On June 27th, CAPAL opened its 2013 Roundtable Series with Audrey Buehring, Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI)
Hosted at the National Education Association (NEA), Buehring spoke about her path to WHIAAPI. Buehring started off unsure of what career to pursue, believing first that she would become an engineer. Buehring found her way to law school studying as a patent lawyer and then a public defender. The intimate Roundtable allowed for Buehring to tailor the discussion to the audience. She started off asking the attendees, “what keeps you up at night?”
Buehring then provided key advice:
1. Be a smart asker – Do not be afraid to seek out mentors, organizations, and others who can aid you in your career, but make sure that you are choosing those people and organizations carefully and wisely, as opposed to scrambling to make connections with every organization in your field.
2. Leave your opportunities and doors open.
3. Take risks often and early.
4. Passion – If you are really passionate about something, you will excel and be more successful.
5. There is no reason not to try different things and to educate yourself on diverse interests.
6. Do one thing and do it well.
7. Bend towards inspiration in your work and personal life – Work on a flexible schedule that allows you to manage writer’s block and to find moments of creativity. Bend to when your body says work.
8. The private sector can sometimes provide skills useful to working in the public sector, such as understanding how to meet goals and how to work efficiently.
9. You will succeed with new and fresh ideas and visions.
10. Take 2-5 years to work before graduate school so that you have more experience to be competitive and so that you do not face undergraduate burn out.
11. The more experiential the learning, the better.
12. A better supervisor should always take priority over a better company title and pay – a good supervisor will allow for you to be flexible and creative. They will also be loyal and help you to succeed.
13. Take networking to the personal – When you meet others, try to trickle pieces of information about yourself that can help others find a point of personal commonality. This can be key in creating stronger and more valuable relationships.
14. Volunteer to get your foot in the door.
She noted the challenge of sometimes needing to seek support and buy-in from within your own organization and cited her greatest personal achievement as becoming a relationship builder, despite her natural introversion. Her ability to create relationships was apparent to all of our attendees in her vibrant, energetic, and warm personality with which she engaged us.
Buehring’s invaluable advice was a delightful way to begin our Roundtable series. Attendees left with plenty of food for thought, in addition to a belly full of NEA lunch!