Run to Win Director, EMILY'S List
Rebecca Thompson is one of the leading experts and voices in the country on women of color, especially black women, in politics. She currently serves as the Run to Win Director for EMILY’s List. Her personal mission (and life’s work) is to change the face of power by informing, inspiring and supporting women to run for elected office so they can fulfill their purpose and change the world.
Rebecca was inspired to create Changing the Face of Power – the first and only podcast in the country dedicated to inspiring black women to run for office – after losing her election for state representative by just 6 votes on Election Day. In her spare time, you can find Rebecca glued to her Kindle, cuddling with her dogs, hiking, or enjoying a long nap. She recently lived abroad in SE Asia and Europe and currently resides in Washington, DC.
wolf & heron: We always ask women about their values…Tell me about your values. What’s important to you?
Rebecca Thompson: Love. Joy. Justice. Representation. Opportunity. As a young woman, and young woman of color, there are opportunities that don’t exist in the same way for us if we don’t fight for them or carve them out.
w&h: Let’s switch to the future. If you put yourself 10 years from now, what are you hoping to achieve?
RT: There’s this part of my favorite book, Playing Big…the idea is that you meet your future self and have a conversation with her. This is something I do every now and again it’s helped me figure out my life mission – to change the face of power by supporting women of color and helping them get into office.
Women candidates need support in a different way. The Changing the Face of Power Fund hopes to address this by raising money to help women get a hair appointment, child care, cleaning services, wardrobe, things like that. My hope in the future is that the fund is filled with money to help thousands of women across the country in ways that don’t exist right now. This will change the game of politics, which it’s needed as it’s looked the same for a very long time.
w&h: How have you had to be influential?
RT: For me, you never really know who’s paying attention to you and it’s not until you do things that you think are scary that you realize people are paying attention. Previously in my life, I wasn’t soaring. I wasn’t challenging myself. I was just doing the status quo. I had a good job, I was involved in the community and I thought that made me influential. Then I made this leap personally and professionally and I had no idea that people would respond the way they did.
I started to hear from people from elementary school. They saw me chase this dream and just the fact that I wanted to do something big in the world was inspiring them. This changed my definition of what it means to be influential. We can’t maintain the status quo and expect to be influential.
When we do things for ourselves that happen to inspire other people, that’s a whole new conversation. Now, I’m thoughtful of what I put into the world because I know people are watching. I aim to be transparent about the challenge, I know I have a responsibility. I don’t want people to think, “oh, I’m struggling, what’s wrong with me?”
On top of that, I’ve found that because I’m being authentic, there are more opportunities for me to connect with the dream or ideal clients. When I show up as myself, speak and walk in my truth, people respond to that.
w&h: What are your tricks, habits or routines that you use to “show up” as your best self?
RT: I have a very specific morning routine. I drink tea first thing and then do miracle morning journaling, which involves silence, affirmations and post-it notes and visualizations. It reframes the soundtrack in my head. There’s a few other things I regularly do and I find that when I’m doing all of these things, I’m operating on all cylinders and when I do none of them, it’s so much harder.
w&h: What are the soft skills that have contributed to your success?
RT: A deep sense of knowing and belief in myself. I’ve always been willing to bet on myself. When I ran for office, I had the option to spend money on a house or on a campaign…and I spent money on the campaign.
I’ve always had a vision for my life, that it’s all divine order. That’s another reason I’ve been willing to jump off proverbial cliffs because I know that this is about something bigger. Most people aren’t willing to take risks. My parents used to say, god has a plan for your life. I’m on a quest every day, and I’m amazed I get to do that.
Our original interview with Rebecca was a while back so we checked in right before posting…
w&h: What’s new in your life?
RT: Since we last spoke nearly every aspect of my life has changed. I decided to end my journey on Remote Year early because of an amazing job opportunity to move back to Washington, DC to lead one of the largest candidate recruitment and training programs for women candidates in the country. I recently joined EMILY's List (the largest resource for women in politics in the country) to help more women run and win. Since Election Day we've had nearly 18,000 women sign up to run for office and now so much of the work that I was doing on my own is now a part of my job. If there's anything I've learned over the past few months, it's the power of intention and speaking your dreams into existence. I had no plans to return home but clearly the universe had its own plan for me. What I did know though, was the work I wanted to do in the world and it's that clarity that has helped me create an even bigger opportunity to change the face of power.
Rebecca's Words of Wisdom
"We can’t maintain the status quo and expect to be influential."
"When I show up as myself, speak and walk in my truth, people respond to that."
"They saw me chase this dream and just the fact that I wanted to do something big in the world was inspiring them."
"I’ve always had a vision for my life, that it’s all divine order."
"If there's anything I've learned over the past few months, it's the power of intention and speaking your dreams into existence."