The Future Women In Government Program (Future WIG), sponsored by Southwest Airlines, offers hands-on leadership and mentoring for the next generation of women civic and political leaders. Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to attend a regional Women In Government (WIG) conference after filling out an application, and meeting the requirements of the program. At the conference, these young women have the privilege of meeting and networking with state legislators and other fascinating people involved in the legislative process.
As a Future WIG alumna, I can attest to the success of this program firsthand. I was initially sent the application by one of my peers at Regis University. Many at my undergraduate university recognized my passion for politics, and felt that participating in Future WIG would be a rewarding experience. After receiving a second email, this time from my Spanish professor, I knew that I couldn’t miss out on this opportunity. Shortly after filling out the application, I received an email welcoming me into the program, and a few months later I was on my way to attend my first WIG conference.
Upon arrival I was immediately made to feel right at home. The graduate fellows in charge of the program were warm and friendly, and they connected me to my mentor: State Senator JP Pomnichowski for Bozeman, Montana. Not only was she kind, but also a very impressive woman. State Senator Pomnichowski gave a presentation on western water policy at the conference. She has a lot of experience dealing with water legislation, and had many interesting insights on protecting natural water resources. But my mentor wasn’t the only remarkable woman I met. I encountered dozens of state legislators that were champions in their own rights, each of them open and willing to offer me advice. Coincidentally, I also ended up running into my good friend State Senator Linda Newell (CO), whom I interned for at the Colorado State Legislature.
Throughout the conference, the WIG staff made a point to recognize the Future WIG participants. They made me feel proud of myself and my accomplishments, and the recognition in front of the conference attendees was a real honor. There was even an opportunity to take part in a roundtable discussion. At this discussion, I engaged in a dialogue with members of the WIG Staff and state legislators, asking them all questions that were relevant to my career goals. The advice was nothing short of inspiring, and I was particularly pleased to be able to meet my district’s state senator, Senator Nancy Todd (CO).
There are a lot of programs that advertise hands-on leadership experience, but fail to follow through with a truly fruitful experience. Future WIG is not one of these programs. I am so thankful that my friends introduced me to this program. It was an amazing experience that I think every woman interested in politics should pursue. WIG is an organization determined to empower women in politics, and FWIG empowers young students to become the next generation of political leaders.
Written by Farnaz Alimehri, Policy Graduate Fellow at Women In Government
About the Author
Farnaz Alimehri joined Women In Government as a Graduate Policy Fellow in June 2015 after successfully completing the Future Women In Government Program at the Western Regional Conference in May 2015. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Minors in French and Spanish from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. In the past, Farnaz worked as a Legislative Intern at the Colorado State Capitol, and as the General Manager of KRCX, Regis University Radio. Farnaz is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Security Studies at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service with the intent on graduating in May 2017.