, Convention Co-Chair

The Westin St. Louis

Dear National WPC Members and Supporters:

Last month (July 18th – 21st), the Missouri Women’s Political Caucus was honored to host the 2019 NWPC 24thBiennial Convention in St. Louis, Missouri. We met in St. Louis! Kudos to MoWPC members and supporters for joining forces and putting together an excellent national NWPC convention alongside the NWPC Board & staff. Women from all over the country and Missouri stepped forward to help with tasks big and small. That my friends – was the secret to the convention’s success. We look forward to seeing you at the 2020 MoWPC Biennial Convention next summer. Thank you all!

Margo McNeil

President, MoWPC

NWPC Convention Co-chair

• • •



TRAINING The first two days of the convention were about training and led by internationally renowned candidate trainer and NWPC Vice President of Education & Training, Cathy Allen.  

Thursday:  “Train the Trainer”course - reviewed material available through NWPC, provided campaign tips and exercises that would allow candidates to quickly put together a winning campaign. 

Friday:  “Winning with Women:” Candidate & Campaign Training- training for candidates which gave all practice developing a message, delivering a fundraising ask, and responding to negative attacks, just to name a few. 


RECRUIT, TRAIN & ELECT PRESS CONFERENCE A press conference was held Friday morning, where President Donna Lent explained why a Pro-Choice organization like the NWPC would come to such an extreme anti-women state like Missouri. Pro-choice candidates, elected officials and members provided the backdrop for her remarks as she talked about the importance of training women to run, especially in places like Missouri.


DIVERSITY PANEL LUNCHEON Diverse women candidates won in record numbers in 2018. Friday’s panel was meant to continue that momentum and help to create inclusive political environments and crosscultural communication. The panel’s moderator was Dr. Carmen Estrada Schaye, CA. Panelists were: former Missouri State Rep. Hope Whitehead, Mo; Emiliana Guereca, founder of the 2017 LA Women’s March, CA; Araceli OCouncil member LA & Executive Director of Infrastructure Funding Alliance, CA.

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AAUW WORK SMART WORKSHOP The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has a mission to train 10 million women in salary negotiation by 2022 as a part of it’s efforts to narrow the gender pay gap. In this salary negotiation workshop, participants learned the skills and confidence needed to negotiate for a new job, raise, or promotion. 


OPENING NIGHT RECEPTION A packed crowd of members, elected officials and candidates kicked off the opening of the 24thBiennial NWPC Convention at the Hyatt Arch Hotel. Many members dressed in white to honor those who fought for the right to vote 100 years ago.  The energy and excitement in the room crackled. Freshman Representative LaKeySha Bosley welcomed all to St. Louis and spoke about her experiences as a new female legislator in Missouri. She was followed by Representative Deb Lavender, a three-term representative, who recently announced a run for Missouri Senate against the sponsor of HB126 (the extreme anti-abortion bill that makes no exemption for rape or incest.) Deb’s quiet voice and exacting words built to a crescendo, which in the end elicited a standing ovation. Missouri night was a great beginning to the convention and to the 2020 election season.


BUILDING A BETTER CAUCUS PANEL Building a Better Caucus Panel was an informal discussion on Saturday morning by young members of the caucus on how to engage young leaders and help them stay in the organization. The panel was moderated by Corinne Austin, NWPC-STL, MO. Panelists included: Sarah Crosley, NWPC STL, MO; Teona McGhaw-Boure, STL, MO; and Chelsea Byers, NWPC Westside, LA, CA; Representative LaKeySha Bosley, STL.  The main take away - give your younger caucus members meaningful positions within the organization and don’t only ask them to only do tasks related to technology. 


WOMEN OF COURAGE LUNCHEON (WOC) The Women of Courage Luncheon highlighted the careers of four amazing women. Recipients of the WOC awards were: 

Dr Carmen Estrada Schaye, a University professor and Dean, Commissioner of the Los Angeles initiative for Women and Girls, and long time activist in the NWPC. 

Jan Perry, former City Council member, Los Angeles and Executive Director of Infrastructure Funding Alliance. Jan told stories of turning public eyesores into beautiful productive green space, passing legislation to restrict some purchases in fast food restaurants, and passage of incentives to encourage more grocery stores. She was indeed working for her community. 

Shaloma Shawmut-Lessneran award-winning play and documentary writer, educator, author, poet, pilot, and flight instructor. At 17, she worked in underground evacuating holocaust survivors after WWII.  Shaloma is a person that refused to be deterred. She had a stroke that effected her voice so wrote a speech and had her daughter give it with her standing giving visual signals. She attends most NWPC meetings despite her disability. 

Former Senator Claire McCaskill.Claire made many courageous decisions during her lifetime in politics. She was a true champion for women’s rights, fought for sexual assault victims and demanded fiscal accountability. Some of her toughest decisions include support for the Affordable Care Act, a vote against Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice, and the decision to run against a sitting Governor.  Claire was the first woman elected to the US Senate from Missouri. She left us with a quote from Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Diversity is our strength, but unity is our power.” Former Judge Susan Block was heard to say, “The Women of Courage Luncheon was the best panel I’ve ever attended – and I’ve attended a lot.“


Women of Courage Award presented to Senator Claire McCaskill by NWPC President Donna Lent


PLENARY SESSION: ELECTION  Saturday morning opened with a business meeting and election of officers. Congratulations to a newly  National Board of Directors:

Donna Lent - NY
National President

Deidre Malone - TN
1st Vice President & Vice President of Communications
Paula Owen Willmarth - MO
Vice President of Political Planning
Marguerite Cooper - CA
Vice President of Board Operations

Dr. Carmen Estrada Schaye - CA
Vice President of Diversity and Outreach

Cathy Allen - WA
Vice President of Education and Training

Dawn Lott - NY
Vice President of Development

Jordan Glasgow - MO

Zulfat Suara - TN


PARITY PAC FUNDRAISER Betty VanUum, an original founder of the NWPC-STL, opened her beautiful home for a fundraiser benefitting the NWPC PAC – Parity PAC and was joined in hosting by Judge Susan Block.  (Local and State caucuses can NOT give money to federal PAC’s so this was our opportunity to make a difference on the national stage.) The fundraiser was a huge success with approximately 75 people attending and others donating online at– donate – Parity PAC. The NWPC-STL highlighted Rita Days (CD1) and Kelli Dunaway (CD2) VanUum reminded us that St Louis NWPC was founded three (3) months after the national caucus, in October of 1972. 

EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT PANEL An outstanding panel was moderated by Erica Benson, Project28 and had the following panelists: Senator Jill Schupp-Mo Senate sponsor of Missouri ERA; Michelle Fadeley, President of Illinois NOW- a state which recently ratified the ERA; Andrea Miller, Virginia ERA Coordinator; Rep Judy Morgan-Mo House sponsor of ERA; and Bella Vadovicky, a student from Kansas City with Project28. The panelists talked about the conservative Supreme Court and that the only right guaranteed to women by the US Constitution is the right to vote. The good news is that only one more state is needed to have the necessary states for ratification. The panel suggested strategies for passage by the final state and possible arguments by the anti-ERA forces. Missouri has not ratified. When the ERA passes, women are likely to see improved salaries, police will be required to respond to orders of protection, sexual assault cases on college campuses can be prosecuted, and women cannot be discriminated against because they are women.

WHERE WOMEN LEAD: ELECTED LEADERS BRUNCH PANEL. Panel moderated by Rep Mary Nichols, President of the NWPC-STL caucus. Panelist were: Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway; Missouri Senator Lauren Arthur; Mayor of Mexico, Missouri- Ayanna Shivers; Missouri Minority House Leader Rep Crystal Quade; and Ferguson, Mo Councilwoman Ella Jones.

Panelist discussed why they ran, gave tips to those running, and talked about their use of social media.  Some advised that the NWPC members each ask two women to run; do something that scares you; know why you are running; and finally be prepared to defend your party and what it stands for.

Over 100 Missouri women participated in at least one event during the weekend in addition to numerous endorsed elected official who also participated.  It was an energizing learning experience for all who attended. Our resolve and passion for the 2020 elections is magnified because of our convention.  


Many thanks to all who attended and helped to make it a success!