Fortunately, I learned about the PLEN seminar from the Arizona State University W.P.Carey Business School weekly newsletter. After reading up on the experience and hearing all the overwhelmingly positive reviews, I was sold and had to apply. After filling out my application I talked to all my friends and family about this incredible opportunity that my school was advertising and my hopes to go, not knowing that I would end up receiving a full scholarship. After getting the news, the PLEN team gave me all the information I felt I needed to be prepared. Although, I was a bit unsure of what to expect when traveling to a new city by myself, the organization that PLEN had made me feel very comfortable.
Going in, I expected a bunch of motivational speakers and a lot of team building, but it ended up being quite different. As an aspiring diplomat, I had an abundance of questions in regard to my own personal endeavours and also seeked general advice. All of my questions were answered; in fact, I felt it went above and beyond what I expected. Because it was in Washington D.C., I was able to experience a hub for my political interests and see the ways in which this environment could be beneficial or detrimental to my successes. Meeting so many powerful women in leadership positions, I felt that I received an irreplaceable amount of advice and networking that can aid me in achieving my goals.
Being able to see so many women with tenacity, I gained priceless knowledge about work life balance, negotiating and navigating the workplace. One of the strongest tokens I received was that although people may not pay you the respect you deserve due to your age, being a woman, ect, if you can teach them something and know your stuff, you earned your place at the table. It was also essential for me to hear that grad school doesn't have to be the immediate next step after graduation and that getting experience before going not only gives you a better perspective, but allows you to have better financial support. Hearing these things from people who have been in my position and prospered has encouraged me to pursue my dreams in my own strategic way.
Not only did this seminar reaffirm my thoughts, but it also gave me a clearer perspective on the amount of career paths. I learned there is not one perfect way to achieve your goals and that if you are hardworking and passionate, you can find the right position for you, sometimes in places you would not even expect. Many of these women did not intend to hold the leadership positions they do now but because they are ambitious and followed their goals, they ended up in the right positions for their futures.
I hope to one day be able to come back to PLEN as the diplomat I aspire to be. Hopefully I can bring additional advice to new women and share my own experiences of success. Until then, I will continue to network, stay motivated and accomplish my goals. I am forever thankful for all the peers I met along with the speakers. This was an unforgettable week that has changed my future.
Alexandra Scott is an Economics major at Arizona State University. She attended the Women in Public Policy seminar in hopes to further her professional experience before her graduation in May 2022. She received a scholarship sponsored by Erica Dahl.