“The habits and ideologies that you adapt now are shaping the person that you will become. Find a mentor in the field you aspire to be in, and obtain internships in your respective field as well.”
What are your typical day-to-day activities in your career?
As a Director of Community Relations at the New York State Senate, there are no two days that are alike. Our district is located within the most diverse borough (county) in the United States. It is this diversity that creates a unique set of experiences and challenges each day. Working for one of the more influential and active members of the State legislature also brings a sense of pride and purpose. I am responsible for initiating, developing and maintaining relationships with business and community leaders, elected officials, non-profit groups, and government agencies. I speak at press conferences, meet with tenant leaders, and correspond with a variety of stakeholders all on behalf of the Senator. It’s my job to have the pulse of the district.
What process did you go through to enter (or rise) to your position? Which skills and experiences distinguished you from other candidates?
Upon graduation, it was my initial desire to remain in Atlanta. My mentor previously worked in the Shirley Franklin administration and was primed to begin work with Mayor Kasim Reed. I’d also just finished volunteering on the re-election campaign of Congressman John Lewis. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm did not translate into a desired position. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I did some introspection and reassessed my situation. For personal and professional reasons, I decided to move back to New York where I landed an internship at the New York City Council and was eventually hired. My persistence and ability to strategically network helped me get to connect with individuals who believed in my ability and were willing to vouch for me to get me where I am today.
“When I was a student, I wish I had known….”
I cannot say this enough: Be strategic! Be strategic in everything that you do. Unfortunately, some students think they have an infinite supply of time. “Anything lost can be found again, excepted for time wasted.” That’s not my quote, that’s Samuel L. Jackson’s in the film Fresh. The point is, respect your time and use it wisely. Surround yourself with smart, inspirational, and positive people. Life as a student can be hard. Not only are you worrying about academic deadlines and maintaining GPA’s, but you’re also finding yourself. The habits and ideologies that you adapt now are shaping the person that you will become. Find a mentor in the field you aspire to be in, and obtain internships in your respective field as well. Lastly, please love the major/subject matter in which you’re working towards. It will be the driving force behind your motivation and happiness.