“A good mentor is a thing of beauty.” – Ambassador Susan Burke
On September 15, 2010 W.I.L.D women from groups VI and VII had the chance to sit down with Ambassador Susan Burk to discuss her career journey with the U.S government. Ambassador Burk is a successful woman who graduated from Trinity College in Washington D.C. with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s in Government from Georgetown University. She is now works with other States to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the International Non-Proliferation Regime. Susan Burk spoke to us of her journey in government. Burk began as an intern with the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force for about four months which was located in the Pentagon and a part of the Department of Defense. It was here that she learned much about leadership skills from how well the military trained their officers in leadership techniques and skills. From there she was able to work with leaders such as then Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Burk stated, “Traveling with him is like being with a rock star.”
Ambassador Susan Burk told the crowd that she learned most of her leadership skills while in the Air Force. She gave us ten important points of advice which we received as very important lessons to learn throughout our leadership journey at Georgian Court University:
- Look for opportunities to lead. – If you are presented with a leadership opportunity, take it because it gives you the experience and knowledge you need to move ahead.
- Importance of communication – Knowledge is power but teaching that knowledge is even more powerful.
- Be a good listener.
- Know what you know and know what you don’t know. – It is okay not to know everything and it is okay to ask questions when you don’t know the answer.
- If you make a bad decision, change it. – It is okay to admit that you messed up but be prepared to fix the situation.
- Treat people with respect. – Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Allow them to express their ideas. When addressing someone, be professional at all times. Show gratitude where it is needed!
- Project optimism. – Always have a positive attitude even when things seem as though they are not going as planned. Remember every problem has a solution and with a little brainstorming it can be solved.
- Don’t be afraid. – Take risks and try things that you normally would not. It will benefit you in the long run.
- “On their deathbed no one ever regrets not spending enough time at the office.”
- Look after yourself. -Never neglect yourself when it comes to work. Work may get hectic from time to time but make sure that you can put that work away and spend time to focus on yourself.
Ambassador Susan Burk left our minds filled with excitement and also with the strength to strive to be all that we can be as women. These ten points will not happen over night but if we keep them in our minds and practice them everyday, women of this country will soon recognize their strength in this world and collectively use it to affect positive change.
“We as women have ways to go.” – Ambassador Susan Burk
Written by: Jennifer Valentin and Shinade Ramirez