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School of Diplomacy and International Relations

Former White House Aide Shares Career Insights

Clare Gallagher and Joe Biden

Clare Gallagher, a former White House aid, recently spoke to National Security Fellows at the School of Diplomacy.

The School of Diplomacy’s National Security Fellowship (NSF) program recently hosted Washington insider Clare Gallagher, for a career-inspiring conversation with graduate students. Gallagher spoke about the importance of networking and thinking outside the box when it comes to professional opportunities. Gallagher, who held positions from the White House to Netflix, spoke about a range of topics and drew on life lessons learned from her robust professional journey.

After graduating with a degree in communications and public relations from Marquette University in 2007, Gallagher volunteered as a field organizer on the Obama presidential campaign. In that role, she traveled across the country and contributed to the campaign’s success in Iowa, Colorado and Indiana.

After the election, Gallagher became the assistant for arrangements on the White House’s social secretary’s team. In 2011, she began working as a scheduler for Vice President Biden, following with an appointment to senior advisor to the National Security Council’s (NSC) chief of staff.

After working in the White House for over six years, Gallagher moved into the private sector, joining the global partnerships team at Airbnb. Four years into her run with the company, she was asked to serve with the National Security Council’s agency review team, part of the Biden-Harris administration's transition team.

She followed that assignment with her current role at Netflix, where she works with the government relations group, and manages engagement, partnerships and sponsorships.

Students from the National Security Fellowship program, who are embarking on job searches of their own, had the opportunity to ask Gallagher questions about her professional journey.

On working in government, she emphasized that government jobs put things into perspective for her and showed her that not everything has to be taken too seriously. Gallagher said that working in a variety of areas in the White House taught her how to work with many different types of people. She stressed the importance of making connections with colleagues. "My job opportunities came to me through my network," she noted. Gallagher attributes much of the success she’s had in her job search to maintaining those connections.

Graduate student Josh Smith said that hearing about Gallagher’s professional experience in "meaningful positions with the federal government" and then translating that "to high level positions in the private sector showed me that there is so much opportunity with the work that we’re preparing for. It was inspiring to see what she has accomplished in her career, and hearing her talk has encouraged me to take risks as I prepare for my career outside of Seton Hall."

Among Gallagher’s tips for the NSF students was fortifying relationships. "You can’t phone a friend if you haven’t made the friend." She encouraged students to remain open to new job ideas and suggestions from peers, even in fields or positions you would have never considered. She reminded the young professionals in the room to not overthink things. What she has learned is that everything is temporary and there is no need to follow a self-prescribed path. The biggest take away from Gallagher’s experience was that sometimes, the best opportunities in life are ones you had never considered.

Categories: Education, Nation and World