Conservatives are going to have a tough time nominating a candidate this upcoming election, as it seems each week brings yet another presidential bid. It is becoming hard to keep up with the now fifteen Republican candidates, especially that some of their names are unrecognizable by most voters.
One of such candidates is Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and, impressively, the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. It is, however, important to mention that Fiorina was forced to step down in 2005 after laying off 15,000 HP employees. Her time at HP and her questionable decisions as CEO have been strong point of criticisms, as many believe that if is she wasn’t fit to properly lead HP, she will be unable to lead a whole nation’s economy.
Fiorina also lacks any experience in the political realm, unlike many of the other Republican candidates, and has a debt of $500,000 to show for it. Fiorina has yet to recover from her failed attempt at representing California in 2010, also making her a target for criticism.
Although not popular within the GOP, Fiorina can likely win the vote of many women who are unsure about Hillary Clinton. Her story also provides an inspiration to many, women in especially, when it comes to her professional life. A definition of “started from the bottom,” Fiorina’s official campaign website describes her a woman who worked her way up from being a secretary for a real estate agency to being the CEO of one of the biggest Fortune 50 businesses. Fiorina uses her lack of political experience to emphasize that not all leaders have to be from the political elite, and that regular citizens should also have the chance to lead their country in the direction they see fit. Her conservative views on abortion and on civil rights issues such as same sex marriage could win her the support of many like-minded Americans who believe this country has been moving away from the values they grew up with. Fiorina has also struggled with cancer, something many Americans can relate to. Her battle with breast cancer might appeal to female voters in the sense that it’ll be one more struggle they can relate to. Not only that, but it shows that women who’ve battled with cancer can still lead very productive lives and with as much strength and determination as anyone else. The Fiorina family, like many other families, also had to struggle with the death of a child when their youngest daughter, Lori Ann Fiorina passed away in 2009. Although death and fatal illnesses should not be exploited to make political gains, Fiorina’s struggles will register with voters as it will make her more relatable to many who have had to suffer with similar struggles.
Aside from her political and business related endeavors, Fiorina is also known for her philanthropy. She is currently chairwoman of Good360, an organization that helps connect companies with charitable non-profits. Fiorina also serves on the leadership council of the Initiative for Global Development, a nonprofit that works on reducing poverty in Africa through working with investors looking to expand their work. Her philanthropic work either as a leader of charitable organizations or as founding member (Fiorina is a founder of the One Woman Initiative, an organization that focuses on women’s’ health issues) could make up for her lack of experience as a political leader and help her gain the support she needs from influential business executives. Her work also shows her dedication to philanthropy and her commitment to helping others less fortunate than herself. Working with foreign policy organizations such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), for which she co-chairs the Project on U.S Leadership in Development, is also a testament to her willingness to work on projects that help promote economic growth in developing countries. CSIS is a bipartisan organization that tries to create policy solutions for problems worldwide, keeping U.S interests at the forefront of their work.
The race for the White House has always been interesting, and this time around is no exception. We can only guess who will claim the presidency next as we follow the candidates’ efforts to lead one of the most powerful countries in the world. Fiorina can either fall out of that race, or surprise us all by being a powerful conservative contender; maybe even rivaling Hillary Clinton as the GOP’s next favorite candidate. Will her leadership positions in Fortune 50 companies and nonprofit philanthropic organizations be enough for her win the presidency?