11 Professional Affiliations

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Humphrey Fellow Ivana Braga is all smiles with colleagues at her local professional affiliation at United Way Valley of the Sun.

As part of the fellowship program, fellows are required to seek out professional affiliations. The overarching philosophy behind the affiliation experience is to undertake tasks that help fellows  learn from their American professional counterparts as well as make a meaningful professional contribution to the host organization or team.

While fellows undertook their search for affiliations with support from Dr. Bill Silcock, Kristi Kappes, mentors and other key networking contacts, the task of securing professional affiliations was not easy. It required sending numerous emails pitching opportunities at their desired companies as well as healthy doses of patience. Rising above the challenges and frustrations, several Fellows successfully attained valuable local affiliations in Arizona during the fall and spring semesters, and all 10 secured national affiliations.

Reflection Question: Share your most memorable reflection from your search for a professional affiliation.

I was excited to be able to go to Internal Revenue Service office in D.C. and share with the communication officers some taxation challenges. I was dissapointed to get an email canceling my local professional affiliation after being in a positive discussion for three months. Steven Kapoloma

My advice to future fellows is to expect a hard process with their search for a professional affiliation. It is a time-consuming process and you may encounter numerous no’s until you get to a yes. No matter, stay focused on the aim and opportunity will appear. Maja Cakarun

Never stop getting in touch or calling your friends and counterparts in the professional affiliation organization or people around your key decision-maker. They can work face to face and help get things pushed forward quickly. This is valuable since many issues can affect the effectiveness of communication when we engage in exchanges across distance, language and cultural differences. Issa Napon

My local professional had such a serendipitous evolution. It began in a elevator ride, where my mentor introduced me to a key decision-maker. In that moment, I understood the value of the elevator pitch that Dr. Silcock emphasized that we get right. Out of this fortuitous happenstance, I was able to spend both fall and spring semesters in a rewarding professional affiliation. Rhonda Jaipaul-O’Garro

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