A Day in the Life of a CAST Alum: Emily Sullivan, Agriculture
The College of Applied Science and Technology’s “A Day in the Life of a CAST Alum” series is designed to shed some light on how CAST alumni spend their days. As with many careers, our alumni will tell you that every day is different, but this series aims to provide a peek into an alum’s world.
Emily Sullivan is a 2007 graduate of Illinois State (agriculture major and communications minor). After her time at Illinois State, she headed to Carbondale, Illinois. She graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Law in May 2011, took the Illinois bar in July, and moved out to Washington D.C. in August of the same year.
Since 2015, Sullivan has been with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. The firm is based out of Denver, Colorado, and is primarily a law firm, although the office in D.C. has a strong emphasis on federal lobbying and government relations.
6:30 a.m. – Before I head out to work, I like to have a quick workout, listen to NPR, and pack my lunch. I sold my car shortly after moving to D.C. (parking can be terrible and public transportation is pretty good most of the time), so I take the metro to work every day. The commute from my apartment in Northwest D.C. to my office downtown takes about 30 minutes. I use the commute to read emails, scan news headlines, and read the book I am lugging around in my backpack.
9:00 a.m. – We start almost every week with an office-wide meeting. We use this time to look at the upcoming schedule, including what legislation is on the congressional calendar, what clients we have in town, and what are anticipate to be the big issues of the week. We also discuss opportunities to sign new clients and upcoming events in the office.
10:00 a.m. – We break off into weekly team meetings. I am part of a team that works with clients in the energy and natural resources sector. We use this time to develop strategies for our clients, make sure we are hitting deadlines, and review the most important issues for the upcoming week.
11:00 a.m. – Meetings, meetings, and more meetings. We have weekly scheduled phone calls with several clients, which gives us an opportunity to listen to any updates or concerns from the them and make sure our priorities are in line. The work we provide to our clients varies, but we are often asked to help schedule meetings on Capitol Hill, weigh in on administrative rulemakings, and work on legal documents.
12:00 p.m. – Lunch. And, maybe I will head outside for a walk around the block if it is not 100 degrees and 99 percent humidity.
1:00 p.m. – An important part of my job is staying informed. I read the news, watch for industry updates, and follow developments in Congress and the Administration. At the end of each week, I send our team’s clients a recap of all the week’s most important developments.
2:00 p.m. – Research. My favorite part of the job, hands down. I never quite know what research projects will land on my desk. Perhaps I will need to find a regulation proposed by an agency, provide a summary of a bill that has been introduced in Congress, or gather information on a new federal initiative.
4:00 p.m. – My colleagues and I meet to review the congressional hearing schedule. Many of our clients want to know what issues are being discussed in Congress and how these discussions may impact them. When we cover a hearing for a client we can either go to Capitol Hill and watch the House and Senate hearings live or we can watch them online from our office. We take notes on the hearing and prepare a memo for clients that highlights topics they are interested in.
6:30 p.m. – Happy Hour. D.C. is known for its Happy Hours. My friends and I often meet up right after work for drinks and food at bars around the city. Perhaps instead I go to a comedy show, concert, or head home for an evening of Netflix and laundry.
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