A Productive Winter Break

Snowy Trees

Finals are officially over and, if you’re anything like me, you just want to sleep in bed for three days straight. Take those three days (maybe even definitely four or five) to de-stress, eat some home-cooked meals and catch up on sleep. Then, commit to some productive tasks during your time off. The first week should be your time to relax, spend time with your family, see old friends, buy holiday gifts and recharge. After that first week, use the remaining weeks to focus on research, preparation for next semester and your career.

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World of Work: Ali Peterson ‘07, Shakespeare Theatre Company

Ali Peterson'Ali Peterson ‘07
Corporate Giving Manager
Shakespeare Theatre Company – www.shakespearetheatre.org
Washington, D.C.
Major: Zoology/Political Science
Graduate Program: Masters of Business Administration, The George Washington University

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

A typical day is hard to come by in my line of work, we are constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve and be innovative in our approach to our work. On the most basic level I am a fundraiser. I work to research, develop and nurture relationships between our theatre company and corporations interested in partnering with us. My work requires me to keep a close eye on business press, stay on top of the needs of our partners and manage their benefits. I also help to plan major events and strategically advance our relationships with members of Congress.

What motivates you to go to work everyday?

The Shakespeare Theatre Company is a Tony award winning professional theatre company producing and presenting world-class performances of classical shows. The quality of the artistic work inspires me but I am more motivated by the way in which we are able to reach audiences. We go into every DC public school and teach kids how to embrace classical texts. We bring students into our theatre to interact with performers, designers and directors. We offer free performances every summer to people of all income levels and abilities. We do theatre for everyone, to challenge our audiences’ minds and lift their spirits.

What three words would describe your work environment?

Collaborative. Creative. Fun. 

Tell us about your path to this position.

I absolutely did not expect to have this job when I was an undergrad at UVM. After graduation I moved to DC to seek a job in Senator Patrick Leahy’s office. I secured a position as a scheduler in his personal office and did that for two years. I then worked on energy policy for over a year and finally, worked as a press secretary for nearly two years. All told, I spent five and a half years with the Senator and learned a great deal about what I want and don’t want for my career. I learned that I want to work at the intersection of arts and business and I found a way to do that by returning to school and working part-time at the Shakespeare Theatre Company on the side of my work in the Senate.

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

Great fundraisers are needed by organizations of all shapes and sizes, if you have an interest in fundraising work I suggest you read everything you can on current trends and practices, take informational interviews with people working in the field, and know the specific demands of the industry you are most interested in. Also, if possible gather some information or develop an understanding of the financial position of the company you are interested in working for.

World of Work: Catlin O'Neill '99, Deputy Director of Legislative Operations for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

Catlin will be the Keynote Speaker at the Washington D.C. Career Networking Night on June 6, 2011. Register online and learn more about the 30+ alumni networkers here.

Catlin O'Neill '99

Catlin O’Neill ’99

Deputy Director of Legislative Operations for Office of the House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

Washington, D.C.

Major: Sociology; Mass Communication & Culture

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

I would first say, I don’t have a “typical” day. I spend a great deal of time trying to stay on top of current events – political, national and international – as they unfold while simultaneously doing my job. I work in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives – also known as the “Floor”. Predominantly, I act as a resource for Members of Congress on legislation considered by the House, the subsequent votes and the rules/procedures of the House. Further, I serve as a liaison between the Leader’s office and the Republican Leadership, their staff, the White House legislative staff, the Democratic Caucus, the Senate Leadership staff, the Officers of the House and the Parliamentarians.

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

There are several things that I would suggest to students interested in pursuing a career in public service. People often get involved because they are inspired by a candidate or elected official or cause. It is important to develop yourself as a resource – a willingness to get the job done regardless of the task or the time. Try to identify opportunities that diversify your skill set and further the cause. Read everything in order to develop an awareness of the nuances in politics/policy. A depth of knowledge increases confidence and ability. You can increase your value by recognizing that the government is a 24/7 operation made up of people, not unlike yourself, that need questions answered or problems solved in a timely fashion – to that end, be accommodating and responsive. Lastly, it never hurts to expand your network of contacts – ultimately government is of the people, by the people and for the people.

What three words describe your work environment?

Significant. Spirited. Inspiring.

Describe your best day at work.

I had three extraordinary days at work:

  1. January 4th, 2007 – the Swearing-In of the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
  2. January 20th, 2009 – the Inauguration of President Barack H. Obama.
  3. March 21, 2010 – the passage of Health Care reform.

What was your childhood dream job?

As a child I wanted to be a marine biologist…then I took biology.

If you’re interested in seeing all our World of Work profiles, click here. If you are a UVM alumnus and would like to be featured, please contact us at career.services@uvm.edu. If you are interested in contacting a featured alum, check out the Career Connection alumni database or contact us.

Expand your professional network this summer! – DC Career Networking Night 6/6/11!

Thinking about internship or career opportunities in Washington, DC? This summer, get advice from successful UVM alumni on careers and the job search in Washington, DC!

Washington, DC Career Networking Night
Monday, June 6, 6:15-9:00pm

National Association of Homebuilders
15th and M Streets N.W., Washington, DC

Connect one-on-one with alumni from a variety of career fields:

Marketing / Research
Politics & Law
Nonprofit / International
Business / Entrepreneurship
Education . . . and more!

Keynote Speaker: Catlin O’Neill ’99, Deputy Director of Legislative Operations for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Learn about the 30 additional alumni networkers here: Washington, DC Career Networking Night

$10 Registration Fee  –  Light Refreshments  –  Professional Dress

Register TODAY: https://alumni.uvm.edu/dccareer or call 1-888-458-8691.