Brittney Vevaina WeLead Class of 2017

welead alumni brittney vevaina headshot

Brittney Vevaina
MPP, Harvard Kennedy School

What was the most valuable thing you learned from WeLead?
Among other lessons, I learned the value of taking risks. It is easy in a city like Washington to doubt yourself and your abilities, or to feel like it is too late to get into a particular field or career. The program introduced us to many leaders who had taken risks, shifted career paths, and worked hard to make a difference in their field. WeLead inspired me to follow my own passions. 

What was your favorite part of the program?
My favorite aspect of the WeLead program is the overarching philosophy of helping to lift up women in the workplace. The fundraising portion of the program really resonated with me as we were truly supporting the next generation of participants with our contributions. 

What advice would you give to the current WeLead class?
Give back and stay in touch! Women will look to you as you advance in your career for mentorship, advice, or support. Continue to be an ardent advocate for the women that come behind you. Stay in touch with your WeLead class - the program flies by, but the connections and friendships that you make can last a lifetime. 

How did you secure your current position, and did it include any WeLead networking or alumnae?
I took a leap of faith inspired by many of the people I met at WeLead! After eight years of working in the nonprofit sector and federal consulting, I decided to go after my passions for international diplomacy. WeLead reminded me it is never too late to change your path. I was fortunate to be selected as a 2021 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow, which will allow me to pursue an advanced degree at Harvard. After graduate school, I will join the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer. 

Any other thoughts on your WeLead experience?
In a highly polarized political environment, I greatly appreciate that WeLead recruits women from across the political spectrum and from various backgrounds and careers. While the program is tailored toward inspiring women to run for office, WeLead does so much to bring together women with a shared interest in serving the greater public good and equips them with the skills and network to advance in their fields. 

Vevaina shifted into international diplomacy after working many years at non-profits, including at the Partnership for Public Service. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California-Berkeley.