Prominent Political Figures Named to Head Women's Campaign School at Yale

The Women’s Campaign School at Yale (WCS) has chosen bipartisan leadership for the coming year. Republican George A. Dean of Southport, Conn., and Democrat Ann E. Sheffer of Westport, Conn., recently were named co-chairs of the board of trustees of the five-year-old program established to increase the involvement of women in the political process.

Since his retirement as executive vice president of Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample (DFS) Advertising Agency 10 years ago, Dean has devoted much of his time to helping women advance in government. In 1988 he founded “50/50 by 2000,” an organization whose goal is to have an equal number of men and women in public office by the year 2000. He also serves on the boards of the Women’s Campaign Fund, the Connecticut Commission on the Status of Women, the Shubert Theatre, and Visiting Nurses Association.

Born in Park Ridge, Ill., Dean earned a B.A. degree from Princeton University and an M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School. After a two-year stint as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, where he was awarded a Bronze Star during the Korean War, he joined DFS for the balance of his professional career. Major accounts included Procter & Gamble, Best Foods, General Mills, RJR Nabisco and Hanes/Leggs.

Dean says that during his years at DFS, he saw how effective women were in the business world, and he would like to see the same happen in politics. “The country will be better off with more women running it,” he says. “Women are often more willing and capable than men of handling such issues as health care, child care, education and other compelling problems.”

Ann Sheffer, an arts advocate, has been a member of the Westport Representative Town Meeting since 1993. She is secretary and treasurer of the Betty R. Sheffer Foundation, a philanthropic organization. She has served on the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and was a member of the outreach staff at the Office of the Public Liaison at the White House.

Concerned with arts education, Sheffer served as a curriculum coordinator/grants manager for the Seattle and King County Arts Commissions (Wash.) and as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. She has been actively engaged in such charitable and community groups as the Westport Arts Advisory Council, Westport Arts Center, League of Women Voters, Friends of the Westport Public Library and the Mid-Fairfield County Citizens for Choice.

Sheffer received her B.A. degree from Smith College, and master’s degrees in arts administration from Tufts and business administration from the University of Washington.

Sheffer feels her new position as co-chair of WCS will help her involve more women in the political process. “We’ve seen how the WCS curriculum not only hones the skills of women running for office, but helps forge immediate job opportunities for women as campaign consultants or managers,” she says. “These campaign positions can become exciting lifelong jobs. The possibilities are limitless!”

The WSC is now accepting applications for its yearly session, which will be held June 17-21. Tuition is $750 for the complete program, and scholarship funds are available. Women interested in running for office or in the career opportunities available in managing or consulting for political campaigns can get registration information by calling (800) 353-2878.

The school offers an intensive five-day program of lectures, seminars, role-playing workshops, mock campaigns and case studies, as well as the opportunity to meet and learn from women already involved in politics. Political consultants and experienced candidates teach the elements of campaigning. The complete session covers such topics as making the decision to run, polling and research, fundraising, ethics, message and slogan development, free and paid media, and field work. All classes are held on the Yale campus.

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