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Reflecting on the 2015 Capitol Hill Intern Seminar

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by Nicole Johnson

On June 5th the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute hosted an Internship Seminar at the Capitol Hill Club where female summer interns received advice from standout conservative women leaders on how to make the most of your DC internship. The seminar was very popular and a great success. A packed room full of emerging conservative women leaders came to hear advice from a diverse group of leading conservative women, which included Josie Beecher, Cleta Mitchell, Katie Pavlich, Marji Ross, Bay Buchanan, and Beverly Hallberg. These six women gave fantastic advice, told entertaining stories, and opened the floor to questions from the audience.

Interns, who hailed from a variety of colleges and universities around the United States, began their morning meeting other interns in DC for the summer over breakfast. It was a great way to meet fellow young, female conservatives and hear their personal stories. Michelle Easton, President of CBLPI, delivered the opening inspirational remarks to the filled room introducing the mission of CBLPI to prepare young, conservative female leaders and promote leading conservative women.

Josie Beecher, the scheduler for Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), spoke first to the filled room. Josie spoke from experience about transforming your internship into a career and the importance of networking. Networking, as Josie stated, is not handing your business card to a potential employer. Instead, networking is exchanging contact information, asking to find a time in the future to chat, and asking for advice. Josie stressed the importance of setting yourself apart from other interns by being nice to everyone, no matter any political differences, keeping in touch with your office after your internship, and writing thank you notes. Networking is a process and a relationship that is built up overtime.

Cleta Mitchell gave a wonderful, powerful talk about why it is better to be respected than liked to get ahead in your career. The energy in the room during Cleta’s speech was electric. As young women, we can sometimes trap ourselves into worrying about if we are liked or not, especially in social situations. This worry is something that Cleta says we should disregard. Success is not based off of being liked; rather it is based off of being respected. Respect can only be earned and it is based off principles such as integrity, honor, faith, and virtue to name a few. As conservative women, this message is one that we need to take strongly to heart. Standing up for your beliefs and principles creates respect, although many liberals may not like your point of view. In your career it is more important to be respected than liked if you want to achieve success. We must stay strong and true to our principles.

Katie Pavlich’s speech about her time as an intern on the Hill and how it led to her current job at TownHall resonated well with the young crowd given that Katie was in their shoes just a few years prior. Katie’s attitude as an intern is what enabled her to be successful at such a young age. She stressed the importance of making yourself indispensable, proving your capability to step straight into an employment role, and never thinking you are above any job. Katie mastered these three points, remained humble with a great self-esteem and confidence, and attracted mentors along the way. As a young woman, Katie also gave social media advice; the bottom line was to put all social media profiles on private!

Marji Ross, president of Regnery Publishing, spoke about combining marriage, kids, and work successfully. Marji, who is the mother of three daughters, encouraged the audience to involve your family in your career in order to be happy, which will lead to success. Success, she noted, does not necessarily lead to happiness. She also spoke about the value of service and being the hardest working person in the room.

Interns mingled during breakfast and lunch, and found a common theme of challenges each person faced on campus. Many interns voiced challenges of name calling and belittling by the Left because of their beliefs. Bay Buchanan, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan to serve as the 37th Treasurer of the United States, delivered a breath of fresh air to the room. Her message was: stand tall, do not be frightened by abuse from the Left, and do what is right based on your principles. True leadership is doing what is right according to principles that our country was founded upon. Bay stated that you can never be a leader unless you take on the abuse, ignore it, and continue to voice your conservative principles. America, more than ever, needs bold leaders like our Founding Fathers.

The internship seminar wrapped up with a lesson about speaking with confidence behind the mic delivered by Beverly Hallberg. Beverly is the President of District Media Group and trains members of Congress, policy experts, and other professionals on public speaking both in front of a live audience and the camera. She focused on blocking and bridging, which is a technique that speakers use to answer questions that are hostile or unintelligent. Her lesson was a perfect culmination to a day full of empowering career and leadership advice and lessons.

The Internship Seminar was a wonderful day full of wisdom, advice, and friendship. Young conservative women took many lessons away from the inspirational day. The variety of speakers enabled young conservatives embarking on different political paths to take away significant advice. On behalf of CBLPI, we hope to see participants at future events and welcome all new faces as well!

Nicole Johnson is a 2015 summer intern at the Luce Institute.