Leslie Waters Government Relations is available to present energetic, fast-moving and informative keynote presentations to conferences and conventions, meetings, as well as workshops with corporate, professional, civic, government, and non-profit management, staff and employees. She breaks down the intimidation of working and dealing with government and elected officials.
Leslie Waters, former corporate government relations/political action team leader, is also experienced to help you put together the following:
- Political Advocacy Plan
- Corporate Political Action Team
- Roundtable Discussion Venues with Business Leaders
“How to advocate your government – from city hall to the halls of Congress”
“How to build business relationships with your elected officials”
“How the business of government…impacts your business”
“How to know your government…before they get to know you”
* * * * *Advocating for Candidates for Political Office Campaigning to Win Workshop 2016 Jackie, Rebecca, Leslie, Maria, Denise, Deryk
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The 2014 Seminole Mayor’s Citywide Canned Food Challenge
It was early 2014, and the economic recovery was supposedly going well. But as mayor of the city of Seminole, Florida, I knew that many citizens of my city—as in most cities—were still unemployed, under-employed, losing their homes, and having a hard time putting food on their tables. What’s a responsible mayor to do?
For me, the answer was clear: Get the Community to Step Up!
Government can and should fund only so much within its defined role—infrastructure, libraries, etc. Still, these matters pale in comparison to a family’s hunger.
A 6-year focus on the food insecurities in our city had begun in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession, when I became a city councilor (the level of government closest to the people).
Here is what I found:
- A dwindling city budget
- Thousands losing their jobs
- Few available full-time jobs
- Savings accounts being drained
- Prices increasing
Our neighbors were grappling with daunting food insecurities.
The city of Seminole wanted everyone to pull together. And from large organizations to individuals, they did just that.
My dilemma, as a city councilor and later as a vice-mayor, interim-mayor, and now as mayor, was how to assist our citizens in coping with the downturn in the economy and indeed keep food on the table.
The local non-profit the Interfaith Food Pantry, Inc., affiliated with Aldersgate United Methodist Church, coordinated with other local churches to gather and distribute food products to those in need on a set schedule.
Food drives were set up with increasing numbers of drop-off spots including city hall, offices and shops around the area. Their locations were listed in the neighborhood newspaper, the Seminole Beacon, every week, and citizens participated enthusiastically. This win-win strategy provided motivating publicity to local businesses and also promoted awareness of the Interfaith Food Pantry.
The city event “Music in the Park” offered free popcorn in exchange for a food item. Incentives remind folks that generosity is good!
By early 2014, as mayor, I wanted to ensure hunger awareness, and to measure everyone’s generosity. I launched the 2014 Mayor’s Canned Food Drive with the goals of both one item per citizen (18,739) and monetary gifts.
We took action steps to make our dreams a reality:
An increased list of drop-off spots
- An increased network established around the Greater Seminole area
- Newspaper-printed articles of contributing businesses with photos of contribution ceremonies at their locations
- A website and a Facebook page created by St. Petersburg College-Seminole Campus intern Suzi Johnson
- Entries on my WatersWave NewsFeed
- Elementary school competitions between grades
- Realtor competitions
- Even an obituary asking for food pantry contributions
Now that’s community effort!
By August, we had received 43,631 food items and $3,575 in cash.
The Interfaith Food Pantry held an inspiring Thank You Reception in September for the key community supporters. Vie Thompson stated, “We appreciate Mayor Leslie Waters’ increased attention to hunger issues—issues that are often uncomfortable to acknowledge.”
The goal of the Interfaith Food Pantry is to move donated food from their pantry shelves to the dining tables of grateful citizens in the Greater Seminole area. We encourage folks to include the words “Bring a Can” to their event invitations. The Interfaith Food Pantry’s Facebook page, Twitter, and webpage surely will.
Whether by Mayor’s Challenge or a different civic approach, with city leadership, citizen generosity and frequent media coverage, the City of Seminole continues to step up! The Interfaith Food Pantry continues to step up!
With mayoral guidance, any community can step up in support of its neighbors in need!