Seminar: Women & Public Policy (1996)
Occupation: Co-Founder, Project Mine the Gap & CEO, Haffert Group
Education: BA, Political Science, minor in Women’s Studies, Douglass College, Rutgers University (A PLEN Member School)
Kristin’S PLEN EXPERIENCE
Now the founder and president of her own political consulting firm, Kristin Haffert credits PLEN with helping her to recognize her own leadership qualities at an early age. Haffert’s participation in PLEN’s Women & Public Policy Seminar allowed her to make key contacts with women at the top of their fields and to lay the foundation for her future professional career in DC.
“I gained access to exceptionally accomplished and talented women that I otherwise would not have met while I was in college,” said Haffert. “I remember the candid engagement on behalf of the PLEN speakers that gave me honest insight into life in Washington, DC and what the unsaid rules were about operating in a political environment – particularly as a newcomer.”
Upon completion of the seminar, PLEN helped Haffert to arrange an internship in her home state of New Jersey at the Department of Human Services Policy and Planning Team where she had the opportunity to work on the major healthcare reform that was a hallmark of the 1990’s Clinton Administration. “PLEN gave me the exposure I needed to help me understand the impact I could have on the world,” said Haffert. “I gained important training about the public policy process, and the lobbying and advocacy needed to influence it.”
Following her internship, Haffert spent time in South Africa educating and informing women of their legal rights following the adoption of the country’s new constitution in 1996. The experience sparked her passion for empowering more women to participate in the political arena, and after living and traveling extensively in South America Haffert returned to the United States and became the director of women’s political participation programs at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs .
Now the Founder of Haffert Global, an organization that seeks to advise non-profits and foundations on initiatives to promote gender equality, Haffert has called upon her PLEN mentors to act as trainers, consultants and advisors to her clients. “I’ve been able to work collaboratively on projects with past PLEN speakers, and some have become friends and confidants. It’s been really interesting to listen to their personal stories and then have the opportunity to work side by side with them.”
Haffert affirms that the lessons learned through PLEN have a lasting value: “I was a PLEN student in 1996, and I only threw away my PLEN notes last year!”