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Spotlight: Emerge Maryland Alumnae-Anne Arundel County

Emerge is the nation’s premier organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office. They are the only political organization that focuses on effective state and national programming that gives women the tools they need to run and win, as well as building an inclusive sisterhood of alums and a network of alumnae, staff, boards and volunteers who are on-the-ground 365 days a year to support women through their candidacies at every level and once they are elected.

Emerge Maryland is an independent state affiliate of Emerge, which has trained more than 4,000 women to run for office since 2002. Emerge alumnae across the country have won more the 1,000 elections to date and hold office at every level of government. There are currently Emerge affiliates in 24 states — Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin with plans to expand to more soon. Women who graduate from Emerge Maryland’s training program are plugged into both the state network of Emerge Maryland alumnae, as well as the national network of Emerge alumnae across the country.


Allison Pickard, Class of 2017

Before joining the Emerge Maryland Class of 2017, Allison served as the president of the Anne Arundel County Council of PTAs and previously served as the District 33 representative on the Anne Arundel County Board of Education. She graduated from our Signature Candidate Training Program in 2017 and ran a successful campaign for Anne Arundel's County Council's District 2 in 2018. Allison served as the Vice Chair of the County Council from 2018-2019, Chair of the County Council from 2019-2020, and now, Vice Chair again for 2022-2023.

Anne Colt Leitess, Class of 2014

Anne was appointed as the first woman to serve as the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney by the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County out of a field of 9 candidates on June 6, 2013, following the retirement of Frank Weathersbee. She was an Assistant State's Attorney for 25 years before her appointment.

Anne ran to retain her position as State's Attorney in 2014 but did not prevail in that race. This did not deter her, and in 2018 she ran again and won! She is now serving her second term, having had no challenges in the primary or general elections. She serves with dedication and distinction. More information about Anne's public service can be found here. Julie Hummer, Class of 2021 Julie was appointed as an at-large member of the Board of Education of Anne Arundel County Public Schools from 2015-2020, serving as President and Vice President during her term. She then joined the Emerge Maryland Class of 2021 in preperation for her run for a County Council seat in District 4. Julie ran a textbook campaign and easily won her seat! More information about Julie can be found here. Lisa Rodvien, Class of 2017 Lisa first ran for office in 2018, launching her campaign after having gone through our Signature Training Program in 21017. She won her seat and has served as both Chair and Vice-Chair of the Council. She ran again and won in this past election cycle in November of 2022.

Lisa is also public school teacher in Anne Arundel County. She spends many non-work hours advocating for strong public schools, for teachers, and for children at the local, state, and national level. While she currently teaches, and serves on the county council, she began her work in the field of Education as an attorney. In the early 2000s, she worked for a law firm that helped state education agencies implement the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. More information about Lisa's public service can be found here.

Sarah Elfreth, Class of 2013

In 2012, Sarah Elfreth applied to our very first Signature Candidate Training Program class. She was a young woman of 24 working as the Government Affairs Manager at the National Aquarium, where she advocated for local, state, and federal conservation policy issues. She graduated from our program in 2013 and eventually changed jobs so she could run for office.

In 2017 she launched an impressive campaign and, in 2018, won her seat as the youngest woman to serve in the Maryland State Senate. She just won her second term in the November 2022 elections.

More information about Sarah's public service can be found here. Shaneka Henson, Class of 2017 Shaneka joined the Emerge Maryland Class of 2017 along with 22 other aspiring leaders. Upon graduating from Emerge Maryland, she ran for Annapolis City Council's Ward 6 and won her seat. She served from Dec. 2017 to May 2019, when she was selected to fill the remaining term of the late Michael Busch as State Delegate of District 30a. Shaneka successfully re-won the same seat in the Maryland House of Delegates in the November 2022 elections and serves as the first Black woman to be elected to the Maryland General Assembly in District 30a. More information about Shaneka's public service can be found here.

You may contribute and become a supporter of the Emerge Maryland family by clicking HERE.


Diane Fink is the Executive Director of Emerge Maryland. She joined the founding organizing committee in September 2011, and in March 2012, she was hired as the Executive Director. Since then, Emerge Maryland has become the fastest-growing organization dedicated to helping women attain public office in the state.

Diane was a member of the Western Maryland Democratic Caucus, a Board member of the Frederick Community Action Agency, and is currently Chair of the Board of the Friends for Neighborhood Progress in Frederick. She is also a member of the National Community Action Foundation.

She served on the Maryland State Commission for Women, was named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2021, and was recognized by Baltimore Magazine as one of 30 women shaping Baltimore’s future. Diane was named Woman of the Year by the Frederick County Democratic Central Committee in 2019.

Prior to joining Emerge, Diane worked as legislative staff in the Maryland General Assembly.

In 2006, elected by popular vote, she served two terms for eight years on the Frederick County Democratic State Central Committee. During that time, she chaired the Candidates and Campaigns sub-Committee and edited and published the newsletter, The Banner.

Diane began working for local political campaigns in 2001. She worked at all levels, from canvasser to manager, field operations director to a consultant on federal, state, and local races.

She has two grown children and lives with her husband in Frederick County, Maryland.

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