Headshot of Maddie Kriger
MPA 2023
WAPPP Intern, Oval Office
Closing Race and Gender Gaps in Political Organizations to Drive Better Voter Outcomes Research Project; Boston, MA; Washington, D.C.

We all know it matters who wins elections, but who’s on their team matters too. Behind every candidate are media strategists, data scientists, fundraisers, and organizers making decisions about messaging, policy, and spending, bringing to bear their biases and incentives on these choices. And even as some political organizations make strides toward gender and racial diversity among junior staffers, the senior leadership tends to remain starkly male and white. This means that campaigns are making multi-million dollar decisions without the voices of key constituencies in the room. As a political advertising strategist and a veteran of the last decade of U.S. election cycles, Madeline has seen the consequences of this problem first-hand. She has also watched dozens of her team members get let go at the end of the two-year election cycle and struggle through months of unemployment as they search for jobs during the political “off-season,” only to go through the same process two years later. Madeline believes that this instability creates a talent retention problem, especially among women and people of color, which drives the lack of diversity in leadership. That is why this summer, under the guidance of Professor Kim Leary, she is conducting research into why young campaign and political staffers, especially women and people of color, leave politics, and what we could change to make them stay.

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