Sarah Ganong has always been advocating for things she believes in. At Dickinson College, as an English and Biology major, she got involved with environmental movement through organizations on campus. After graduating, Ganong worked at an environmental non-profit organization, which eventually led to a volunteering role with Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. That experience has led her to her career, where she is now the Political Director for Connecticut Working Families.
“Connecticut Working Families is both a political party and a progressive advocacy organization,” Ganong said. “Fighting for an economy that works for everybody, whether white, black or brown and a democracy where everybody’s voice matters regardless how much money or power you have.”
Ganong works to recruit and train potential candidates to run for office. She also does a lot of work for campaigns involved with those who are running for State Representative or Senate as well as Town Council and Mayoral positions in Connecticut.
There are many different days in the life of a political director.
During a lobbying day in the legislature, Ganong will have meetings where she goes over the priority targets of the day and the bills that the party is working on, as well as get an update on any developments that have happened.
If she’s campaigning, Ganong will meet with the candidate’s campaign staff to figure out the priorities for the week. She also makes phone calls to donors and undecided voters as well as launches door-to-door campaigns, sometimes knocking on doors herself.
Connecticut Working Families has a program where they train women, transgender and gender non-binary people to work on campaigns and gain those skills.
“I think like a lot of jobs, campaign professionals especially it’s sort of, ‘Who do you know that’s going to come join this campaign?’” Ganong said. “We’re helping folks who are not traditionally known in those spaces and don’t know who to talk to. We help them develop skills to advocate and be able to run campaigns for a lot of the awesome women that we see running for office. Making sure their staff is as progressive and amazing as they are, is really important to us.”
She and Connecticut Working Families will train people on messaging techniques, how to fundraise, how to go door-to-door all the way to helping develop literature that they send out in the mail. “I know I always feel a lot better when the work that I am doing is helping folks to try to make the world better,” Ganong said.
Ganong’s advice for those looking to get into her field is simple.
“[I would suggest] finding a campaign whether it is a legislative campaign or somebody running for office and reaching out and volunteering,” Ganong said. “I learned most of the skills through volunteer positions.”
Ganong was able to manage Connecticut State Representative Josh Elliott’s campaign because of her volunteer work and help from Lindsay Farrell, the executive director of Connecticut Working Families.
“I’m super grateful [for Lindsay taking a chance on me],” Ganong said. “She’s a fabulous mentor that focuses on helping women in a way that I want to emulate.”
Ganong continues to advocate for what she believes in, but explained that she likes hearing others opinions in order to influence her own.
“I’m naturally out-going and I like to talk to people,” Ganong said. “I think it really is something that just going for it and trying opportunities that are in front of you.”