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Public Leadership Education Network PLEN

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Leadership Development

Mission: The Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) is the only national organization with the sole focus is preparing women for leadership in the public policy arena. PLEN’s mission is to increase the number of women in top leadership positions influencing all aspects of the public policy process.

Results: Founded in 1978, PLEN has served thousands of women, of which 50% are women of color or from other populations historically under-represented in public policy leadership.

Target demographics: College Women

Direct beneficiaries per year: Each year, PLEN brings about 250 women students from colleges and universities across the country to Washington, D.C. for a weekend or week to experience first-hand how public policy is shaped and implemented at the national level.

Geographic areas served: National

Programs: Students meet with and learn from women leaders making and influencing public policy at the highest levels in the Congress, courts, federal agencies, corporate sector, policy research and advocacy organizations and the news media. PLEN’s Program Schedule http://plen.org/programs

Community Stories

69 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Jessica114

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a Sophomore in college, I went to PLEN Women and Congress in Washington DC for a week. The people I got to meet changed my whole perspective on what I want to do in the future, as did the experiences I had. I went back to school and recommended that all women go to PLEN at least once. With PLEN, I think that my interests would never have come out.

Client Served

Rating: 4

As a sophomore, I attended PLEN to learn about the difference between obtaining a J.D. or a M.P.P. During the Seminar, I learned about lobbying, met other outstanding women and traveled back to New Jersey knowing a lot more than I had expected. PLEN is an amazing and irreplaceable resource for young women to obtain professional knowledge. The seminars that PLEN provides allows collegiate women of different backgrounds and interests to speak with professional women and network. There are more women needed in our government and PLEN is doing a great job of introducing young women to possibilities earlier on.

1 Anne35

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a PLEN Board Member as well as highly active volunteer. PLEN program participants have a life changing experience, and I am so proud to be part of this organization. If you are considering a career in public policy, attending a PLEN program is critical. Not only will you also gain career insights but also learn career jumpstarting, networking and leadership skills. PLEN is also a relevant and cost-effective corporate investment opportunity for any organization that has a Washington, DC office and/or works on policy issues.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 4

PLEN, the Public Leadership Education Network, is probably one of the busiest and most effective organizations I have encountered of its size. PLEN seeks to encourage college women to explore public policy careers. It's 3- and 5-day seminars throughout the year expose the students to legislators and their staff, high-ranking executive branch decision-makers, and for-/not-for-profit women impacting public policy. The students are able to see the breadth of public policy career options available to them. Additionally, PLEN provides a summer internship enrichment program that DC-area interns can participate in. I am a Board Member and very active volunteer for PLEN as well as serve as the organization's Advancement Committee Chair. I am an alum of Goucher College, one of PLEN's founding members. I am proud to be part of this small but highly impactful organization. I urge others who do not already know about PLEN to learn more at www.plen.org.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended the PLEN Women, Law and Public Policy Seminar in November 2012. The PLEN Seminar introduced me to the many options that are available to someone to work within the field of Law and Public Policy. We heard from and talked with women in DC who are doing a wide range of work from Non-Profit starters to Lobbyists. The Seminar taught me how to effectively network and how to promote myself in a professional setting. I would strongly recommend PLEN to any female-identified person interested in public policy in DC and in their home state.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended one of PLEN's seminars in Washington, DC. During the seminar I learned about how to be a more effective citizen advocate. It also helped prepare me for the scary process of getting a job. I had a few interviews scheduled for the week after the PLEN conference, and signed a contract a week later! Thanks PLEN!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

PLEN was the more formative week of my life. The org helped me realize what I wanted to do and how to do so.

1 Shannon41

Client Served

Rating: 5

PLEN help me to recognize the potential in myself to go above and beyond to achieve my goals. They opened my eyes to the inner workings of Washington DC and offered me an opportunity I would have never received if it were not for this amazing organization. I met alumni who cared about me and my goals and have made friendships for life.

EllieS

Board Member

Rating: 5

College women participants tell me that the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) has made a difference in their life. PLEN's mission is to prepare women for leadership in the public policy arena. It's a lofty goal and one that PLEN has accomplished for 35 years. I believe PLEN changes the lives of all that participate: students, speakers, staff, interns, colleges, sponsors and board members. We share the passion for the next generation of women leaders, and see the legacy of a seed that is planted and nurtured.

We all have a role to play. When the last session is completed, the last thank you note written, all the feedback compiled and we reflect on the experience, we must take what we've learned and put it into action. What is your role?

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Such a great opportunity to not only learn about women in public policy, but also about yourself and what your interests are. This is definitely a program I would recommend to anyone who is contemplating a public policy career, be it international or domestic.

1 Karimah M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PLEN encouraged me to jump start my career in International Policy. Furthermore, the organization directed me to a network of inspirational women who share my motivation to initiate change in the US and abroad.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended the Women and International Policy Seminar last year and I highly recommended it to any female college student. I LOVED my time participating in PLEN because its a truly amazing organization where it offers young women the opportunity to learn and listen to other female professionals in the international field. I couldn't ask for a better seminar in DC and I know that with a non profit like PLEN, it will make a great difference in so many lives as it did for mine!

Client Served

Rating: 4

Great opportunity for me to meet women in the professional work force, hear their stories, and learn about job options in my field of study. Very empowering and I would suggest this to any young woman who hopes to work in Washington DC after school.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended the PLEN Women and Science Technology Policy conference in January of 2012. As an upcoming science graduate, I was unsure of what path I wanted to follow. I always thought science would involve doing research for the rest of my life, but PLEN exposed me to a whole new world of opportunities that I could pursue with my science degree! They organized 5 days full of visiting various locations around DC that showed us a great variety of professions, from policy work on the Hill to the NIH to public health organizations. I would say this was absolutely a life-changing experience, and it made me realize the options that I have after graduation aside from bench research. The PLEN staff was helpful, well-organized, approachable, generous, and made the week spectacular.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) hosts several conferences throughout the year for young female students in order to help them achieve their dreams. These conferences have worked on educating, empowering and inspiring young women, like myself, to gain a strong presence in high places. In particular, I attended the Women in Public Policy seminar this past January. I was able to hear from influential female speakers in top positions from the governmental, non-profit and private sectors. Some of the speakers even attended PLEN conferences when they were students. Being someone from an impoverished neighborhood, I did not grow up seeing powerful female role models. Coming to this conference exposed me, as well as put me in contact with these influential women leaders. Speakers included Alice Rivlin (former director of the CBO), Caya Lewis (Chief of Staff, CMS) and many more. In addition, workshops and discussions were held in order to prepare us for interviews and job applications, and to inform us on current issues and events. I saw the many opportunities that were out there, and it gave me the inspiration to keep moving forward. I currently serve as an ambassador for the program, because I believe that there are many young ladies out there that would benefit from the opportunities and experiences that PLEN has to offer.

Anne36

Client Served

Rating: 5

The PLEN seminar I attended on Women & Congress was extremely helpful in making contacts on Capitol Hill, defining myself as a professional, and learning more about our legislature. I have recently graduated and this seminar helped me find the direction I was looking for in my future career goals. I would recommend this seminar to any young woman who has an interest in politics.

Hannah8

Client Served

Rating: 4

I attended the PLEN Women and Public Policy seminar this past January. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to see what it would be like in Washington and hear from amazing women about their experiences. I really enjoyed getting to know these women as they will be a great connection for me in the future. The PLEN conferences are one of the best opportunities for a college women seeking advice and a role model to peruse a career in public policy.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PLEN opens the world of public policy to college women and makes it come alive through meetings with influential female policy makers, briefings, internships and mentorships. Public policy as taught in colleges is often really dry, technical, and boring -- and often attracts kids who have been exposed to CSPAN by their parents from a young age, leaving out those who might be interested if it had a chance to catch their imaginations. Unfortunately, the field does not always catch the imaginations of enough young women. PLEN is amazing in its committment to showing the way to a fascinating career in a field that desperately needs gender balance. I have participated in resume review sessions with PLEN students, helped source speakers for panels, and hosted happy hours to feature the organization. They have always been fabulous to work with, and make a shoestring budget do wonders, and I look forward to volunteering with them again in the future.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The summer I spent with PLEN in Washington, D.C. was the most life changing summer of my life. PLEN opens young women up to a whole world of possibilities for involvement and careers in public leadership. We met with civil rights lawyers and non-profit directors as well as corporate professionals and legislators. All of these women shared important life advice, tips and tricks of the trade, and a helping had if any of us ever needed it. I was so inspired by my PLEN internship with legal non-profit Equal Justice Works and left that summer confident that I could succeed as a civil rights lawyer and I could make positive contributions to solve social problems. I wouldn't be who I am today without having spent that summer with PLEN and for that I am truly grateful!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PLEN is an amazing organization that offers college women unique exposure to careers in public policy, an experience that is unparalleled by any other organization in the nation. PLEN's public policy seminars are inspiring, eye-opening, motivating, and in some cases life-changing. PLEN is truly a great nonprofit that makes a big impact with a small staff and few resources.

Client Served

Rating: 5

PLEN really did change my life and how i portrayed Women in Policy and Law. This program inspired me to do more with my potential and reach higher in my future. Even months after this experience, I am still feeling the "high" and never doubted myself, or my potential. We had the opportunity to meet, learn about, and converse with such inspirational women, who both did, and did not attain a law degree. We had the opportunity to learn so much, and take so much from this once in a lifetime chance. I have told all my friends and classmates to look into this organization, because it really did change my life, and my outlook on my future.