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Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Mary Klumpp, Steven L. Miller, Jon Christensen.

Carrie Hessler-Radelet, newly confirmed as Peace Corps director, is already making major changes to the international service agency. 
National Journal
Mike Magner
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Mike Magner
July 18, 2014, 1 a.m.

Car­rie Hessler-Rade­let

The re­cently con­firmed dir­ect­or of the Peace Corps on why she’s mak­ing ma­jor changes.

Car­rie Hessler-Rade­let, newly con­firmed as Peace Corps dir­ect­or, is already mak­ing ma­jor changes to the in­ter­na­tion­al ser­vice agency. (Chet Suss­lin)Just over a month after be­ing con­firmed as Peace Corps dir­ect­or, Car­rie Hessler-Rade­let this week un­veiled what she de­scribes as “the largest re­form ever un­der­taken” in the 53-year-old agency. The changes in­clude a short­er ap­plic­a­tion pro­cess and faster pro­cessing of re­quests to serve. In ad­di­tion, for the first time, “Peace Corps ap­plic­ants can now choose the pro­grams and coun­tries they want to ap­ply to — se­lect­ing the path that best fits their per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al goals,” the agency says.

Hessler-Rade­let has been part of the Peace Corps lead­er­ship for four years. She be­came the agency’s deputy dir­ect­or in June 2010 and was a key play­er in a com­pre­hens­ive agency as­sess­ment that res­ul­ted in an over­haul of the safety and se­cur­ity pro­gram, and in  im­proved train­ing for the more than 215,000 vo­lun­teers. “There was a sense of Con­gress that the Peace Corps needed to be mod­ern­ized,” Hessler-Rade­let says. “I was just then go­ing through con­firm­a­tion as deputy, so I got en­gaged from the very start of the pro­cess.”

Those earli­er re­forms provided the back­drop for the changes an­nounced this week. “Once we had a firm found­a­tion, it made sense to im­prove the qual­ity of our re­cruit­ment ef­forts, and also how we com­mu­nic­ate with the world,” Hessler-Rade­let says. The goal of the most re­cent re­forms is to raise the Peace Corps’ pro­file in what its new and im­proved web­site calls “an in­creas­ingly in­ter­de­pend­ent world” with “chal­lenges that know no bor­ders — such as cli­mate change, pan­dem­ic dis­ease, food se­cur­ity, and gender equal­ity and em­power­ment.” “It is im­port­ant to me that Amer­ic­ans think of the Peace Corps as the primary in­ter­na­tion­al ser­vice agency,” Hessler-Rade­let says. “More Amer­ic­ans want to serve. We want those who are in­ter­ested in long-term in­ter­na­tion­al ser­vice to really think of the Peace Corps first.”

Hessler-Rade­let, now 57, has roots in the Peace Corps go­ing back gen­er­a­tions. Her grand­par­ents worked with the or­gan­iz­a­tion in Malay­sia, and her aunt did the same in Tur­key. And Hessler-Rade­let joined the Peace Corps when she was in her 20s, spend­ing two years teach­ing at a Cath­ol­ic girls school in West­ern Sam­oa.

Upon re­turn­ing to the United States, she be­came a pub­lic-af­fairs man­ager at the Peace Corps of­fice in Bo­ston. From 1986 to 1988, while her hus­band was do­ing doc­tor­al re­search in Gam­bia, she worked on fam­ily plan­ning in the West Afric­an na­tion and foun­ded the coun­try’s Spe­cial Olympics.

Then Hessler-Rade­let earned a mas­ter’s de­gree from the Har­vard School of Pub­lic Health and be­came act­ing dir­ect­or of the Bo­ston In­ter­na­tion­al Group at John Snow Inc., a pub­lic health con­sultancy; that led to  In­done­sia, where she spent four years as a tech­nic­al ad­viser for JSI and later as an HIV/AIDS ad­viser for the U.S. Agency for In­ter­na­tion­al De­vel­op­ment. She re­turned to JSI in 1995, first in the Bo­ston of­fice and then as dir­ect­or of the Wash­ing­ton of­fice from 2000 to 2010.

Not long after Pres­id­ent Obama took of­fice, Hessler-Rade­let re­ceived a call “out of the blue” from former Sen. Har­ris Wof­ford, a long­time friend of the Peace Corps who was help­ing the new ad­min­is­tra­tion search for agency man­agers. “We had a 45-minute con­ver­sa­tion, and then the White House called,” Hessler-Rade­let says. It was Aaron Wil­li­ams, the Peace Corps dir­ect­or, who asked her to be his deputy.

Hessler-Rade­let moved up to act­ing dir­ect­or when Wil­li­ams left in Au­gust 2012, and Obama nom­in­ated her to the post a year later. The Sen­ate made it of­fi­cial on June 5.

 

AT THE BAR

Mary Klumpp

Cooley

Mary Klumpp is one of first hires in the Cooley law firm’s On­Ramp pro­gram, aimed at help­ing ex­per­i­enced wo­men law­yers get back on track in the leg­al pro­fes­sion. (Chet Suss­lin)After earn­ing theat­er de­grees in her home state of Mis­souri and at the Uni­versity of Utah, Mary Klumpp lived her dream of be­com­ing an act­ress: She moved to New York City and landed roles in a num­ber of tour­ing shows. Then, at 33, after mar­ry­ing an Air Force of­ficer, she made a dra­mat­ic ca­reer change by go­ing to Ford­ham Law School. When her hus­band was re­as­signed to Wash­ing­ton, Klumpp fin­ished her de­gree at Geor­getown and joined a D.C. firm. Then an­oth­er life turn oc­curred: “9/11 happened,” Klumpp says. “It shif­ted every­one’s pri­or­it­ies; it in­creased my de­sire to raise a fam­ily and have chil­dren.” Now 49 and with her hus­band re­tired from the Air Force, Klumpp is get­ting back on the leg­al track through the On­Ramp Fel­low­ship pro­gram. Cooley is one of four law firms par­ti­cip­at­ing in the new ini­ti­at­ive, which is aimed at “fa­cil­it­at­ing the reentry of ex­per­i­enced wo­men back in­to law firms.” As one of the first On­Ramp fel­lows, Klumpp will be full time in Cooley’s trade­mark, copy­right, and ad­vert­ising prac­tice in Wash­ing­ton for a year.

 

AT THE BAR

Steven L. Miller

Hogan Lov­ells 

Hogan Lov­ells has ad­ded former Con­stel­la­tion En­ergy Nuc­le­ar Group Gen­er­al Coun­sel Steven L. Miller to its Wash­ing­ton of­fice. (Chet Suss­lin)Nuc­le­ar power has had its ups and downs, and Steven L. Miller, 50, is fa­mil­i­ar with all of them. The nat­ive of Read­ing, Pennsylvania, with de­grees from Penn State and Amer­ic­an Uni­versity’s law school, spent 10 years in the Navy’s Judge Ad­voc­ate Gen­er­al’s Corps be­fore mov­ing in­to en­ergy law in 1999. After a few years with a couple of firms, Miller be­came seni­or vice pres­id­ent and gen­er­al coun­sel at the Con­stel­la­tion En­ergy Nuc­le­ar Group, “the first in­ter­na­tion­al joint ven­ture for nuc­le­ar units ap­proved by the Com­mit­tee on For­eign In­vest­ment,” he says. The most chal­len­ging part of the job, ac­cord­ing to Miller, “was the dif­fer­ent cul­tures and busi­ness per­spect­ives of the own­ers” — U.S.-based Ex­elon and the French-owned Élec­tri­cité de France. Miller spent nearly 12 years with Con­stel­la­tion and now brings his ex­pert­ise to Hogan Lov­ells as of coun­sel in the firm’s en­ergy group. He is op­tim­ist­ic about nuc­le­ar en­ergy’s fu­ture. “Giv­en the safety re­cord and the zero emis­sions, it has good pub­lic sup­port,” he says.

 

AT THE BAR

Jon Christensen

Husch Black­well

Former Rep. Jon Christensen has joined the pub­lic policy group at Husch Black­well. He has a back­ground in both busi­ness and polit­ics and is mar­ried to a former Miss Amer­ica. (Chet Suss­lin)He left the Hou­sein 1999 after two terms as a Re­pub­lic­an from Neb­raska, but Jon Christensen is still liv­ing the life of a con­gress­man. He com­mutes al­most weekly between his home in Nashville and Wash­ing­ton, where he has just joined Husch Black­well as of coun­sel in the firm’s tech­no­logy, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and trans­port­a­tion group. He will also con­tin­ue to serve as man­aging part­ner at Appo-G, a lob­by­ing firm he foun­ded in 2010. This com­bin­a­tion “really gives me the best of both worlds,” Christensen says, by al­low­ing him to be in­volved in busi­ness and pub­lic policy. Be­fore he was elec­ted to Con­gress in 1994, Christensen, now 51, earned a law de­gree, worked as an in­sur­ance ex­ec­ut­ive, and helped form the Aquila Group, a na­tion­al con­sult­ing firm. He left pub­lic of­fice after an un­suc­cess­ful bid for gov­ernor of Neb­raska in 1998. That same year, he mar­ried; he has two daugh­ters, ages 5 and 9.

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