LIPPI Profile:

Marji Dixon

Hampden County

LIPPI 2013 - 2014

Marji Dixon and Kristen Elechko    

LIPPI Spotlights 2013-2014 Participant:
Marji Dixon (left) and Kristen Elechko
By Kristen Elechko, Interim LIPPI Director

How Our Report Inspired a Movement: Spotlight on Marji Dixon, LIPPI '13-14 When asked about the foundation of her leadership, current LIPPI participant Marji Dixon offered two quotes that inspire her:

"You cannot amputate your history from your destiny, because that is redemption." -- Beth Moore, Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman   "Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another." -- John C. Maxwell

Marji herself acknowledges, "Everything about who we are informs our leadership." For her, finding connection with a community or group of people who share similar values and heart, yet offer varying perspectives, is what draws her to civic participation. It is from this position- -where every individual delivers her (or his) story, she says--that makes connections among networks so intriguing.

She and a network of other LIPPI participants have created the "New Suffrage Movement," a committee formed to address voter participation in Hampden County. The group was impacted by the results of the Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts Status of Women in Western Massachusetts: A Report on Women in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties. While attending one of the "Power Up" gatherings held to communicate the report's findings and connect Women's Fund stakeholders, Marji and others learned that Hampden County reports the lowest voter turnout rate when compared to the other counties within western Massachusetts.

After the event, LIPPI cohort members Zaida Govan, Karen Hansmann, Linda O'Connell, and Erica Rose gathered with Marji around her coffee table to share notes about their LIPPI sessions when they began to discuss the impact that the voter turnout results had on each of them. It was from this place that the New Suffrage Movement was born. The network has now grown to include Lizzy Ortiz and Leilani Paniagua, both LIPPI participants, as well as nine key community members. The diverse group is incredibly passionate about creating ways to dramatically increase voter participation rates in Hampden County.

Not only are these LIPPI participants connecting with each other, they are also stepping into their own leadership within the community. Marji described how it was LIPPI participants who emerged as the spokeswomen during the small breakout sessions at the Power Up events. She shared how driven each of the women involved in the New Suffrage Movement has been to create and implement solutions. Marji also explained that being a part of the committee has encouraged and highlighted her own leadership skills in a way that she has not exercised before; specifically, she is developing a balance between listening actively and influencing others within her group as well as within the community.

For more information about LIPPI and the New Suffrage Movement, contact Kristen Elechko, or (413) 529-0087 x13.