What Alumni Say About IPA

photo of Emily GonceEmily Gonce

Take a look at what Emily Gonce said in an interview about her career and her experiences at IPA looking back, now that she’s been in the workforce for more than five years.

current position: Director, Office of Governmental Affairs, New York Life Insurance Company, New York, N.Y.
UD degree: MPA, University of Delaware 2002, State and Local Management
BS, University of Delaware 2000, Leadership and Consumer Economics, cum laude

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Q.What is your current position?

A.I am a director in the Office of Governmental Affairs at the New York Life Insurance Company.
 

Q.What experiences have you had that helped qualify you for this position?

A.I have to credit the Legislative Fellows Program for giving me a solid understanding of the inner workings of the government. Without that insider’s view, I wouldn’t have been prepared for my current job.

Q.What challenges are unique to you as Director?

A.As a federal lobbyist, it’s critical to understand the legislative process, particularly the importance of legislative committee work and the critical role that staff plays in drafting legislation and shaping public policy.

Q.What excites you about your job?

A.The grassroots lobbying part of my job is most exciting. What that means is asking someone who may not ever have been involved in the political process to learn about key legislative issues, then lobby them and develop long-term relationships with their members of Congress. It’s particularly gratifying to see people’s opinion of government change—from initially feeling like they can’t make a difference, to actually seeing things happen because of their participation in the political process.

Q.How did your experiences at UD and through IPA help prepare you for what you’re doing now?

A.I have to credit the Legislative Fellows Program for giving me a solid understanding of the inner workings of the government. Without that insider’s view, I wouldn’t have been prepared for my current job.

Q.Looking back, what is the most important thing you learned at IPA that has helped you the most?

A.Without question the most important thing I learned was the value of real work experience. IPA truly pushed students to develop themselves professionally. The fact that we were required to have real jobs—not ones where you shuffle papers and don’t get paid—really made the difference.