Meet IWP supporter Laura Genero

December 22, 2010  |  DONOR SPOTLIGHT

Laura Genero, Former Congressman Robert Livinston, John Lenczowski IWP Christmas Party 2010IWP supporters understand the fact that we live in a dangerous world with a need to defend ourselves and that war should be avoided to the greatest extent possible through the use of all the instruments of statecraft.  How do our supporters come to this realization?  Some of them have attended IWP.  Some have educated themselves in these topics.  Some have had much professional experience in the field of international affairs.
 
Take the case of Laura Genero.  She is currently serving as a subject matter expert for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, and has previously served as a consultant to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  She has also served as a Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor, advising the Secretary of Labor on strategic communications and international labor issues; founded her own communications practice, Genero & Associates; served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Humanitarian Affairs at the U.S. State Department and worked as a press secretary in the U.S. House of Representatives. 
 
At the IWP Christmas party, Ms. Genero asked what type of support IWP needed most - support for scholarships, lectures, academics, or general support.  The answer she was given was general support - the lifeblood of every school.  While all support is so appreciated by our students, faculty, and staff, it is more difficult to find those willing to give this general support. 
 
She feels very connected to the school: "I knew John Lenczowski when I worked on Capitol Hill, and we worked closely together at the State Department.  I have tremendous respect for him as a foreign policy expert and for his very trenchant and unique way of looking at foreign policy.  At that time, public diplomacy was not as big a focus as it is today and John tried to bring more of a targeted effort to public diplomacy as an important tool of statecraft."
 
Indeed, Dr. Lenczowski has continued this work at IWP, where students are taught all the arts of statecraft.  Ms. Genero finds that, "This school is very focused, and it does not produce students who think in a ‘cookie cutter' way.  I have worked at my current job with graduates of the Institute, and they have been terrific."
 
She is enthusiastic about IWP's emphasis on intelligence and counter intelligence, and about the new Center for Culture and Security at IWP, headed by Dr. Juliana Pilon. 
 
Another characteristic of all IWP supporters is that they make sure that they are not giving their money haphazardly, especially in this economy where strategic giving is vital.  Ms. Genero observes that,
 
"There are so many worthwhile charities, and everyone is asking for contributions. I prefer to give to organizations that will make good use of the funds that I give to them and are good stewards of donors' money.  I am very confident that IWP is an excellent steward.  Unlike some nonprofits, in which a large percentage of the budget goes to overhead and very little goes towards the mission, I have complete confidence that my donation to IWP will go towards its mission to the maximum extent possible." 
 
Ms. Genero not only is ready to support the school financially, but she has valuable advice to IWP students, particularly those just beginning their careers.  In her career, she has reviewed many, many resumes.  She advises that, when looking for a job, IWP students need to be realistic and do a personal assessment to discover their particular strengths. 
 
She has interviewed many job seekers, and advises that job candidates to first research the organization for which they would like to work.  Specifically, they should know what each part of the organization does on a day-to-day basis, and the specific needs of the bureau or agency to which they are applying.  They then should be very clear about how they can fit into this part of the organization, and what specific skill sets they bring to the table (good writing skills, area knowledge, an ability to synthesize complex knowledge quickly).  If it is a government agency, candidates can look at the agency's Inspector General reports to find where the agency needs improvement and how he or she can help address these needs. 
 
Ms. Genero says that she has been very surprised in the past at how many candidates she has interviewed who do not think these things through beforehand, and cannot even explain what the organization does on a day-to-day basis.  She also observes that strong writing skills are a very important skill.  All IWP graduates should have exemplary writing skills after crafting numerous papers over the course of their education. 
 
She also explains that, when looking for a job, generally one may not start out doing one's "dream job."  She advises IWP students to take an entry level job, because "where you start out in an organization is not where you may end up.  "You should go above and beyond the call of duty, do more than is required, be useful to everyone, and you will move up," she added.
 
Once IWP graduates are established in their profession, they continue to embody the IWP spirit.  Ms. Genero observes that, "My own particular feeling is that all too often today, young people want to make a name for themselves and care only about themselves.  It is refreshing to me to see the young people at IWP who are dedicated to something greater than themselves and who want to serve their country.  Our country needs all the people it can get to serve the public interest."
 
"The safety of our nation is the highest public policy priority," Ms. Genero says, "so I am happy to support IWP in its mission of developing a cadre of young people with an exceptional understanding of all the tools of statecraft."
 
Ms. Genero, thank you for your support!