Gender minorities in the political, legal, advocacy, and professional world is a conversation many may try to avoid. In a lot of male-dominated career fields, women feel they lack a voice or are not taken as seriously as their male counterparts. PLEN is not afraid to address this issue and discuss what women professionals can do to gain respect and equality throughout their professional careers.
Throughout PLEN’s Women in Global Policy seminar, facilitators and guests discussed the actions we can take to help bridge this gap. Over the five-day seminar, we were able to speak directly to congressional staff, chief executive officers, and others holding a variety of positions on Capitol Hill. Many of them were not afraid to share the struggles and failures they faced that would eventually lead to their exceptional success.
On day one of the seminar, we got to learn about networking and how to effectively convey your message to potential employers or other business professionals. Before attending, I had not even considered the numerous nonverbals you should practice in addition to the contents you wish to discuss. Allyson Perleoni, a Senior Legislative Analyst at the Association of American Medical Colleges, taught us this and how to be powerful with your words and stand out among others. In conjunction, how to properly follow up with individuals you wish to make a professional connection with and how to keep track of those you met up with. Allyson also spoke about how important it is in the professional world to ensure we are being aware of our online presence and how we should remain professional, even on personal accounts.
Among a group of several other intellectuals we heard and spoke to Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins who spoke of the importance of both gender and racial minorities. As many of us are upcoming professionals, how we can strive for equality and always look for improvement in ourselves and our community. Conversing with a woman with both a Ph.D. and J.D personally gave me motivation. She is one of the plenty of women who spoke and will continue to be both a role model to women globally. The advice I took from Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Jane Zimmerman, Kim Kanhauser, and Rachel Kleinfeld will follow me for the rest of my education into my career.
To reinforce the ideas that many of the guests spoke about, Facilitator, Marwa Odeh educated attendees on the importance of storytelling and how conveying a story in a strong passionate way can further depict your message. I had previously never considered how crucial storytelling is in educating an audience on the message you want them to receive. Talking to Capitol Hill staff was too, a unique experience. Many of which detailed the issues they face day to day, especially amid COVID-19. They spoke about the balance from work to personal life and encouraged us, as young women to take a stand and work hard to make a change and seek leadership roles. Coming from a woman who has endured male-dominated work environments, I can certainly say that the lessons I learned in the Women in Global Policy seminar will be applicable and follow me for the remainder of my education and the entire duration of my career. All of the facilitators and speakers were excellent, and I will strive to be a role model for women by following their lead.
Brittany Horne is studying Business Management with a Human Resources Minor at Carlow University. She virtually attended PLEN Women in Global Policy in May 2020.