Project Description

Monica Banken
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs

Describe your typical day at work.

I work on media relations, local and state government affairs, organize technical conferences, host dignitaries, and more, all in a typical day.

How did you get your first job in this field?

I’ve been working in politics and government affairs for my entire career. I began working on political campaigns and then was in two fellowships in Washington, DC and Sacramento, CA directly out of college.

Did you have any relevant experience or training?

Yes, I volunteered on political campaigns throughout college, and organized political speakers on my college campus, and trips to local political conventions in Southern California for others at my college. I even attended the national convention in 1996 as a student delegate.

What are the toughest challenges you face?

It’s helping people in management understand the value of being proactive with government relations and protocol, rather than reactive.

Why did you choose a career with an international focus?

I was mostly interested in how government impacts the citizenry at a local level. I ended up hosting a visit by the President of El Salvador to three cities in California as part of a national push to support the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). With that, I worked with security details, venues, partner organizations, local elected officials, and more to ensure the visit was a success and provided visibility and showcased support of the agreement. That visit helped me really see how important the Los Angeles region is to international trade, thanks to our location and our port complex. I’ve been involved in promoting international trade ever since then.