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Badass Women at Any Age

Nov 12, 2019

Patricia Russo is a powerful and charismatic badass living her truth and helping women gain the confidence to live big and gain experience in leadership positions. Patricia has held leadership positions centered on women’s rights for over 30 years, including her current role as the Executive Director at the Women’s Campaign School At Yale University. She tells us more about this impressive training program, how she went from wanting to be a nun to a life in politics, and the gratitude she has for strong women mentors such as Bella Abzug for showing her the path to badassery in politics. 


What You Will Hear in This Episode: 

  • Patty actually did want to be a nun! She grew up in New Jersey, was very active in the church and loved the pageantry of the experience. As a nun in training, she fell from grace (also her mother’s name) when she fell for the boy next door. 
  • While in college, she was a Political Science major at George Washington University and put together a list of female members of Congress she wanted to work for. Despite her witnessing her resume get thrown in the trash and the frenetic pace of politics, she followed an opportunity and ended up working with leading feminist, social activist and leader Bella Abzug.
  • Patty saw firsthand how Bella was the original badass and paved the way for the rest of us along with her other Congressional Pioneer women friends. 
  • Great women leaders help to elevate others and help us realize it’s more about passion and commitment than it is about being liked. The sky's the limit when you build truly connected relationships and stay committed to your vision. 
  • The Women’s Campaign School at Yale creates candidates from the inside out, giving them confidence and a clear sense of self. It also helps them become aware of the gender bias that commonly keeps women playing small, and worried about offending or off-putting someone. 
  • The Women’s Campaign School went from having a median age of 40-45 predominantly white, to ages 29-30 with a majority of women of color as well as 8-10% international students.
  • Badasses challenge the status quo, which is definitely what it takes to enter into politics. 
  • A Key component of the Women’s Campaign School’s success is the mentoring component and support from the network. 
  • Not everyone will be a member of your love tribe, and that’s okay. 



  • “If I’m in a meeting and I’m the only woman in the room, something is terribly wrong.” 
  • “Bella inspired all of us to know we could do whatever we wanted and that the sky isn't the limit.”
  • “You just have to be yourself in the way you want to be present and seen in the world.” 
  • “To be a badass, you need to stay true to who you are, and it’s not easy.”
  • “Having a sense of humor about yourself comes in very handy.” 



Nuns on the Bus 

Women’s Campaign School at Yale 


Republican Women for Progress