Workforce Management Specialist, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
What was the most valuable thing you learned from WeLead?
WeLead helped me to develop the confidence in my ability to compete for high level positions that I previously lacked. I think the ability was in me the whole time, but going through the program, meeting all kinds of interesting people, and interacting with other women rising in the political world was very illuminating and inspiring.
What was your favorite part of the program?
I really enjoyed the diversity of the speakers WeLead invited to the training sessions. Hearing from multiple perspectives reinforced the truth that there is always more than one side to any subject, and the more wiling you are to consider alternative perspectives, the better informed you will be.
What advice would you give to the current WeLead class?
I would advise the current WeLead class to always keep an open mind and to avoid the trap of living in an echo chamber, in which all you do is reinforce existing opinions whether you are involved in politics or working in the public and/or private sector. Expand your horizons and consider multiple points of view before making a decision. Lastly, it's natural to want to succeed and win in politics, but never lose sight of the truth that our primarily responsibility is to serve the people.
How did you secure your current position, and did it include any WeLead networking or alumnae?
I'm still in the same position I had before I started WeLead and thus, I have not had an opportunity to take advantage of WeLead connections. However, I stay in touch with several members of my class.
Any other thoughts on your WeLead experience?
It was gratifying to see so many examples of women succeeding in high level positions, especially in a male-dominated industry. It was also great to see accomplished female leaders take the time to mentor and inspire a younger generation of women to follow in their footsteps.
Garcia manages employment outreach at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, including strategies that ta Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander and Black communities, as well as for individuals with disabilities. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration and Public Policy from American University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science & Government from George Mason University.