As a former governor of South Carolina and now making a name for herself at the United Nations, Nikki Haley exemplifies what it is to be a strong conservative woman. Here are five lessons we can learn from her:

1) Take advantage of your strengths

Today, many people see Nikki Haley giving passionate speeches about complex foreign policy and international issues as the US Ambassador to the United Nations, but there once was a day when she was the Governor of South Carolina, a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, and serving in the Chamber of Commerce. Her true economic background and skill started at the age of 12 when she began bookkeeping for her mother’s clothing store.

Her experience working in a small business, as well as being an accounting major at Clemson University, definitely gave Haley the skills to turn South Carolina into the place to do business. She turned a struggling economy into a booming economy, dropping the unemployment rate to one of the lowest rates in the country and allowing for jobs and capital investment to pour into South Carolina. Haley’s economic background has not only benefited her in terms of finding stable careers outside of politics, it has also shown me how important small business experience and economic education can be in my future political career and how to play to your strengths. 

2) How to be graceful and pleasant, yet still fierce and passionate in today’s nasty political environment

This is the biggest lesson that I have learned from watching Nikki Haley deal with controversial people and tragedies over the years. Whether it was tweeting “bless your heart” to then presidential candidate Trump in one of his less than flattering Twitter moments or responding, “regardless of your view on the confederate flag issues,” to the Mother Emmanuel Tragedy with such grace and genuine kindness; Nikki Haley has shown me that you can still be the nice one and the one who lays down the law. This is evident even now as she calls out the Russians in the United Nations for the condoning of Assad and his use of chemical weapons. She doesn’t have to be vulgar, but her intelligence and passion along with her calm, Southern pistol demeanor have shown me that you can still let people know who is in charge without being a bully or using vulgar language. The field of young, conservative women is fortunate to have good role models like Nikki Haley to look up to.

3) Not be afraid of your feminity

“I wear heels. It’s not a fashion statement, it’s ammunition.” This statement by Haley back in 2012 shows that you can embrace being a woman in politics without “playing the women card” as Hillary Clinton labeled it. Ambassador Haley has taught me that you can be a strong woman and be proud of it while using it to your advantage in this cutthroat political world we live in.

4) Family comes first

Because Nikki Haley has been in the public spotlight for most of her children’s lives, it would have been easy for her to lose her roots and forget to keep her children and husband as a top priority, but she doesn’t. She does not let fame, power, or money stray her away from the most important people in one’s life; children, parents, siblings, and spouses. Through every stage of her life, Nikki Haley reminds people not to forget about life’s top priorities because no amount of power, fame, or prestigious government positions will ever replace the ones who will always be there for you – your family.

5) How to handle tragedy

In her time as the Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley faced several tragedies and obstacles. She took them on with class and grace and the utmost respect for all people. Whether she was dealing with the racially charged confederate flag issue, stemming from the disgusting racially-motivated attack at Mother Emmanuel Church or hurricanes and flooding. Through it all she never let the chaos bring her down, cause her to be angry, or spread a culture of hatred. She is the true meaning of the calm in the middle of a storm.

Mia S
CONTRIBUTOR