How a Small Business Owner and Busy Mom Inspired her Community to VoteRamon Ray
An Entrepreneur and Small Business Owner Runs for Office
Nylissa’s story began when she went to the polls with her son in tow. While talking to him about the importance of exercising this right, her son pointed out that few people in Harlem were actually voting. Voter turnout numbers had been shockingly low. Nylissa knew that she could take the skills she had learned from her event marketing startup and use them to mobilize her community and get more voters to the polls.
“When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to learn a lot about a lot of different things. You become a mini-expert,” Nylissa said.
Politics were not a new area for Nylissa since she had been a senior fellow with the Obama for America Campaign. Utilizing what she learned during that experience, she ran for Female Democratic District Leader for Harlem — an unpaid, elected volunteer position. Nylissa wanted the job because its main responsibility was to inspire people in the community to get out and vote.[Tweet “See how @eventsbyny used her entrepreneurial experience to run for office in #Harlem #NY”]
Lessons Learned on the Campaign Trail
“Entrepreneurs approach politics from a completely different perspective,” Nylissa said. She believes they come in knowing the best practices of the business world and can merge those with the best practices of the political world. Their experience combined with their willingness to learn new skills and take on new tasks makes them a valuable resource.
One of the most important lessons she learned was coalition building. Getting out and talking with people to build relationships. She had done some of this in the small business world, but it’s vital when running for office.
Ultimately, Nylissa lost the election by a small margin, but her time spent running for office strengthened her entrepreneurial spirit in such a way that she still counts the experience as a success.
She says she will probably run again after recognizing the necessity of voter turnout.
“I really, truly believe the most important power that we have as individuals to change the course of our community and country is the right vote.”
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