NEWARK — She’s known as the head of The Longaberger Co. here, but nationally and internationally, Tami Longaberger also is known as a teacher of leadership skills to women and an elections observer in other countries.
Longaberger, president and chief executive officer of The Longaberger Co., recently spent six days in Jordan as part of the International Republican Institute’s short-term observer team for Wednesday’s parlimentary elections.
Longaberger joined IRI delegates from several countries to monitor voting and ballot counting in Jordan, where elections long have been considered corrupt.
In a Friday tweet, Longaberger stated, “Honored to serve on the IRI Jordan Elections Observation team. Tremendous experience to volunteer in other parts of the world.”
Longaberger is a member of the IRI Board of Directors and board chairwoman of the Arab Women’s Leadership Institute.
She was assigned to observe the voting procedures in Aqaba, Jordan, located in the southern edge of the country, across the Red Sea from Israel.
She met with local election officials, civil society activists and candidates before the election. On election day, she observed the opening of polling stations, voting and the vote count.
Judy Van Rest, executive vice president of IRI, said Longaberger’s role was to observe and report back on what she saw, but not to interfere with the process.
“I think she was able to witness a fair amount of voting,” Van Rest said. “It’s interesting to see people from other countries vote.
“She’s very dedicated to this and works very hard. She’s helped is a lot in making these programs successful.”
Longaberger also served as an IRI elections observer in Tunisia in 2011. As part of the IRI’s Women’s Democracy Network, she has helped train women to become politically involved in their countries.
“I first met Tami when she was chairwoman of the National Women’s Business Council,” Van Rest said. “I knew she was interested in helping women internationally.
“We’re trying to assist women to have leadership skills. Tami definitely has that. She is a great communicator. The women, I think, really respond to her. They see she’s really accomplished and warm and reaches out to them and genuinely wants to help them.”
Other delegates included the vice president at JP Morgan, a member of the Czech Republic Senate, two former members of the Canadian Parliament, and the former chief of staff to Gov. Mitt Romney.
The IRI’s post-election report stated that the recent showed improved election procedures, but inequities in the election law must be addressed. The delegation reported widespread allegations of vote buying on Election Day, illegal campaigning at polling centers, over-representation of rural districts
Since 1983, IRI has monitored more than 150 elections in more than 46 countries, including Jordan’s 2010 parliamentary elections.