Two big themes behind the burgeoning new Washington D.C.-based group Network Red are helping Republicans better get along and improving their use of technology.
Between frequent in-fighting among Republicans and President Obama’s digital campaign that helped him retain control of the White House, infusing the Grand Old Party with some young, savvy troops can only help, said Shoshana Weissmann, 20, founder of the networking group.
“We are trying to assist in any way we can to unite the party, to get everyone working together,” said Weissmann, a senior at George Washington University. “There is infighting in both parties, but it’s so much worse in our party and it’s hurting us. … We are trying to alleviate that while helping Republicans bridge the GOP digital gap.”
Network Red, launched by Weissmann and fellow George Washington University senior Elie Litvin in November, has quickly become a one-stop shop for young Republicans seeking internships, jobs, networking events and similar information inside the beltway.
It started as a listserv for the Romney campaign last September, announcing events and volunteer opportunities, but was so popular Weissmann morphed it into a website. Today, an average of 1,000 unique visitors come to the site monthly, with about half returning frequently for more information, she said.
Weissmann estimates the website lists roughly 400 internships and 200 jobs in D.C., from interning for Congress members and think tanks to career-launching jobs at businesses such as Fox News and advocacy nonprofits like the National Rifle Association.
The website also highlights about a half-dozen different events in the nation’s capital each day that offer networking opportunities, such as meet and greets with lawmakers, think tank panels, club meetings, happy hour events and more.
Network Red fills that gap, she said. Plus, the group differentiates itself from other Republican job banks as it proactively seeks posts for its website as well as promotes opportunities from across the entire spectrum – moderate, conservative and libertarian, she said.
What’s more, Weissmann said she and co-founder Litvin – who specializes in “microtargeting” and harnessing data for political campaigns – see a real need in helping young Republicans who are savvy with technology land jobs in the Republican sphere, saying it’s vital to the success of the party. To that end, they aim to connect college grads with so-called digital field jobs, she said.
“We want to fill those jobs with young conservatives who might otherwise not have a role in the party, infuse the GOP with young talent,” she said.
At this point the website is a labor of love for Weissmann and others who help support it, but eventually she said she would like to see it earn a profit. She said she is set to graduate in December, and her post-grad plans include growing Network Red and working as a political consultant.
Already, anecdotal evidence indicates those who use the site find success, Weissmann said. Representatives of nonprofits and businesses tell her they receive a lot of applications through mentions on the site, and students who used it to find an internship and now returning to find a job, she said.
“I definitely see a lot of potential with it,” she said. “We know more about maybe which type of person would be best in each type of job.”
If anyone can make the website more successful, perhaps Weissmann can. In July 2012, she made the D.C. GOP’s “35 under 35 list,” the youngest on the roster. This month, she was tapped as one of Red Alert Politics’ 30 Under 30 list.
Weissmann said she became a Republican at age 8 after viewing a political commercial on television which talked about a women’s right to choose. She asked her father, an inner-city school teacher, what that meant, and “he took me on a long talk and explained what abortion was.”
“It was at that time I realized I was prolife,” she said, adding she became active in politics at age 14. “I’ve been a very active Republican for years. I enjoy it more than anyone should.”
Jennifer Kabbany is associate editor of The College Fix.
IMAGE: Shoshana Weissmann