WGR Featured Member: Haley Nicholson

Haley Nicholson
Policy Director - Health, State-Federal Affairs, National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
New Castle, Colorao
Favorite DC Restaurant: Masseria
Fun Fact: I was in 4-H as a kid and raised pigs.
About Haley: I grew up in a small town in Colorado and went to college at the University of Colorado, go buffs! Made my way to DC over ten years ago and have worked on capitol hill, in the non-profit sector and now for state legislatures.

What attracted you to WGR and how has it helped you personally & professionally?  In the past few years I knew my career would be connected to government relations in some capacity, and WGRís reputation for providing an extensive network across issues seemed like a good fit for my future. WGR has helped me realize the importance of laying the groundwork for the next steps in my career, how to grow my professional network in a thoughtful way, and shown me what it takes to run a successful, female driven organization.

What advice do you have for young women entering the field? Be flexible to the opportunities and challenges that are thrown at you. Someone could be convinced they will spend their life working on a specific issue or in a certain sector, and that can all be upended by an unexpected job offer, or being assigned to an entirely different work portfolio. Itís also important in the face of doing new things that you still maintain what makes you, you. It can be easy to be swept up in career changes to think you need to change your personality or your outlook, but that kind of thinking isnít sustainable especially as government affairs work continues to change as an industry.

What was your original career plan and how did you end up in government relations? In college I studied English Literature and International Affairs with a focus in security issues. My plan was to come to D.C. and work on security policy and become a lawyer at some point. That all radically changed when I got an internship with Rep. Diana DeGette from Colorado. It was through this position along with: volunteering, working on different policy issues, doing campaign work and my graduate school studies, that I realized I thrive when Iím working with the government on some level.

What is your long-term career goal? I have a few of those! I want to establish my expertise in the federal and state government spaces within health but also other policy issues. I also one day want to run my own firm that would provide policy consulting, communications management and event planning. I also aspire to start a bipartisan PAC for women running for office.

Connect with Haley