by Abigail Slagle
On Friday, June 3rd, the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute hosted an event for young women interns titled From Campus to Capitol Hill: How to Excel at your DC Internship. The Summit hosted a wide range of speakers, from Star Parker, founder of CURE, to Elinor Renner, program associate at the Heritage Foundation, and many more.
The morning started as young women interning on the Hill arrived at the Capitol Hill Club to find a hearty breakfast awaiting them. The room full of attendees enjoyed their coffee as Star Parker, the first speaker, gave a striking lecture about urban poverty and how the welfare state creates a trap for poor citizens, and how conservative policies actually provide freedom from this cycle. She recounted astonishing details of abortion clinics and calculated choices citizens make to maximize their welfare checks. Her inspiring story about her personal transformation to becoming a conservative was a well-received inspiring talk, which made the young women aware of how important it is to work in the conservative movement.
The next speaker, Kimberly Begg, provided insight and advice to the young women that she said she wished someone would have told her when she was an intern. She advised that women should work especially hard to gain respect and create a flattering image in the workplace. Personal branding should be a conscious effort early in the careers of young women in the political scene to help set themselves apart from other interns. In a lighthearted aside, she told a story about how she bought prescription-less reading glasses to wear to work to give her a "more serious" look. Not bad advice, right?
Luncheon speaker and CBLPI board member Kellyanne Conway, founder of the polling company, was a favorite among the attendees. She encouraged young women to not be intimidated by coworkers or discount themselves because of inexperience. While describing a personal scenario where she was speechless the first time she was asked about her speaking fee, she replied with a quote from the movie Harry Meets Sally: "I'll have what he's having." Her message of self-confidence and owning both your strengths and weaknesses resonated with the young women in the audience.
Michele Weslander Quaid gave a thorough and solid lecture about her personal experiences of working as the chief technology officer for Google, and for the DNI's senior representative to the Secretary of Defense's Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance Task Force. Throughout all of her successes, she said that she never had a "career plan," or a path to get where she wanted to be. Her best advice, she said, was that she got where she is today by working hard, going where she was needed, and being passionate about what she did. She encouraged her audience to not limit themselves to a single industry, department, or career path.
Elinor Renner, a program associate at the prestigious think tank The Heritage Foundation, enlightened the attendees with a lecture chalk-full of expert tips and advice on how to succeed in the DC political scene. Most college women have all been to a resume workshop before, but as a young intern, I thought her advice was unique, thought-out, and incredibly beneficial. Her take-notes style speech was an informative crowd favorite, and the fact that she started as an intern in her organization and was promoted to full-time staff lent even more credibility to her tricks of the trade.
Attorney, columnist, and political analyst Gayle Trotter gave a pro-Second Amendment speech like many young women have never heard before. She defended the literal interpretation of the Constitution on the issue, calling it "black letter law," or an interpretation explicitly in writing in a document. Her strong stance was a welcome and informative perspective.
Lastly, Leah Campos, senior national security advisor at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, gave a more casual speech about the importance of being humble in politics. She took advice from one of her colleagues that was once a Capitol Hill intern and repeated it to the young women in the audience, and ended the day by hosting an informal Q & A session that answered questions on everything from the state of national security today to the DC political lifestyle.
All in all, the Summit was informative, fun, a great way to network with conservative women, and a memorable event to all in attendance.
Author Abigail Slagle is a 2016 summer intern at CBLPI.