If you’re considering becoming a female leader in your community, then you’ll want to hear what this inspirational powerhouse has to say!
by Kimberly Pangaro
Hello, Hello, Hello! Thank you for joining us on this amazing day as I host a special Q & A chat with an amazing mom, optimistic woman, devoted wife, powerful community leader, and political force — Council Woman Diane DeBiase— on her journey towards becoming a female leader and political powerhouse in her community.
Diane is an inspirational leader in her community, committed to her family and to bettering her town. Naturally, I just had to sit down with this awe-inspiring voice in politics!
So, please welcome my very special guest — Diane DeBiase!
Diane, it is an honor and absolute privilege to have you join me today for this conversation. I am very excited to introduce you to all of the women looking for motivation and inspiration in their own political careers. So, let’s get started!
First… Tell us 3 fun facts about you.
“I hate sweet stuff, I’m a salty snack girl.”
“I have had the two same best friends for 30+ years. We talk and hang out all the time.”
“I have three tattoos, which everyone cracks up about. I’m totally not the person who people think has tattoos.”
You’re right! I definitely did not think you had tattoos. So, tell us, what was your “why” for wanting to be a council woman?
“When I was in college, I took quite a few campaign writing classes and absolutely fell in love with politics. During my junior year of college, I worked as an intern for Assemblywoman Rose Heck. Rose was the strongest, feistiest woman I had ever met. She was married and had four daughters, yet she started on the town council, then became a mayor, and finally a highly respected assemblywoman. After working for her, I knew I wanted to get involved in politics.”
How do you differentiate yourself from other female leaders?
“I know a lot of women politicians go into politics for many different reasons, however, I decided to get involved because I wanted to be the voice for people like myself. I am a working mom of three kids (19, 17, and 12) and a wife (of almost 21 years) who truly wants to make a difference. I feel that I am very open-minded and very approachable, and at the end of the day, I am just trying to help make my town an amazing place to raise a family.”
Politics is still a male-dominated sector. So, how did you overcome the challenges associated with running a political campaign?
“Due to Covid, this last election was the first time I was able to go door to door and meet my constituents. My running mate this year was a man who is about 60 and has been a councilman and previous mayor. When we went to some of the older resident’s homes, they assumed I was his daughter, and one thought that I was his younger girlfriend. I completely understand that older people might see me as not the “political type”, however, I have been on the council for two years and just won my second election which is now a three-year term.”
What are some challenges you face specifically as a woman in a position of power?
“As a woman in politics, I think that sometimes we are looked over as not knowing enough about topics. Right now there are two women on our town council, and I think things are moving in the right direction. Politics has always been seen as a male-dominated field, and finally, women are starting to get elected more often and are making a huge difference all around the country.”
#5 How do you hope to positively impact the point of view for women who are thinking of running their own political campaign?
“I want women to be able to look at me and think, if she can handle everything that’s on her plate, then I can, too! I work full time, have three kids, a husband, 2 dogs and I am a councilwoman (and attend as many events as I possibly can) and I get it done. It is possible to have it all.”
#6 What other female leaders and/or mentors have had the greatest impact on your decision to run for office and how has it molded your campaign?
“The woman who made the biggest impact on my political career was the Assemblywoman whom I worked for when I was in college. She fought for women’s and children’s rights in NJ and was instrumental in my decision to run for local office. She too was married, had kids, and had a career, yet she made it work. She fought hard for what she believed in, and I truly admired her for that.”
#7 What do you believe are the most important attributes of a successful female leader?
“The most important attributes I feel are being determined and being resilient. Being in politics, you can never make everyone happen. One side of the issue is always going to be mad at you. You can only do your absolute best and try to do what you feel is best for everyone you are representing. Will I always choose the correct side, absolutely not? However, I will do my absolute best to make sure it is an informed decision and something that will benefit the most constituents.”
#8 What are 3 pieces of advice you would give to other women who are considering running for office?
#1 Don’t give up. There may be people running against you in elections who have a lot more experience, however, remember that you are there for a reason and your ideas and values do matter.
#2 Never give in. Even though your ideas and recommendations may not be what everyone else feels, do not give up on making sure your voice is heard.
#3 Some days you may feel overwhelmed and like you can’t do it all, these are the days I just take a deep breath, pour myself a large cup of coffee, and keep pushing through. Women are strong and can persevere through anything!! You got this!!!
It’s very clear that Diane was not only meant to be a political dominator but also a female leader who’s goals are to empower other women to do the same thing. And to that, I say well-done and keep it up! Because you, Council Woman Diane DeBiase, are an inspiration to us all!