Published November 16, 2022
By Todd Lineburger
Quest’s support for Ready to Run® will help address women’s underrepresentation in political leadership locally and nationally.
Quest Diagnostics has contributed to Ready to Run® at Rutgers, the nonpartisan campaign training program for women. The gift will help fund a range of resources that help women from all political parties prepare for and execute political campaigns.
Nadia Hussain has participated in Ready to Run® going back to her time as an undergraduate at Rutgers–New Brunswick. In 2020 she ran for and won a seat on the Bloomingdale, New Jersey, Board of Education.
“Ready to Run® helped,” she said. “Traditional structures get you connected. I didn’t have those connections; I had to make them. Knowing what to do in an election, having a fundraiser, making fundraising calls, opening a campaign account—the program is a mechanism for feeling empowered.”
A national network aiming to address the underrepresentation of women in American politics, Ready to Run® helps women envision themselves in elected roles by offering a primer for those considering public office—locally and nationally. The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) founded Ready to Run® and administers Rutgers’ instance of the program.
“We’re pleased to be able to help women get the needed resources to aspire to hold elected office in this great state,” said Cecilia McKenney, Quest’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “We’re pleased to team up with Rutgers University to support this important initiative.”
Debbie Walsh, director of CAWP, praised Quest Diagnostics for its support for Ready to Run®. “This contribution from Quest Diagnostics makes a powerful statement about the need for Ready to Run®,” Walsh said. “With women comprising less than one third of officeholders at every level of office we study, there is so much left to do. We welcome support from the private sector in the important work of advancing women’s public leadership.”
Hussain agrees. “Fifty percent of the country is female,” she said, “and that’s not what you’re seeing in elected office. Even women whose families have been in the country for generations, they don’t feel they have a voice.”
The CAWP-hosted Ready to Run® is the organization’s flagship New Jersey program. Over the past 20 years, the program has trained more than 4,000 women to run for office, seek appointed positions, and manage campaigns. Ready to Run® program attendees walk away with a range of skills and resources, including “how to” instructions for running for office, fundraising and media skills, real-world advice from experts, networking opportunities, and more.
Hussain took full advantage of these resources. In her successful 2020 campaign, she applied what she learned—fundraising, networking, earning publicity—with intensity, knocking on more than 1,000 doors. Her professionalism and work ethic earned her the highest vote returns of any candidate in her town in more than a decade. “Women,” she said, “work harder in politics—on the campaign trail and wherever they’re serving.”
“We are enormously grateful to Quest Diagnostics for supporting Ready to Run®,” said Jean Sinzdak, associate director of the Center for American Women and Politics. “Quest’s gift will help us engage more women as future public leaders, crucial in a moment when we all look towards building a better future and strengthening our democracy.”
In addition to its recent support for Ready to Run® at CAWP, Quest Diagnostics’ ongoing work with Rutgers includes support for no-cost laboratory tests to diagnose and manage acute and chronic diseases for uninsured and underinsured patients of the Rutgers’ H.O.P.E. Clinic in Plainfield, New Jersey. Like that program, Ready to Run® seeks to make an immediate impact on a long-running problem.
“The issue of women’s underrepresentation in politics has been an ongoing one,” said Walsh. “To help change that, we must ensure that women continue to have the resources and training they need to run for office and serve their communities as public officials.”
Hussain said, “When I was younger, I thought, ‘I’m a girl, and I can do anything.’ It amazes me that society doesn’t think that. It’s 2022 and it’s illogical. We know what to do, but the political will is still not there. I’m still pushing for that.”
About Quest Diagnostics
As the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services, Quest Diagnostics empowers people to take action to improve health outcomes. Derived from the world’s largest database of clinical lab results, Quest’s diagnostic insights reveal new avenues to identify and treat disease, inspire healthy behaviors, and improve health care management.
Quest annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States. The company’s nearly 50,000 employees understand that, in the right hands and with the right context, our diagnostic insights can inspire actions that transform lives.
About the Center for American Women and Politics
CAWP is nationally recognized as the leading source of scholarly research and current data about women’s political participation in the United States. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about the role of women in American politics, enhance women’s influence in public life, and expand the diversity of women in politics and government.
CAWP’s education and outreach programs translate research findings into action, addressing women’s under-representation in political leadership with effective, intersectional, and imaginative programs serving a variety of audiences. As the world has watched Americans considering female candidates for the nation’s highest offices, CAWP’s five decades of analyzing and interpreting women’s participation in American politics have provided a foundation and context for the discussion.
About the Eagleton Institute of Politics
The Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling is a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. The Eagleton Institute studies how American politics and government work and change, analyzes how democracy might improve, and promotes political participation and civic engagement. The Institute explores state and national politics through research, education, and public service, linking the study of politics with its day-to-day practice. To learn more about Eagleton programs and expertise, visit eagleton.rutgers.edu.