Name: Jenn Rogers
Occupation: Programs and Policy Director
Place of Residence: Washington, DC
Employer: Reproductive Health Technologies Project
Interests: Reading, dancing, watching movies, cooking, drinking wine, politics
Favorite Quote: "I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time." ~Anna Freud
1. How did you get your job?
For Rogers, gaining a master’s of public health (with a concentration in maternal and child health, specifically reproductive health and rights) was the first step towards starting a fulfilling career. She also actively cultivated real world experience while still in an academic setting by advocating for more reproductive education and access to emergency contraception, analyzing data and publishing articles.
“Reproductive health, rights, and justice have been a passion of mine and I’ve tried to get the education necessary to turn that passion into a paid career,” says Rogers. “I am grateful every day that someone pays me to do what I love.”
2. What is your typical work day like?
Roger’s very busy day involves handling internal and external communications, management, leadership and other projects as they come along. She also is regularly checking in with individual staff members and allies in the field, and following up with lobbyists, accountants and consultants.
Rogers usually starts with reading email, the newspaper and blogs to stay informed on major issues in her field. Then she will start a writing project, such as grant proposal, report, presentation, article, or meeting proposal. There might be a flurry of emails to coalition partners, board and staff. After her morning meetings, she usually hits the 3 p.m. panic point: “WHAT, it’s already 3 p.m.? I have so much still to do….Does anyone have any sweets/snacks office in their office?” This is followed by a 4 p.m. webinar or conference call on any upcoming or current special projects, finishing up any writing tasks, and then, finally, heading home after a 9-hour day.
3. What's your job?
As a director, Rogers gets to have some “creative freedom” in what she does. Staff are encouraged to share their own ideas for projects and initiatives. Being a director mainly involves both short and long term strategic planning for the Reproductive Health Technologies Project (RHTP). “Basically, that means I try to execute our President’s vision by putting work plans into place and making sure the work gets complete,” she says. “It’s important for me to strive to also create an inclusive, fun, and supporting work environment.”
5. What is the best part of your job?
“The great thing about my job is that no two days are the same,” says Rogers. “We work on the cutting edge of the reproductive health field so we’re always looking to tackle the emerging issue of the day/week/year.”
Other rewarding aspects of being in the director’s chair include being quoted as a representative of the organization. In the process, Rogers has become her own best public relations person. “I’ve grown so much in terms of refining my messages, being prepared and always having three talking points or messages to focus on for each interview,” she says.
It also ain’t so bad that she gets to rub elbows with people like actress Ashley Judd, First Lady Michelle Obama and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick at fundraising events.
8. What does it take to be good at what you do?
“I think I’m a good listener,” says Rogers. “I think it’s so important both in terms of working with staff at different levels within the organization and for working with external partners.”
And procrastinators need not apply. Being in charge also means getting things “d-o-n-e."
9. How can someone get this job?
From here, Rogers sees herself perhaps running her own organization one day. Or she may consider having her own consultancy business. For those trying to get into this position get good at network. “I would suggest first trying to intern or volunteer at a reproductive health, rights or justice organization.”
Other tactics: “set up informational interviews, introduce yourself to folks you admire, go to events that interest you and meet the speakers and conveners, make connections, get an entry level job and work your way up!”
More info about a career in public health:
"A vast assortment of job opportunities are available to the Public Health graduate. Employment settings range from professionals wearing lab coats and safety goggles to those wearing business attire or nursing uniforms. Some current job titles in the field include, but are not limited to: Epidemiologist, Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Specialist, Occupational Health Nurse, Vital Statistics Director, and Air Pollution Engineer. Becoming a member of this exciting field enables an individual to facilitate improved positive conditions within families and communities."
Earning an MPH:
Master of Public Health at Johns Hopkins
UCLA School of Public Health
NYU Master's Program in Global Public Health
McMaster University Health Studies Programme