Women learn how they can balance work and family at Capitol Hill Intern Summit

One of the highlights of the 2022 Capitol Hill Intern Summit was the panel conversation between Natalie Joyce, Deputy Chief of Staff for Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Parker Hamilton Poling, Partner at Harbinger Strategies. The panel was moderated by Karin Lips, President of NeW.

After introducing the panelists, Lips asked the women to talk about their college experiences and how they got involved in politics. Joyce shared that it is good to try internships to see what you like and don’t like, to get some kind of political experience, and to understand where policy meets politics. Poling agreed and said that when hiring she always looks for people who had campaign experience – even if it was just volunteering and knocking doors. Both of the women agreed that having campaign experience is very helpful for anyone interested in any kind of political work.

One of the main focuses of the panelists was about balancing work and family life. Joyce said you absolutely can do it successfully. She said responsibility needs to be split 50/50 between a husband and wife; both need to be supportive and all in. She encouraged women who want to juggle both to create routines to stay organized, specifying, “especially when you have young kids so that you don’t have to worry about when you are doing things.”

Poling spoke next, agreeing that a supportive spouse is a key to having a balanced life. She said “careers will ebb and flow; who is involved and when will change with your careers and the unpredictability of certain jobs. You will have different seasons when you have crazy jobs versus flexible 9-to-5. Men should also be talking about work-life balance too – this is not just a women’s issue. Also, it is good to find a boss who is understanding and gets it – bosses who are parents are also great.”

Lips next asked about building credibility and loyalty in a job so that when the time comes to start a family, flexibility will be an option.

Joyce talked about her personal experience, saying when she was in her 20s she was a hustler who always did a lot and said “yes” to everything. When she had kids, she took a step back but felt guilty in the process. She shared how she was encouraged by mentors and friends that it was okay to step back for family because she was just as valuable at work thanks to her extensive expertise and knowledge about Capitol Hill.

The last piece of advice from the panel was provided by Polling, who said, “ask your boss and coworkers if you can help with things. Read the news in your extra time – be learning something new and getting a better understanding of what is going on around you.”

The panel was a highlight of the event. Women in attendance greatly appreciated the advice they received from these Capitol Hill leaders.

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