Rising Stars

Rising Stars: Educating Asian American Women for Politics

CRising Stars participantsAWP, together with a steering committee of Asian American women leaders, sponsors Rising Stars: Educating Asian American Women for Politics, a preconference session of the Ready to Run® Campaign Training for Women. Rising Stars participants attend a half-day session that targets issues of particular interest to Asian American women running for political office.  Rising Stars participants then attend Ready to Run® to learn about the nuts and bolts of working on a campaign. Ready to Run® offers a unique opportunity for potential women candidates to hear directly from prominent elected and appointed leaders, campaign consultants, and party officials about how to get Ready to Run. Topics covered include fundraising, navigating the political parties, working with the media, and developing a campaign plan.  

2016 Agenda
Rising Stars Steering Committee

More details about Ready to Run® here


Rising Stars/Ready to Run® 2016 Agenda

(Check back regularly for updates.)

Friday, March 18, 2016

8:00 am Registration opens
8:30 - 9:45 am 

Welcome and Opening Keynote

10:00 am - noon







Roundtable: Serving Your Community

This roundtable features women in the Asian American community who have been involved in public leadership in various ways, including elected or appointed officials, campaign workers, and non-profit leaders. Topics covered include: the experience of running for and serving in elected office; how to be involved politically besides running for office and why participants should be involved in politics in some way; and using community leadership positions, such as appointments to non-profit or government boards, as a way to advocate for issues and gain leadership experience.

Moderator: Cheryl Quinio-Blodgett, Political Director, CWA 1039
Koren Frankfort, Assistant Director of the Hudson County Cultural and Heritage Affairs Tourism Development Division and Finance Director of Young Democrats of America
Thuy Anh Le, Former Member, Hillsborough Board of Education

Rekha Nandwani, Steering Committee Member, NJ Democratic State Committee's South Asian American Caucus (NJDSC's SAAC)
Sapana Shah, Edison Township Council

12:15 – 1:45 pm

Ready to Run® Welcome and Lunch Plenary Session: What Women Candidates Need to Know
(for the full details of the Ready to Run® agenda, including speakers, click here.

2:00 - 4:00 pm






Breakout Sessions
Track 1: Launching Your Campaign

This session provides an overview of the key elements of a campaign, including assessing and establishing oneself as a candidate, developing a campaign plan, structuring a campaign organization, and voter contact. 

Track 2: Political Parties, Appointments, and Advocacy – Tools and Tips for Getting Started
This session, designed for those who are not ready to run but want to have an impact on important issues, offers an overview of the “nuts and bolts” of government and political parties in the state. Topics covered will include positioning oneself for appointment to a public board or commission, getting active in a political party, and using effective advocacy techniques. The first half of the panel will address how to become active in the political parties. The second section of the panel will cover positioning oneself for appointment to a public board or commission and learning how to be an advocate on legislative issues.

4:15 - 5:45 pm


Plenary: Fundraising for Success
Fundraising is one of the most crucial aspects of a campaign. This interactive workshop covers key components of campaign fundraising, including special emphasis on understanding why people give and the in-person “ask.” The session will also address developing a strategy for your campaign, building a donor list, recruiting and motivating a finance committee, and special events. 

5:45 pm  Networking Reception

Saturday, March 19, 2016

8:00 am Registration opens
8:45 - 9:30 am Welcome Back and Opening Keynote: My Story from the Campaign Trail

9:40 - 11:30 am




Breakout Sessions

Track 1: Navigating New Jersey’s Political Parties As a Potential Candidate
The session will highlight the power dynamics of party organizations, building relationships with party operatives and gaining the party’s support, and will address how to respond when the party organization is not supportive.

Track 2: The Campaign Trail: Getting Involved
This session, designed for those who are not ready to run but want to work and volunteer on campaigns, offers an overview of the opportunities of getting involved in campaigns at every level and offer advice on how to build on those experiences. 

11:30 am - 1:45 pm


Luncheon Plenary: Conquering the Camera – An Interactive Media Training
This interactive media training workshop will include tips for successful interviews on tough topics, how to look poised and professional on camera, staying on message, and public speaking techniques. Selected participants will take part in mock interviews and on-camera practice sessions. 

2:00 - 3:30 pm 



Plenary Session: Internet Strategies for Candidates, Campaigns and Advocates
Internet outreach is a key aspect of today’s political and advocacy campaigns. Online tools including blogs, social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other online organizing and communications resources are increasingly important for getting campaign messages out to a broad audience of potential voters or stakeholders. This session will provide an overview of best practices and offer practical tips on how to get started or enhance your online presence.

Rising Stars Steering Committee

(Affiliations listed for identification purposes only.)

Cecilia Xie Birge
Former Mayor, Montgomery Township

Cheryl Quinio-Blodgett
Filipino American Political Action Committee

Zainab Chaudary

Ludi Hughes
President and Founder, Asian American Chamber of Commerce

Tina Liu Jen
Morris County Human Relations Commission
and 80-20 Initiative of New Jersey

Khyati Y. Joshi
Fairleigh Dickinson University

Thuy Anh Le
Former Member, Hillsborough Township Board of Education

Toral Patel

Seema M. Singh, Esq.
International Business Chamber of Commerce  and Asian Women’s Safety Net

Jeannie Tsukamoto 
Former Councilwoman, Borough of Madison



Contact Jean Sinzdak at (848) 932-8781 or sinzdak@eagleton.rutgers.edu.