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.

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