Kylie Oversen wears many hats: attorney, chair of the ND Democratic Party, and even Girl Scouts leader. She talks with Ladyboss about what has kept her going through a really difficult year, and what we can all do to honor the women who came before us and fought for our rights.
Tell us briefly what you do.
I work as an Attorney at the Schneider Law Firm. Here, I help people obtain disability benefits, fight against employment and housing discrimination, seek compensation from personal injuries, draft basic estate planning documents, represent non-profits, and more. I also spend a small amount of time representing children and teens as a guardian ad litem in certain Juvenile Court proceedings.
In addition to my legal career, I also serve as Chair of the ND Democratic-NPL Party. In a nutshell, that means I recruit and support candidates for statewide and legislative office, hire and oversee our state party staff, raise money to fund party operations, organize and lead statewide meetings and conventions, and much more.
What’s the best part about what you do?
The best part about my work, legal and political, is getting to meet so many extraordinary people. Whether it’s my clients who have faced significant hardship in their lives but still push forward, students who are beginning their college careers with optimism and faith, or candidates who are running for public office because they want to create positive change . . . I see so much good in the people around me.
It is so easy to become pessimistic and only see negative traits in others. But, with the state of affairs in our country right now, I think we all ought to work hard to see the “good” too! When I ran for statewide office, I had the honor of meeting thousands of North Dakotans from all walks of life. We did not always agree on things, but we found common ground and dreamt together about how we could change government in our state. Those experiences and stories will always stay with me.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in young people! I volunteer with Girl Scouts, serving as a co-leader of a local troop. The girls I get to work with are funny, smart, kind, and compassionate. Their positive outlook and ideas about changing the world always inspire me – and their silliness makes me laugh! I always come away from our meetings (even those over Zoom) feeling better about the world around me.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
In college, when I was feeling overwhelmed or stressed about things, my student government advisor would remind me that it was okay to take a break or take a day off. The world wasn’t going to end if I took some time to recuperate and rest. I stay very busy and a lot of the work I do is high pressure, so that reminder is one I often have to give myself still today.
So, to all you Lady Bosses who are juggling work, families, community involvement, and more: know that it’s okay to take a day off! You need it and you deserve it.
How are you taking care of yourself in 2020?
There is no denying that 2020 has been a tough year. Coronavirus, protests for long overdue racial justice, a divisive and controversial election cycle . . . when I couple those things, personally, with my already hectic schedule, I’ve come across bouts of exhaustion and depression. I’m fortunate to have the tools and the community around me to battle through those trying times. So, I try to help others who may not have the same privileges and resources that I have. This is through collecting donations for families in need, donating to local nonprofits, supporting our frontline workers, etc.
One of the more fun things I have done this year is teaching myself to sew in order to make masks. It has been a rewarding experience and allows me to contribute to the needs of our community in a different way.
What do women need right now?
Women need to VOTE! We are just over a month away from the most important election of our lifetimes. Seriously. Whether you identify as Republican, Democrat, or something in between, it is so important that you exercise your right to vote! This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote (white women, that is; women of color were forced to wait many more years before that right came along for them). To honor the suffragettes who marched, protested, went to jail, and suffered injury and worse: please, vote! You can check out www.IWillVote.com to request an absentee ballot, to check your voter registration (if you do not live in ND), and find more info on voting in your community.
Not only is the presidential race important, but you should also vote on statewide elections, state legislative races, local races like county commission, and important ballot measures. Reach out to your friends and family to make sure they know how to vote and remind them why it is important. With COVID-19, voting might look a little different this year, so it is important to plan ahead.
What does the term Ladyboss mean to you?
Ladyboss means someone who excels in her chosen field. Someone who supports and encourages other women. Someone who is confident, compassionate, and community focused. A Ladyboss has the potential to change the world – and she works hard to do that every day, in big and small ways!
Name Ladyboss that inspires you and why.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a.k.a. the Notorious RBG. As I write this, I am still deeply mourning her passing. It is hard to put into words how meaningful her contributions are to our legal system and to our country.
Justice Ginsburg’s greatest contributions came long before she ever joined the Supreme Court. As a litigator, she fought for gender equality with creative and compelling arguments. Every single person reading this article has benefitted from her advocacy in some way. She systematically and persistently broke down the barriers that women faced in everyday life. Sometimes, she did so by illustrating how gender-based laws or policies negatively impact men, too. She was truly brilliant, and I can think of no one more inspiring than her.