The LEAP Center recently hosted a non-profit roundtable with representatives from eleven local non-profits. The event featured Nancy Bocskor, who has vast experience working with fundraising and leading non-profits.
The directors discussed the major issues facing non-profits in this community, including:
Limited resources, particularly funds
The challenge of working with volunteers
How to construct a community board of directors
Working within a limited media market
Bocskor helped facilitate possible solutions, and the directors discussed their own strategies. Particularly useful were discussions of new technologies such as mobile payment processing systems (e.g., Square) to help people encourage to give on the spot.
Perhaps most important, the event brought people together, with a promise to meet again over the summer.
The Junior Fellows and LEAP Center have held a film festival every fall since 2009. This year, we squeezed in an extra film presentation in the spring. In honor of having both Dr. Carl Rollyson and Nancy Bocskor in town, we showed Sabrina, starring Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, and Audrey Hepburn.
William Holden is Nancy Bocskor’s favorite actor (more on Holden here). In fact, he is her “most handsome and reliable boyfriend, albeit dead.” Other than being dead, he is reliably on TCM every week or so, showing up at 3am in the morning when Bocskor cannot sleep.
Bocskor is an international political consultant and a movie buff, and Sabrina not only stars William Holden, but also has a social class subtext. Dr. Rollyson is an expert on the Golden Age of Hollywood, so Sabrina seemed to be a good match for the two and fun entertainment for all.
The entertainment took place at the beautiful Wynne Home, where two of the LEAP Center students and many of the Junior Fellows have interned.
Guests included Mayor Mac Woodward and his wonderful wife, Leanne, as well as Ralph and Linda Pease. We were also happy to have Margaret Gulledge, Charles Forbus, and Karl Mahaffey on hand for the viewing.
Bocskor and Rollyson introduced the film, offering different takes on the film (Bocskor focused more on Holden…)
The film was wonderful, combining top-notch talent with humor and romance.
The general consensus among us students was that it was better than “Some Like it Hot,” which we screened with Rollyson last year.
The company was also wonderful, with a reception followed by dinner. It was a fun night, capping a wonderful week with Bocskor and Rollyson as guests in Huntsville, TX.
We’ll be doing a Walter Brennan film festival in the fall, in honor of Rollyson’s new biography of the character-actor legend.
After an eventful afternoon with Ms. Nancy Bocskor, LEAP Students headed to the Elliot T. Bowers Honors College Let’s Talk event for an evening of informative conversation with some of the state’s most esteemed professionals. LEAP students enjoyed diverse speakers ranging from FBI Special Agent and SHSU Alum Daniel Fuentes to Honorable Robert Eckels, President of the Texas Central High-Speed Railway.
Kicking off the event, President Hoyt was in attendance to speak briefly about the growth of Sam Houston State University and a few of its accomplishments. LEAP students received the privilege of enjoying dinner and conversation with a variety of speakers. Ariel Traub enjoyed dinner with Mrs. Barbara Cargill, Texas State Board of Education District 8 Member and Chair of the Board. She was impressed with the conversation and indicated the discussion offered “valuable insight to problems with our education system along with some possible solutions.” Kaitlyn Tyra, who also sat at Cargill’s table, echoed Traub’s sentiments, enjoying the opportunity to “ask questions concerning our schools and learn about changes underway.”
Karla Rosales and Megan Chapa dined with SHSU Alumni Ms. Patti Foster, a traumatic brain injury survivor. Megan Chapa found Foster “extremely inspirational!” and Karla Rosales found both the human story and the science behind it to be fascinating and encouraging.
Alex Galvan had the pleasure of having dinner and conversation with Dr. Carl Rollyson, Editor of the Hollywood Legend Series, and author of some 40 books—including two on Marilyn Monroe. According to Galvan, “it was wonderful to learn more about this icon, and get the back story on one of the 20th Century’s most intriguing legends.”
After dinner, co-chair of the Let’s Talk Advisory Board and Dean of the College of Health Sciences, Michael Lacourse helped close the evening with remarks. But the end of the event wasn’t the end of the evening. The LEAP Center students had an opportunity to meet with local officials attending the events…
…speakers from other tables, and revisit with Nancy Bocskor, who stayed late to visit with the honors students.
Overall, Let’s Talk gave students the opportunity to converse with professionals whom they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to interact with and gave them the opportunity to learn about topics personally interesting to each student. Many thanks to all the speakers, Ms. Jacel Angel, and the Elliot T. Bowers Honors College for a wonderful evening.
The LEAP Center has enjoyed having Ms. Nancy Bocksor in Huntsville for the week to encourage students to become engaged in politics and take action to make a change. During her Paths to Public Service lecture, Ms. Bocksor stressed the importance of gaining a sphere of influence before deciding to run for office. For students, this tip prompted many to think about their current sphere of influence, and what steps they could take to help position themselves for a career in public service.
Ms. Bocksor also discussed the importance of brand management when pursuing a path to public service. She defined brand management by calling on a definition offered by the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos: “Your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.” To underscore this point, Ms. Bocskor encouraged students to act professional, be engaged, and clean up social media accounts–all of which can constitute a personal brand. Generously, Ms. Bocksor was extremely helpful to students by giving ample advice on a variety of topics ranging from thank you notes to tips for internships.
To the students’ delight, Ms. Bocksor discussed some of her successes and her many experiences traveling the world to help women become engaged in politics. Students were amazed by the amount of traveling Ms. Bocksor gets to do and how unique her career is. However, the majority of the lecture Ms. Bocksor opened up for questions, giving students the opportunity to interact directly. Ms. Bocksor’s energy appeared contagious to the students and many thought her stories were inspirational, driving them to pursue a career in public service.
Students enjoyed getting to learn from Ms. Bocksor this week. For many, she helped instill a zealous attitude and helped give students a sense of direction in pursuing a career in public service. After enjoying some refreshments, Ms. Bocksor hurried over to the Wynne Home (with students in tow) to co-host a Film Festival with Dr. Carl Rollyson, a continuation of the learning process for students of the LEAP Center.
“Listen, learn, help, lead.” No better words could stir a group of young ladies interested in the political realm than those spoken by Nancy Bocskor, “democracy coach” and mentor, at the LEAP Center’s Women in Politics Workshop held Thursday afternoon. One of many events attended by Ms. Bocskor during her time in Huntsville, the informal workshop focused on (1) Bocskor’s experience on the Hill–and her path to getting there–(2) her accomplishments of helping international women “and a few good men” become more politically active, and (3) how this generation of women really has the chance of being the change they wish to see in their communities by running for public office.
Ms. Bocskor began the discussion with her worldview that “If you don’t have a place at the table, you’ll end up on the menu.” After spending her entire career walking the walk of what she believes, Ms. Bocskor now strives to inspire young women by putting the world into perspective. Women have the capability and empathy to run for office and change the world, but too few women, according to Bocskor, have the confidence to do so. Ms. Bocskor, impassioned by the global war on women, reaches out to women everywhere by speaking and teaching the skills it takes to achieve public office. She has done extensive research on and experienced firsthand the injustices suffered by women in places like Moldova and Jordan, where women in the past could not even run for public office, but with the help of Ms. Bocskor can now run and even win. LEAP students learned of the differences between how men and women see public office, from egos to empathy and everything in-between.
Nancy Bocskor, who worked with Newt Gingrich at the ripe age of twenty-one, has proven her idea that “in politics, you aren’t measured by your age, but instead by your capabilities.” Ms. Bocskor made the point that women have not stepped out to lead because “you can’t be what you can’t see.” Without visible role models, young women struggle finding appropriate aspirations for leadership positions.
But anyone that has had the chance of being in her presence and hearing of her impressive accomplishments, cannot help but agree that Nancy Bocskor makes one incredible role model to young political activists everywhere. All it takes is a conversation with Ms. Bocskor to completely change one’s path for good. With such a remarkable resume, Nancy Bocskor inspires young women because she has truly made a difference in the world and now she has changed lives here in Huntsville just as she has across the world. From simply listening and learning about our stories, Ms. Bocskor taught LEAP students the steps necessary to become successful in the ever-changing political spectrum, such as simple steps of doing research and asking questions. Armed with the idea that they could conquer the world by simply caring, the young ladies of LEAP left the workshop prepared and motivated to explore the political journey that lay before them.
Part of the LEAP Center’s mission is to assist non-profits, government agencies, and other public-minded organizations serve the community. One of the LEAP Center’s regular partners is the HEARTS Museum, which recently hosted a Valentine’s Day “Volunteer Appreciation” dinner. More than 130 people showed up, and it was a perfect event for a Museum named “HEARTS.”
It was a wonderful event, with most of the Museum’s regular volunteers on hand (many will recognize Tom Oleinik and Citizen of the Year Bette Nelson in the picture above).
The HEARTS Museum preserves artifacts related to those who have served their country in the armed services, and the Museum is host to more than 13,000 visitors each year. In addition, the Museum hosts many community-themed events–including the Valentines Day Appreciation Dinner–educational events, and other service activities.
The LEAP Center is hosting a non-profit roundtable on March 20, with Nancy Bocskor as a featured guest. Ms. Bocskor is an expert in fundraising, and representatives from a dozen or so local non-profits will be on hand to share experiences with the challenges of fundraising in a small community. Among those attending are Letty Clark and Carolyn Wells from the HEARTS Museum.
Although only an emerging Republican myself, I know that when Republicans have a chance to celebrate the legacy of Ronald Reagan, they will gather and celebrate. Not surprisingly, almost 200 students, local Republicans, and elected officials gathered last week for the annual Walker County Republican Party’s “Reagan Dinner,” to celebrate the legacy of the nation’s 40th president.
The event, held at the Lowman Student Center Ballroom on SHSU’s campus, featured a three-course meal, posting of the colors by the Cadet Color Guard from the Civil Air Patrol Sam Houston Composite Squadron, fine fellowship, lively entertainment from SHSU’s Jazz Band, and speeches by Congressman Kevin Brady and Dr. Jon Taylor, Chair of the St. Thomas University Political Science Department.
It was perhaps appropriate that Dr. Taylor was the keynote speaker, inasmuch as the event provided a political and community education for the SHSU students on hand, including myself and other members of SHSU’s Center for Law, Engagement, And Politics. With our seats sponsored by Representative John Otto and Senator Charles Schwertner, we were able to converse with and learn from legislative staff.
We also received a crash-course lesson on local community leaders. Republican County Chair Linda McKenzie welcomed us and the many elected officials that were on hand. District Judge Don Kraemer gave the invocation. Justice of the Peace Mark Holt (Pct. 3) led the US and Texas pledges. County Court At Law Judge Tracy Sorensen sat with students, and provided insight on the duties of a newly-elected judge. Other local elected officials on hand included: 10th Court of Appeals Justice Al Scoggins, District Judge Hal Ridley, County Judge Danny Pierce, District Attorney David Weeks, Sheriff Clint McRae, Tax-Assessor Collector Diana McRae, County Clerk Kari French, Justice of the Peace Janie Farris (Pct. 1), Justice of the Peace Mike Countz (Pct. 2), Justice of the Peace Stephen Cole (Pct. 4), and Constable Steve Hill (Pct. 3). For a group of students transplanted to SHSU, it was a welcome introduction to Walker County.
Congressman Kevin Brady provided a thorough update on the US Legislature, particularizing on the push to create middle-class jobs in the US and on Congress’s recently-passed legislation to allow for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Dr. Taylor, while keeping with the national theme, focused on Reagan’s Republican legacy and, especially, “his optimism, his utter faith in this nation and her people, and his belief that our best days…are always ahead of us.”
For students in their late teens and early 20s, it was an appealing message and an appealing evening. It was an evening filled with lessons on President Reagan, the responsibilities of elected officials, and enjoyable conversations.
The LEAP Center at SHSU is a bipartisan organization offering unique learning opportunities related to fine arts, history, civil rights, literature and, in particular, law, engagement, and politics. The students recently attended an event sponsored by the Harris County Democratic Party featuring Sissy Farenthold and former Governor Mark White, and will be touring Little Rock, Arkansas this week, with stops at Little Rock Central High, the Douglas MacArthur Museum of Military History, the Clinton Presidential Library and The Old Mill, the last surviving set of Gone With the Wind.
LEAP Center Ambassadors Karla Rosales and Megan Chapa met with KSAM‘s Larry Crippen for an “Around Town” session. This is the seventh time the Junior Fellows/LEAP Center have been featured on Around Town, a six-minute radio program that highlights local happenings on 101.7 and 104.9 FM.
The program, which covers their recent experiences at the Texas Governor’s Inauguration, as well as upcoming events such as the Michael Morton appearance, Nancy Bocskor’s appearance, and the Citizenship Program, aired Saturday (March 14) and Sunday (March 15).