As my time at the National Housing Conference is coming to an end, I thought I’d share my reflections on my accomplishments as an intern and how I grew professionally in this role. There are so many things I could list, but I think these are the most important:
- I helped put together the weekly “Member Brief” newsletter. I condensed the most pertinent news stories of the week into short, easy to read paragraphs so that NHC’s members could remain aware of what’s going on in the housing industry. Through this regular assignment I learned how important it is to provide clear and concise updates to members within the community.
- I drafted several letters that addressed important issues in the housing universe that were eventually distributed to other housing advocacy groups and congressional offices. I have gained a deeper appreciation for the process of researching, drafting, revising and ultimately publishing a position on the complex issues that pass through Washington on a daily basis.
- I participated in a number of events in and around Capitol Hill on behalf of NHC. Through these meetings and discussions I was able to enrich my understanding of housing policy and apply it to my work. Additionally, I was able to interact with members of the housing community and witness first-hand how their hard work was improving the lives of millions of Americans.
Professionally, I have learned so many lessons in this internship. First, I learned the importance of maintaining a professional and respected brand. There were so many instances in which I observed how NHC’s brand and reputation allowed us to participate in discussions and take collective action on vital issues. For example, a letter drafted from the NHC to congressional offices ended up being entered into the official record, which demonstrated NHC’s credibility.
Second, I learned how essential advocacy groups are in Washington. Lobbying often has a negative connotation; however, the insight and expertise that is provided by groups like NHC is absolutely critical for lawmakers. Our elected representatives cannot be expected to substantively understand each and every issue, which is where groups like NHC come in.
Lastly, I learned that housing is one of the most important issues despite not getting a lot of national media attention. My research at NHC has led me to read several major reports on the current condition of housing in the United States, and I can say without a doubt that we are in dire need of action. There are solutions out there, but they have yet to be implemented for a myriad of reasons (politics, lack of resources and a lack of focus to name a few). My time with NHC has inspired me to advocate for immediate action on a number of already identified solutions.
I would like to thank the entire staff at NHC for making this internship experience incredible. I will certainly apply the many lessons that I learned here to future challenges, and in doing so I am confident that I will be more successful. Although I joined NHC as an intern, I truly felt like a member of the team while I was here. Thank you!