We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Yuan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I have asked myself, “If I don’t do this, would I regret it?” And if the answer is “yes”, then I do it! I’ve made several big decisions that way, including launching IssueVoter.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In 2nd grade, our teacher did a simple activity in class that stayed with me until this day: mock voting. I experienced democracy and the act of civic participation at 7-years-old. I felt powerful, included, and it was fun! 15 years later, I went to manage a campaign in Iowa, a state known for its voter engagement. I always say, if you want to meet famous politicians one-on-one, don’t go to D.C., go to Iowa. In Iowa, just like everywhere else, people are super engaged during election-season and disengage during the off-season. You would never pay and promote an employee without seeing all of their work, yet that’s what we do when we re-elect our reps! Iowa taught me that: 1) Like most of us, I didn’t agree with either party 100% of the time, and 2) politics and campaigns completely overshadow what’s important – policy. That’s why I founded IssueVoter (issuevoter.org)! We provide easy-to-read bill summaries related to the issues you care about. With just one-click, you can send your opinion directly to your representative’s office. And you get a personalized scorecard that shows how often your rep votes your way – helping you hold them accountable year-round and become a more informed voter at the next election. And we are making a real impact! Since 2016, IssueVoter has sent over three million alerts to individuals and opinions back to Congress. As a direct result of using IssueVoter: 94 percent of users learned about a bill for the first time via IssueVoter alerts, 59 percent took additional forms of civic action after using IssueVoter, 33 percent changed their voting decision in a national election, and 30 percent were motivated to vote in the first place. In other words, they wouldn’t have voted without IssueVoter. As a non-profit, IssueVoter relies on your continuous support (https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/2470668) to keep making civic engagement easy, accessible, and impactful. December 1st is Giving Tuesday and if you’re thinking of donating, please consider IssueVoter. Your support enables us to expand our platform and work towards building a better democracy. Every dollar helps send over 150 opinions to Congress. For the amount you spend on coffee you can contribute to the health of our democracy!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For me, traveling and discovering new cities is mostly about the food. I’ve had great meals at Root Down and Snooze and this list is a good start: https://spoonuniversity.com/place/denver-restaurants
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My thanks and gratitude goes out to our IssueVoter interns and volunteers, and all the Americans using IssueVoter across all 50 states.