Megan McCourt, Future President of 2024
How many times have we all gone out expecting to drink and dance, but end up in a chair all night talking about politics? That is exactly what happened to Emily at Chary's birthday party this year. While most of those types of conversations turn into arguing, this one was eye opening, mind blowing, and straight up #GIRLBOSS intelligent. Emily knew she was interacting with someone special. TheCnnekt is PROUD to feature Megan McCourt, future presidential candidate (for real), as this crucial week's Spotlight.
Megan, did you always want to be president of the United States when growing up? If not, what were your dreams and aspirations?
I first declared my intention to run for president in 2010 while I was working on Capitol Hill for Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) through the Panetta Institute's Congressional Internship Program. I think I've always had the desire to lead and affect change. Fourth grade was the first time I held elected office (as the class historian!), and I kept going from there, holding various leadership roles—everything from class treasurer, to editor of the school newspaper, to captain of the color guard.
When I was younger, I was convinced I was going to end up writing for Seventeen or Cosmopolitan in New York City...which isn't far from where I landed! Literally. I work across the street from Hearst Tower, and am there frequently with my clients. I know most of the staff of Cosmo and intend on placing a byline of my own there to make my childhood dreams come true.
Can you tell us a little bit about your PR job and how you are able to maintain and pursue your passion in politics?
I'm on the agency side handling PR for Dell. Specifically, I help head up the global brand team, and support all of Dell's efforts around entrepreneurship and small business, with a focus on women entrepreneurs. I help run the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network (which took me to Cape Town, South Africa this year!), and also support Dell's Chief Customer Officer, Karen Quintos, and Dell's Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Elizabeth Gore—two badass ladies who have helped elevate the conversation around women in business.
Thankfully, my job affords me so many opportunities to pursue what I'm passionate about! This week, we launched #WhatWeNeedToSucceed—an open letter to the presidential candidates with policy recommendations to better enable women entrepreneurs. Helping women is such a passion of mine, and I'm blessed I have a job that lets me combine my skill sets across communications, policy and advocacy.
In my current position, I've been able to help pass one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, champion for women entrepreneurs, travel extensively, collaborate with incredible people, and work on projects I stand behind wholeheartedly. What more could you ask for?
If you reach your goal and become elected president in 2024, what would you bring to the table that others haven't been able to.
Across the board, I think we need more women and more youth in politics. There's a need for diversity in all places, because having people with a variety of backgrounds and life experiences brings an eclectic collection of view points to the table. If you have a legislature composed primarily of old white men, you're going to get legislature that, by and large, benefits old white men.
I'm incredibly inspired by people like Erin Schrode, a 25-year-old from California who ran for Congress, as well as the other women who have run for (and won!) seats on the Hill, such as Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard, and Francis Perkins (the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet!).
What was the best advice you can give to girls who want to pursue such big dreams, like yours?!
To quote my client/cheerleader/favorite #bosslady, Elizabeth Gore: "You need to raise your hand, throw your hat in the ring, and just do it!" Women are so reticent to self-promote and ask for what they want and need. Men are much more likely to ask for raises, take risks, declare they have the best ideas, and shamelessly plug themselves. Ladies, you're never going to get what you want if you don't ask for it!
My other best piece of advice is to surround yourself with people that inspire and motivate you. Curate a circle of friends that are constantly making you strive to be a better person. Having people in your life that you can call on in a time of need, but who will also be sure to call you on your bullshit are the best kind of friends to have.
Finally, it's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission ;) - Grace Hopper
5. Can you leave us with your "politically correct" thoughts on the current election?
Pay attention to your local races! Yes, electing a new president is important, but there are also 469 Congressional seats up for grabs. The results of the downticket votes could potentially be more impactful than the new president, and I wish the media and general population paid more attention. Your local elected officials are the ones who will directly impact your life the most, so study up and VOTE!!
Intro by Chary, Interview by Emily