My experience at the Public Leadership Education Network’s (PLEN) Women in Health Policy seminar was inspirational, empowering, and offered invaluable experience and knowledge that I plan to pass on to the next generation of women leaders on the TWU campus.
This three-day seminar was packed with opportunities to learn from and interact with, women leading careers across the health policy arena and hear about the impact of their work, as well as how they got started in their careers.
During the seminar, select women from colleges and universities across the country were given access to locations all across Washington, D.C., including IBM Corp., Bloomberg Government offices, and private rooms at the Capitol Visitors Center. All of the attendees were given the opportunity to hear from accomplished women throughout the health policy spectrum, including representatives from both private and public sectors such as BlueCross BlueShield, AARP, Anway Long Group, the National Academy for State and Health Policy (NASHP), Gilead Life Sciences, the ONE Campaign, CVS, Eli Lilly, Mayo Clinic, Bockorny Group, National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), Doctors on Demand, and Johnson & Johnson. Representation from women from both private and public sectors of health policy helped provide insight to the wide array of career opportunities within the health policy field, including nonprofit advocacy, providing groundbreaking medical research and crafting legislation at the congressional level.
The Women in Health Policy panels introduced us to the health policy field, policies in response to the HIV/AIDS outbreak, careers on Capitol Hill, the future of health innovation and technologies, policies regarding maternal and child health, and a conversation between women on launching a career within the health policy field. Each panel gave us the opportunity to personally connect with accomplished women who were so willing to offer their help in building our careers in health policy. Other seminar activities included professional development that focused on networking, salary negotiation, and resume development so that we could all become women empowered to lead within our professions.
PLEN introduced me to an expansive array of career paths that will give me the tools to make an impact in the legislative and political process, locally and nationally. I’ve expanded my professional network to include experienced women who have broken the glass ceiling on both sides of the aisle, and peers who are just as passionate and brilliant. I was fortunate enough to experience this career-changing seminar on full scholarship at the generosity of Texas Woman’s University, and I don’t plan for the knowledge I’ve gained to die with me. While I plan to contextualize all the information I’ve gained from the seminar and my academic experience into a meaningful policy careers after graduation, I also plan to return the favor to other women on my campus. I want to continue the pipeline of women success and pass my knowledge onto the next generation of women leaders. My PLEN experience did not end after the seminar’s final day because I am now given access to PLEN’s decorated alumnae network who will continue to provide networking, leadership opportunities, and guidance. Above all, I learned that my path to success will not be a linear one, but rather filled with lessons that will give me the tools to continue breaking the glass ceiling for the future generation of women.
Kyra Jeanine Solis is planning to graduate from Texas Woman's University in 2019 with a degree in Health Studies. She received a scholarship from the Institute for Women's Leadership at Texas Woman's University.