Friday, July 13, 2012


I am now very settled in to Vital Voices—I know that I can set my alarm for 8:05 and arrive right on schedule, and I have an established PC in the intern room. I have finally got the dress code down pat (a very confusing mixture of fashionable, casual, and business appropriate). I also feel refreshed in my air-conditioned room after losing power and living without AC for five days in the 100-degree humidity. Now that the orientation phase is long over and the heat wave has ended, I am delving in to the substance of my internship and discovering the core of the organization.

The work of Vital Voices is based upon it’s “Leadership Model”—a seven step process in which Vital Voices meets an emerging female leader, helps her to expand and gain visibility in her field through leadership training, and therefore deepens the women’s impact on her community and encourages her to mentor other emerging leaders.

Three weeks ago, I wasn’t able to accurately describe my department within Vital Voices. While my understanding is continually growing, I see that the Global Leadership Network (GLN) is the newest department within the organization, created as a kind of umbrella department to oversee all of the action. The primary goal of the GLN is to stay connected with all of the women within the Vital Voices network and assess the direct impact that the Vital Voices leadership training has on the global communities. My work has ranged from typing up surveys by the women that assess this impact, to researching fellowships and grants that the women can apply for in the future, to writing the “featured voice” (biography) of an honored woman for the Vital Voices website.

One of the many benefits to working for an organization that trains emerging women leaders is that they are actively interested in training their young interns! Every week the office hosts “brown bags,” which are created to teach interns vital information about how an organization runs. Last week a member of the communications department taught us the lingo for posting professional updates on sites like twitter. This week we talked with four young staff members about their specific jobs, and how they developed their interests. It was so inspiring to hear these women, not more than four years older than myself, talk about their social impact and goals for the future. A woman from the Middle East/ North Africa department discussed how the Arab Spring opened up windows for female empowerment in the area, and how much work must be done to capitalize on the opportunities. Another woman discussed how donor’s interests dictate where Vital Voices must invest their funding. She talked about how difficult it is to tell a woman in Haiti that Vital Voices does not have a chapter there because there are not the funds to implement one.

This is an abrupt ending, but I have to finish up this post because it is the end of my lunch break and I have grants to research! I will check back in soon.  

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