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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
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Mike Magner
July 18, 2014, 1 a.m.

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) National Journal

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

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) Chet Susslin

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

Hogan Lov­ells 

Hogan Lovells has added former Constellation Energy Nuclear Group General Counsel Steven L. Miller to its Washington office. (Chet Susslin) Chet Susslin

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

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) Chet Susslin

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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