360-Degree Leaders: Healthcare Workers


This month, coronavirus has continued to monopolize daily life for most Americans. As many turn to their elected representatives for guidance and clarity in these uncertain times, women leaders with healthcare backgrounds have been especially vocal. As 360-degree leaders they’ve been able to rely on their experience, outside of politics, to communicate and connect with voters and constituents.

What is a 360-degree Candidate or Leader?

Conventional wisdom used to dictate that a woman should run her campaign the same way that a man would, and that her personal life and experiences should take a back seat. However, women are now able to run as “360-degree candidates.” This simply meant that more and more women were running as their authentic selves, bringing the whole of their experience to the campaign trail. For example, in 2018, Carol Miller (WV-3) leaned into her experience as a bison farmer, even having a bison campaign logo; Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) shared her own #MeToo story with voters; and Katie Porter (CA-45) spoke about her experience as a single mother. These women, and many others, used their personal stories to show voters that they understood the challenges that Americans face, and that their experiences would inform their policymaking.

As many of these 360-degree candidates were elected, they’ve become “360-degree leaders” by using the whole of their experiences in office.

What does this mean for former healthcare pros in office today?

Healthcare and pandemic response have been the leading topic inside and outside of Washington. Being able to “handle a crisis” is especially important to voters, and for women with a healthcare background, highlighting their qualifications can help to bring credibility to their decision-making.

Here are some examples of former female healthcare professionals using their experience to lead:

Rep. Lauren Underwood (nurse)

Rep. Kim Schrier (M.D)

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (nurse)

Rep. Karen Bass (physician assistant)

Mayor Linda Gorton (nurse)

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