Amateurs and Experts

Amateurs and Experts

Washington D.C. is filled with both amateurs and experts in every imaginable topic. This week I experienced the expert culture first hand with Latin American security experts and professionals for the research paper I am writing on terrorism in Latin America and the Caribbean. There are also numerous events with panelists ranging from CEOs to Ambassadors and Generals. This week I truly felt like an amateur!


March 25th began with a coffee meeting with a security expert of Latin America Mr. Samuel Logan and ended with a renowed Latin American terrorist expert Doug Farah. When organizing and coordinating which experts to meet your best friend is first research and secondly LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the greatest resource available to amateurs such as myself because you can easily and quickly communicate who you are and why you are interested in adding them to your network. Once they accept your request, you can send them a message with more details and organize an informational interview.


While living and interning in Washington D.C. it is critical to take advantage of every opportunity to meet someone who possess knowledge, skills, and expertise in an area of interest. First the obvious reason, information gathering but secondly you will have successfully become associated with a prestigious and respected leader within the community. Another result of connecting with experts and professionals is their ability to guide you to the next important and prominent individual within their sphere through referrals. Understanding the critical cornerstone of D.C. culture, relationship building, will be instrumental to an intern’s future career ambitions.


There are no rules in this arena, simply go to every panel, think tank, industry event, bar, restaurant, dance, festival, 5K, holiday celebration where professionals and experts of interest will be and there you will find numerous individuals willing to boost you into your dream career. So my advice, don’t be an amateur when it comes to professional and social networking; master your smile, humor, and charm before you get to D.C and you’ll be the bee’s knees!

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