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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

37 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Sivan N.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!!!

1 Carolyn79

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

1 Angela86

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Toni J.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

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

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.

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.

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.