By Kalice Allen, WFMN Reatha Clark King Fellow
On April 17, the Office of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton hosted the Young Women’s Cabinet at the MN State Capitol for a second year in a row. The Cabinet is the Governor-appointed body of 25 young women leaders (ages 16-24) from eight communities who guided the framework and content for the statewide YWI MN Blueprint for Action and serve as key leaders to drive the Blueprint’s 20 recommendations forward over the next six years.
The objective of the day was to engage Cabinet members in state functions, including legislative processes, leadership, policy, communications, and operations.
Joanna Dornfeld, Chief of Staff to the Governor, kicked off the morning with a warm welcome and Q & A. The welcome was followed by discussions with legislators, legislative directors, and members of the Governor’s staff, each discussing their work to create change at the state level. The list of distinguished leaders included YWI MN Council members MN Senator Sandy Pappas and MN Senator Patricia Torres-Ray, and Cynthia Zapata, recently named one of 20 Women’s Foundation of Minnesota YWI MN Innovators
In the afternoon, Cabinet members shadowed state Capitol staff who work in fields aligned with each young woman’s interests, including Appointments, Children’s Cabinet, Communications, Public Engagement and Constituent Services, Office of Inclusion, and Legislative and Cabinet Affairs.
At the end of the day, many Cabinet members expressed interest in careers in government and reported feeling inspired, hopeful, and excited about YWI MN and our strong partnership with the Governor’s Office!