The Power of Networking

I met Mallory Ladd at the 2017 Women in Global Policy seminar. She and her two colleagues, fellow Ph.D. candidates from the University of Tennessee, successfully employed crowd-funding to finance their attendance at the seminar. Full disclosure: I made a contribution to their effort; I’d never seen such creative fund raising for a PLEN seminar (and on Twitter!) … but I digress.

Toward the end of the seminar, Mallory and I were paired for resume review. As a hiring manager, I enjoy helping students make their final tweaks to this most important document. We discussed Mallory’s career goals and timing for completing her studies. Most important at the moment was to make sure the C.V. would be outstanding, among scores of others, as Mallory launched her search for science policy fellowships here in Washington. Science policy is an extremely competitive work space. Failure was not an option.

As many resumes as I’ve reviewed (and I’ve reviewed hundreds), a bench scientist’s C.V. does not fall into my sphere of expertise. It was time to tap into the PLEN network for an assist. I connected Mallory with a 3-year PLEN speaker, Kate Stoll, Ph.D., senior policy advisor for the MIT Washington Office. I’d recruited Kate as a speaker when I served as PLEN’s interim executive director during the 2014-2015 academic year. I’m an alumna of MIT and brought the MIT Washington Office into the PLEN fold that year.

As good a match as Mallory and I are, she and Kate were just as good. Kate not only had some great resume advice but also put Mallory in touch with her contacts at a couple of NGOs where she might like to work someday. Kate is a thoughtful and generous mentor. PLEN is lucky to have her in our network.

More than a year has passed since the seminar and that resume review session. I continue to mentor Mallory. We recently talked about potential job opportunities on the horizon. I reached out to another PLEN board member for her expertise on salary and benefits negotiation. The power of the PLEN network came through, again. Mallory feels fully prepared to review and negotiate job offers in a way she’d not imagined before.

This is the power of networking: expertise in the PLEN network to support students through every step of building a career in public policy. This is the power of PLEN.



Lisa D. T. Rice is the Vice Chair of the PLEN Board of Directors.

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