On July 13 and 14, the Leadership Institute held the very first Think Tank Opportunity Workshop. Eighty-six conservatives attended to learn how they can successfully build a career in this field.
The workshop contributes to the Leadership Institute’s mission to increase the size and effectiveness of conservative activists because conservative think tanks are only effective in influencing public policy if they have principled conservatives, passionate about quality research, working for them.
The first day covered the career opportunities within think tanks.
Our first speaker, Lori Sanders who is the Associate Vice President of Federal Affairs at the R Street Institute discussed the types of think tanks currently operating in the movement and the routes in which people take to secure a career.
The second speaker, Helena Richardson, Director of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation taught attendees about the different career paths within think tanks such as events, marketing, development, and more. Helena also discussed how to go about finding the first job and internship in a think tank.
Finally, Michael Bowman, Vice President of Policy at the American Legislative Exchange Council taught attendees how to be a leader in their field and establish themselves as an expert. He also taught attendees what senior recruiters are looking for when hiring and the importance of being passionate about their chosen field.
The second day placed a focus on research and influencing public policy.
The first speaker, Trevor Burrus, who is a Research Fellow at the CATO Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, taught attendees how to research and compose policy proposals that make an impact and are easily readable.
The Hon. Becky Norton Dunlop followed Trevor; she is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. She covered how a think tank uses its research to influence decision makers and public opinion as a whole.
Finally, Karen Czarnecki, Vice President for Outreach at the Mercatus Center, concluded the workshop by teaching attendees how think tanks build coalitions and how they can collaborate with organizations to maximize the effectiveness of their research.
Following the workshop, feedback was overwhelmingly positive with one attendee remarking; “An excellent program with generous speakers and staff. All speakers were willing to network with students involved and were very willing to invest in our futures!”
Due to the success of the Think Tank Opportunity Workshop, the Leadership Institute will be holding another on November 6 and 7, 2017.