The Nitty Gritty
Current Position: Director of Alumni Relations, The Federalist Society
How long I’ve been a member of America’s Future Foundation: I’ve been a member for a little over a year.
What I do, and why I love it: I work at the Federalist Society, which is a wonderful fusionist organization that encompasses conservative and libertarian lawyers and law school students who have a vested interest in the current legal order and the rule of law. I work with law school students from 200 law schools across the country to plan and execute events on topical issues, in order to combat the liberal ideology that is present in law school classrooms. I work with our student leaders throughout law school and then as alumni to keep them connected with their law school chapter. I plan events to connect current students and alumni, in order to strengthen our organization’s alumni network and alumni networks at many of law schools. This also helps to keep alumni engaged in what is happening on campus and continue the conversation of intellectual diversity. It is encouraging to work with future leaders in the conservative legal movement and see their careers take off, while still maintaining their principles.
Invaluable skill I’ve learned: I’ve learned how to hold a conversation with anyone. I think it is invaluable to be able to converse with people from all backgrounds, beliefs, and education levels. Eye contact, a smile, and attention to detail plays a tremendous role in how people think of you. Initially, I found it very difficult to make conversation with Justices, talking heads, policy experts at think tanks, lawyers and law students. But at the end of the day, they are just people. I still have moments where my mind goes to, “Caroline, Ann Coulter just complimented your necklace!! Eek!” Then, I take a deep breath, come down to earth, and try to focus.
Most important moment in my career (so far): I think the most important moment in my career was my decision to take the biggest risk of my life and intern in DC at The Heritage Foundation, instead of taking a job at the state capitol in Madison, WI. My gut told me this would be the right decision, but I couldn’t help but think I wouldn’t get a job when the internship concluded. I LOVED my internship, and the Director of the Young Leaders Program connected me with The Federalist Society. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but I finished my internship on a Friday and began working at The Federalist Society on Monday. I’m very grateful for being told to apply for that intern program and that The Heritage Foundation accepted me, and that Heather Pfitzenmaier was in my corner. Take chances and trust your gut!
Biggest career lesson I’ve learned: It’s a small city, and even smaller movement. When you graduate from college and move to “a big city,” one naturally assumes you will only run into people every once in a while or maybe never again. Gossip gets around rather quickly, so try to remember people’s names (or the anecdote they tell you), and don’t burn bridges. The best thing you can do is keep your judgements to yourself and be polite. You never know who your next intern, co-worker, or roommate might be.
What attracted me to politics: I love everything about politics. I joined a sorority in college and there was a list of things that weren’t appropriate to talk about – religion, boys, money, and politics. I always found it hard to relate to people when everything we spoke about was so “safe.” I’ve always loved controversy and debating differing opinions, and that everything in politics is up for discussion.
How I formed my political beliefs: I’ve always had strong opinions, but my political beliefs began to form when I was in Civics class in high school. I met my state representative during class one day and he was giving away state blue books for correct answers to political/current event/government questions of the day. I think I walked out of the class with five of the ten he brought. He mentioned something called Youth in Government, a government club through the YMCA. Can you imagine being eager to join a club like this?! A few of my friends were already a part of it, so I decided to join and the rest is history.
Opportunities I see for the movement: I know some of you are thinking, what can possibly be positive in the movement? Everything. Yes, I’ve said it. The next election is up for grabs and we, as conservatives, are all about the long game. We are about tradition, values, and principles. We are those people. We know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Conservatives and libertarians should rally and implement policy that will bring people out of poverty, teach personal responsibility, and reboot the economy. This may happen on a state level at first, but will inevitably have a greater influence on national policy.
Most important trait to have to be successful in the movement: Good hair – just kidding. You have to be confident in your beliefs. The best thing you can do for yourself is to read all the time and debate with people you agree with and disagree with to strengthen your arguments and finish developing your principles.
Why I think America’s Future Foundation is important: Thanks to AFF, young people are able to develop their skill set to make them more successful in their careers within the movement. AFF exposes young freedom-loving individuals to young professionals active in the movement, who can act as mentors or friends who can bond over similar experiences. This is extremely helpful for building your own personal network within the movement.
Any advice for freedom fighters beginning their careers? Never say no to anything – this goes for events, receptions, and new projects at work. Employers and colleagues love to work with people who are willing to take on new projects and step up to the plate. If you are eager, you will be invited to fun events and be included in after work gatherings. There are so many free events for conservatives in this city where you can debate ideas, strengthen your positions, and meet new people. As they say, it’s all about who you know and if you don’t expose yourself to new people, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage.
If I were going on a Netflix binge, it would be … where do I even begin-I watch almost anything. Off the top of my head: SVU, House of Cards, Boss, Gossip Girl, Homeland, Dexter, Shameless, and the Sopranos. I am also an avid reader, so I like to believe this cancels out my Netflix addiction.
Favorite Political Talking Head? I have two-Greg Gutfeld and Dana Perino. Together or separately they are bright and entertaining and never take themselves too seriously.
Favorite British Television Show? My favorite is actually a mini-series called, “The Honourable Woman.” I’ve watched the mini-series twice and I loved it even more the second time. I’ve told everyone who will listen, to watch. Maggie Gyllenhaal is amazing, as is the music, her wardrobe, and the plot.
Any good commuter stories? I can’t come up with a perfect story right now.
Most underrated movie of all time? I am a huge Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts fan, so I’d have to say, “August: Osage County.”
How about the most overrated? “Django Unchained.” I found it to be repulsive. I will never understand the draw of Quentin Tarantino films.
Liz Thatcher is a Marketing Coordinator at Intermarkets, Inc. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies from the Master’s College.