Jordan Henry is a newly minted attorney. She is an associate at Messner Reeves, helping clients with both litigation and commercial transactions. Prior to joining Messner Reeves, Jordan was a law clerk for Crocs, Inc. and served as a judicial intern for the Honorable John L. Kane on the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. She also enjoyed serving on the Women's Law Caucus executive board, responsible for the mentorship and community engagement programs. In addition to getting started as a legal professional, Jordan co-founded a state political committee to raise funds for pro-choice female candidates.
Jordan Henry co-founded InvestHer with Jennifer Benson, who is a licensed attorney and works as the Western Campaign Director for the National Young Farmers Coalition. InvestHER is a Colorado state political committee that has the mission of getting young professionals in the habit of donating to women running for elected office. InvestHER hosts fundraising and social events for pro-choice women candidates in Colorado. In the process, they are building a network of young professionals who understand the importance of participating in the political process, supporting candidates who share their values, and are committing to that continued engagement over the course of their lives. InvestHER grew out of the results of the 2016 election and the ways that the election made apparent the continued struggle our country faces with gender equality, and specifically, the under-representation of women holding elected office. For example, it was shocking to learn that Colorado has never had a woman governor or United States Senator. It was also shocking that, at the time, only 27% of individual contributions to political candidates nationally were made by women; only 24% of state legislators nationwide were women; and that the U.S. is ranked 104th in the world for the number of women represented in its national legislative body, the U.S. Congress. Those were measurable deficiencies that Jordan and Jennifer believed they could meaningfully contribute to changing, at least for the State of Colorado.
Because Jordan and Jennifer wanted to target young professionals, most of whom had never been active participants in the political process, they wanted to create events that were fun, approachable, and more informal than the typical political fundraisers they were used to attending. They also wanted to appeal to millennials, who are turned off by the divisiveness of our current political climate. They knew that if they connected these people to dynamic women running for office, even some running for the same office, they would leave inspired and want to get more involved.
When they committed to start InvestHER, they had no one’s permission to ask and had no previous experience running a political committee. What Jordan did do, however, was find an amazing group of advisers and supporters. From there, they just started learning by doing. For example, InvestHER invited gubernatorial candidate, Cary Kennedy, to be a guest at their first event. Their lack of prior experience ceased to be a concern as the room filled up and donations to Cary’s campaign poured in. Jordan shares, "We knew then that we had something special with InvestHER and it has been that way ever since."
Looking back, Jordan reflects that one of the most challenging times of her journey to this point is taking the bar exam a few months before the midterm elections. It was InvestHER’s busiest time of the year and Jordan's bandwidth was running low. A couple weeks before the bar, InvestHER hosted a great event for Senator Faith Winter. Jordan notes, "I am not sure how we survived that one. But to all the unanswered emails and phone calls and missed events, we apologize."
The hard work and sacrifices have paid off. InvestHER has raised approximately $40,000 for candidates so far. Jordan says she and Jennifer couldn’t be prouder. The best part of InvestHER for Jordan has been getting to know "the amazing women candidates. Their courage, brilliance, and bravery is inspiring. Our friend group has exploded with some of the strongest women and it’s been a privilege getting to know them. Nothing makes me prouder than to see some of our candidates doing amazing things that will help the lives of Colorado residents get better."
As Jordan looks at the future, she notes that Denver municipal races are around the corner—May 2019, if you were wondering—and 2020 is right behind. InvestHER is focused on the continued growth and efficacy of its network. At this time, the organization has a very close and small team. In addition to Jordan and Jennifer, Samantha Byrnes acts as InvestHER’s Communications DirectHER. InvestHER would be nowhere without Sam. Jordan explains that they have also launched an Advisory Board of Gail Scheottler, Heather Lurie, Amy Padden, Amy Beatie, Chantell Taylor, Meghan Nutting, and Leticia Martinez.
Please like InvestHER on Facebook at @investher and join their mailing list at investhernetwork.org.
Giugi Carminati is a women’s advocate and litigator in Denver, CO. She speaks and blogs about gender equality and social justice. Her law practice focuses on representing women, ranging from C-Suite executives to professionals to low income workers, as well as domestic violence and sexual assault victims. She is a litigator by training. She speaks French, English, Italian and Spanish. She is licensed in Texas, New York, Colorado and DC. Her firm website can be found at www.TheWomansLawyer.com.