The United States Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,139 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.
As a Director's Intern, you will focus mostly on a specific project or policy issue area that is in tune with your academic background or interests. Within that area, you may be asked to do research, attend hearings on the hill or events around DC, brief senior staff on topics such as pending legislation, best practices within cities, etc.
For the Conference's Annual Meeting in June, you will travel with USCM's staff to San Francisco, where you will play a central role in scripting remarks and producing plenary sessions. You will also be asked to write articles for our newspaper, US MAYOR, the official publication of the United States Conference of Mayors.
2017 Intern Reflection:
My mind has been full this summer with thoughts about cities, mayors, climate change, infrastructure, health care, public safety, and the opioid crisis. Any major national policy issue is even more pressing at the local level, and mayors are at the forefront of figuring out creative ways to address them. Time spent this summer with the U.S. Conference of Mayors has been a great introduction to the world of government. The office culture is warm and friendly, and they welcomed me off the bat. It’s a more casual environment than I expected from a D.C. internship, and I appreciated that the staff were both hard-working and super sharp, yet approachable. As an intern, you’ll primarily work with the Chief of Staff who is very empowering. There is an expectation that you’ll be a self-starter.
The first few weeks I spent most of my time helping edit the agenda and writing the continuity (production script) for the plenary sessions of the annual meeting (in Miami Beach this year, and in Boston next year!). But the speed quickly changed at the meeting. I worked from early in the morning until late in the evening during that week, adjusting the schedule to make last minute changes in what the President would say as he presided over the session, doing lots of printing!, working with the tech crew to make sure that any A/V elements would run smoothly, and connecting with speakers and their staff about logistics. I met remarkable people, from Mayor Cornett of Oklahoma City, to Mayor Walsh of Boston, to Mayor Landrieu of New Orleans, to Mayor DeBlasio of NYC, to President Bill Clinton! I also visited the Women Mayors’ Leadership Alliance and heard an inspiring presentation on Houston’s Anti-Trafficking Strategic Plan (a field I’m interested in pursuing in the future). There was also enough time at the end of the day to enjoy some of the fun evening events planned by the city.
In a year of tumultuous politics, working with an organization that is concerned primarily with the bipartisan pursuit of healthy, safe, and thriving cities has been refreshing and incredibly informative. I have learned a ton about the political process and about the key issues affecting metro and city areas. D.C. has also been a wonderful place to live. If you are interested at all in local government or city policy, this is a fantastic place to intern!
Molly Richmond '18
2016 Intern Reflection:
My Director’s Internship with the United States Conference of Mayors has been an incredible experience. From the very beginning, the Conference has entrusted me with interesting assignments and important responsibilities. All of my coworkers have been extremely friendly and respectful, and I have come to really feel like a member of the team. Through the work that I have been doing, I have been given the opportunity to learn a lot about the policy issues the Conference aims to address, as well as the chance to familiarize myself with the ways political organizations and advocacy groups operate.
The highlight of the summer has been the Conference’s Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. In preparation for the Meeting, I scripted remarks, produced events, and coordinated with the multiple parties necessary for running the convention. Because of my instrumental role in putting the Meeting together, I was treated as a top staffer throughout the four-day event. I highly recommend this Director’s Internship to applicants looking to learn more about urban policy and political organization.
David Leeds '17
2015 Intern Reflection:
The United States Conference of Mayors is a must-get internship. As soon as I walked in the doors of the office, I was given responsibilities akin to those of existing staff members. The staff is friendly and willing to mentor new people in the office, and I’ve greatly benefitted from speaking with individuals in between assignments. We often go out for lunch, which has allowed me to both get an insider’s perspective on the organization and explore D.C.’s local food scene. It’s a fun, friendly atmosphere that is highly conducive to learning.
Much of the task work revolves around the USCM’s Annual Meeting, which took place in San Francisco this year. Before the meeting, I wrote and edited continuity (introductions for speakers and panelists); during the meeting, I worked with speaker staffs and tech crews; and after the meeting, I’ve worked on writing articles about the event for the organization’s newsletter. The work has put me into direct contact with President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and many of the mayors of our nation’s largest cities. Most tasks have included a lot of writing, and my work with the Harvard Political Review has helped with that, and while writing for a student publication was helpful for me, it isn’t mandatory.
Mark Bode '18