Who: Stephanie Schriock, President, Emily's List
Power Play: In 2011, when Elizabeth Warren, then a special assistant to President Obama, was undecided about running for Congress, she got the Stephanie Schriock treatment. Over Warren's kitchen table in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Schriock used her warmth, humor, and the promise of support from EMILY's List to persuade Warren to run. "We talked about the change that could come with her election," Schriock says. Fast-forward to today, and the now Massachusetts Senator Warren is a leading light in the Democratic Party, often mentioned as a potential contender for the Oval Office.
Money Talks: As head of EMILY's List (an acronym for the campaign saying, "Early Money Is Like Yeast"), Schriock, 41, oversees a multimillion-dollar war chest and works to unleash the barely tapped power of women as candidates at all levels.
Backstory: It wasn't an obvious idea in the 1980s, when the political action committee was founded: "There needed to be a force to get people to see that women could be candidates," she says. "EMILY's List needed to change the mind-set of the party."
The Numbers: Schriock's skills (developed as a campaign manager for Minnesota Senator Al Franken, among others) paid big dividends in the last political cycle: The organization raised $51.2 million to help elect 27 female candidates, giving women a record 18.5 percent share of Congress. "Our job is to grab our sisters by the arms and bring them through those doors—together," she has said. "Because it's not just about taking a seat: It's about taking half the table."
Photo via Peter Hapak