Testimonials: Women in Global Policy Alumnae

Our 2021 Women in Global Policy seminar is just around the corner so we've compiled testimonials from several of our Women in Global Policy alumnae. Keep reading to learn how attending this seminar can empower you, expand your knowledge, advance your career, and give you an invaluable network!

The "Ask a State Department Official" panel from our 2020 Women in Global Policy seminar

"Participating in the PLEN Seminar as an undergraduate student in Minnesota was transformative. It allowed me to gain exposure to careers, professionals, and practical career planning advice I would have otherwise had difficulty attaining. Just last month, when one of the interns I supervise asked me whether I had ever heard of PLEN, as she was considering applying, I said, “Yes, I love PLEN! I wouldn’t be at the State Department today if I hadn’t participated in the program.”

It is no exaggeration; I am eternally grateful for PLEN and its ability to increase women’s access to opportunity at a critical time in their careers. Like a springboard, it helped launch me towards the jobs, skills, and further studies I needed to achieve the career I desired."

- Jordyn Arndt, PLEN Women in Global Policy 2008 alumna

"When my mentor recommended that I apply for PLEN Global last spring, I didn't know what to expect as we were fresh into the COVID pandemic and it was PLEN's first-ever virtual seminar. I had just left the Navy after a 12-year career and had recently finished my first year of undergrad at Texas Woman's University where I am completing a Bachelor's of Science in Political Science with a Spanish minor.

"Going into the seminar, I had hoped to be able to hear from military women because that is where my advocacy passion lies as a Navy veteran, and PLEN delivered! I was able to speak with two Ambassadors, one who was a retired Navy officer and another who currently worked with Navy officers. In addition to those amazing women, my cohort was also able to hear from an Army veteran who was running for Congress, three sitting Congresswomen in the US House of Representatives, and many State Department officials.

"One year later I still rave about PLEN Global and since then, I have attended no less than a dozen other programs designed to propel women into political or policy careers and was selected for a highly competitive statewide Texas Civic Ambassadors program. I am an active PLEN Ambassador on my campus and the networking and resume skills I learned at PLEN helped me land my current job at the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy where we regularly provide young women from Texas with scholarships to attend PLEN.

"I can't recommend PLEN Women in Global Policy enough and if you have the opportunity to attend, don't let ANYTHING stop you!"

- Chanel VanHook, PLEN Women in Global Policy 2020 alumna

"I never considered policy to be in my future career, so I had no expectations of this seminar. I was blown away. It was as if I had been a tunnel my whole life and suddenly someone showed me the way out and I got to see the world. I grew up learning of careers that were pretty clear cut: teacher, doctor, lawyer, etc.

The women who spoke at the Women in Global Policy seminar showed me a world I had no clue existed. Although it frightened me, this fear has led me on a hunt to find my passions and try to go towards a career that involves my passions. I had no clue the work and dedication it takes to be in the political world. I used to always think the main opportunities available  were in offices or knocking on doors. However, the world of politics has all kinds of jobs filled with people doing amazing things."

- Cindy Umaña, Women in Global Policy 2019 alumna

The Women in Global Policy 2018 cohort at Capitol Hill

"PLEN opened up a new world of women leadership in global policy to me and helped me narrow down my path in the diplomacy world and international development focusing on women’s health and women’s participation in policy making. Coming from a small country such as East Timor with very few young women’s representation in policy making, especially in the government and in the diplomatic work, I am determined and empowered to be one of the few to change that for the future."

- Geovania Guterres Ornai, Women in Global Policy 2018 alumna

The virtual PLEN Women in Global Policy Seminar was an empowering week which gave me greater confidence, practical tools for success, and a network of incredible mentors and peers to pursue my passions despite the challenges of current circumstances. 

"My biggest takeaway from PLEN was a lesson in relationship-building: genuine human connection can fuel your career, make you more diplomatic, build the people power necessary for large-scale social change, and provide a support system to share the struggles and joys of your successes and failures along the way...Graduating without a job offer is certainly scary, but having friends and mentors in the PLEN network to support me makes the path ahead seem less daunting.

"Now, whenever I feel self-doubt, I think about the brave, worthy, and amazing network of PLEN women that I have in my own ‘kitchen cabinet.’ The PLEN Women in Global Policy Seminar left me with the resounding call to action that 'you are not only capable and competent to succeed, but you are so needed and have an obligation as a woman to be a leader wherever you are.'"

- Fabiola Shipley, Women in Global Policy 2020 alumna

"PLEN reversed the doubts and fears I held, taught me professionalism and networking, and showed the various methods of creating global policy. The entire week, the speakers tore apart the lies that I was not smart enough, rich enough, cool enough to be successful. They instructed me how to conduct business greetings and abolished the myths that surround networking. All the actors involved in creating global policy explained their roles and the importance of including diversity in the creation process."

- Allecia Jones, Women in Global Policy 2018 alumna

Students visiting the State Department during our 2019 Women in Global Policy seminar

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