Christine Turner

Seminar: Women & Public Policy (1995); United Nations World
Christine Turner (2) Conference on Women, Beijing, China (1995)

Occupation: Director, Office of the Executive Secretariat, U.S. Department of Commerce

Education: JD, University of Illinois College of Law

MA, International Affairs, Columbia University

BA, Newcomb College Institute, Tulane University (A PLEN Member School)

Turner’s PLEN Experience

Christine Turner’s interest in foreign policy lay dormant until her senior year of college at Tulane University. Turner had just participated in PLEN’s Women and Public Policy seminar when PLEN arranged an extraordinary opportunity for her on the other side of the world: attendance at the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing.

In addition to learning about the world’s priorities concerning the status of women, the Conference helped her recognize her passion. “It really opened up my eyes to the world of international affairs, geopolitics, and the UN system,” said Turner.

The summer after her graduation, the Illinois native continued to benefit from her association with PLEN. A contact in the PLEN office helped Turner secure an internship with the National Democratic Institute in Nairobi, Kenya.  She admitted that her experience in Kenya helped “launch” her into her profession. After returning from the East African nation, Turner had her sights set on earning an advanced degree in International Affairs from Columbia University.

While her post-graduate achievements did not stop after leaving New York, she said the PLEN “network” and skills she learned helped catapult her career into the insular sphere of D.C. politics. “The PLEN network is a terrific way to break into the world of public policy which can seem daunting when you are in school outside Washington, D.C.” Furthermore, Turner called the networking skills she learned at the seminar “invaluable”, because they have helped her attain every job she has gotten thus far.

“PLEN’s activities and programs have been an invaluable tool providing me with very substantive career leads, helpful advice, and continual encouragement,” said Turner. PLEN “really opens up doors in Washington to powerful decision makers and helps young women leverage their contacts and begin to craft a career they are passionate about.”

Now frequently coming across PLEN speakers in her D.C. policy space, Turner will always remember how they served as role models to her younger self. “It may take awhile to get where you ultimately want, but there are many PLEN friends and alumnae who are ready to help support the next generation of women leaders.”

By Ellen Watlington