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Standing for election: WEP Southwark Co-Leadership (speech)

Updated: Jun 17, 2019

I recently, after over 2 years in the role as Comms Lead, ran for election as Co-Leader for the Southwark team of the Women’s Equality Party. Below, my speech:

Why am I standing?

I came across the party back in April 2017. When I heard about it, I instantly knew this was my new political home. I read the website with excitement and said to myself, “finally, a political party that I can get on board with”. I immediately expressed interest in the next meeting! It turned out they were due to hold branch elections and so by the end of June I was Comms Lead for Southwark.

This, without a shadow of a doubt, has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. I feel so privileged to have worked alongside the women in this committee and all our wonderful supporters and volunteers. Our local election campaign last year? What a success.

Why such a success?

  • A brilliant team

  • Sheer hard work

  • Passion

Well, I can promise you that in spades.

So, why me?

I’m great at talking, I’m excellent with words. I do it for a living. But when it comes to those words being about me? I shudder. So, in preparing this I looked at some of my Linkedin recommendations:

“It’s wonderful when Rachel joins a meeting, arrives in the office or generally gets involved in anything, the levels of heightened enthusiasm, belief and humour that infects the full team.”

Hopefully that resonates?

“She champions a strong team work ethic and is laser focused on deadlines and results.”

Hopefully that too?

I can honestly say that I have never worked with anyone who has such a passion, drive and enthusiasm for their role (and just for life in general!)

OK, you get the point.

What are my commitments to you?

What I’m using a bit of amateur PR to articulate is the following:

  1. I am so ready and so excited about this potential next step

  2. I plan to instill a sense of project management to our work

  3. I commit to you that I’ll ensure we collaborate together, with other branches and other Southwark based organisations to create significant impact

In the words of Southwark Community Action Network: “how well do you really know your borough?” I want this question to guide us. Mandu, our new leader recently wrote about three of her key priorities and I want to echo them, as they are particularly pertinent to helping us truly getting to know and be known in Southwark:

  1. Grow our members; I would personally take on accountability for setting targets here. This is about creating awareness in new communities > engaging those communities, through events, campaigns, initiatives > converting these individuals into active supporters > finally, converting our supporters into active members and committee members. I want to take a data driven approach to this, with regular tracking and adjusting of our approach if needed.

  2. Connect with a wider range of people; We haven’t cracked this yet and I’m personally very motivated to doing so. I plan to finalise and implement a survey for our members and supporters for further understanding of our audience. I plan to strengthen our connection to our BAME Caucus and create an actionable strategy for engagement in our communities, with transparent reporting.

  3. Increase impact; Again, in the words of our new leader, “our power lies in showing up and speaking out”. I want us to start thinking strategically about how we use our time, money and resources. What events/campaigns/initiatives can we deliver that will create the greatest impact in our borough, aligned with our policy areas?

Our constitution states that we are:

  • Non — partisan

  • Diverse and inclusive

  • Making change happen

It’s time for us to create a strategy, an action plan to deliver results against that strategy and be bold enough to measure those results, even with they are difficult to hear.

It’s time for us to seriously commit to better representation in Southwark and that starts right here with us.

Finally, it’s time to collaborate and connect. We need to hold the political power structures of Southwark to account, while collaborating with those who’ll listen and engage.

Who’s with me?

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