Jessica Grounds is the Executive Director of Running Start, a non-profit that she helped to found which is dedicated to educating girls and young women about politics and the importance of running for elected office. Previous to working full-time with Running Start, she was the President of Women Under Forty Political Action Committee (WUFPAC)and currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for WUFPAC. At the end of 2009, Jessica left her position as Vice President of Stones' Phones,a Democratic campaign strategy firm, where she consulted Democratic candidates and organizations throughout the country. Jessica's expertise is developing campaign and message strategy for women candidates. In her various roles she has helped the campaigns of hundreds of women seeking elected office.
At the end of 2009 she launched Solid Grounds Strategy, a consulting firm devoted to assisting female candidates who have never run for office before. Before consulting candidates, Jessica worked on multiple campaigns including California Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, Congresswoman Lois Capps, and Congressional candidate Francine Busby. In 2007 & 2008, she was the Training Lead for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign for the Iowa Caucuses. Jessica holds a graduate degree in Women, Policy and Political Leadership from the Women & Politics Institute at American University. She has published research on gender differences in leadership style within Congress and has completed research on new trends in campaign messaging for women candidates.
Jessica is a contributing author for Sage Publications 2008 edition of Campaigns, Elections & Electoral Behavior. She has lectured on campaign communications at Johns Hopkins University, American University and Yale Law School, and has done candidate and political trainings for Women's Campaign Forum, the Women & Politics Institute, National Association of Women Business Owners, PLEN, National Council of Women's Organizations, Women's Congressional Staff Association, Human Rights Campaign, Women's Information Network, National Democratic Institute and the State Department.
In 2009, Jessica was named a Rising Star in Politics magazine. In 2010,she was the winner of Women's Information Network's (WIN) political and campaign work award at their annual Young Women of Achievement Awards. Jessica grew up in San Diego, California, and graduated from Pepperdine University. She has lived in Washington, DC, since 2003.