As a motivated college student with a passion for public policy, Brittney Kohler knew she was headed for Washington, D.C. However, she was still looking for the best path to take to get into the policy world. During her senior year, Brittney attended the Women, Law & Public Policy Seminar, which introduced her to many professional women in Washington, D.C. who shared their career paths in great detail and explained the great variety of positions they held while building their careers. The winding journey of the speakers’ career paths spoke to Brittney. She realized that there was no one trajectory that led to fulfilling job; rather, there were many nontraditional roads that lead to success. The seminar also gave her the advice she needed to decide if law school was necessary. These mentors advised against going straight to law school without a desire to practice in a specific area, which helped confirm that she could start her path to a dream career without investing in a J.D.
Brittney was highly appreciative of the D.C. insider experience PLEN provided her; as she said, “Politics you see on the outside is not “politics” on the inside—you have to be in D.C. to really understand how it works.” Through PLEN, Brittney also learned that networking was the mantra of D.C. and doesn’t stop once you arrive. She made critical connections throughout the course of the seminar that she cultivated and turned into lasting professional relationships that have helped her along the way. She also continues to support PLEN by hosting site visits and speaking to students when they are in town. When asked what career advice she would give to the next generation of PLEN students, Brittney emphasized practicing long-term networking and recommends every always ending every professional conversation by asking, “Who should I meet with next as I explore my interests?”
By Ahuva Sunshine • 2014