Mary Lang Sollinger offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at political canvassing and fundraising while following ordinary people doing extraordinary things for the love of their country. Mary’s years of fundraising experience culminated in an incredible opportunity to host a fundraiser at her home with Senator Obama in the fall of 2007. Mary believed in all that he stood for and knew that she needed to do whatever it took to help Senator Obama and others seek political office.
Mary was tireless in her efforts to get out the vote for Senator Obama through canvassing across Madison, Dubuque, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis. While knocking on door after door, Mary found unique ways to overcome obstacles when trying to connect with people on the other side of those doors. She embodied Obama’s campaign mantra: respect, empower, include.
After the huge success of Senator Obama’s 2007 fundraiser, Mary went on to organize twelve fundraisers throughout Wisconsin in fourteen months. As a result of her fundraising successes, she was asked to serve on President Obama’s National Finance Committee, both in 2008 and 2012.
Mary has generously shared many inspirational and invaluable lessons learned throughout her years of experience. Included in her book is an epilogue with nine lessons and examples of successful fundraising for those who may want to host their own fundraising event.
For ordering: A Room of One's Own or the publisher: Little Creek Press
Order from Amazon on or around April 1st for $17.95. E-book available via Kindle, iBook and most other platforms on or around April 1st for $9.99.
What a time to be releasing a new book!
Necessity and hard times are the “mother of invention”. During the pandemic's health restrictions, we stretched our imaginations. A new, interesting and practical way surfaced—Happy Hour Obama Book Conversations.
Curious about hearing President Obama's legacy through Mary’s journey in the 2008 campaign? Join Mary for an hour-long Zoom Conversation with your virtual guest list! Learn about her time serving on the National Finance Committee and what it was like to get out the vote in the field by knocking on doors in four states.
Find two dates that work for you, the organizer.
5:00pm, Happy Hour has been a very popular time.
Invite your guests, your book club, your friends, etc.
We recommend 6-14 as a good number where everyone can participate.
Of course, more are welcome, too.
They can live any where in the United States.
Not all guests need to read the book.
We ask the organizer to email a one or two sentences of the guests who are attending,
so Mary can tailor her talk to their interests.
Confirm your dates and times with Mary and she will confirm availability
with Carol Koby, the Zoom Administrator and moderator.
Then sent the confirmed time to your network.
Whichever date has the most availability, let Mary know so it can be put on our calendar.
Send the confirmed date to you group with an email saying that you will be sending the zoom link
the morning of the book conversation.
We use this method because your friends will recognize your name.
On the morning of your Conversation, Carol will email the organizer the Zoom link
which in turn, the organizer will forward to the guests.
It's time for the Obama book conversation!
We set the conversation for an hour.
Carol starts with a "thank you" to the organizer and they do brief,
one sentence introduction on how the organizer knows the guest.
Carol introduces Mary and she will talk about 30 minutes about certain excerpts
based on the organizer’s guests’ bios.
Questions from the guests are taken.
Carol will announce at 6pm if anyone needs to leave, that is fine.
Normally, everyone stays on the call and we end around 6:30pm.
We ask if anyone wants any follow-ups or would like to do a book conversation with their networks.
Please email Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org
for any questions or for a booking.
A Room of One's Own welcomes Mary Lang Sollinger, author of From Inspiration to Activism: A Personal Journey Through Obama's Presidential Campaign!Learn more
An evening at Red's Mercantile in Eau Claire in partnership with Dotters Books.Learn more
With Special guest Community Volunteer and Activist Ann Muenster.Learn more
Panel Discussion with community leaders and a student leader following the reading in partnership with Pearl Street BooksLearn more
Book signing, all are welcome.Learn more
An evening at Zenith BookstoreLearn more
October 15, 2008, the day that energized 135 voters and changed my life forever.
Obama in my living room. He had just ended. He had to give a second answer to a guest's question. It was nine "Mississippis" of thinking for that right answer. "Humph," the older Black woman said. I was thrilled and relieved. It could have been his "Waterloo."
Der Spiegel had just arrived, as we were leaving to hear both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama speak at a State Party fundraiser.
The Wisconsin Volunteers who worked so hard trying to persuade people to vote for Senator Obama. We were being fed our lunch by Joe, the mailman who had shared his hair raising stories on how he literally ran out of the South.
This is the magazine cover that opened our conversations with potential voters in Pittsburgh. We must have bought thirty copies to give, with the understanding that they would pass it on to someone who would be interested and would be voting.
Volunteers and Donors at the January 29, 2009 Inaugural. The gentleman in the front with the mustache is Dr. Zorba, who made a difference with bringing in Wisconsin for Obama.
One of many donors and volunteer "round tables" with 30-35 guests. President Obama always the gentleman let the hostesses Carol Pensky and Cynthia Friedman go into the room first. He always looked comfortable, would say about three or four sentences, and then invited our questions. There were always very broad ranges of topics; President Obama had the answers without any prompting or help from an aid.
"A campaign memoir from an actual campaign worker is rare, even though each presidential campaign gives birth to a small library of books from the higher up insiders and the reporters covering the campaign. MLS gives a look from the trenches. It is a book for students of political science that marries theory with reality.”
"What was going to be one became six fundraisers Mary organized for Barack Obama's Presidential campaign. She is a master organizer - energizing everyone, making it fun, making it easy, personalizing each event. I'm not sure how she did it, which is why I want you to take a look at the book. You'll learn a lot while having fun along the way."
"Mary is a true example of someone inspired to create change at the local level, and in a short time becoming a major force nationally. I was happy to see the book reflected President Obama's mantra of "Respect. Empower. Include. This is a code of ethics we, in Wisconsin, understand.”
“Sollinger has written a heroic and cultural work of political activism detailing her journey from growing up on a farm, to becoming a business person, ultimately becoming the delegate to the National Democratic convention in 2008. She is Reflective and truthful both in her self discovery and on the most serious challenges of our American Democracy. She reminds us that we should “respect, and empower and include“ as the way to a breathtakingly better world.”
"The great potential of democracy lies in the magic people create when they decide to give of themselves for the broader public good. Here is a story of the extraordinary journey Mary Lang Sollinger experienced through choosing such a path."
"Mary Lang Sollinger has been a friend and advocate for years. As a key player on many successful campaigns and political movements, she has a keen understanding of what it takes to win. Her book offers a great insight into the early rise of President Obama's campaign and the impact individuals can have in changing the course of history.”
“Mary Lang Sollinger's book reflects a deep conviction she and I share—civic engagement is a unique power, and, through action, we can harness that power to effect change. My involvement with the Obama campaign in 2008 was one of the highlights of my life, and this book does a good job of capturing why.”
"The timing for From Inspiration to Activism is crucial for the upcoming elections in November. I am glad that Mary is sharing her journey and hope with us all.”
“This book is a mesmerizing, personal portrait of the 2008 Obama campaign. Sollinger captures the magic of the historic campaign and Obama himself, both full of idealism and hope. She breaks barriers, just as her candidate did in 2008. This is a good read that makes a great moment in American history feel fresh and alive, contrasting them with the dark political times we live in now.”
"Mary and I share a deep belief in the Obama campaign mantra: respect, empower, include. By bringing people together with the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things for their country, Mary testifies to the better angels of our democracy. This book has a special place in my heart and is an important read for anyone who wants to help our country.”
"I read how Mary Lang Sollinger started out in politics in peaceful Madison with a fundraiser, and then kept piling them on. By the time I got to this book’s chapter about Indianapolis, I came a friend and indefatigable Obama supporter. Mary had a vision, and fortunately it matched Barack Obama’s. Read her book.”
"A deeply heartfelt, behind-the-scenes look at how one person can make a difference. An engrossing, personal story about how grassroots activism starts and spreads.”
"Mary Lang Sollinger is an inspiration to voters at all levels, from her neighborhood to the nation at large. Her warm and stirring book shows why: a profound commitment to living the principles of Respect, Empower, Include. The book shows how campaigning for Senator Obama changed her. The book will change you, too—and make you want to follow in her footsteps."
"Mary has captured the essence of the formation of a candidate and campaign that changed America and the world. She exemplifies the best of what politics can bring out in us: respect, community and hope. Mary has dedicated her political life’s work into funding, training and mentoring candidates, campaign staff. All she has asked in return is an open heart and mind. I implore you to take all the wisdom you can from her story and put it to action.”
One of my goals is to have a 20 city national book tour with panel discussions before or after the reading. If you are interested in having a book reading your town at your civics club or community center, please contact me at email@example.com for the scheduling and details. Let’s see what we can work out.