"I remember when I was a fifth grader, my teacher told me, 'You'll be president of the United States one day.' I thought he must be crazy," Williams said. After she watched Clinton, her teacher's words no longer seemed so far-fetched.
Women who attended the weekend's panel discussions and workshops and spoke by phone after the training generally agreed that Clinton had done them a service, even those who didn't necessarily support her at the ballot box.
"I thought it was small steps for the United States and huge steps for womanhood," says Cat Fincun, a 22-year-old AmeriCorps volunteer and Obama supporter. "It's awesome that there was a woman candidate."
So agreed Deborah McKinney, the City Council president and vice mayor of a small town northwest of Cincinnati, who came to the training as a participant and a speaker. "Even though I did not support her and do not have the beliefs that she does, I appreciate the cracks that she put in that glass ceiling," says McKinney, a Republican.
While the program sheds light on what it's like to be a woman in politics, some women still have reservations. "I tried to get a lot of my friends to go to the workshop, and the thing that turned everybody off was politics and running for office—I think politics has become a dirty word," says Fincun. She says she knows plenty of accomplished young women, but "we see politicians not doing the things they say they are going to do," and this discourages the women from running for office. Fincun says she plans to stay in the nonprofit sector instead but still gained great networking ties from the weekend.
Others are now more ready than ever to follow Clinton and Pelosi and make the dive into public office, such as 34-year-old Laurel Beatty, the director of legislative affairs for Ohio's female secretary of state, Jennifer Brunner. Beatty wants to run for judge one day.
"When the right race comes up, I will jump in. One thing I've really learned this weekend, too, is there are things I could be doing now. I could start laying the groundwork," she said. "I have tools to start getting ready."