WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am an international development professional with a lot of passion for demanding justice with and for the voiceless and powerless around the world. I have worked with local and international organizations in Latin America, South East Asia and East Africa on program areas including extractive industries and youth.
HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE?
I knew that to be successful in international development, I needed to have two important things: a Master’s degree and international experience. I started with a Master’s but knew that without the international experience, I would eventually hit a ceiling -plus I am a field person at heart. After graduate school, I looked around for ways to gain on the ground experience and ended up in Thailand intending to volunteer but instead I found a paid opportunity. I think there are three things that helped me acquire my experiences up to this point: (1) being prepared, (2) taking risks (as in picking up and moving across the world), and (3) luck!
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHERS WHO ASPIRE TO BE IN YOUR FIELD?
1. Get field experience sooner than later.
2. Build genuine relationships always.
3. Get a Master’s degree but work a few years first to get the most out of your program
4. At the start if your career, don’t sweat the long-term plan–follow your passion, do things you know would be more challenging to do when you are “more stable” or “settled”. Travel and take time to enjoy life. As a young professional, start thinking about where you want to develop your expertise–is it a specific role? Is it a program area? Generally, you will have more opportunities once you have a few years of experience in an area versus being a generalist who has jumped around from one “unrelated” role or program area to another, although, in the world of development, much is intertwined.