Peggy Grande, author of ‘The President Will See You Now’, speaks to capacity crowd at June’s Capitol Hill Summit.

by Monaco Schmidt

On Friday, June 9th, the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute hosted their annual event for young women interns in the DC area titled Capitol Hill Intern Summit: Policy and Practical Advice for a Successful D.C. Internship. The Summit included a wide range of speakers from Bay Buchanan, former U.S. Treasurer, to Peggy Grande, author of The President Will See You Now, plus many more successful conservative women.

Washington DC attorney Cleta Mitchell kicked off the day with a strong speech concerning respect. She stressed the importance of striving to be respected over liked. Cleta shared anecdotes of times when she decided to stand up for what she believed in even though it was unpopular. She proposed the following question to the attendees encouraging them to not focus on being Miss Congeniality: “At the end of your life, do you want people to say that they respected you or that they liked you?” She discussed the significance of building relationships through respect because it can renew love. Her courageous stories about standing firm for what she believed to be right, even if it was out of favor, were inspiring to the young women who face similar struggles on their college campuses.

The next speaker, Peggy Grande, spoke of leadership and her time spent with Ronald Reagan as his Executive Assistant. She provided a deeper insight to how President Reagan was as a leader. Peggy emphasized his humility, authenticity, and ingenuity. She discussed his ability to always find the best way to proceed in any situation. In closing, she mentioned the ability to have a full presence, as opposed to balance, in each aspect of work and family. As young women who are told they can’t have it all, it was refreshing to see a successful woman show how a career and a family can coexist.

Bay Buchanan, former treasurer of the U.S., spoke during the lunch. She encouraged the attendees to uncover their passions and defend their beliefs. She stated, “pick an issue you feel passionate about and start debating” and focus on learning from each debate. Also, Bay highlighted the qualities of an invaluable intern such as a good attitude, proactive thinking, and willingness to do the necessary jobs. Bay’s enthusiastic speech inspired the young women to seek out their own beliefs and advocate for them just as passionately.

Elinor Werner, the Assistant Director of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation, enlightened the young women on many tricks of the trade. Since she began her career at Heritage as an intern, Elinor could use her personal experience to connect with each intern. Her speech ranged from the proper handshake, to respectful email etiquette, and even to the correct work attire. She was able to answer questions pertaining to networking and the polite way to introduce yourself or others to a person of higher station. Elinor’s advice was instantly applicable and will prove to be invaluable to each attendee.

The next speaker, Ashley McGuire, author of Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female, brought to attention the controversies between sex and gender. She addressed the growing issue of transgender bathrooms and the necessity to keep sexes separate and unique. Since her book covers a sensitive subject, Ashley shared advice for answering hostile questions. She said, “It’s important for conservatives to step back and look at the language of the debate.” Ashley stressed the importance of communication and set the stage for the next speaker.

Rachel Semmel, the Media Relations Director for District Media Group, concluded the Summit with an engaging speech full of strategies for public speaking, TV and radio interviews, and answering difficult questions. She encouraged the young women to use emotion and word choice to their advantage when attempting to connect with their audience. By utilizing the “tell and show” method, Rachel was able to prove her knowledge of effective communication skills.

Monaco Schmidt is a 2017 Summer Fellow at CBLPI. 

Note:  For all the photos from the day’s event, visit our Flickr album.