The much-anticipated arrival to DC was met with a fantastic host family welcome at the airport. I was delighted to finally meet Deb and Kurt, who have been so good to me. It was great to land and immediately feel accepted into their home. I’m thrilled to finally be here. The traditional Sunday was met with a huge BBQ that everyone loved and set us up nicely for the week to come.
Our first week was long and tiring but could not have been more interesting and stimulating. The caliber of the speakers we met was second to none. From nationally renowned political analyst Mark Shields to media guru and Wall Street Journal Economics Editor, Nell Henderson. I found Dean William Treanor of Georgetown University absolutely enthralling. His outstanding career includes the position of Deputy Assistant Attorney General in The Office of Legal Counsel, US Department of Justice (Providing legal advice to the President) and The US Attorney for The District of Columbia. His talk was fascinating and gave an inspiring insight into the US Constitution and its formation. The comparison between the separate countries of the European Union and the divides in North America before the United States was formed through the Constitution was very thought provoking. It made me wonder if Europe could learn some valuable lessons about “the greater good” and long-term thinking. The up and coming ‘Obama Care’ Supreme Court decision was also a hot topic.
Our invaluable Accenture leadership training began with Project Management, delivered by Kevin Laudano. He has over 20 years experience in business process and information technology consulting both in the US and internationally. Previously the Managing Partner of Accenture Department of Defense Portfolio and the current lead with Accenture Federal Services, there was no better man for the job. We explored the five phases of project management and I really took a lot from this exercise. Kevin made some very interesting and inspiring statements that I think I will stay with me forever. – “Great leaders are made great leaders by those around them”. – “With success there’s always pain” – “When you want to solve a problem, look only at the hard facts”
Overall my first week in DC has been above and beyond all expectations and ideas I had. It is a beautiful city with such high-spirited history. We met so many speakers that have challenged and changed my views in many ways. What’s next? The work begins! On Monday, I will start my internship at the Embassy of Ireland. Once again I’ll be stepping into the unknown and who knows what I’ll be getting up to this time next week. But for now it’s a host family weekend and I’ve a pool party to go to.