I participated in a PLEN seminar this March, and I feel like every woman should attend one. Over the course of the five days, I met incredible women, both fellow participants as well as speakers, and gained invaluable skills such as how to network, and negotiate a contract. Thanks to PLEN I had the opportunity to talk to my representative about a cause I really care about, and attend an event with the current president of Costa Rica. I highly recommend PLEN.
I speak on a panel about Public Service every year and the women who attend PLEN are just amazing! The staff is fantastic and every participant I meet gushes about the program. They all tell me how grateful they are for the opportunity to come to DC and participate in the program and I am honored to be a small part of that experience.
PLEN changed the way I looked at the career of my interest. At first, I thought it was unattainable, until I met women from all sectors of politics. PLEN made this happen. I met women who started off just like me and made the experience very personal and a reality waiting to happen. Thank You PLEN!!!
PLEN is an excellent organization that does a great job of motivating and educating young women who want to get involved in various types of public service. PLEN works with women who are interested in science, healthcare, the legal system, and other areas of interest.
As a two-time PLEN alum (of both the Women in Congress and Leveraging Communications & Technology seminars), I am very happy to speak on PLEN's behalf and would eagerly recommend it to any college-age woman who wants to get a headstart on her career.
I work closely with college student leaders at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles who participate in PLEN's seminars and each one of them returns from Washington, DC with a fire within them. PLEN does an excellent job meeting student needs, inspiring them to pursue public leadership roles, and providing them with a life-changing experience. I wish we could send even more students to participate! I'm grateful PLEN exists and that our institution has had a long-standing relationship with them.
As a PLEN Alum, I was given an opportunity that far exceeded my expectation. I was given the chance to explore a new city I've always dreamed of visiting. I was given the chance to meet other women who were determined and ambitious just like me. I was given the chance to grow and learn from the PLEN seminar I attended.
The US currently ranks #84th in the world in terms of gender parity in government (Inter-Parlimentary Union 2014). Politics, a space of formal power and authority, needs to also be a space where women have a legitimate voice in how decisions are made that affect their lives. Very few organizations aim at providing women access to government so that they can see themselves in these positions of power. PLEN, the Public Leadership Education Network, is one of the most critical organizations that helps college-aged female students see themselves in positions of political leadership.
As a PLEN Coordinator at Douglass College for Women, Rutgers University for four years, I heard numerous stories from students who said that this was one of the best experiences of their collegiate life. PLEN shows women that they can work in Washington DC and make powerful decisions. The PLEN programs provide access to women in positions of power that these college students would not otherwise have. Students that attended the PLEN programs still write to me how amazing it was for them to meet these women, such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or US Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Considering that the lack of women's political ambition is one of the root causes of why women are not running for elected office, and that this begins at an early age for women (Lawless and Fox 2013), it is critically important that PLEN continues to not only offer the vital programs for college-aged women students to visit DC from around the country, but also that PLEN expands to reach more students and provide more scholarships for students that need them.
I have been an active volunteer, committee member and now Board member with PLEN since 2000 and continue to be impressed by the quality of the students and the programs. I learn and get back from each seminar so much more than I give. PLEN is a wonderful organization that provides a meaningful and unique educational experience to hundreds of students each year at a very low cost.
As a volunteer mentor at a recent PLEN seminar for young women from across the country who want to make a difference , I could see first-hand how important PLEN is to these aspiring leaders. By connecting these young women to successful women leaders in a variety of careers in the public arena, PLEN is providing advice, role models and guidance early in their college educations and careers. You could feel the excitement in the room as well as the gratitude of the young women for the advice and encouragement from women leaders who were sharing their experience and expertise. PLEN offers terrific opportunities like this one throughout the year in which women leaders open doors for younger women.
As a member of the PLEN Board of Directors, I am happy to help college women learn more about government relations and public policy. I attended an all-girls, college prep high school and have known, since that time, how important the camaraderie and support of other women is in the educational process. Seeing young women become more confident in their skills over the days during a PLEN seminar, and in the time following, is priceless. I enjoy being part of an organization which gives such great opportunities to young women.
As both an alumna and a board member of PLEN, I'm so glad to see engaged young women taking advantage of all that this organization has to offer. It definitely broadened my perspective to the breadth of opportunities in Washington, D.C., as well as expanded my network to an amazing group of women who were so willing to help me in any way that they could.
PLEN seminars provide college women with insider access to Washington, D.C., an opportunity that is not otherwise available to many students on the West Coast. Students learn the art of networking and come back with a great understanding of why it is important to create and maintain connections in order to succeed in their careers.
Each time a student returns from PLEN, she is overwhelmed with enthusiasm and energized by the women leaders that she met. I see PLEN as a key educational component for any woman interested in pursuing a career in policy or politics.
PLEN is an experience of a lifetime! I went to their technology conference knowing it would be great, but it exceeded my expectations. The programing was insightful and engaging. But most importantly, the PLEN volunteers, staff, and fellow attendees made it a rewarding and empowering experience. I recommend women to join the PLEN network, they won't regret it. It is also a great opportunity to explore D.C. with other talented and curious participants.
As both an alumna and a board member of PLEN, I have seen the impact its program has from both sides. It helped me connect with peers and mentors when I was a part of the program, which helped me achieve what I have this far in my career. Now as a board member, I continue to hear of the amazing achievements PLEN alumni have reached and the impact they say PLEN had.
PLEN prepares outstanding female leaders for public service careers by connecting college students with real world leaders in the field.
PLEN is an amazing organization. I spent a week in Washington, D.C. and met many women in the field of international policy through their Women & International Policy seminar. They were able to connect young women (like myself) to women in all stages of their career development. It was a great introduction for me to understand what I might want for myself in the future as well as to begin building my connections now. The speakers they were able to bring held senior positions yet they were also a group of women who are really open to helping others.
PLEN always makes such a difference in the lives of our students! They return to campus filled with excitement about the public policy process and ready to take on the challenges of our world. SO many of our recent graduates have attended PLEN seminars and then moved to Washington to find important jobs where they can make a difference. PLEN is transformative!
I attended my first PLEN seminar during my first year at Douglass College of Rutgers University. After that first foray into Washington, I couldn't get enough! So, I went several more times during my years in college. The view of Washington, D.C. that I received from the many women leaders who spoke to us and shared their own stories was priceless. Those early entries into Washington resulted in a career in politics and now in higher education that has provided a lifetime of love for public policy and for the critical role that women mentors can play in the lives of young women. PLEN opens doors - it is that simple - to young women's careers and life development. In my own life and career, I have discovered that the power of giving to young women is multiplied exponentially over time. I am grateful for that power that PLEN gave to me almost a quarter of a century ago. It is only a pleasure to give back to PLEN and to young women now.
I spent the week of March 18-22 in Washington, D.C. attending a week long educational program, Women and Congress, consisting of a series of seminars sponsored by the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN). It was an enlightening and invigorating experience.
PLEN is a national organization dedicated to preparing women for leadership in the public policy arena (www.plen.org). But don't let that switch off your interest! The primary goal of PLEN is to ensure that college women have the professional skills, connections, and knowledge needed to launch their careers upon graduation (www.plen.org). This they accomplished in spades! During the week long program we were exposed to a variety of political leadership careers and given advice on how to become leaders ourselves. We met with female Congressional and Executive Branch leaders, their staff, and other policy oriented professionals. Several of the speakers were previous PLEN participants and all were engaged, enthusiastic, and supportive. I never felt so encouraged! I wish there had been a program like this when I was in my early twenties; it would have changed my life's path.
The speakers were dynamic and varied, as were the topics. We heard presentations on how congress really works, careers in energy, environment and transportation policy, healthcare implementation policy, congressional rules, advocating for immigration policy reform, nat’l. & homeland security policy, how congress affects women globally, women’s leadership in congress, careers on the campaign trail, finding the right job and landing it, and DC business etiquette. We met with Representative Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Michelle Altman (Health-care Implementation), Meghan Taira (Leg.Assist. to Senator Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Butterfield (Special Council, Immigration policy reform), Michele Jawando (Gen'l. Council, Senator Gilibrand (D-NY)), Susan Scanlan (Chair, Nat'l. Council on Women Org. and President, Women's Research and Education Institute), Melissa Feld (Mgr., PAC & Political Affairs, Gen'l Motors Co.), and many, many more. We participated in advocacy training, a lobby day, a goal setting workshop, a resume workshop, a visit to the Democratic/Republican National Committee (your choice), and an evening networking reception. We arranged meetings with our members of congress and observed Senate/House hearing(s). Free time (though there was little of it) was spent sightseeing in our nation's capitol.
While most of the participants were in their twenties, there were several of us who were age thirty and above (I am 56). There were probably as many different reasons for attending as there were attendees. However, we all gained valuable insight, instruction, ideas, and contacts to further each of our goals. One of the caveats that we were given was this: "As with any experience in life, you get out of it what you put into it."
I came away from the experience feeling empowered and excited. I had personally spoken with three of the speakers in the field I was interested in, exchanged business cards and made plans for further meetings. Every young (or not so young) woman should participate in this kind of experience to prepare for entry into the workforce. An immersion in a female focused business environment like this is so beneficial that I think it should be required for every female college student. The experience of being surrounded by like-minded, intelligent, and engaged women is worth the cost of the program. For those traveling from other states, discounted hotel accommodations were arranged by the PLEN at the Carlysle Hotel at a very reasonable rate.
Washington DC has its own energy and pulse; the people who work there are like no other. Just being in the environment was invigorating. You should do it, even if you think you don't have the time. It is so worth it.
As an intern with PLEN, I have learned more about professional development during a weeklong seminar than I could have over a year as a recent graduate. PLEN offers a fantastic experience for college women to be able to network and meet women leaders in their field of interest. PLEN’s career development workshops are something I wished I had experienced during my undergraduate career. PLEN seminars truly give college women the tools to get ahead and kick start their careers in public policy.