Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Let's back it up a bit...

Some background on why Catalyst, why HKS and why this blog:

Until last summer, I worked for the public policy office of the Alliance for Children and Families in Washington, DC. As the lead child welfare policy analyst (read: lobbyist), I was responsible for representing my members' voices in Congress, coordinating grassroots advocacy efforts, working within a coalition of child welfare-focused organizations to promote national child welfare reform (read all about the Fostering Connections Act of 2008 and its implementation here) and writing policy analysis of legislation on child welfare, nonprofit issues, service and even a (small) portion of the economic stimulus.

My seven years (college included) in DC brought me to the Kennedy School, where two courses in management and a course on institutions supporting families opened up new avenues of study, even as they inspired me to explore in depth—and work to solve--an issue that has always mattered to me: how gender can serve as a barrier to professional (and political) achievement and what to do about it. After all, it's not Kennedy if you're not asking what you can do...

My summer internship with Catalyst will expose me to a sector with which I’ve not had much experience—the private sector—even as it affords me an opportunity to learn about the ways in which women can learn from—and support—each other as they move up the career ladder. I will also (finally) put my Spanish major to use, as Catalyst seeks new ways to reach out to Latin American clients. Most importantly, I am excited to help change these statistics.

While the internship presents a new topic area and a new forum within which to work, I know it will also make me a better advocate for the communities I was working with before. In many vulnerable communities, empowering and educating women is often the first step to improving the community as a whole. No matter whether life post HKS takes me back to DC, to New York, or elsewhere, I know that this summer will provide a solid foundation from which to follow my passion for women’s issues—especially with regards to understanding management, building networks, and serving as an informed advocate—and help me to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

Hi, blogging world.

This is me (and a stray dog in Istanbul).

I am excited (and extremely fortunate) to be spending the summer in New York, working with Catalyst, Inc., the leading nonprofit membership organization dedicated to building inclusive workplaces and advancing women and minorities in business. This is possible due to the generosity of WAPPP at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Roy Family Internship Fund.

This blog will follow my summer experiences-- discovering more about women's professional networks, examining the unique challenges facing women as they ascend the professional ladder, working to advance solutions in this arena...and of course, exploring the city of New York (especially my new neighborhood, Brooklyn!).