A Letter to Future PLEN Students

Dear PLEN Students,

You might be like me: coming into the Women in Global Policy seminar already knowing exactly what you want to do and the exact steps you need to take to achieve that. Well, let me tell you that you might just throw that all out the window. I thought I had it all planned out but within five days, my plan changed more times than I could count. I felt like a little kid again, dreaming all of these big dreams, but this time, I felt like I could really reach them. 

Throughout the five days that I spent with PLEN, I met women from all different backgrounds, occupations, with all different skill sets, capabilities. I remember every single speaker that talked to us because each one stuck out in their own way. Each speaker had amazing stories to tell of what she does and how she got there. I was sitting at a table, and these women were quite literally bringing up chairs for all of us to join them. 

After the seminar, I reached out to all of the speakers on LinkedIn, (if you don’t have an account, MAKE ONE) and every single person was willing to talk more about topics and their jobs with me, offering me information, advice, tips, tricks, and so much more. It really was inspirational to see these women in such high positions, from Ambassadors to CEOs, offering to help little old me with job offers, mentorships, opportunities, and more. 

As I said, we met a variety of speakers, and I think that was one of the amazing things about the seminar. I got to hear from women holding positions that I didn’t even know existed. I have lots of strong women in my life, but this was a type of strength that I hadn’t seen before. These were women that were leading, helping, and creating opportunities, policies, and companies geared towards aiding girls and women (and men too, but the focus was mainly on women). We had glass ceiling breakers speaking to us every hour, sometimes panels of five different paths paving the way for those to follow behind them. We practiced policy discussions, diplomacy simulations, networking, skill-building, public speaking and so much more. We had sessions on salary negotiation and one-on-one resume reviews, all focused on leadership in public policy. 

Let me let you in on a secret I learned: there is SO much to learn about public policy. The ocean is deep and wide and the possibilities are endless. It is quite daunting. But now I feel like I have gained the knowledge and skills I need to conquer exactly that. 

This seminar was intimidating for me at the very beginning as I looked over the names of our speakers, the schedule for each day, and the topics that we would go over. Let me tell you that if you are feeling like that right now, you are not alone. Along the way, I met students like myself, from graduate school to second-year students, all feeling the same insecurities that I was feeling. I made friends that I know I will see walking the floors of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., women I know will command board rooms and office spaces, creating opportunities for young girls just like you. 

The best part was honestly getting to know so many other women who shared similar passions to mine. We might not have shared the exact, same, specific passion, but we were all there because we wanted to help people. We wanted to be leaders in the country, whether it be big or small, we all wanted to make a difference. And PLEN prepared us just for that. 

So, you might be hesitant, thinking that this seminar is not for you, or that you are not equipped enough to meet the standards, but I challenge you to see that you do. Because you have the skills inside of you, and PLEN will help you to engage them and become change-makers. 


PLEN Women in Global Policy ‘21 Graduate 

Darcy Hansen attended the 2021 Women in Global Policy seminar. She is a rising Senior at Southwestern University majoring in Environmental Studies with minors in Political Science and Feminist Studies.

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