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 Antonio, 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.
2019 Intern Reflection:
This summer, I have developed a deep admiration for mayors and city governments for consistently pushing our country forward. It has been such an honor to intern for an organization that has consistently stood behind and advanced incredibly progressive issues. Among several things, the United States Conference of Mayors was the first federal organization to officially support same-sex marriage and it was an honor to witness their historic creation of the LGBTQ Mayors Alliance at their recent annual meeting.
As a Director’s intern, I worked directly for the Chief of Staff and had exclusive access to the annual conference and different projects within the organization. I began my summer with an all-expenses paid trip to Honolulu, Hawai’i for the annual meeting which changes location every year (in Austin, Texas next year). My primary job leading up to the conference was writing the “continuity.” The continuity is essentially the Holy Book of the annual meeting and lays out every main plenary session of the conference. It includes the minute-by-minute breakdown of each session, introductions and speeches that are eventually transferred onto the teleprompter, and cues for any videos or media that is displayed on the main screen. While this is a major task, the entire staff was so incredibly helpful and supportive.
During the annual meeting, I was tied to the hip with the chief of staff and the president of the US Conference of Mayors. With front-row access to the meeting, I met every major speaker (including the President of the NAACP, Mayor Garcetti of Los Angeles, and Ambassador Kennedy, among others). In between the sessions, I was able to attend various workshops on topics like immigration, criminal justice, and youth engagement. In the evenings, I was completely free to attend the the activities planned by the host city, which I would definitely recommend! They were an incredible opportunity to socialize with mayors and their staff in a very casual setting. Also, the host city usually goes all out to highlight the best of their city, so the events are always spectacular!
After the conference, I have been helping the Youth Involvement task force with the planning of their first annual Youth Summit, which is bringing together youth and mayors from across the country to discuss forms youth governance and other important issues. As someone who was torn between returning home and working in local government or working for a national organization in DC, this internship has been an incredible opportunity to see how mayors and cities are working to solve national problems. I was welcomed into the USCM family immediately and have developed meaningful connections with so many of the incredible staff members.
Diego Navarrete '21
2018 Intern Reflection:
The main project of the internship is writing continuity (what the President of the conference says during plenary sessions to make everything flow) and putting together the run of show for the annual meeting, which moves from city to city every year. This year, I got to travel to Boston for the conference, which was a lot of fun. There are always cool speakers and interesting discussion sessions at the meetings. Next year, it's in Honolulu (all expenses paid trip to Hawaii!), so apply! Everyone in the office is super nice and wants to make sure you feel welcome.
Naomi Rafal '19
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