2018 has been the year of the female candidate. More women are running for office than ever before, as we collectively work toward gender parity in our political system.
Yet there is still much work to be done.
At this panel discussion, several women who are shaping the future in their own communities through political engagement will share their stories. You will hear about their paths to politics, their greatest victories and frustrations, and ways that we can all become more involved.
Whether you consider politics a personal interest, a volunteer opportunity or a career aspiration, join us to find out how to use your talents to reach your full political potential.
Our panelists represent various roles and affiliations across the political spectrum.
Amber Hikes, Executive Director of the Office of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia
Amber develops policy and serves as the principal advisor to Mayor Kenney on issues that affect the LGBTQ community. She has set her sights on fighting and advocating for the most vulnerable populations within the LGBTQ community – specifically youth, elders, transgender people, and people of color. In her first year leading the office, Amber has advocated for anti-discrimination legislation at the municipal level, launched a citywide LGBTQ Community Conversations initiative and helped facilitate an international conversation about race and discrimination in the LGBTQ community with the addition of black and brown stripes to the rainbow flag. Amber has been recognized nationally by Philadelphia Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Philadelphia, and by Philadelphia Gay News as their 2017 Person of the Year.
Eryn Santamoor, Democratic Candidate for Philadelphia City Council At-Large
Eryn brings a career dedicated to city management and a results driven mindset focused on the people of Philadelphia. As a former Deputy Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia, Eryn knows what it takes to create intentional plans and obtain optimal results for Our City. Eryn worked to establish and implement Philly311 and PhillyStat, and her commitment to changing City Government for the better resulted in proactive community policing strategies, additional funding for City schools, more efficient City service, and over $21 million in savings to Philadelphia’s budget. A passionate candidate with a wealth of City Management experience, Eryn knows that Philadelphia can be a place where results come first and goals are reached for all Philadelphians.
Nina Ahmad, Ph.D., Former Candidate for Lieutenant Governor
Nina is a first-generation American, scientist and former Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement for the City of Philadelphia where she was the first Asian American woman to hold a Cabinet position in any Philadelphia Mayoral Administration. She has led important civic efforts to fight workplace discrimination and harassment which undermines women and people of color economically. Nina was appointed by President Obama to his Advisory Commission on AAPI and was the 2016 Honoree of the Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition for her work facilitating participation of immigrants and refugees in civic life. She ran for Lieutenant Governor in the May 2018 Democratic Primary and came in a strong second, winning in 16 counties throughout Pennsylvania. She received her Doctoral degree from the Chemistry Department at the University of Pennsylvania and trained as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Thomas Jefferson University.
Barbara Kigozi, Committee Person for Ward 59, Division 19
Barbara is a filmmaker and a published photographer whose works have been exhibited in numerous galleries. She has co-directed and produce films with Gail Lloyd including “Just Once”, a public service announcement on safer sex, and “Portraits in The Mi(d)st”, an experimental documentary that explored different representations of Black women in photography. In 2012, Barbara became involved with community service and organizing as a member of the Germantown United Steering Committee. Its vision was to promote and facilitate a sustainable community and revitalize the business corridor in Germantown. She was later nominated to the Center of Progressive Leadership an organization committed to developing progressive political leaders. In 2018 Barbara joined Temple University, where she is working on her Master’s in Public Policy.
Gina Barr, Director of Women and Urban Engagement at the Republican National Committee
Gina is the Director of Women and Urban Engagement at the Republican National Committee. For her work in this role, she was recognized on the 2018 Maverick PAC “Future 40” list. Prior to this, she was a Regional Field Director in metro-Detroit at the Michigan Republican Party since February 2014. In 2015 Gina published her first book Things My Father Taught Me and dedicated it to the quirky wisdom and sayings of her father. Along with this, she is also an accomplished artist with several of her paintings displayed in the Fella Art Gallery in Detroit. Gina was born and raised in Pontiac, Michigan, but currently resides in Washington, D.C.
Tam Williams, Founder & President of She’s It LLC
Tam is the founder of She’s It LLC, a lifestyle technology & content media company which focuses on Social Health Empowerment & Democratization of 360° Well-Being™. With over 30 years’ experience, Tam is an international speaker, facilitator and trainer for many organizations. She is former West Goshen Republican Committeewoman for Precinct #255: West Goshen, North-1, Chester County. Tam has been an advocate for women and women’s rights many years. She is a PA Delegate for Vision 2020, a national women's equality initiative started at the Institute for Women's Health and Leadership on the campus of Drexel University College of Medicine. Tam attended Rutgers University, Kellogg School of Advanced Management and has the GPHR/SPHR Professional and PMP certifications from Villanova University.
Julia Fahl, Candidate for Mayor in Lambertville, NJ
Julie has worked as a fundraising and political professional for over a decade, supporting progressive causes and candidates around the country. She has taken those collective experiences helping federal candidates and national organizations fighting for the values she believes in, to dedicate herself to the city of Lambertville, NJ, where she is currently a candidate for Mayor. Over the course of her primary campaign, she knocked on all but 30 doors in her town. She ran a positive campaign about sharing ideas on town beautification, supporting local schools, opening new lines of communication between residents and city government, and overall good governance. Julia was recently profiled in the New York Times “A 28-Year-Old Novice, She Took on the Machine and Won” (2018).
Elizabeth Roggio, Corporate and Political Associate at Kleinbard LLC
Liz is a political and government relations attorney in Philadelphia. Liz began her legal career working as a corporate and finance attorney at Dilworth Paxson. In 2017, she moved to Kleinbard and began developing and leading the firm’s political law practice. Liz now represents multiple candidates, PACs and political organizations, advising her clients on regulatory compliance and structuring political activity. Prior to her legal career, Liz worked directly for campaigns, elected officials and for advocacy organizations. She served as the Director of Operations for Bob Casey’s first Senate campaign in 2006, and worked for the Senator in Washington DC following his election. Liz then went on to manage a congressional race in Pennsylvania, lead a statewide ballot initiative campaign in California, and manage a diverse coalition of business, labor and community stakeholders advocating for education reform in Los Angeles.
Thank you to our in-kind sponsors, BDO and Capital Grille Philadelphia, for their contributions to this event. Hors d'oeuvres and wine will be served.