Biography & Background
Jessica's Biography & Background
Jessica N. Grounds has devoted her life to empowering women to become leaders in public life. She has founded and led multiple organizations across various sectors to advance women in leadership. In 2016 Marie Claire magazine included her on their annual list of movers, shakers and rule-breakers, The New Guard: America’s 50 Most Influential Women.
Jessica is the Co-Founder of Mine the Gap, a company that equips leaders, industries, and organizations with the strategy and tools needed to create and sustain gender-inclusive work environments. Mine the Gap advises and works with major companies and organizations across sectors including Amazon, the National Geographic Society, Facebook, Georgetown University, along with the most influential women’s organizations in the United States.
Leading up to the 2016 presidential election, Jessica served as the Director of Women Ready for Hillary, the grassroots organization that built early support for Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president. Before Ready for Hillary, she was the Executive Director of Running Start, an organization in which she Co-Founded in 2007 that trains and inspires young women to run for elected office. She currently serves as Running Start’s Co-Chair Emeritus of the Board of Directors. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the National Council of Women’s Organizations and the Leadership Team member for Political Parity.
Jessica led Women Under Forty Political Action Committee (WUFPAC) as president from 2007 – 2010, along with serving on the Board of Directors for fourteen years. She has advised and consulted hundreds of political candidates and organizations throughout the country, particularly in her role as Senior Vice President of Stones’ Phones, a campaign strategy firm. Additionally, Jessica has worked on the ground and advised female candidates including many of the youngest female Members of Congress. She was the Training Lead for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign for the Iowa Caucuses.
Jessica routinely lectures globally about the critical importance of advancing women and the barriers to women’s leadership. She has led leadership and candidate skills trainings for a wide variety of organizations and academic institutions, including: Johns Hopkins, American, Yale, Duke, Dickenson College, Georgetown, UNC Wilmington, George Washington, Middleburg, Murray State, among other schools; Women’s Campaign Fund, The Women & Politics Institute, National Association of Women Business Owners, Women’s Congressional Staff Association, Women in Government Relations, Human Rights Campaign, Women’s Leadership & Mentoring Alliance (WLMA), American Association of University Women, Women’s Information Network, National Democratic Institute, the State Department, the National Council of Women’s Organizations, the League of Women Voters, Public Leadership Educational Network (PLEN), National Young Leadership Conference, American Medical Association PAC, She Should Run, and the Women’s Campaign School at Yale.
Jessica has extensive experience internationally working with the U.S. Department of State, ONE Campaign, Meridian International, IVLP, and numerous international NGO’s. She has lectured and trained women leaders from every region of the globe, including extensive work with women in subsharan Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Jessica has traveled to execute programs and lectures series about women’s leadership and American politics in Panama, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Tajikistan, Brussels, Rwanda, Lesotho, Czech Republic, France, and Italy.
Jessica completed a graduate program in Women, Policy and Political Leadership at the Women & Politics Institute at American University. She holds a Masters in Leadership from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. She has published cutting edge research on gender differences in leadership style within Congress and has completed research on new trends in campaign messaging for women candidates. Jessica and her work have been profiled in numerous publications including Roll Call, The Hill, NPR, ELLE, Mercury Times, Glamour, National Journal, Washington Post, Politico, Georgetown Business Magazine, Marie Claire, Spike the Watercooler, The Muse, Sage publications, and Forbes.
Jessica was named a political top 50 Influencer by Campaigns & Elections magazine, a Rising Star by Politics magazine, and received the Young Woman of Achievement Award from Women’s Information Network. Jessica grew up in San Diego, California, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Pepperdine University. She has lived in Washington, DC since 2003.