Kara Hollingsworth brings almost 15 years of senior campaign leadership, political program development and campaign management experience to the movement, most recently serving as Wellstone's Director of Public and Political Leadership. Over her career, Kara has managed highly contested legislative and judicial campaigns, served as a Congressional liaison, and advised progressive candidates and organizations on strategy for effective advocacy and wining campaigns. Her experience includes successfully leading programs to recruit, train, and mentor progressive campaign managers as well as advocacy programs for early childhood educators and military families.
In 2012, she was part of the senior leadership team for President Barack Obama’s grassroots re-election campaign in North Carolina, leading efforts to mobilize key voting constituencies in the state. Immediately prior to joining Wellstone, Kara served as the Director of Recruitment and Training with Lillian’s List Action Fund, developing political leadership programs to recruit and train progressive women candidates and campaign managers.
Most of her career has been dedicated to changing the choices when it comes to who runs for elected office and who has access to run campaigns in our progressive movement. Kara joined Wellstone with a primary focus on expanding our efforts to support national and state based progressive organizations as they build critical political leadership pipeline infrastructure in states. This body of work seeks to identify new and emerging political activists and leaders, train them to run winning campaigns, and build governing majorities that can move a progressive public policy agenda. During her two years as a Principal of Political Leadership with Wellstone, she led our electoral program work, providing technical assistance, campaign planning, leadership development, and direct training for candidate campaigns, national organizations, and state-based partners throughout the country. Kara has also served as lead staff for curriculum and trainer development for Camp Wellstone and our Advanced Campaign Management School. Her partnerships on behalf of Wellstone have included EMILY’s List, LEAD NC, Emerge, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, BLUE Institute, AFL-CIO, America Votes, and Working Families organizations in New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
Born and raised in Washington D.C., her mother was an activist and public school teacher for 37 years, while her father spent over three decades as a mentor and nonprofit leader working to create pathways to college for DC youth. They instilled in her a belief that the political process belongs to all of us. Their example of organizing and civic participation drives her desire to see political leaders in office who don’t just speak for, but come out of and look like, the communities they serve.
Kara lives in North Carolina. She and her husband, Donte, have lived there since 2002 and are raising two wonderful children, Nia and Dominique.