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The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)

April 10th, 2009 at 7:50 am by Ashlea

Sooooo… I know the news is slightly delayed, but in my defense, I have been extremely busy! So, what is it? What is this world-shaking, sky-lighting news?

I am proud to announce that I, A&E, am the proud intern at The Corporate Council on Africa. I went for an interview on Friday and they hired me on the spot. I work in their new communications and marketing team. The office is located in the most ideal spot in the city, just above the Institute of Peace, and across the street from National Geographic and the ever-famous Mayflower hotel.

Well, let me backtrack a bit. I went for the National Geographic production assistant interview and all went splendidly. They said that the position would give me growth potential, that I wouldn’t just be doing administrative tasks and they would allow me, if all the admin was complete, to get more involved in editing etc. So, they called on a Wednesday and offered me the position (not that I am complaining, but with a salary that I wouldn’t be able to survive on, no medical etc.). So, I jumped at the opportunity regardless, as National Geographic would be such an awesome place to work. I said I just wanted to do some numbers in my head and I would give them a commitment the next day. When I called the next day, the hiring director said to me that she had to be very honest, that I was over-qualified and she feared I would get bored of the position, that there was no growth potential and my work would merely be excel spreadsheet formation and budgeting. Talk about putting a spanner in the works! We all decided I probably wasn’t the right fit, as they also wanted me to sign a 6-month contract! And with my visa situation and having to get sponsored for my H1B by Feb, it didn’t seem like a logical or wise choice.

So, the next day (after a severe meltdown) I got off my chair and decided I am going to get the internship. I was hired on the spot and started Monday 9 AM! At first I wasn’t completely sure about how I felt about doing an internship, but after day 1 they started giving me more work and more responsibility. I thrive best under pressure and yesterday was extremely busy! I loved it! I would like to move more towards the HIV/AIDS sector of the council, however, there is more opportunity in the communications division. I have so many great ideas to share with them, but am waiting to settle in and learn more about the inner workings of the council.

The CCA basically promotes trade between Africa and the US, through membership, government partnership, global summits and so forth. It’s a smallish non-profit with about 20-30 staff ranging from research assistants (what I want to do) and country specialists. My office is shared with another research assistant and the view is so beautiful. It’s on the 11th floor and looks over the city. Many of the past interns have been brought in full time, so hopefully (fingers crossed) I can prove my value to them! I really really really love the position and the cause.

Basically, I want a position that will allow me to travel to Africa, aid Africa from the US and make a lasting, meaningful difference. I am a firm believer in systemic change and sustainable development. I don’t believe sending aid to Africa without a long term benefit is the correct way to do things. I believe that through investment, whether it be in the financial, agribusiness, health, power or other specialized industries, Africa can grow and learn to support itself. It’s kind of like a child, metaphorically. If you keep on giving a child money every time he spends it, he’s never going to learn to save. However, if you give a child an investment, for example an investment or financial contribution to their education, then they can use that to create their own money and learn to be self-reliant.

I’m getting a little theoretical here!

Well, it’s Friday (my day off) and I’m off to scour the streets for a full time job (although I am slightly reluctant because I really love working at the CCA). Oh dear!

Posted in Career | 2 Comments »

2 Responses

  1. Jason Says:

    Congrats Ash!! A great area to be in. There’s even a Gap across the street if memory serves (good for buying wool socks when the spring gives way to winter one last time in May!!).

    The CCA just hit the jackpot. If they haven’t figured that out already, I give them two more days.

  2. Sarah Says:

    I came across your blog while doing some research on the CCA. I’m considering applying for an internship there, but wanted to know more about the organization first… Who better to tell me then a previous intern?! Did you enjoy your time there? Anything you can tell me would be great! My email is if you’d rather shoot me an email. Thanks!! :-)

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