You Should Know… Mollie Bowman

Mollie Bowman. Photo by Akbar Sayed Photography

It’s almost an understatement to say that Mollie Bowman is a jack of all trades, when she’s a master of so many as well.

The resident of D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood describes herself as a market and communications specialist for “socially impactful causes.” She’s helped grow the nonprofit More Perfect, part of Partnership for American Democracy, to create a coalition of nonprofits to advocate for the preservation of American democracy, as their national campaign director.

At 29, Bowman is on the board of trustees at her alma mater, George Washington University, where she studied political communication, and she just finished her three-year term as president of the Young Women’s Impact Network at Jewish Women International.

On top of it all, Bowman got married last month and has taken on her newest title as Mollie Bowman Macklin.

You describe yourself as a storyteller. How does that title encompass the work you do?

I’ve always been involved in politics. I worked on Hillary’s [Clinton] campaign doing communications and telling the story, in Ohio, of her campaign and how it affects Ohio voters.

I worked in the White House while in college actually telling Americans’ stories, who are suffering from opioid and other drug addictions, through the Office of National Drug Control Policy. And one of our most effective channels of making change and making policy changes — that are now actually more well-known across the country and prominently in effect that have made a difference in the crisis — a big part of that comes from actually telling the real stories and showcasing the experiences of Americans who are suffering.

But on a personal note, I was drawn to this work in democracy, beyond the politics, because I’m a third-generation Holocaust survivor, and I grew up hearing the stories of my grandmother who survived Auschwitz. When you share and come from a place of authenticity and you tell stories, that’s what makes people relate to each other.

What was your Jewish upbringing and how have your Jewish values guided your work?

I grew up in a Reform household and an only child. I’m from Marietta, Ga. I did not have very many Jewish friends growing up. I had a couple of friends from my synagogue.

All of my friends who weren’t Jewish would frequently come over for Shabbat. So we had Shabbat every Friday night in my house…. I felt so safe and secure in my Judaism at home and felt so proud to share with my friends. And I continue to have Shabbat dinners at home with my friends.

What gives you hope and keeps you motivated?

It’s really easy to get discouraged, I’m not gonna lie. But I really admire those people who are on the ground fighting these battles every day. Like I work on this issue [democracy], and I am kept humbled by the fact that I’m organizing a coalition of orgs that, on the ground, are helping to fight for these values in state houses and courthouses, on individual levels. There’s a direct impact on individuals and communities.

On a more personal note, I want to, God willing, have kids in this country, and I can’t imagine not fighting for the values that I was blessed to grow up with and the freedoms that I had. I can fight to make real the promise of what America can be for my kids.

What does the future hold for you?

So in the more immediate future, I think I want to write a book about what it’s like to be a young woman in the workforce, inspired by this idea of non-promotable tasks and all the emotional labor that women put into their professions that frequently can go unappreciated.

And then in the long term, I would love to start my own company that helps other women bring their own ideas to life, whether in companies or events. I’m still figuring out the details, but ultimately, I want to be an entrepreneur that helps lift as I rise. ■

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