June 20, 2012

Heels to Handshakes

By Elise Ackley

I must catch you all up to date on all that I have been doing since my first week. Man, if there is one thing that I have learned from my time here in DC, it’s this: do everything, be everywhere, always say yes to things because you will wind up experience something very special. I have been trying to embody this since my start at the GRD office and it hasn’t disappointed, I have gotten to do and see a lot of really great stuff!

For starters, I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Women’s Congressional Staff Association’s Summer Leadership Conference in the beautiful Capitol Hill’s Visitor Center. The purpose of the conference was to focus on traits that define exceptional employees and to help mentor young women in the early part of their careers.  I had a blast; I mean how can you not when they had workshops titled “From heels to handshakes, strategies for success.” I was surround by incredibly powerful women who have made formidable careers on and off the Hill. Women such as Clarine Nardi Riddle (Chief of Staff to Senator Joe Lieberman and Shelly Stoneman (Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and White House Liaison to the Pentagon). I was glad to give up a Saturday to attend this event because the advice these women were freely giving was thought provoking and, in a way, life changing.

Aside from attending conferences, I have been fortunate enough to meet with veterinarians and lobbyists from all aspects of the profession to better understand their role on the Hill and their influence in public policy. I’ve met with the Director of Federal Governmental Relations at Bayer who was very courteous and invited me to attend the MO-KS Forum tomorrow with Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, a member of the Agriculture and Armed Services Committees (more info on that to come, I am very excited!).  I have also met with the Chief Veterinarian, as well as, the Executive Director of Legislative Affairs at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) to discuss the role of producers on the Hill. I learned a great deal about grassroots advocacy in their industry, on top of learning what the beef producers are doing to more effectively tell their story and make sure their voices are heard on the Hill.

It hasn’t been all work though, I’ve been trying to get out and explore this wonderful city! On Sunday, I visited a much-loved spot of mine: M Street in Georgetown. I admit it, I’m a shopaholic, and ever since I discovered “CapitolHillStyle” online, it’s only gotten much worse.  Therefore I strolled down to Georgetown to relish in the shopping frenzy. While strolling, I happened upon this little known place called “Georgetown Cupcakes” and I had to do it, I had to wait in the long line to snag one of the famous DC Cupcakes. Why not, right? I must say that lava fudge cupcake was worth every minute in the line.

I am thrilled to say that I have so many exciting meetings coming up; my calendar looks like a maze (in a good way)! I am loving this experience and can’t wait to share my next adventures, so stay tuned!


One Response to “Heels to Handshakes”

  1. Hannah Says:
    June 20th, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Love it! Keep up the great work. You’re making all of us in Louisiana proud!