In honor of Women’s History Month, Regent University’s Pi Sigma Alpha honor society sponsored a panel discussion featuring local female leaders to discuss their roles in government on March 2, moderated by Madison Munn, who is the communications director of Pi Sigma Alpha.
Panel members Rachel Adams, director of External Affairs at Americans for Prosperity; Nanette Miller, Vicechair of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach; and Sabrina Wooten, Virginia Beach Councilmember discussed their goals, accomplishments, and wisdom for students attending Regent University.
Wooten was first sworn into political office on November 20, 2018 and was re-elected on November 3, 2020. She most recently assumed office on January 1, 2023. Wooten’s current term will end on December 31, 2024. She shared her journey to the political office during the Women in a Government panel discussion.
“When I think of that question about the impact of women in government, I think about especially women’s history,” Wooten shared. “I recognize that I can sit in the place where I am now because there were some folks who made sacrifices that allowed me to be able to come and be a part of what I am doing now to serve in the areas I serve now. [I] definitely respect those who came before and that history.”
Wooten always knew she wanted to serve at some level of government. “I am an instrument of God to use in government,” she said. “My heart’s desire is to be used in different ways to allow God to work through me to do whatever he would have me to do to serve.”
For Wooten, attending Regent University was top of mind for her and her friends and colleagues. She was among the first students to pursue a Public Administration degree. “I wanted to be trained in a Christian environment, and I wanted to be one of those servant leaders that would change the world.”
Wooten has obtained business and science science degrees and has always loved business and politics, guiding her to continue her educational pursuits at Regent University.
“I knew that going through the program would help me to decide what area I wanted to work in, knowing the training would prepare me for serving in the community. I did not have political experience, but I was trained to do the job, which helped me prepare training-wise. Regent provides that Biblical worldview; I wanted to be that public servant and servant leader,” said Wooten.
Nanette Miller retired from the U.S. Navy after serving 32 years in Naval Intelligence. Miller serves as the First Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach. In addition to degrees in criminology and history, she earned a master’s degree in American government from Regent University.
“Life is about challenges and opportunities, but you have to seek them and take them. It is worth taking the risk to learn from everything; whether you fail or move forward, life is about the opportunity and what you learn,” said Miller.
Miller and Wooten brought unique contributions to the discussion and shared God’s purpose of bringing them together when Miller ran for political office. Both leaders also attended Regent University at similar times.
“I am happy to do whatever God opens the door for me,” Miller stated. “My goal every day is to wake up and meet whatever the challenge is and see the opportunity God has for me.”
Rachel Adams chose Regent University for its political and communications degree. “I wanted a mix of government classes, but I knew that I wanted the communications and marketing side because it was something that was important to me and I had enjoyed,” recalled Adams.
When she arrived at Regent University with an associate degree, she wanted to spend her two years on campus and in the community to advance her future pursuits.
“I was only here two years, but I made many connections and made the most of my time here, not only at this school but with the community,” she shared. “My biggest advice is to show up and be everywhere all the time, to show up to things in the community, to show up at local political events, and to show up at events people invite you to and make those connections.”
Soon after graduation from Regent University, she was hired by Americans for Prosperity due to her involvement in the local community while attending the university.
When responding to a question about women’s role in government, Adams shared, “I experience different things than my male colleagues. I always notice when sharing stories how truly different our experiences are daily. So, it is harder in some ways and a different experience; I have gotten a leg up when I am often the only woman in the room and recognize that I am the only one to bring my voice to the table.”
Miller added that life is about learning and growing from every experience that comes your collective way. She shared one of many lessons learned when she first started her military career at 22: “You have to earn everything that you get, and you earn their respect by working hard.”
If you would like to hear more about these women’s experiences in government, you can access the full panel discussion video here.