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Headshot of Mayra Sharma

Mayra Sharma

Congressional Fellowship Alum, 2018

One of the early challenges I faced as a young woman in politics and leadership was imposter syndrome. I imagine this was largely because in many of the leadership positions I found myself in, I was surrounded by people who did not look like me. So, I felt like I didn't belong – and at times, I felt I didn't deserve a seat at the table.

I felt so incredibly supported by the other women in my program when I was a Running Start Congressional Fellow. Our group of eight supported one another professionally AND personally –  not only throughout the course of our fellowship, but beyond, too! In fact, a small group of us grew so close that we formed a "caucus" with regular convenings to catch up!

Running Start was instrumental in helping me make a plan for a political career. For example, my good friend Hosanna Yemiru was running for Dallas City Council District 11, and my significant other was her campaign manager. As they worked on this campaign and built it from the bottom up –  I remember going back to my folder full of notes from my time as a fellow and telling them: "These are the THREE things you need to make sure your fundraising campaign has." We lost, but learned a lot!

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