Summer in Jerusalem

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Location, location, location.  Not only the 3 most important things to consider when buying a house, according to “Life’s Little Instruction book,” … also the most important when considering where to do a summer internship.

For me, the required summer internship as part of Duke’s MPP program is a unique opportunity that I don’t expect to come again at this point in life—and a reason to try out living somewhere else in the world.  Where is the perfect place for a person with an interest in the intersection of theology and public policy with an international aspect?  My idea was Israel.

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Jerusalem Institute for Justice (JIJ) was recommended to me as an organization doing relevant work focusing on human rights, religious freedom, and social justice.  JIJ prepares a shadow report for the US Embassy’s Freedom of Religion report for Israel each year.  It was interesting for me to hear how this small NGO developed this relationship with the Embassy; the founder of JIJ, an active lawyer, read the US  report in 2006, disagreed with some of the information, called the Embassy found out who prepared the report.  He asked to set up a meeting with him where he offered his services, and so the relationship formed and has continued. Now JIJ ends up quoting some of their own information back to the Knesset and referencing the U.S. Embassy’s Religious Freedom report.

My task is to gather information on the written law of the Israeli and Palestinian governments verses the actual practices.  I am to conduct firsthand interviews with people who have experienced religious discrimination in Israel and in the Palestinian territories. My first interviews finally happened today, with a couple of Palestinian Christians in the Old City of Jerusalem.

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The slow start has been good time for me to catch up on the history in this region and the current situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. I became a fulltime researcher for the first half of my internship.  Having just completed our group project last semester, the process felt familiar. The socially rewarding benefit is that I can now participate in conversations about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict without feeling totally over my head! It is amazing to think of how much I have learned since I arrived here.

Tomorrow it is off to Jericho to interview a man born in Gaza strip, a chauffeur among other things for Arafat, trained as a sniper by Fatah, who became a Christian in America and returned to his homeland to spread a message of peace.  He is now running kindergartens and other life skill courses through his non-profit organization, Seeds of Hope; a pretty big deal since converting from Isalm is punishable by death in this part of the world.  It doesn’t get much more interesting to me on a personal level and I hope to make a career out of it somehow!

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Fighting for the 11 Million

I knew that I was working with some pretty high rollers at the Center for American Progress when our first Immigration team meeting was promptly interrupted by a phone call for our Vice President.  Rolling her eyes, she stated, “Sorry, I have to take this…it’s the White House again.”

Count this among my many daily reminders that the people I am working with are at the top of their field, are connected with all of the major Democratic politicians and allies, and put out research that regularly gets cited by all of the major news outlets and promoted by Senators as evidence of the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

When I’m not weaving through cars while bike-commuting to work, or following breaking zoo-related news stories that overshadow anything happening in Congress, I’m watching way more C-Span than I ever thought possible.   Lucky for me, my long-held interest in immigration has proven particularly relevant this summer:  interning with the Immigration Team at CAP has allowed me to plunge head-first into the world of politics and advocacy, all while doing policy research to add to the team’s arsenal of data and studies proving the benefits of immigration reform.  As many know, people from both sides of the aisle are working to pass new immigration legislation that will provide a path to citizenship for the current 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

With the bill weaving its way through the Senate, my job thus far has essentially consisted of mobilizing for the Senate floor:  doing policy research supporting immigration reform in areas like healthcare, benefits, security, and family reunification.  Along the way, I have created fact sheets and talking points to be distributed to other immigration advocates and Democratic Senators.  I essentially think of myself as a member of Obama’s army.  And the CAP connection comes with perks—I had the opportunity to hear Obama speak about student debt at the White House at the end of May.   I also saw Bo Obama at a distance, which was perhaps equally as exciting.

At CAP, as news stories unfold quickly, our team is constantly at the ready to refute, promote, and argue whatever points of contention are at the forefront of the headlines.  My individual research has benefited from the fact that CAP consists of so many different expert teams in various policy areas:  I have had the opportunity to work with a health policy expert to craft arguments supporting immigrant health care, I collaborated with the poverty research team to develop talking points on benefits, and I provided research assistance to members of the Economic policy team as they put together quantitative studies pointing to the economic benefits of immigration.

As the summer proceeds, we all have our fingers crossed that the work we’re doing does not become derailed by the increasing political polarization plaguing Congress.  Meanwhile, this internship has exposed me to some interesting policy areas and immersed me in DC progressive politics.  I will hope for the bill to keep on making headway and, fingers crossed, maybe I will rub elbows with a few more Obama’s.

 

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My Summer in Environmental Lobbying

This summer, I’m working as a Policy and Lobbying Intern with the League of Conservation Voters, the political arm of the environmental movement, in Washington, D.C. I mainly work with the lobbying team to target key Congress members on important environmental votes and, hopefully, convince legislators to vote in a way that is in line with our pro-environmental stance.

Each year, LCV releases its National Environmental Scorecard, ranking all members of Congress based on their environmental voting records. The twelve most anti-environmental legislators are placed on the “Dirty Dozen” list. LCV works against these legislators, backing opposing candidates, running political ads, and generally pushing to ensure that these Congresspersons do not return for another session. Usually, LCV is successful in this goal.

I have previous experience working with state government, but this is my first position at the federal level. The transition into national politics has been interesting and eye opening. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot. For your reading pleasure, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten takeaways from my summer in D.C. thus far.

Top Ten Things I’ve Learned Working in Environmental Lobbying

10. A meeting’s value can be assessed via its free food. Good meeting: homemade guacamole. Bad meeting: stale Twizzlers.

9. Too many people try (and fail) to take jumping pictures in front of the Capitol building. Seriously, it’s overdone.

8. Political acronyms are like currency for Washingtonians. Dropping them at cocktail parties, fundraisers, and happy hours automatically makes you seem more important than you actually are. Among politicos, this is half the battle.

7. Even if you strongly disagree with  Rep. Michele Bachmann’s political viewpoints, it’s still a little cool if she tells you she likes your skirt in the Rayburn bathroom.

6. Congressional facebook stalking is way better than normal Facebook stalking.

5. Befriend staffers and receptionists. They hold the key to a Congressperson’s ear. If they don’t like you, then you have a serious problem.

4. You’re constantly networking. You should always be on your game.

3. The American political process can be gratifying, frustrating, and infuriating, but it’s always exciting.

2. Sen. Elizabeth Warren gives great high-fives. (Hate on me, hater.)

1. It can be really rewarding to work with a group of passionate, intelligent people, influence legislative decision-making, and help make our country a healthier, cleaner, greener place.

Lobbying the office of Sen. Kay Hagan

Lobbying the office of Sen. Kay Hagan

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Global Health and Lessons Learned In Geneva

By Tayeba Maktabi

As I began to write this, I was surprised to find that I have been in Geneva for over a month already. I feel like I just got here yesterday. Time truly does fly when you are having fun. Despite being a small city, Geneva has a lot to offer. But, in the interest of not sounding like a travel brochure, I will simply tell you that it’s a beautiful city filled with a variety of things to do, see, eat, explore and people to meet. I’ve certainly had my share of adventures here and am sure I will have plenty more to come.

Swiss-Image-Jet-DeauwWorking at a Hagen Resources International and Global Social Observatory, I’ve had the opportunity to attend UN meetings, cocktail receptions with foreign dignitaries and facilitate discussion with civil society members, UN representatives, private sector leaders, donors and government officials.

My first two weeks in Geneva coincided with the 66th World Health Assembly. I was able to attend plenary meetings, general assembly discussions, lunch talks and cocktail receptions as foreign health ministers and world leaders discussed the latest issues in health. This year, high on the agenda was the issue of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including obesity and malnutrition. New resolutions were passed on how to reduce malnutrition and hunger and discussions held on how to combat the rising cases of obesity, which has now become a major epidemic worldwide. Another important topic on the agenda was the latest technological improvements in eHealth and how it can be utilized to increase access to healthcare.  Finally, updates were given on the World Health Organization (WHO) reform process as new resolutions were passed on budget reform and partnerships with civil society and private sector groups.

In addition to WHA meetings, I was also able to attend NGO briefings on the election of the new Director-General of World Trade Organization as well as discussions at the Human Rights Council and the International Labor Conference.

In addition to attending UN meetings, I am working on a new project dealing with conflict of interest in multi-stakeholder partnerships. It is a project funded by the Gates Foundation to improve dialogue and collaboration in the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement. We consult with various networks and partners to help countries make policies that will enhance effective collaboration with numerous partners. We just held our first consultative event brining together over 30 partner representatives to discuss conflict of interest and develop strategic frameworks to address and mitigate this issue.

While the past four weeks have been amazing, I have had my fair share of challenges as well. My limited French has led me to take wrong buses, hold up lines at grocery stores and buy what I think is yogurt which turns out to be some sort of cheese, just to name a few.  I have also learned that the Swiss love their timetables and strictly adhere to them. A case in point of this was when I was locked in the building at work one afternoon. After various failed attempts of trying to pick the locks, pry open the windows, screaming for help and calling a taxi driver to open the door, I was able to get in touch with the building proprietor.

After two hours, the concierge came, attempted to open the door, failed to open the door, said something in French (to which I answered “Oui!”), then he left. Being under the impression that he went to get the big ring of keys with all the master keys, I received a call from the proprietor an hour later informing me that Mr. Pido, the concierge, had gone home because he had a dinner date scheduled with his wife. After three more calls over the course of another hour between the proprietor, me and various other individuals, the Portuguese ambassador finally arrived a little after 9 pm to set me free. Lesson of the day: don’t lock yourself in the building unless you schedule it with the concierge first.

However, despite these mishaps, I must say, my experience in Geneva has been extraordinary and I look forward to the many adventures to come.

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Al-Oomam Mootahida

Al-Oomam Mootahida.  I had laughed when I saw this word in Lesson One of Book One of our Arabic textbook.  Should I really learn how to say “The United Nations” before I can say please, thank you or excuse me?  When in the world will I need to know that? Skeptically, I copied it into my notebook and memorized it for my first quiz.

I had enrolled in Elementary Arabic, on top of my requirements for the MPP, because I wanted to build on my knowledge of Moroccan dialect Arabic from my Peace Corps service.  During those two years in Morocco, I had never needed to know the words “United Nations.”  Living in a small shepherding village in the Sahara, I instead learned the words for sandstorm, sheep liver and flashflood.  Work-related vocabulary included capacity development, summer camp application, and Ministry of Youth and Sport.  Upon completion of my service in 2009, I filed Arabic away in the back of my mind and had only used it during the most desperate phone calls to Iraqi refugee parents in my job as youth program coordinator at Refugee Family Services.

Four years after those days in the Moroccan desert, with one year of standard Arabic under my belt, it’s the first day of my Duke MPP summer internship.  I had flown into Amman, Jordan the night before.  At the airport, I had resurrected a bit of conversational Moroccan dialect and mixed it with standard Arabic vocabulary, spitting out enough language to direct a taxi driver to my new apartment, purchase a cell phone and buy some coffee for the morning.  At 9:00am (or what feels to me like 1:00am), I venture out of my house and get into a taxi.  I tell the taxi driver the name of my office, its location, and…nothing. He understands nothing I’m saying. Luckily, I have a small, hand-drawn map, and I’m able to use landmarks to direct him to the office.  It’s only after we arrive that I remember what I should have been saying this whole time—“Al oomam-moutahida! Ana-aaml fi al-oomam moutahida!”  “I work for the United Nations!”

My summer internship is with the UN Relief and Works Agency, whose mandate is to support Palestine refugees in five countries—Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank.  In acronym-speak, my job is “the M&E intern in PSCU at JFO.”  In English, I work in the Program Coordination and Support Unit of the Jordan Field Office, in Monitoring and Reporting.  We monitor current projects, measure our progress towards the strategic goals of the organization and the field office.  My day might include:

  • Visiting a vocational school to determine their exact number of scholarship students, and their expected number next fall;
  • Meeting with a Program Coordinator to discuss what she would define as success for her project, and determining how to quantify that;
  • Creating a really long Excel formula to determine the number of UNRWA’s classrooms that are overcrowded (this was a major personal victory);
  • Writing request and action plan for an independent evaluator to assess the success of a new scholarship program; or
  • Completing a manual on the many 2013 indicators for success, that explains the rationale for the indicator, the formula that will be used, who will gather the information, and when it will be reported.

With a background in refugee services, and a passion for the Arab world, I’m happy to be working in an organization that protects and supports Palestinian refugees.  The Palestine refugee issue is affected by complex political atmospheres and relationships, and the structure of UNRWA, along with its programming and its outcomes, reflects those issues.  In this internship, I am learning about these complexities through the lens of Monitoring and Evaluation.  While this internship may not be as “hands-on” as my work in Peace Corps or with refugees in Atlanta, it is definitely reflective of my career aspirations.  I feel lucky to have such a rich summer experience along with very practical training for a career in Program Planning for refugees in the Arab world (in shallah).

(I haven’t taken any pictures at work yet, but here are a few others: the first is a the view from my rooftop, and the second is me on a weekend trip to Petra. These are probably better than pictures of me at a computer anyway. Enjoy!)

This is the King Abdullah I Mosque, and an Orthodox Christian Church. I can see both from my roof, and hear both the call to prayer and the church bells loud and clear from my windows!

This is the King Abdullah I Mosque, and an Orthodox Christian Church. I can see both from my roof, and hear both the call to prayer and the church bells loud and clear from my windows!

On a weekend trip to Petra.

On a weekend trip to Petra.

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Initiative Quinoa

Team Quinoa!

Did you know that 2013 has been declared as the “International Year of Quinoa” (IYQ) by the United Nations? Here at the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile, we are doing our best to promote quinoa – as can be seen from the attached photo celebrating a co-worker’s birthday (I am in the back right). The UN declared 2013 to be the year of quinoa to both celebrate the culture of the indigenous people of the Andes (the year was requested by the president of Bolivia to the UN) and to promote quinoa as a potential food to improve nutrition and food security in the world.

So far, much of my work here has been in communication, which is an important part of public policy that cannot be forgotten. I have used my good writing and research skills to help edit documents, or make note of things on the website that could possibly be changed to be more accurate. Quinoa has been cultivated for thousands of years, but most of the research on quinoa has been happening only recently, especially with the recent boom over the past ten years with the quinoa health craze.

My main work has been slowly starting up – as a dietitian I have been put in charge of writing the nutrition section of FAO’s quinoa cookbook to be released later this summer. This means my section will follow the likes of the FAO director and potentially the two ambassadors for the IYQ, President Evo Morales of Bolivia and First Lady Nadine Heredia of Peru. While both will be likely writing of their personal history to quinoa from growing up in the region that produces 90 percent of the world’s quinoa, I will be writing from a scientific point of view in describing quinoa’s nutrition benefits. Of the grains, quinoa has the best protein profile, and it is also a good source of fiber and iron.

Currently quinoa is expensive for most consumers outside of the Andes region, but we are hoping to change that by continuing to promote quinoa worldwide to increase quinoa research and experimental trials in different countries. Did you know that Washington State University just received a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to do research on quinoa cultivation? While we can’t take credit for that work, the IYQ project itself has been travelling across the world – China, Japan, Italy, and the U.S. to name a few countries. Our cookbook will contain a combination of both traditional recipes from the indigenous people of the Andes to gourmet recipes from cooks all over the world. So if you’re looking for that new quinoa recipe to prepare a fancy dinner, look no further than the IYQ website this coming fall for the recipe book.

Click here to listen to the official quinoa song!

Official IYQ Website:

http://www.fao.org/quinoa-2013/en/

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The Whirlwind of Pursuing Sustainability

I almost completely walked by the house where my internship is, which makes me glad that I decided to come up to Washington DC a day early to explore, find my new internship work location and overall just get my bearings. To be fair though, the organization is located in what looks like a residential area close to the Capitol, so naturally my eyes would gloss over a house rather than a building!

This summer, I’ll be interning with a nonprofit, the Population Institute, specifically focusing on their Sustainable World Initiative program. This program looks at the overall human demands compared to the planetary boundaries and promotes a sustainable living based on an idea of sufficiency (a sort of “enoughness”) and living within our current capacities. Through my graduate career at Sanford, I’ve been growing more and more interested in the environmental impacts of our society on the planet and on our fellow global citizens. Especially with the ever growing concern over global threats such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and acidification of the oceans, I want to be a part of current efforts to change environmental policy for the better.

When I first arrive, I’m greeted by the Public Policy Director of the Population Institute who gives me an orientation and tour of the house. The house, by the way, is gorgeous, with a kind of old majestic feel to it. Next, I’m introduced to the President and the Office Manager who kindly welcome me to the Institute. As it turned out, my supervisor, the designer and head of the Sustainable World Initiative, is away on business in Europe to try and form partnerships with other relevant government agencies and international organizations. As a result, my supervisor has left me a sizable amount of reading to do – reviewing the literature produced by the organization, previewing a book on the concept of sufficiency (rather than efficiency), and learning more about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are the likely successors to the Millennium Development Goals, and the current UN process.

The first week is slow, with lots of reading and catching up. In the note left by my supervisor, he warns that when he gets back, the other Duke intern (an undergraduate from the Stanback program) will be starting and we’ll be “hitting the ground running”.

He wasn’t kidding.

When he gets back the following week, I am immersed with tasks regarding the UN, SDGs and the whole political process. We are to head, that week, to New York City to watch the UN Open Working Group for the SDGs. Our task… Learn more about the UN process and how to influence the SDGs, while also interacting and collecting as much contact information from delegates and permanent missions from participating countries. Soon enough, after a long bus ride, I find myself sitting at the back in a large conference room watching delegates, NGOs, and other important people exchanging words and greeting one another.

I can feel my palpable nervousness of actually going up and trying to talk with a representative, but my supervisor gives me some tips and after witnessing how he interacts, I take a deep breath and go.

It’s going to be a whirlwind of a summer.

You can find out more about the Sustainable World Initiative at: http://swinitiative.com/

Or the Population Institute at: http://www.populationinstitute.org

 

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One Week In, and They Haven’t Fired Me Yet

IMG_0361(on the Deputy Director’s balcony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, with the West Wing in the background)

The past 10 days have been quite turbulent times in the Executive Office of the President, and the Office of Management and Budget hasn’t been spared the excitement. Although I’ve just finished my first full week at the OMB’s Office of Federal Financial Management (OFFM), I’ve already been witness to a big event.

The highlights of my first day on the job were receiving my main summer project and meeting OMB Controller, Acting Deputy Director and Sanford Alum Danny Werfel. Knowing Danny’s track record and rapid ascent at OMB, he was someone I looked forward to observing and getting to know over the summer. However, that opportunity dried up the very next day when Danny told all of us that President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew tapped him to be acting Commissioner of the IRS.

To be so near someone that involved in the news cycle, and to hear him break the news to his staff was almost surreal. He has quite the task ahead of him, but it speaks volumes of Danny and his abilities that President Obama and Secretary Lew have faith in him to guide the IRS through this trying time. I’m confident that Danny will continue to make all of us at Sanford proud.

As for my summer project, I’m preparing a study on behalf of OFFM and the CFOs’ Council that will be presented to Congress and GAO upon its completion. The study will report on the implementation and costs and benefits to agencies of new requirements enacted by the Improper Payments Recovery and Eliminations Act (IPERA). Because of the interaction with various federal agencies, GAO and Congressional staff, I’m very happy with the assignment.

Although I don’t expect headlines-worthy events to be the norm in our office , I’m very excited by the opportunities and experiences I have ahead of me this summer!

 

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Guru to the CEOs!

By Eric Nakano

My very first job was as a cashier at CompUSA when I was in high school. Working there was like being a kid at a candy store and most of my paychecks went towards the very stuff that I helped sell: laptops, cd burners, and the newest photo printers. In fact, my love of tech companies and their gadgets was so strong that prior to Nancy Pelosi and Margaret Thatcher, I had the company logos of Apple and Motorola on my school binders. But as a policy student, I never thought I’d work for a technology firm again. Until now.

This summer, I am interning at the Technology CEO Council. The Council is made up of CEOs from some of the largest companies in the industry: IBM, Dell, Micron and Xerox to name a few. The Council coordinates technology policy positions among its member companies and lobbies Congress on issues that affect the industry. Before I go into what I do at my internship, two questions that I always get asked are 1) Do I get to fly around the country rubbing elbows with the likes of Michael Dell and Ginny Rometty and 2) Do I get discounts on stuff made by their companies. The answer is no, and no.

The CEOs only meet a couple of times a year and largely leave decisions on policy positions to their governmental affairs staffs. But that means that I’ve been given some great projects to work on and the analytical work I do can influence what positions these companies ultimately decide to take. Right now for example, I am working on a policy memo analyzing the effect that implementing recommendations made by the Simpson-Bowles Commission would have on our member companies. The project is utilizing skills I learned from three different classes.

In fact, on any given day, I am using skills and terminology I learned from Sanford. At a meeting last week, a staff member from one tech firm explained how moving technology manufacturing back to the U.S. from China would be significantly more expensive because the U.S. lacks the same ecosystem of high tech factories and suppliers found in China that keep prices low. Oh! I exclaimed in my head. He’s talking about economies of agglomeration (thanks Clotfelter!).

 

View from office balcony

Beyond the policy analysis I am doing (minus Stata and Bardach thank God!), I am learning a lot from my bosses. The Technology CEO Council does not have its own staff and instead, the bipartisan lobbying shop, Mehlman, Vogel and Castagnetti, run the organization. This has been good for me for a couple of reasons. First, I am finally able to see what goes on in a K Street office and second I am able to work on projects that interest me for their other clients.

The firm also takes takes great care of their employees. The kitchen is always stocked with fruit, cookies, chips and sodas and they even have a Starbucks coffee machine. Last week, one of the partners gave me tickets to a Nationals game

At Nationals Game

where I sat three rows away from the field with another Sanford classmate interning in DC. I am also learning a ton. Collectively, the staff has about a century of experience working on the hill and on policy in general they’ve made a great effort to include me in all of their high-level meetings and briefings. Although my internship is half over, I feel I could easily do this work for a year and still be learning a lot.

Check out the Technology CEO Council: http://www.techceocouncil.org/

Mehlman, Vogel and Castagnetti: http://www.mvc-dc.com/

How I got my internship: http://www.tfas.org/tisdale

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Cracking the Code

By Mim Williams

I have been at Deloitte for just over three weeks.  More specifically, I am a Summer Associate in Deloitte Consulting’s Federal Practice performing strategy and operations services for our government clients.  A mouthful, I know.  Basically, I am in a cohort of 16 graduate students, MPP and MBA from around the country, assigned to work with different government agencies on problems they can’t, or don’t want to, deal with in-house.  My first week at Deloitte was full of orientation classes, sessions, team building exercises, presentations, happy hours and dinners.  All in all, a great rundown of everything-Deloitte; well, everything except information on my summer project.

For the summer, I have been assigned to work on a Department of Defense/Aerospace project, analyzing solutions for a major aircraft program for the US Navy and US Air Force.  My first non-orientation day was spent meeting my manager, talking about the aircraft program (and its ills) and orienting myself to what our mission for the summer would be.  Oh, that, and learning that I would be part of a two-day strategy session with industry power players to discuss how Deloitte could capture this business development opportunity.

The next day, I arrived at the office (at 7:30am, mind you) to strategize with the big wigs.  I was excited and felt fortunate to be included in such an important meeting.  Having done preliminary research over the weekend and vigorously highlighted the read-ahead my program manager sent me, I was ready to soak up the knowledge of my more experienced counterparts.

Then it happened.  After all of the early morning, coffee-induced niceties ceased, the four-star General and other “emperors of aircraft” began speaking a foreign language.  Acronym.  I was surrounded by industry giants, including a former vice president of Lockheed Martin, and I had no idea what they were saying.  “The PMO at the JSFPO is not utilizing the PSAT.” And “ALGS, more specifically ALIS, is immature and threatens the health of the JPO.”  My head was spinning.  Not only was I supposed to be learning from these industry leaders, but I was also in charge of taking detailed notes to discuss after the summit with my supervisor.

At that moment, I had two options.  I could sit there in the conference room for the next two days like a deer in the headlights trying to learn Japanese (well, close enough!), or I could do something about it.  I chose the latter. I opened a new Word document and titled it “Acronym Decoder.” Every time a new acronym was thrown out, I added to the document.  During lulls in the conversation, I would feverishly look up the cryptic symbols and add their meanings to my precious DoD dictionary.  Slowly but surely, and with consistent referencing to my golden document, I was following the conversation.  By the second day, I could not only follow, but was also anticipating developments in the strategy and critically analyzing our potential courses of action.

The day after the two-day strategy session ended, my program supervisor asked me how I thought the meeting went.  I was proud of myself.  I was able to tell him that I thought Deloitte DoD & A&D had several potential opportunities to aid JSFPO over the life cycle of the aircraft.  He agreed.  Then he asked me to become the PSAT expert for our team.  I nodded, turned back to my laptop, and opened my precious acronym decoder.  Ah, the Product Support Assessment Team – I’m on it.

 

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