By Alana Henry, Ministerial Engagement Officer, United Kingdom
Editor’s Note: Alana is a 2017 alumna of the Global Ties U.S. Emerging Leaders Program. She shares how her experiences with the Global Ties Network help shaped her career, and offers advice for other globally-minded young professionals.
During my time as a student at Oakwood University, I knew that I didn’t just want a job after college, I desired a career that I would enjoy every day. This was my goal, but I didn’t know where to begin or where to look. It wasn’t until my undergraduate internship at Global Ties Alabama, and my experience as an Emerging Leader, that my desire for a global career became actualized.
As an intern for Global Ties Alabama, I had many experiences that inspired me to seek an international career. From interacting with our international delegates, to leading on the Peace Corps’ World Mapping Project, to showcasing other cultures of the world to young students, these opportunities all left lasting impressions on what I wanted for my career. A career that allowed me to travel the world, engage with other cultures, and build relationships became my goal.
The mentorship I received from Jacqueline Shipe, CEO of Global Ties Alabama, was another highlight of my internship experience. Her words of advice inspired me to reach my goals, enhanced my professional skills in the workplace, and demonstrated how to properly build my network of connections that I could have for life! She also taught me how important mentorship is – as I continue to have mentors till this day – and how I can become an effective mentor to others.
The star of my experiences with the Global Ties Network was when I attended the 2017 National Meeting as a 2017 Emerging Leader, as it provided a clearer path to achieving my global career. At the National Meeting, I networked with other Global Ties U.S. Community-Based Member colleagues, U.S. Department of State officials, and other professionals who had global career experience. I remember thinking to myself, “wow! I’m in a room full of people who are globally minded, just like me!” The highlight of it all was the Ambassadors Luncheon, and visiting an embassy of our choice. From this experience, I discovered that I wanted to become an ambassador, and working at an embassy is where I wanted to begin.
After graduating with my master’s degree, I worked at the British Embassy in Washington, DC for about two years. I enjoyed my experiences, became the British Embassy’s Emerging Leader, and decided to join the United Kingdom’s Civil Service. I am happy to say that I am currently working for the British Government as a Ministerial Engagement Officer, living in London, and on track to achieve my career goal of becoming an ambassador.
To those contemplating a global career, I say, go for it! Knowing where to start or which career path to take may seem unclear. However, as you engage more with the Global Ties Network: working with Community-Based Member organizations, interacting with international delegations, attending external meetings with stakeholders, and attending the National Meetings – hopefully as an Emerging Leader! – your path to success will become clearer. Always take opportunities presented to you with open arms as you never know how those experiences can impact your future.
If you have a chance to apply for the Global Ties U.S. Emerging Leaders Program, definitely apply! The mentorship, networks you build with fellow Emerging Leaders, and career-building opportunities are all results of what the program – and wider Global Ties Network – can offer you.
On March 24, Alana will deliver remarks about the impact of the Emerging Leaders Program and Global Ties Network at the 2021 National Meeting. Register by March 17 to hear Alana and more inspiring leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors speak.