In our first Careers Blog post of 2016, we have had the pleasure to interview Holly McMath who has been interning with the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City. We asked her about her internship, about working overseas and for any tips for those looking for similar opportunities.
1. To start off, can you tell us about your internship?
Over the Fall of 2015, I have had the immense privilege of interning with the Government Relations team at the Clinton Global Initiative. The Clinton Global Initiative is an Initiative of the Clinton Foundation which brings together actors from the public, private and not-for-profit spheres to collaborate on today’s pressing issues and make commitments to action with fellow members and sponsors of the Initiative. As we bring together multiple stakeholders, my duties mainly revolve around the public sector – domestic and foreign governments as well as multilateral organisations such as the World Bank and branches of the United Nations. My internship entails research, dossier and brief preparation on Heads of State and foreign governments as well as database management.
2. What are your day to day responsibilities/activities as an intern with the Clinton Foundation?
Each day I organize my time, prioritizing my tasks in order of urgency. My day-to-day tasks include preparing news briefings on foreign affairs for the Program team, reporting on leadership changes, note taking in meetings and vetting and cleaning data that we’re entering into our databases relevant to government organizations.
3. Your internship is in New York. How have you found the experience of interning overseas? What have been the main challenges? What have been the highlights of being in a new city?
I have found it incredibly rewarding. The key challenges have been readjusting to very normal things we encounter everyday – familiarizing myself with the subway systems, the way that grocery shopping works over here. The highlights include being in a constantly moving city, it never stops and the people that you pass on the street have so much intention and purpose. In addition, the people of New York are wonderful, finding a new support networks and friends, whether they’re Aussie ex-pats or people I have had the privilege of working with have also been great highlights.
4. What do you think you have gained so far from the internship? Any new skills? Any new insights you now have into international affairs?
I have seen the importance of NGO’s operating and collaborating with field staff on the ground. The Clinton Global Initiative is involved in many regions in the world, broaching many issue areas. However, the Initiative and Foundation always has a collaborative and empowering approach to the areas in which they work which I see as so important in the not-for-profit space. In terms of skills, I have learnt how to use Excel and Databases such as BlackBaudCRM to a proficient level, which are very important in the not-for-profit sector. Beyond that I have also solidified my approach to project management and communication style. Being surrounded by a team of really talented and committed people gave me a lot of room to grow and learn.
5. Do you have tips or tricks for those looking to intern overseas in particular or to intern in general?
Look broadly on the internet, utilize the career forums and resources that Young Australians has to offer. Speak to people who you know – perhaps they’re professors, or people from your University, ask them if they know of any interesting opportunities. I first came across the work of the Clinton Foundation when I met an employee in a small beach town in Mozambique, so ideas and opportunities can come from anywhere.