Politics may still be mostly a boys' club, but more and more female political advisors and strategists are becoming leaders.
The burgeoning group of women is influencing campaigns through fundraising, coalition building, messaging, and polling. And some are working hard to recruit and help female candidates shatter glass ceilings in statehouses and on Capitol Hill leading up to the 2022 midterms and 2024 elections.
Here are 20 sought-after female political advisors — both Democrats and Republicans — as the country gears up for the upcoming election cycles.
Sandra Mortham, founder and president of Maggie’s List
Mortham served as Florida's 22nd secretary of state in the mid-to-late '90s and earlier as a GOP member of the Florida House. She said her career as an elected official laid the groundwork for her decision to launch Maggie's List in 2010.
"Because I learned about the unique challenges facing women that choose to run for office," she said. "Balancing the demands of work and family is not easy, and while I was fortunate to [be] able to do it well, I knew that I wanted to dedicate my time to paving the way and eliminating obstacles for other women facing those same demands."
The political action committee backs women for Congress who support conservative principles of less government, personal responsibility, and strong national security. Mortham's goal is for the number of women elected to office to mirror the number of women who vote on average.
"We have our work cut out for us to achieve parity, so that's our biggest challenge moving forward," she said.
Lauren Zelt, founder and CEO of Zelt Communications
You might say Zelt knows spin. She was a professional ballet dancer before launching her decadelong career in media and political communications.
Zelt held jobs at news organizations, including Fox News as a segment producer and guest booker, before entering politics. She's a veteran of the RNC, Romney for President 2012, and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte's staff.
"Politics is still very much a boys' club, and realizing my own worth took a long time and a lot of work to achieve," she said. "Because of that, I mentor as many other women in the field as I can."
At Zelt Communications, a public-relations firm she started in 2019, she specializes in earned media and campaign management. Her clients include Maggie's List, a political action committee focused on electing conservative women to public office.