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Building a Career in The District

July 17, 2013

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On Wednesday, July 17, Rebecca Salk from NYU's Wasserman Center for Career Development  moderated a panel composed of expert career recruiters and professionals. Rebecca lead a discussion on how to best prepare and market yourself in today's challenging job market. The panel offered networking tips, shared organizational insights and answered audience questions. This event was co-hosted by The John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University.

Meet the Panelists


Steve Kowal

Steve Kowal is an Education Program Specialist in the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment, Office of Education. In this role he manages and coordinates operational plans, performance plans and reports, and budgets for the office. He also gives input and guidance on these processes for USAID’s education sector programs as a whole. He provides support and technical assistance to USAID education and program staff with a focus budgeting, management, and government-to-government assistance. He has provided on-site field support to USAID Missions in Afghanistan, Egypt, Mozambique, and Pakistan. He has been with the Agency since 2009.

Originally from Amherst, Ohio, Steve earned a Bachelor’s degree in Integrated Language Arts Education from Ohio University. After teaching at various grade levels, he received a Master of Public Administration degree from the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. Directly before starting at USAID as a Presidential Management Fellow in 2009, he served as an Undergraduate Programs Advisor for the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

Maribeth Linmore

Maribeth Linmore

Maribeth Linmore is a Senior Manager at PwC, working on the US Sourcing Operations team. Her primary responsibilities support the US campus sourcing function, where she oversees various operational matters, including the firm's applicant tracking system. Maribeth began her career in the Washington, DC office of PwC in 2001 as an intern, before starting as an associate in the Washington Federal Practice. Prior to entering her current role, Maribeth was the Campus Market Sourcing Leader for the Washington Metro market, where she oversaw the collegiate recruitment for the firm's second largest geographic area.

Maribeth lives in the Greater DC area with her husband and young daughter. She is an active volunteer in her local community, lending her organizational talents to various associations. Maribeth is a proud graduate of the Ohio State University, where she obtained her B.S. in Business Administration, and is an alumna of the Honors Accounting Program and John Glenn Fellows program

Image: Jessica O'Connell

Jessica O'Connell

Jessica O’Connell is the Senior Vice President for Operations at American Progress, where she helps coordinate day-to-day operations, business, and personnel matters. Previously, as the national field director at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, she helped organize influential statewide networks of more than 400 nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, Fortune 500 companies, and think tanks on international affairs budget issues. Over the past decade, O’Connell has helped elect U.S. federal and statewide political candidates throughout the country and served as a political and management consultant, including work in Italy, Spain, and Brazil. As the national director of operations for Hillary Clinton for President, she helped the presidential campaign grow from 10 people in two states to more than 1,500 staff in offices nationwide.

O’Connell served as the chief operating officer for strategic online communications and technology firm EchoDitto, where she was responsible for the day-to-day management of the company, which expanded to New York City and Boston. She also managed the client and creative services team, providing strategic guidance and ensuring quality new-media and online campaigns for national and international progressive clients. Throughout her career, O’Connell has raised millions of dollars for progressive issues, candidates, and causes, including EMILY’s List—where she served as the deputy director of major gifts and events—and later the Children’s Defense Fund, where she served as the development director. In 2009 O’Connell founded Youth Trek, a 501(c)(3) organization that uses travel to broaden the horizons of girls from underserved areas and introduce them to careers, cultures, and communities beyond their own neighborhoods. She has been a trainer and panelist for American University: Women in Politics Institute (WELead), EMILY’s List Campaign Corps, National Student Partnership, Veterans Campaign, and the Emerging Leaders Program. O’Connell holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder and an M.B.A. from the University of Denver.

Vanessa Strauss

Vanessa A. Strauss

Vanessa A. Strauss is the Senior Advisor, Division of Administration (DOA), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Strauss also has the additional responsibility as the DOA chairperson, in the College of Corporate Operations, Corporate University, FDIC. In her position as senior adviser, she is responsible for performing a wide-range of managerial and technical assignments relating to the design, development, and implementation of acquisition, human resource and facility management policies and programs. As chairperson for DOA in Corporate University, Strauss is the technical expert in the corporation's administrative programs and operations and serves as a resource in the development of employee training programs in support of operational programs and goals of the corporation.

Strauss served on the Executive Board of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) for six years, where she advanced from the position of Regional Director to President of NACE from 2006-07 and continues to be an active member of the association. Vanessa presented ACRRFT as a Preconference Workshop at the 2010 Annual Conference and Expo. he served as a member of the Executive Board of the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers (EACE) for four years.

Meet the Moderator

Image: Rebecca Salk

Rebecca joined the Wasserman Center as a Career Development Counselor in 2010. For two years prior, she was an Admissions Counselor at NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Sociology from The George Washington University and her M.A. in Higher Education Administration from NYU. Rebecca has studied and worked in Spain and Japan and still travels whenever she can, especially to destinations with good food. Closer to home, she enjoys reading, skiing, and spending time with family and friends.

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