This year was the pilot for the organization. Blais decided to enlist four to six women in five workshops with guest speakers and training.
She wanted to find out why women are not taking on more leadership roles and specifically asked, “what is it that’s holding us back?”
Politigal is meant to develop the leadership skills it takes to run a successful campaign.
“Even if they don’t want to get into politics after, it teaches them life skills and how to take control of their lives,” Blais said.
Blais has female politicians as guidance in the three hour workshops to help mentor and
inspire the candidates-to-be; she also has a life-coach because she said, “When you figure out your values, you can stand up for yourself and stand your ground. You need to be strong in your values to make it in politics.”
Politigal started in Cornwall, Ontario and is focused on municipal politics – for now. “My goal is to put all the tools, workshops and seminars online so all women across the nation can access them," said Blais. "I want this to be inclusive … every woman should have an equal opportunity.”
Former Federal Liberal MP Candidate Bernadette Clement made waves for female politicians. She reflected on her time in politics and said, “I wish I had Politigal when I was first starting out. The importance of a mentor, whether a person or an organization, is never to be underestimated.” Clement was “pushed” into politics by another female who saw potential in her. “I hadn’t considered politics until someone told me to do it. That’s
what Politigal can do for women. It’s about reaching out to women and showing them the possibilities of candidacy for whatever level of politics.”
Clement has been to some of the Politigal sessions and said the grass-roots nature of the organization makes it an excellent training ground for women. “Politigal feels accessible. It’s very powerful to talk to local women that you know.”
While some may point out that organizations like this have long existed and that women
continue to shy away from the political spotlight, Clement said Politigal is a large part of the solution. “This organization supports women running. The more women running, the more women are elected. This means the dialogue at the political table will change. We need both voices at that table.”
Blais plans to grow Politigal and to start running more female leadership courses. She said
this was her pilot year and she’s learned a lot. “There are things I want to change for the next session of Politigal. I want to have more practical applications and more speakers.”
Blais said she has a much larger vision for Politigal but, “the primary goal is to get women educated and inspired.”
As for Blais’ own political aspirations, she said hunger and social issues drive her desire to succeed in municipal politics. She plans to run for Cornwall city council in 2014 and then with a chuckle said “who knows, maybe bigger from there … I’m a change person, I don’t like the status quo.”