2019 Young Women Run IGNITE Conference

On February 9, Agnes Scott College welcomed IGNITE, a national nonpartisan organization that works to encourage women to engage in politics and run for office. The half-day event, Young Women Run, kicked-off with a panelists Ariel Shaw, co-founder, AS consulting; Pallavi Purkayastha, political strategist; Adrienne White, vice president of strategy, Citizen Trust Bank and Rebecca Walldorff, political strategist, who discussed the importance of women in politics, the challenges of navigating a male-dominated political landscape and how to gain access to political opportunities.

attentive-audience.jpegThe morning panel was followed by breakout sessions in which the 130 young women in attendance focused on two key topics, immigration and personal leadership development. The immigration panel, moderated by Megan Gordon of the Feminist Women’s Health Center, consisted of Maria del Rosario Palacios, policy and advocacy director; Jennifer Owens, deputy director, Georgia budget & policy institute and Aisha Yaqoob, policy director, Asian-American advancing justice Atlanta.  The panelists tackled immigration policies, issues, rights and advocacy.

Dr. Nicole Rankine of The Cole Academy of Personal Growth facilitated the interactive leadership development session that defined leadership as influence and taught panel attendees about five key stages of leadership; position, relationships, production, permission and position.

During lunch, IGNITE event attendees were seated with Georgia-area elected officials. As the guests ate, Georgia House Representative Park Cannon shared her inspiring story of running for political office after being upset by the constant changing of reproductive legislation. While Georgia House Representative Brenda Lopez shared the discriminationlucy-mcbath.jpeg she faced as a Mexican-American woman running for office in Georgia.

The keynote address, given by U.S Congresswoman Lucy McBath detailed how the tragic loss of her son, Jordan Davis, served as the catalyst for her to run for office. McBath described the obstacles she encountered during her run for political office and inspired event attendees with a powerful call to action: “This is your time, these are your moments, seize it.”

College students, Loren Walter ‘21, Amira Daughtery ‘19 and Mary-Pat Hector concluded the panel discussions by showcasing how young women can declare their political ambition. The panelists gave tips on how to prepare for a career in political advocacy, the challenges they have faced as young political activists and what inspired them to consider running for office.

IGNITE fellow and event organizer, Kirsten Jackson ‘19 concluded the Young Women Run Atlanta event with a final lasting charge to the audience: “Our voices are so necessary, we need you, get out and run.”


Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.