Transitions and Taking a Leap: Switching Sectors and Leveraging your Contacts

Event Details

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Thinking about switching sectors or finding a new career path? What should you consider before you jump? How do you leverage your connections and network to find your next position? Join us for a conversation on mid-career transitions and advancing your career in international affairs.

This event is co-sponsored with Women’s Foreign Policy Group (WFPG) and the Robertson Foundation for Government. Registration is free for WIIS and WFPG members. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].

Monday, August 10th, 2020 | 1 to 2:15 PM EDT
Panel Discussion: 1:00 to 1:45 PM EDT
Breakout Sessions: 1:45 to 2:15 PM EDT

Barrie Freeman, United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office Deputy and Political Director
Reta Jo Lewis, The German Marshall Fund Senior Fellow and Director of Congressional Affairs
Wanida Lewis, Environment360 Programs and Strategic Partnerships Former Director
Wenchi Yu, VIPKid Global Public Policy Head
Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Women In International Security President (Moderator)
Registration is free for WFPG and WIIS members and $15 for non-members. WIIS members can access the code for free registration on the member homepage. 
Barrie Freeman is the deputy and political director of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office. Prior to her appointment in 2018, she served as the Chief of Staff for the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), and before that as the Mission’s Political Affairs Director. Before joining the UN, she managed democracy and governance programs at NDI, first in Central and West Africa and then later in North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring. Freeman spent 15 years with the State Department, working in Tunisia, Morocco, Lesotho, and Nigeria. In Washington, she served in the Office of the Inspector General and in the Office of African Analysis as the chief political analyst for Nigeria and other West African countries. While at the State Department, she earned the Department’s Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards, as well as a Distinguished Analyst Award.
Reta Jo Lewis is a Senior Fellow and Director of Congressional Affairs at The German Marshall Fund. She joined GMF in 2015, as a Senior Resident Fellow with the Transatlantic Leadership Initiative Program. During the Obama Administration, she served as the State Department’s first Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs, where she focused on building peer-to-peer relationships between the Department, state and local officials, and their foreign counterpart, and was awarded the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award for her work. Previously, she was the Director of Business Outreach for the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team. Earlier in her career, she served as the Vice President and Counselor to the President at the US Chamber of Commerce, Shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, Of Counsel at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, and as a Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton. In 2014, Lewis ran for mayor of DC. She began her career as a Presidential Management Fellow.
Wanida Lewis has directed programs and strategic partnerships for Environment360 in Accra, Ghana. Previously, she was a senior economic evaluation program analyst at the Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. Lewis completed a fellowship as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow working in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. During her fellowship, she founded Young, Gifted, & Brown, LLC, a pipeline program supporting young Ghanaian women and entrepreneurs in STEM. Lewis was named by New America as one of the thirty-five “Black American National Security in 2018, and Foreign Policy Next Generation Leaders” and is a 2019 Young Professionals in Foreign Policy “Gender Issues in Foreign Policy Fellow.”
Wenchi Yu is the Head of Global Public Policy at VIPKid, an education technology platform company. In this role, she launched the social impact initiative and, a non-profit seed funded and incubated by VIPKid to promote equitable access to education through technology. She is a Nonresident Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and a life member of Council on Foreign Relations. Prior to VIPKid, Yu was the Head of Corporate Engagement for Goldman Sachs in Asia, where she led strategic philanthropy for stakeholder engagement and social impact in Asia. Before joining the private sector, she was a senior advisor on global women’s issues at the Department of State, and conducted research on rule of law and civil society development for the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. She began her career working for various nonprofit organizations on women’s rights, human trafficking, and immigrant issues.
Chantal de Jonge Oudraat has served as President of Women In International Security (WIIS) since February 2013. Prior to joining WIIS, she was the founding and executive director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) North America. Her previous positions include senior advisor to the US Institute of Peace Center for Gender and Peacebuilding; associate vice president and director of the USIP Jennings Randolph Fellowship Program; adjunct associate professor at Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service; and senior fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Her areas of specialization include women, peace and security, international organizations, arms control and disarmament, and peacekeeping. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of Amsterdam and received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Paris II (Panthéon).