2017 Graduate of Candidate Training Class


“Except for having my son, taking this class is the best thing I've done in the past 10 years. I learned about so much more than what goes into running for office. I also got a good view of the inner workings of local politics, so good, in fact, that I feel I hit the ground running if I were put on that beat tomorrow. But more than anything, I met some pretty amazing and inspiring people—both Democrat and Republican—who I expect to see in office someday."—Caroline Hwang, magazine editor and writer | 2017 Graduate of NWPC-NYC Parity Politics™️



This  new  course  at  the  Graduate  Center offers  intense and challenging  real  world  scenario  of campaigning. Inspired by the leadership of Bella Abzug and the founders of NWPC-NY founded in 1971 to elect women in office, students are required to complete a campaign and finance plan to receive a certificate of completion. 



Have you ever thought about running for political office, managing a political campaign or becoming a senior government advisor? If so, then this program is for you! Learn from experienced professionals and todays political leaders about how to get the job and what to do once you get it. Enhanced your leadership style... Learn about the financial underpinnings of good governance... Understand what makes the government tick. If you ever have thought about running for political office or being part of the mix, then this program is a must!

NYC campaign Finance Board

Our Collaborative Partner


Instructor Lisa Powell-Graham At TedX in Albany, New YOrk


CREW Faculty

Professor William Allen enlightening our future women candidates at CUNY SPS

William Allen combines his experiences as a known political strategist, successful candidate, political coach/mentor, founder of a political club and former Board of Elections top official as he guides students on this self-discovery path. Each journey is unique and students make real-time presentations as they prepare for their NYC/NYS focused Civic Engagement education.  He is a well sought after lecturer, mentor, leadership maker, public policy advisor, campaign strategist, resource development consultant and grant writer for communities of long standing need.  His civic activities remain vast, but his prominent role still include a long tenure as the Harlem Democratic District Leader. While a college and graduate student, he served on the standing committees of the Board of Trustees and in various leadership roles at The City University of New York (CUNY).  Working in unison with the womens march movement So far, 2 of our alumni that graduated from the candidate training class that he taught got elected into office and one was appointed as commissioner of DEP of Los Angeles.

Adjunct Professor


Michael Oliva, Pres. of Sykes Global Communications - With over two decades of profound industry experience in political communications, strategy operations and overall PR campaigns, we are proud to have Michael Oliva as part of CREW. His employment of demographic research and audience targeting provide the clients of Sykes Global Communications with the invaluable insights necessary to achieve the utmost success in civic engagement, political and marketing campaigns, with a keen focus on social accountability. 

Michael has won 7 countywide races. In 2013, he served as strategic consultant to Gale Brewer’s resoundingly successful run for Manhattan Borough President, and in 2015 was a consultant to Weschester County Surrogate Judge Brandon Sall's first election victory.  In 2017, he served as a consultant to Ellen Edwards, who won a borough-wide civil court campaign in Brooklyn. In 2018, he maintained his 3-0 undefeated record in surrogate court races as a Lead Advisor to the campaign of Kings County Surrogate Judge Elect Harriet Thompson, and was an advisor in the civil court re-election campaign of Kings County Supreme Court Justice Ingrid Joseph

In 2018, Michael and his wife Ronnie Oliva helped to make history together as media consultants for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won a historic victory by defeating 10-term Congressman Joseph Crowley in a Democratic primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District.

Distinguished Lecturer


Idelle A. Howitt is the creator and newly appointed chair of the Women Lawyers in Public Service Committee of the National Association of Women Lawyers.  Her political activities include volunteering for the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008 and 2016; co-founding HillNet 2016; being a member of the Steering Committee of Executive Women for Hillary; attending political training sessions sponsored by Emily’s List, Eleanor’s Legacy and CUNY/National Women’s Political Caucus as well as the Corporate Political Activities training sessions sponsored by the Practicing Law Institute. In recognition of her political and community activism, Idelle recently was named a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.i

Celeste Morris


Morris’ extensive career and experience as a leader in government, politics and business have included positions as Director for Minority & Women-owned Business Programs for NYC & the MTA, Chief of Staff in the NYS Senate, Technical Assistant & Campaign Organizer for the NYS Council of Black Elected Democrats, Campaign Consultant/Manager/Constituent Director for local, city & state wide political campaigns.

Celeste, a graduate of Brooklyn College, has received numerous awards and recognition from local and national groups including a prestigious Revson Fellowship at Columbia University and a Congressional appointment as a representative to the White House Conference on Small Business.

Ruth Hassel-Thompson


Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Special Advisor for Policy and Community Affairs, for New York State Housing and Community Renewal, was first elected to the New York State Senate in 2000, where she brought years of public service and community involvement to her post as the Senator of the 36th Senatorial District; representing parts of the Bronx and Westchester Counties.

Prior to holding an elected office, she was President/CEO of Whart Development Company, Inc., a real estate development company that also provided consultant services to small and developing businesses, thus, she is well known for her expertise in minority business.  As the Executive Director of the Westchester Minority Contractors Association (WMCA), Ms. Hassell-Thompson became well-versed in economic development issues which impacted women and people of color.  Ms. Hassell-Thompson was consultant to the Automotive Consultant, Inc. (ACI), an automobile dealership/industry organization responsible for promoting the interests of automobile dealers of color, nationally.

Ms. Hassell-Thompson is the recipient of two Honorary Doctorate degrees; Mercy College, Doctor of Humane Letters; and Eastern Theological Consortium, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Christ Theological Seminary, Doctor of Humanities. She is an alumna of Bronx Community College.

During her tenure in the Senate, Ms. Hassell-Thompson served on the following standing committees: Judiciary (Ranking); Crime Victims, Crime & Correction (Ranking Chairwoman); Commerce, Economic Development & Small Business; Alcohol and Substance Abuse; Health; Finance; Rules; Chairwoman, Conference of Black Senators; Chairwoman, Taskforce on Domestic Violence; Governor Cuomo Taskforce on MWBE

Vanessa Herman


Assistant  VP, Pace University

Vanessa J. Herman, Since February 2013, Vanessa J. Herman has served as the Assistant Vice President for Government and Community Relations at Pace University. In this role Vanessa oversees the University’s Federal, State and local government relations portfolio and is the primary point of contact for the University’s 43 elected officials and staff who represent Pace throughout Westchester County and New York City. Vanessa also manages the University’s “town-gown” community relations throughout New York State and is an Adjunct Professor who teaches University 101 for Veterans and Tools of the Trade: A deep dive into the hidden political processes, and essential professional skills that determine the outcomes of law, policy and elections.    Vanessa is one of twelve recipients of the 2018-2019 Pace University Bronze Medal Jefferson Award and has served on the Board of Trustees of Dress for Success in Long Island. Vanessa is also the President of Millennium Strategies Consulting, a firm she founded in 1999 to provide primarily volunteer her public relations expertise to select charitable organizations.

Vanessa was the Assistant Director of Governmental Relations at Stony Brook for more than twelve years from, 1999 to 2011. During this time she served as the university’s sole registered federal lobbyist and was responsible for the creation and implementation of the University’s federal legislative agenda. From 1991 to 1999, Vanessa served as a Press Secretary, Executive Assistant, and Director of Community Relations for former U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY) based in New York City. In addition to these roles, Vanessa got her start in politics working in the Senator’s Long Island Campaign Office. Vanessa has an M.A. in Literature a B.A. in Political Science/Sociology both from Stony Brook University and an A.A.S. Degree in Criminal Justice from Suffolk County Community College. 

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