Day in the Life: Adviser in Australia’s Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr and the Martin Luther King Day of Service, we’re kicking off our 2013 edition of @PennCareerDay with a focus on public service careers.  On Thursday, January 24th we welcome, Lex Ruby Howe, who will tweet about her career with the Australian government.  To learn more about Lex, read below, and don’t forget to follow her on the 24th!

alumpictureLex Ruby Howe graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Gender Studies with the Class of 2007. As a student, Lex won recognition for her undergraduate leadership, receiving the R. Jean Brownlee Award of Leadership, and the PennGALA Student Leadership Award, both senior honour awards. After graduation, Lex took a role in Penn’s Alumni Relations Office, and went on to become the Assistant Director of the Penn Traditions & Young Alumni Program for Alumni Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on class unity, leadership cultivation, and strategic planning for continued engagement.

As an alumna, Lex has stayed involved and served as the Co-Chair of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alumni Association (PennGALA), as well as a member of the Alumni Board of Governors for the Sphinx Senior Society, and now serves as the Penn Alumni Australia Co-Chair.

Lex recently returned “home” to Canberra, Australia to take up a role as an Adviser in the Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet in the Cabinet Secretariat Division.

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Using your liberal arts education for the common good – Q & A with Wyn Furman, CAS 2009

Wyn Furman graduated from Penn in 2009 with double majors in History and French. She is currently the Manager of Community Research for The San Diego Foundation, a community foundation that stewards philanthropic funds on behalf of the San Diego region. She recently shared her thoughts on her nonprofit career with Career Services.

 

1.       What got you interested in working for a nonprofit, and in the philanthropy field, specifically?

My interest in working in the nonprofit sector developed when I realized how much I had benefited from the generosity of others—particularly in receiving my education—which made me want to “give back” through my work. Arriving at Philanthropy was a happy accident. In our field, we feel that people don’t graduate from college hoping to enter our line of work, probably due to a lack of familiarity with this part of the nonprofit sector. As a result, some of us are hoping to introduce more intentionality to this career path by encouraging young talent to pursue philanthropy sooner.

2.       Can you tell us a little bit about what you do and why it’s important?

Primarily, I serve our donors by helping them learn more about the issues and organizations to which they would like to dedicate funds. This includes providing background on challenges our region faces and even evaluating organizations’ financial position via tax records (which I enjoy, even though I was a history major!).  In addition to the research component, I also solicit reports from organizations that describe the work they do with grants from our donors.

The aim of my work is to help donors feel more informed when deciding which organizations to support. This is great for the community because we help donors act on their passions. For instance, we’ve had donors who read about an organization in the paper call us to vet the organization before making a grant. In those cases, we’ve helped turn news coverage into dollars that support the community!

Our capacity for research is also among the services that help distinguish The Foundation from other institutions that manage charitable funds, like banks. Although my role is “behind the scenes,” I think it is important because I provide tools that help my colleagues strengthen their relationships with donors, and that help donors feel more connected to the community. It’s a win-win that ultimately benefits our region.

3.       What are the different hats you’ve worn since joining the San Diego Foundation?

I started by helping to coordinate Our Greater San Diego Vision (www.OGSDV.org), a campaign that engaged 30,000 people across the greater San Diego region in planning for its long-term future. After more than a year and a half in that position, the bulk of the project was complete, so I chose to apply for the newly created position of Manager, Community Research.

This work draws on the regional knowledge I gained by working on Our Greater San Diego Vision. The nice thing about moving from a programmatic role (working on the Vision) to donor stewardship is that I have a solid understanding of the responsibilities and priorities of our two major areas of operation, and relationships throughout our organization. This has led to being engaged in some exciting projects and discussions in which I might not otherwise have been involved.

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Innovation is our bottom-line

By Christine Nieves @nieveschristine cnieves@rwjf.org

Hey guys!  Just a quick shout-out to the Penn Career Services. They rock! And in case you are wondering why, you should go to as many panel discussions as you can, get help with your resume and interview skills, and walk into their library. I did that since I was a freshman at Penn, and it has paid off exponentially.

I wanted to share a post I recently wrote for our blog: Pioneering Ideas.  But let me take a step back: before you check it out, you should know that at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation we work to improve the health and health care of all Americans. And yes, there are such organizations out there where the bottom line is having a social impact (i.e. Philanthropy).

Within RWJF I have the fortune of working for the Pioneer Team. At Pioneer we support projects that use original, unconventional and/or cross-sectoral approaches to create transformative change on large and pressing challenges that will be critical to the future of health and health care.  Our vision is getting young people (like you!) to come up with new, resourceful ways to solve big, messy problems. And well, to facilitate that, we have a process whereby you can apply for funding!

So now, back to the post. You can find it here:  Innovation and Youth: Tapping our Young Resources    Oh, and don’t forget to follow me on twitter @NievesChristine where I am constantly talking about what I do/read/think for a living.

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If OCR’s not for me, what should I be doing now?

By Kelly Cleary

If you’re on Penn’s campus this month you’ve likely seen many seniors in dark suits spending their afternoons attending information sessions and career fairs and their nights updating their resumes, applying to On Campus Recruiting (OCR) jobs via PennLink.

But what should you be doing now if you’re not interested in working in for the finance, consulting, consumer products, and technology firms that recruit on campus in the fall? It is nearly impossible to provide a “one size fits all” job search timeline since each type of position you apply for comes with its own industry-specific protocols, but if you’ve asked yourself the question,” If OCR’s not for me, what should I be doing now?” here is some advice:

  • If you’re not sure where to begin, visit our Career Exploration page where you can access career interest inventories, resources for researching different kinds of careers, handouts on “What Can I Do with My Major?”, and specific information on first jobs and graduate schools for Penn alumni.
  • Ready to start looking? If you have an idea of the types of jobs or industries that might interest you (and it’s smart to keep an open mind about this), then visit our Job Search page where you’ll find tips for finding a job and specific resources for job postings. Since most industries don’t hire for post-grad positions until the spring, for now you can develop your wish list of prospective employers and gather a list of favorite job posting websites. Now is also a great time to network and do informational interviews with alumni and others who work in your field of interest.
  • Considering a Gap Year or a Year of Service? There are many interesting and worthwhile alternatives to starting a traditional first job. Our Year(s) of Service/Gap Year Programs website highlights many opportunities and resources. If you’ve met with me, you may know I’m a big fan of heading abroad or doing a year of service after graduation if you’re inclined to do so. My first job after college was as a teaching intern at an international school in Italy. I didn’t make much money, but it was an amazing experience that certainly helped shape my career path. Some of these Service programs and some government agencies do have earlier deadlines.

 The Policy & Government Fair on Friday September 28th  will be a great opportunity for you to learn about some of these post-grad options.  Registered attendees include service programs such as the Peace Corps, Teach for America, and Americorps, as well as the U.S. State Department, the FBI, U.S. Courts, Americorps, American Enterprise Institute, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who will be hiring for internships and full-time positions. For the full list of registered organizations, go to:  http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/undergrad/GovFair2012studentinfo.html

For more resources on public service related careers, visit our new Common Good Careers website. The International Opportunities Fair on October 25th will be another great change to learn about post-graduate service programs and jobs.

To make sure you don’t miss out on these types of events and opportunities, join our Common Good Careers and International Careers listservs for updates on related events and opportunities.

To subscribe to either of these listservs, send an email from your Penn account (NOT from a GMAIL or another account connected to your Penn account) to:    listserv@lists.upenn.edu with this command in the body of the e-mail:    SUBscribe CommonGoodCareers  AND/OR  SUBscribe InternationalCareers

  •  All of that said, be open to OCR opportunities  since some consulting, marketing or research positions might be attractive to “Non-OCR types” If you’re not an “OCR-type” you still might enjoy and be very qualified for some consulting, marketing, research, paralegal or government positions that are available through OCR (which really just means they collect resumes through PennLink and conduct interviews in our On Campus Interview suite in McNeil instead of interviewing people at their office or by phone or Skype.) Create and schedule a Search Agent in PennLink to make sure you don’t miss out on any OCR or general job postings that match your interests.

You have enormous flexibility over when you start your job search, but it almost always takes longer than one wishes to find a job, especially in a tough economy. For most job hunters, three months is the minimum amount of time it takes to find a job you want (this would mean if you want to start in June 2013, you’d start applying in March or so.) Good luck with your search!

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“What I did on my summer vacation….”

by Jamie Grant, C ’98, GEd ’99

If your grade- and high-school teachers were anything like mine, you might have had to give a little “report” at the start of the school year with the title, “What I did on my summer vacation.”  This was always a nice way to learn about classmates’ adventures, but I’m sure forced many of us to struggle and think back over the loooong months of summer, trying to remember all that we had done and experienced.

I encourage you, should you be a returning undergraduate or graduate student, to go through the same exercise today - for the benefit of your resume.  Think back over the last three months, on all you have done, learned, achieved, or experienced.  Think of your outcomes and learning at your internship, or the adventures (and foreign language practice!) you had while traveling.  Consider the progress of your research project(s), or what you learned in the courses that you added to your transcript (or took for fun!)  If you volunteered, try to articulate the value you were able to bring to your organization and the positive connections you were able to develop with the people with whom you spent your time. 

Perhaps your summer months held a different kind of experience than I’ve mentioned, but regardless, do your best to consider how that might resonate with your career plans, and include it on your resume!  I know I personally am looking forward to reviewing many resumes in the coming weeks and learning about all the wonderful ways Penn students spent their summers!

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