The National Democratic Training Committee will host live trainings in all 50 states to ensure the tools and resources for success are in the hands of Democrats across the country.
To do this, we’ve brought together expert trainers with a wealth of campaign knowledge to facilitate our trainings across the country. Our Trainer Spotlight blog series showcases our wonderful trainers and how they became part of our team!
Today, we’d like to introduce you to Joanne Antoine.
Joanne on Joanne
How/when did you get your start in campaigns/politics?
I was lucky to grow up around active union members. At an early age, I was out in the field helping to translate and collect petitions. I later found myself leading path to citizenship trainings and voter registration efforts targeting those of Haitian and Caribbean descent and still organize those communities today.
What is your current full-time position and what do you love most about it?
I currently serve as Manager of State Outreach & Engagement for a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working for open, honest, and accountable government in Maryland. I love that I get to use my organizing skills to assist with our work on issues like money and politics and voting rights. We’ve managed to make registering to vote easier and more secure in the state, ensuring that all eligible voters can have their voices heard on election day, and provided candidates with a new way to run winning campaigns free of special interest money. All residents, especially Dem voters and candidates, benefit from these reforms.
Of all the impressive things you’ve accomplished in your career what are you most proud of?
Probably my stepping up in 2015 to help run a woman candidate’s race for mayor in Haiti. It was my first time working a campaign in the country and, while the candidate lost, we managed to identify and build a list of supporters that she can use if she decides to run again. I was also able to test using a lot of the methods and tactics that we train candidates on here at NDTC. While the country doesn’t have access to all of the same tools we use, these tactics worked – voters responded well to face-to-face conversation and the candidate’s emphasis on her personal story. I’m happy to say that I was able to and continue to help candidates build winning campaigns both here and in the Caribbean region.
Joanne on Training
What is your favorite part about training with NDTC?
I love that we are working to ensure those riding the #BlueWave of 2018 actually have the tools needed to win. It’s important that we don’t treat the massive wave of Democrats running as a sure thing. Trained candidates and activists will lead us to victory. Majority of these candidates are new to politics and need help building winning campaigns. NDTC gets that. Between the online courses and live trainings, I truly do believe candidates and their teams leave our live trainings prepared to build or revamp their campaigns.
What’s one state you’d love to train in and why?
Definitely my home state of New Jersey because a number of Dem candidates have stepped up to run and we have a great opportunity to take control of the House. Florida, too, specifically in the Miami-Dade area, because there is such a large and politically active Haitian population there with many new activists of Haitian and Caribbean descent are stepping up to run.
Joanne’s Tips for Candidates
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about running for office for the first time?
Don’t forget the power of your personal story. I’ve met too many candidates who host meet & greets and fundraisers where attendees leave with no idea of who the candidate is and why they’ve made the decision to run, outside of what the read on their website or campaign literature. Your personal story should be incorporated whenever possible since that is what the everyday voter will remember most about you. And it’s okay if people hear your personal story multiple times – it will stick with them and they will remember it when at the polls.
How do you practice self care?
I’m a self-diagnosed extroverted introvert (lol) and because I am always interacting with volunteers and activists in a number of different capacities, I have to actively find ways to make time for “me time,” even on the busiest of days. That means stepping out of the office on a busy day for a solo walk or coffee break, escaping to my car when working out in the field, and even saying no to social events and gatherings taking place after a long day of work. As organizers, we are always giving so much of ourselves – making sure we take care of ourselves is necessary. Make sure you find the best way to prevent yourself from feeling drained and burnt out.
- Coffee or tea? Coffee with an extra shot of espresso
- Favorite TV show that’s currently on? For the People
- Twitter or Instagram? Twitter
- What are you currently reading? Make Trouble by Cecile Richards
- If you weren’t working in politics, what would you be doing? I would probably find some creative way to get paid to travel
- Biggest pet peeve? People who chew with their mouths open or chew and pop gum loudly
- What is the theme song for your life? My theme song changes every other week. My current them song is Cardi B’s “Best Life”
Learn from Joanne at a Live Training Near You
Come join Joanne Antoine and some of our other amazing trainers at one of our upcoming trainings.