Name: Jennifer von Estorff
External Links: https://jen4davc.my.canva.site/
Member since: 2019
My teaching position at the International School Hannover Region has afforded me a wide range of experiences over the past 20 years. Enabling me to work with a diverse group of colleagues while serving in a variety of roles, my career has also given me the opportunity to plan and develop complex programs as well as apply creative thinking and problem solving strategies. Last but not least, I have been fortunate to build a network of connections within Germany and across the globe. In my professional as well as in my personal life, I seek to uphold progressive ideals and work constantly to promote them. I have undergone training in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice and continuously strive to create a tolerant, empathetic environment in my classroom and workplace. I have cultivated long-term relationships with numerous local and global organizations devoted to climate action and community service, opening the door for my students to take action and help create a better world.
Describe your volunteer work with DA and cite your greatest DA accomplishment.
After leading our DAG Voter Assistance Team to help close to 1500 voters return their ballots in 2020, we turned our attention to the GA Senate election. The formation of the DA State Teams was inspired by this targeted, effective effort. In my current role as Global State Teams Coordinator, I’ve helped assemble strong, competent and passionate teams for 14 crucial states, work that has activated well over a hundred new volunteers to inform, educate and inspire our membership. We provide detailed, state-specific information and assistance to help voters navigate obstacles, and we work to build bridges to the state parties and share the importance of voting from abroad. We also advocate to secure better overseas voting rights through legislation. Last but not least, we bring candidates and issues closer to our voters through global events, targeted outreach and education. I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished and look forward to building on our collective success.
Why are you running for this office?
My main motivation for running is to put my personal, professional, and activist experience to work for the benefit of the entire organization. The Vice Chair’s role is that of a bridge builder, and thus is the natural extension of the work I have been doing in DA for the past several years. As State Teams Coordinator, I work closely with the Global ExCom and other leaders to develop the strategic GOTV plan, produce targeted communication, shore up the Voter Assistance and Protection structure and teams, educate and inform voters and more. As Vice Chair, I would support the Chair in mobilizing motivated groups of volunteers by building trusting relationships, recognizing others’ strengths and interests and appreciating and honoring the contributions and time of volunteers. I’d work with leaders across the organization to create a shared vision of our DA mission, make the path to volunteering more straightforward, bolster the lines of communication and find ways to build community and boost morale. Having worked tirelessly to move DA forward, I would now like to be in the room – namely the ExCom – where decisions are made that will set our course for years to come. I firmly believe that with the right leadership, we can be the margin of victory in key races up and down the ballot.
How will your skill sets and experience contribute to DA’s success?
In both my professional and volunteer life, I have shown myself to be detail-oriented and adept at analysis, strategic planning and problem solving, and I am constantly on the lookout for creative solutions. One of my main contributions during my time at DA has accordingly been the ability to spot gaps and needs in our strategy and workflows and find ways to fill them constructively. I believe that the role of Vice Chair is the optimal place to continue this important work. My experience with DA falls into two related but distinct categories: educating and assisting voters, on the one hand, and empowering volunteers to mobilize the overseas vote, on the other. Having done the hands-on work at every level of the organization, I am well acquainted with both DA’s strengths and the areas in need of improvement and growth. Already having built trusting relationships within the organization will allow me to tackle the important work ahead without delay. I look forward to the challenge.
Should you be elected, are there any DA organizational or practical issues (not political goals) that you would like to address?
One of our key areas for growth is the need to bring unity and a common sense of purpose to the organization, eliminating the presumed chasm between the work at the global level and the on the ground operations, and building the mindset that we are all part of the global organization. DA also needs to continue to raise our profile stateside by deepening relationships with the State Democratic Parties, educating and informing state lawmakers about the unique barriers to voter registration and ballot access faced by overseas voters, monitoring and lobbying for or against legislation affecting overseas voters, and partnering with outside organizations and aligned groups. The work of the past two years, including the State Teams, has been exemplary, but there is more to be done. The outward-facing work of advocacy and networking is inextricable from the crucial work of internal communication. Here too great strides have been made. As Vice Chair, I would continue in this vein by ensuring institutional memory is easily accessible to new volunteers as well as streamlining and clarifying communication within the organization. We must also keep building our Voter Assistance and Protections teams to provide consistent, accurate, and timely help to allow voters to have their voices heard.
How can Democrats Abroad best raise our profile among American voters abroad and better work to elect Democrats?
Democrats Abroad needs to bridge the gap between voting for the President every four years and getting voters genuinely engaged in our democracy, especially at the state and local levels where life-altering legislation is being passed and enacted. Down-ballot elections are also where overseas voters can make the most significant difference in elections with the thinnest of margins. In order to accomplish our mission, DA must improve how we mobilize our volunteers. In particular, we need to interact with and listen to the people doing the work on the ground. As someone who continues to serve at the local, country committee, and global levels simultaneously, I understand volunteers’ needs as well as the urgency to reduce redundant work and create opportunities to efficiently share resources and best practices. I would be grateful for the opportunity to continue the work we do together at Democrats Abroad, building on all we have done and leading the way towards a better future.
Endorsement from James Lockett, Jr.- he/him, DA Hong Kong, Former Global Black Caucus Vice Chair, Texas Voter
I wholeheartedly endorse Jennifer von Estorff for the pivotal leadership position of Democrats Abroad International Vice-Chair. Jennifer’s background, leadership skills, and dedication to key issues make her a perfect fit.
Background and Experience
Having actively and consistently participated in various initiatives and events, Jennifer has shown commitment to helping Americans living overseas, working closely with members and listening to their concerns. This hands-on experience gives her an intimate understanding of the challenges Americans abroad face while participating in the democratic process.
Strengths as a Leader
Jennifer possesses a range of qualities that make her an effective leader, including being:
- able to connect and communicate with people from diverse backgrounds and understand their concerns.
- a natural problem-solver who brings innovative ideas to the table.
- willing to collaborate to achieve the best possible results.
- respected and admired by her peers due to her empathetic nature and genuine care for others’ well-being.
Key Issues and Dedication
Jennifer is passionate about addressing the pressing issues affecting Americans living abroad, including primaries and state elections. She has a keen interest in ensuring Americans overseas have their voices heard. As International Vice-Chair, Jennifer would work tirelessly to advocate for the interests of Democrats Abroad and help implement policies and programs that benefit its members.
Jennifer von Estorff is a dedicated, experienced candidate for International Vice-Chair. As a fellow member and former Vice-Chair of the Global Black Caucus, I wholeheartedly endorse Jennifer and have no doubt she’ll significantly and positively impact the lives of Democrats living abroad.
Endorsement from Tricia Augustine-Hamilton - she/her, DA Netherlands, New Jersey State Team Lead and Legislative Advocacy Coordinator, DPCA Voting Representative, New Jersey Voter
It gives me great pleasure to endorse Jennifer von Estorff as International Vice Chair. As a NJ State Team Lead, I have had the privilege of working directly with Jennifer to get out the vote in NJ as well as on legislative initiatives. I’ve also observed her work across many states in her role as State Teams Coordinator.
Her leadership, work ethic, and ability to inspire volunteers led to the creation of 14 DA State Teams to mobilize voters in critical states. Her superior managerial and communication skills make her a delight to work with, and she’s able to compromise and cooperate with leaders, both old and new.
She has fostered relationship-building with legislators and state parties, aiding in the introduction of bills in numerous states to expand the voting rights of Americans abroad as well as improve ballot access.
State Teams, under Jennifer’s leadership, play a critical role in getting out the vote and voter protection with team members monitoring legislation and working the voter help desk. Before DA’s state-focussed outreach, a bill passed in NJ which led to 75% of NJ overseas voters losing state voting rights. As International Vice Chair, she’ll never let that happen again, because she’ll make sure advocacy remains high on DA’s priority list. Some of the high points of my 25-year career in politics have been during these 9 years I have worked with Democrats Abroad, and I cannot think of a better person to help lead our fine state party.
Endorsement from Beth Landry - DA Sweden, Fmr. Global Secretary, MD Team Lead, DPCA Voting Representative
I vividly remember being at the train station not being able to get home in time for a meeting with a Maryland legislator. I put out an SOS to Jennifer asking if she could hop on with the Delegate. Moments later, Jennifer was reviewing the agenda to manage the call. Fortunately, I was able to join, but I will never forget that when I needed her she was there.
Jennifer is a grassroots organizer and key contributor to Democrats Abroad within DA Germany as their 2020 Voter Assistance lead, balancing the myriad tasks that come with being the DA State Teams Coordinator, or being an empathetic listener.
The cost of not giving it our all will be paid in election losses, generationally devastating policies, and ultimately human lives. I know firsthand the cost being paid by working people and families when Democrats do not win. With my work as a Registered Nurse and a Maryland non-profit Statewide Organizing Director – I know what it takes to successfully organize, empathize with and motivate others to take action, and to be a leader – especially a Democrats Abroad Vice Chair. Jennifer von Estorff is that leader.
Our organization needs Jennifer’s responsive leadership, strategic thinking, and team-building with a proven record of getting results. It’s no accident Germany’s 2020 estimated overseas voter turnout was 25%, triple the global average of 7.8%.
I wholeheartedly endorse and ask you to vote with me for Jennifer Von Estorff for 2023-2025 Democrats Abroad International Vice Chair.