I found out about PLEN through my Career Center at my University and on a whim decided to try something new; little did I know that attending PLEN’s Women and Congress seminar would foster the undeniably firm foundation necessary for me to succeed in the professional world. As a Political Science student with a concentration in Global and International Affairs and a minor in Middle East and North African Studies I did not expect myself to benefit from a program geared towards Congress and let me tell you how wrong I was.
Initially, every woman who has attended a PLEN seminar has gained a set of transferrable skills both necessary and vital for success in the professional world no matter what her career may be. The ability to speak in front of people, articulate one’s thoughts in a clear and concise manner, meet with professionals, ask insightful questions, network over quiches…it is all valuable. Next, every woman leaves empowered. There is something truly incredible about being surrounded by women of all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles all in one room, with one common goal- to empower. Far too often women get associated with negativity especially towards each other. There’s this stigma, which is enshrined upon our women of jealousy and hatred, but in the past week, while at the seminar I experienced nothing but positivity and respect. How can we expect our women to succeed without doing everything in our power to help them succeed? The idea of women helping women is the most inspiring aspect of PLEN. Attendees have the opportunity to not only interact with each other but to truly get to know how our career goals align and how we may cross paths again one day. Finally, through PLEN you build a network full of brilliant women from all over the country who are just starting to build their empires. The connections being made are valuable at all levels, whether it’s with an established professional or a fellow attendee, there is always a way to help each other out.
Being one of the lucky recipients of the scholarship to attend PLEN’s Women and Congress seminar allowed me to access all of the aforementioned benefits of this program. Now, I refuse to be that woman who needs to be asked to take a seat at the table full of men. I refuse to stand in the back and let opportunity slide by me. PLEN Women and Congress taught me that not only do I deserve to take what’s mine but that I am entitled to it. I am capable, I am qualified, I am deserving, and I am a woman. I am absolutely thrilled about my attendance and participation in the program and am in anticipation of future woman leaders receiving similar if not even better experiences through this program. PLEN Women and Congress, through the workshops and meetings, taught me that we need women. The world needs us more than ever to be educated, brave, and willing to take a stand. We should never count ourselves out or let anyone count us out for that matter. We are women, and we can do it all.
Thank you to PLEN and the entire PLEN team who worked so tirelessly to allow my cohort and myself to have an unforgettable, enriching seminar. Organizations such as this one are exactly what we need. Thank you, again.
Aleksandra Zuraw is graduating from Binghamton University in 2018 with a major in Political Science and a minor in Middle East and North African Studies. She attended the PLEN Women and Congress seminar in March 2017.