Over the past 16 years, Susannah Wellford Shakow has founded two organizations designed to raise the political voice of young women in America.
In spring 2007, Ms. Wellford founded Running Start to inspire young women and girls to political leadership. Running Start furthers the work begun by the Women Under Forty Political Action Committee (WUFPAC), which Susannah cofounded in 1999 and led for the first five years. WUFPAC is a national women’s group dedicated to electing young women to political office. A nonpartisan organization, WUFPAC is the only political action committee in the United States devoted to helping young women of all parties run for elected office.
Ms. Wellford speaks frequently to colleges, law schools, political groups, trade associations and nonprofits about the importance of involving more young women in politics. She has also lectured about politics to many international groups, including women from Kuwait, Southeast Asia, Korea, Bahrain and Russia. She was invited to Kuwait by the Kuwaiti government in spring 2006 to meet Kuwait’s first women candidates and to advise them on their campaigns, and has been sent by the State Department to speak in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Israel, Belgium and Moscow.
After receiving her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1998, she worked for several years at Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand, lobbying for state and local governments, foreign governments, corporate entities and trade associations before Congress and the Executive Branch.
Prior to law school, Ms. Wellford worked for Hillary Clinton’s Health Care Task Force in the Clinton White House. As a member of the Health Care War Room staff, she planned and executed grass-roots health care events for the President and First Lady and coordinated speaking events for Congressional Members and White House staff on health care reform issues. She is also a former Legislative Assistant for Senator Wyche Fowler from Georgia.
Ms. Wellford is a 1990 graduate of Davidson College. She lives in Washington, DC with her twin sons, Ben and James.