Women of The War Room: The Alberta NDP

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Photo: flickr/ Don Voaklander

There are many things that will be written about the rise of the NDP in the recent Alberta election. One very important thing to note right away is that, in addition to an incredible woman leader Rachel Notley and over 50 per cent women candidates, the central campaign staff was also made up of well over half women.

While there were of course many talented people of both genders responsible for the NDP's success, I wanted to have a photographic record of these amazing women to illustrate that it's not all a back room boy's world anymore. 

So, I present to you the women of The War Room:


Adrienne King is Chief of Staff to Notley and served in the same position for the NDP's previous leader, Brian Mason. Much credit must be given to her and long time provincial secretary, Brian Stokes for putting the party in the position to excel in the lead up to the election.

In addition to setting the stage for the election, Adrienne spent the campaign on the road, providing advice and guidance to the leader throughout. 


Robin Steudel who has previously worked for the B.C. government and for the federal NDP, started as the caucus Principal Secretary in October. She served as deputy director of communications during he campaign and was responsible for much of the rapid response and humour that characterized the NDP's election communications strategy. 

Jen Anthony, a veteran of over 20 campaigns as well as a former director of caucus and of issues management for the Manitoba government and organizer for the federal party, came in as the "Anchor" for the Leader's Tour.

In addition to keeping the trains running on time she is responsible for the very smooth overall look and feel of the campaign. 

Former global journalist Cheryl Oates, Notley's press secretary during the non-writ period, served in the media relations position during the campaign. She was integral in driving home the NDP's message with reporters and columnists across the province and overall should get a lot of credit for the excellent coverage the party received. 


Laurie Callsen, also a former reporter (and really rad retro fashion blogger) was responsible for the party's online and social media presence during the campaign which was recognized as being head and shoulders above the other campaigns.  


Rae Weinfeld, sound tech wizard who owns her own AV company, not only was responsible for managing the audio needs of the masses of journalists who attended Notley's press conferences, but also logged many miles on the road racing around the province in advance locations for the Leader's Tour. 


Kathleen Monk and Anne McGrath have directly or indirectly mentored many women who worked on the campaign as well as NDP women across the country. Monk joined the campaign 10 days before E-day and provided tremendous guidance. McGrath arrived on Election Day to lend a steady hand as the party transitions into government. 


Caitlin Pettifor kept the whole operation running as the campaign office manager and kept the staff well fed and watered for many long days and nights. She managed to do this while finishing her university semester and still working a serving job in the early days of the campaign. 


Helping out on the tour team were two more campaign veterans Deb Duffy and Marla DiCandia who brought a wealth of experience to the shop.

DiCandia also ran the E-Night Show/Celebrations at The Westin in Edmonton. 


I also must mention Marina Holding and Greta Levy who I unfortunately didn't get photos for. Holding serves as Notley's Executive Assistant during the non-election period and worked on the Leader's Tour. Levy is a Press Secretary in the federal office of the leader of the opposition and helped the many candidates with their media requests throughout he campaign. 


Sally Housser (me!) was formerly a press secretary in Jack Layton's office, Deputy National Director of the federal NDP and Deputy Director of Communications for the Government of Manitoba. She served as Notley's press secretary on the road for the duration of the campaign.


Node Photo: flickr/ Don Voaklander

All women in The War Room photos provided by Sally Housser.

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