Seminar: Women, Law & Public Policy (2001)
Occupation: Managing Director, Policy, BlueCross BlueShield Association (BCBSA)
Education: MA, Public Policy with concentrations in Global Public Health and Women’s Studies, George Washington University; BA, Political Science, Douglass Residential College, Rutgers University (PLEN Member)
When Naomi Senkeeto decided to attend PLEN’s Women, Law & Public Policy Seminar in the fall of 2001 she was under the impression that in order to attain the type of DC career she desired, law school would be a necessity. However, while at the PLEN seminar Naomi discovered she could attain the type of policy-related job she was interested in without a JD. This welcome epiphany changed the course of her entire career trajectory.
Having grown up in Maryland, Naomi always knew she wanted to start her career in Washington, D.C. She credits her PLEN experience with filling in the blanks on precisely how to accomplish this by providing her with a dynamic network of professional women willing to mentor her and connect her with the right people. Additionally, she found that by just mentioning her affiliation with PLEN she gained additional respect from employers; in a city as competitive as D.C., this gave her a competitive edge and allowed her to succeed rather than falling through the cracks.
Naomi first worked as a legislative assistant in the Public Policy Government Relations Department at the American Association of University Women. She then transitioned into health policy and worked for the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, then the American College of Physicians and later achieved the title of associate director of policy and strategic alliances at the American Diabetes Association. In 2011 Naomi joined the US Department of Health and Human Services, where for a year she worked to implement the Affordable Care Act. From there she moved on to work for BlueCross BlueShied Association, where she is currently the Policy Director. “Everywhere I turn, I recognize that PLEN has in someway had an impact on my career path and the relationships that I’ve developed during my career.”
Senkeeto values the personal relationships the PLEN staff advised her and other students to have with the speakers. “Years later I’m still really good friends with my first mentor that I met, Erin Barclay,” said Senkeeto. “It was really helpful that we were encouraged to strike up relationships and then when we did, they were real relationships.”
Naomi won the PLEN Alumna Leadership award in 2012 and does a wonderful job giving back to PLEN. She connects people with each other, conducts mock interviews and resume workshops, and gives out highly coveted advice on how to succeed in this city to PLEN’s cohort of younger women in hopes to assist them as PLEN assisted her. From 2014-2017, she served on the PLEN Board of Directors, during which she co-sponsored a student to attend the 2015 Women in Public Policy seminar. In 2017, Naomi spoke to PLEN students and alumnae at the “So You Want to go to Grad School” panel, and presented Constance Blackwell with the 2018 PLEN Mentor Award.