What Alumni Say About IPA

photo of john collinsJonathan Kirch

Take a look at what Jonathan Kirch said in an interview about his career and his experiences at IPA looking back, now that he’s been in the workforce for more than five years.

current position: Lobbyist and Government Relations Director, Wilmington Del.
UD degree: MPA, University of Delaware 2007


Q.What is your current position?

A.I work as a lobbyist for and am the Government Relations Director of the Delaware and Philadelphia chapters of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA).

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

A.[Either] as [an IPA] research assistant, student, or Fellow, I had conducted legislative and policy research, managed the administrative functions of the committee process in the House of Representatives, planned an international professional and academic conference, and contributed to our state’s economic-development comprehensive plan.  These varied experiences prepared me to work under minimal supervision, as well as make decisions cooperatively with peers and high-level decision-makers

Q.What challenges are unique to you as a Program Coordinator?

A.It is an ever-changing challenge to communicate with our supporters so that they feel comfortable and empowered to advocate at state, local, and national levels.

Q.What excites you about your job?

A.I enjoy the “lobbying game,” especially its simultaneously competitive and collaborative nature. No day on my job is exactly like the day before, and I never feel bored or uninspired to push the envelope further.

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

A.The education, personal and professional networks, and experiences I gained working as a Legislative Fellow positioned me to walk into my dream job [as a lobbyist] before I even walked across the stage at commencement. The Legislative Fellows Program gave me experience working directly with the members of the General Assembly, their staff, and agency officials.  Also, my role with committees in the House gave me an intimate and real-life understanding of the entire legislative process, including rules, procedures, protocol, and the varied levers of influence that are less understood by casual political observers.

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

A.Knowledge of the practical importance of networking, relationship-building, and the intricacies of the policy-making process is necessary in my day-to-day work.  These are things I learned while at IPA and in the School of Public Policy & Administration’s MPA Program, particularly as a Legislative Fellow. I gained much of the confidence and knowledge I needed at the University of Delaware and in Legislative Hall to excel in my role with the AHA/ASA.

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