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2013 May

31 May


IMPACT Engages Students,Highlights VoteReady Efforts at Commitment to Core Program

May 31, 2013 | By |

When we think of civic engagement we think of political campaigns and voting, but we must challenge ourselves to avoid that parochial definition. Instead, civic engagement must be seen as an approach to building the community. With that in mind, the Michael Walton Foundation enacted an expanded view of civic engagement through its Commitment to Core initiative. Recently, IMPACT was invited to present a workshop on the importance of civic engagement and voter registration as a part of the initiative.

The most recent Commitment to Core program took place at Friendship Collegiate Academy and consisted of a day of workshops that help inform students about life skills, while preparing them for college and career opportunities. As a participant in Commitment to Core, IMPACT presented work from its award-winning VoteReady campaign, which was instrumental in raising awareness about mendacious voter suppression tactics attempted during the 2012 Election cycle.

While there, IMPACT members asked students to consider the current landscape of national politics and what it means for them and future generations. It is important to note that civic engagement has no age requirement. As a way to engage students, we asked that they form groups and develop plans to target Reduced Opportunity Voters (ROVs). Reduced Opportunity Voters are those who live three, four, or five miles away from their nearest DMV location in states that have strict photo voter ID laws. Students were very creative in putting together slogans and plans to target those in rural areas versus those in urban areas. Students’ slogans ranged from “You NEED to VOTE” to “Get Rich Voting,” as a play on targeting ROVs in Richmond, VA.

IMPACT is appreciative of the invitation extended to us by the Michael Walton Foundation to work with the students at Friendship Collegiate Academy. To that end, we are passionate about the necessity of continuing the fight to enlighten, engage, and invigorate citizens, both young and old alike, to be engaged in their communities.

10 May



May 10, 2013 | By |

02 May


IL::Carolina Espinal

May 2, 2013 | By |


Congratulations to our May 2013 IMPACT Leader of the Month, Ms. Carolina Espinal.

Carolina Espinal is an Associate at Brunswick Group and focuses in public affairs and corporate social responsibility. She is a skilled professional who brings both political and advocacy experience to the table and specializes in stakeholder engagement and strategic partnership development with constituency groups.

Prior to joining Brunswick, she served as a Government Relations Associate at Hispanic Strategy Group and built strategic partnerships between corporate entities, national nonprofit organizations and Members of Congress on key national issues. In her work, Carolina facilitated coalition-building and advised on program development and fundraising efforts for leading advocacy organizations such as the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the Bipartisan Policy Center, and the Children’s Defense Fund.

She has worked as a political operative for numerous campaigns including the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, Governor Mark Warner’s Senate campaign and serves as an elected member of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Carolina has a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Education in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University.

INTERVIEW | Getting to Know Carolina Espinal

 What inspired you pursue a career in Government relations, political strategy, and communications?

I’ve had an interest in government, politics and advocacy for as long as I can remember. As the daughter of immigrants who migrated from countries that were plagued by civil conflict, these were at the core of many family conversations, and, in many ways, became part of my DNA. As a child, my mother equipped my siblings and I to be advocates for many of our family members who arrived in the U.S. as political refugees. Unable to afford formal counsel, we would accompany countless aunts and uncles to agencies and offices to help them get settled in and do everything from requesting legal status to registering their children for school. This first-hand experience, on top of that of my own mother’s migration and naturalization, exposed me to policies and processes that have deeply influenced my career in politics, advocacy and ultimately, communications.

What is the key to balancing your professional, philanthropic, and social commitments?

Balancing professional and personal commitments is a constant work in progress. Having spent a significant portion of my time working with political campaigns and civil rights organizations, it was difficult to compartmentalize my time in order to maximize my productivity, energy and happiness. Today, I balance my time with help. I’ve set specific professional goals and am thankful for the mentorship I am offered to achieve them . I outline family priorities and have a close-knit clan that keeps me balanced and honest. Lastly,I maximize my contributions to philanthropic, social and other efforts by inviting others to get involved in the projects and causes I am most passionate about.

What is the biggest mistake young professionals make, especially when pursuing careers in policy and government relations?

One of the biggest mistakes young professionals make is limiting themselves. Building authentic relationships is critical for a career, whether you are in the public or private sector, so the quality of these relationships can be equally – or more – important than the quantity.

What advice would you give other young professionals who desire to excel in the Washington, DC, especially young women of color/Latinas?

The best advice I could share with young professionals, especially young women of color, is to just be ‘YOU’. This means, take the time to know yourself, where you come from, where you aspire to go, who you can lean on and who can lean on you. It goes without saying that we represent a gender, a culture, and a family, so carrying ourselves with esteem and respect will set a standard for those we come across in our professional and personal environments. It’s also important that we network extensively,  up until the point we think we’ve met everyone in DC. Then, we must do it all over again, and  make sure that we’ve built substantive relationships along the way. Finally, remember to acknowledge – privately and publicly – those people who have helped you grow along the way, and, more importantly, return that favor by mentoring and guiding someone else.

What’s been the best experience of your career thus far (or the most rewarding)?

Every job has a unique and rewarding experience that doesn’t quite compare to any of the previous ones. I’m grateful for many career highlights, including being a political operative in Virginia when Barack Obama was first elected President; leading the NAACP’s national Civic Engagement Division; working for the first Latino elected official in my hometown. As an Associate with Brunswick Group, a global strategic communications firm, I have to say I’m that my most rewarding experience in my current position is my work with clients across industries to build national partnerships with nonprofit organizations, The White House, and government agencies. During the past three years, I have been able to be a part of the strategic thinking and hands on execution of public-private partnerships that aim to address issues related to health and wellness, access to technology, and diversity among others.

What’s next for you in your career? What should we look out for?

My current position continues to be a rewarding labor of love where I feel I’m still learning the art of being an advisor. In the not-so-distant future, I hope that this experience will empower me to breathe life into insights that will contribute to the way we solve for the challenges facing Hispanic/Latino communities and impacting us all.

Lastly, give me three words to sum up Carolina?




What’s your twitter handle? What email should people use to reach you?

Twitter: @CaritozWay