Personal & Professional Development

Leave Nothing on the Table: maximizing your paid leave benefits
Hosted by the Personal & Professional Development Committee
June 23, 2017

On June 23, WGR members gathered to talk about the Family Medical Leave Act as a baseline and getting the most out of the family leave benefits provided by local and federal law as well as what is provided in our employee benefit packages.  It can be tricky navigating your work's leave policy and frustrating not knowing exactly where to begin. Susan Viana, Human Resources manager at Raffa discussed examples of benefits offered from the perspective of multi-sized businesses and non-profits, as well as a discussion of how to create a patchwork of paid leave.  She created helpful illustrative leave calculation charts that were shared in person and were promised to those who joined us on the phone.  Michele Blackwell, Chief of Staff to At-Large DC Councilmember Elissa Silverman, provided an overview of DC's new paid-leave law and that the start-up funds for the program were appropriated this spring, allowing the implementation to move forward.  She also explained the political landscape and possibility of that leave policy being further altered before it went into effect in 2019.  Alpha Lillstrom Cheng, WGR, Personal and Professional Development Committee Co-chair, discussed her use of personal medical leave and the importance of keeping meticulous records so that you get all of the time you are promised.  The attendees were appreciative of the session and it clearly could have gone on for at least another 30 minutes.
Mentor Dinner
Hosted by the Board of Directors
August 18, 2016 
The WGR Mentor Dinner had a full house Thursday night at Carmine’s in DC’s Penn Quarter. 18 WGR members from both the private and public sectors came out to hear seasoned GR vets Laurie-Ann Flanagan (DCLRS) and Suzanne Zurn (DCI). The night started with introductions—each member was asked to state her name, where she worked and if she considers herself entry, mid, or senior level in her career. The group was a mix of entry-to-mid level professionals—the perfect audience to hear from Suzanne and Laurie. During the appetizer and the main course, the group engaged in small discussions of 2-5 people—a great networking opportunity for our members. For the last hour, Leadership circle member Jess Naake asked Suzanne and Laurie to ask questions of one another. The speakers were extremely honest and open with the group and didn’t shy away from discussing tough subjects. Members were encouraged to chime in with their own questions in addition to the prepared questions, which many did. This last hour of the evening was the highlight of the event. Though the dinner ended at 8:30pm, most members lingered until 9:00pm to talk one-on-one with the speakers. Several members approached Jess to tell her how valuable the networking was and how impressive the speakers were. By all accounts, the event was a huge success.

 Essential Skills of Dynamic Public Speaking
Hosted by the Personal and Professional Development Task Force
January 29, 2016

After slight modifications to accommodate #snowzilla, the Personal and Professional Development Task Force hosted a public speaking training on January 29. The training was led by Cindi Berry, Managing Director for the Civil Justice Reform Group. Cindi led the audience through a series of key points to keep in mind when planning, writing and delivering big presentations and speeches. A former speechwriter herself, Cindi gave great examples of how to use tools like imagery, brevity, emotions, and alliteration to help capture the audience and help them remember your message. Thank you to PATH and the Global Health Technologies Coalition for hosting the event!

Successful Salary Negotiation Techniques and Mindsets
Hosted by the Personal & Professional Development Task Force
May 13, 2015
On May 13, WGR’s Personal and Professional Development task force hosted career coach Alison Cardy who led a conversation on “Successful Salary Negotiation Techniques and Mindsets” during which participants brushed up on effective negotiation techniques for getting the work life that best fits them, whether it is a specific dollar amount increase or flex time or more vacation days. Alison also looked at money mindset and money beliefs so that attendees could better understand what may be causing them to feel uncomfortable or intimidated about asking for a desirable employment package.

Back to Work after Maternity Leave? Advice for New Moms and Their Managers

Hosted by the Personal & Professional Development Task Force
May 7, 2015

On May 7, WGR’s Personal and Professional Development task force hosted a brown bag lunch with Lori Mihalich-Levin of Mindful Return to discuss strategies for planning for and returning from maternity leave. As one participant put it, “I left feeling a lot more prepared than when I arrived and I have some workable next steps with my office to get ready for baby girl’s arrival in September.” She was also appreciative of 2nd time moms at the event who shared tips and thoughts on how they successfully transitioned into motherhood. “It was incredibly reassuring,” she said.
American University Women & Politics Institute 4th Annual 5k Race to Representation
Hosted by the Personal & Professional Development Task Force
March 28, 2015

Despite the below-freezing temperatures, WGR was well-represented at American University Women & Politics Institute 4th Annual 5k Race to Representation.  The race is a fundraiser for WPI, which focuses on providing women with academic and practical training that encourages involvement in the political process and facilitates research that enhances understanding of the challenges women face in the political arena.  This is the fourth year WGR has had a team at the WPI5k. (Photo: L-R – Lucy Gettman, Don Aitken, Allison Dembeck Aitken, Chris Carter)