Drawing from a lifetime of experience, conservative activist Bay Buchanan encouraged high school girls to get involved in the political process.
The luncheon, hosted by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, allowed students to get up close and personal with the former Reagan administration cabinet member. Rule no. 1: Don’t sweat the small stuff.
“The men had views from their offices and were only in for meetings on Thursdays and left Friday mornings,” she said, recalling her tenure as Secretary of the Treasury. “I wasn’t invited to the meetings.”
When a co-worker advised Buchanan to ask for a room with a view and to attend the meetings with the rest of the men, Buchanan called her well-known brother Pat.
“Do you want to be remembered as someone fighting for an office with a window?” he asked. “You have only a few battles, so fight for important issues.”
Rule no. 2: Little things make a difference.
“I became knowledgeable about the Xerox,” she said. “Because I could fix it, I became known by the men in the office. I did what had to be done. The person that can get the job done is successful regardless if they are a man or a woman.”
Of course, Buchanan’s accomplishments went far beyond repairing office equipment. At 32, she was the youngest person to ever hold the position of Secretary of the Treasury, and in the years since has become a respected political commentator. In that capacity, she has demonstrated a willingness to take a strong stand, even if it proves controversial.
That trait was on display when she discussed feminism and the Vagina Monologues.
“If you’re not a feminist, have a strong voice to speak out against [the play],” said Buchanan. “Feminists don’t care about women, they care about shock factor. Developing a strong voice with conviction is important.”
Many in attendance left impressed.
“She told us how to be a leader in school and not to do something just because it’s popular,” said Martha Neubauer, a high school sophomore from Midland, Mich.
The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute named Buchanan the 2007 Woman of the Year.