This article was originally published in the summer 2012 Harker Quarterly.
It’s an exciting life running social networking for the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., and Erika Gudmundson ’05 thrives on it.
Unlike so many how-did-I-get-here stories, Gudmundson found her niche like an arrow headed for the bulls-eye. Having worked on the newspaper and enjoyed political classes at Harker, she applied to a program at The George Washington University to study the intersection of politics and journalism. She interned for Congressman Mike Honda her first summer home, working every semester and summer thereafter in D.C., including a stint in Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office.
Halfway through her junior year she took a leave of absence to work on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. She secured a position as press aide in the campaign’s national headquarters, assisting campaign leadership with communications implementation. “One of the most exciting and nerve-racking things I got to do was help the staff of former President Bill Clinton on phone radio interviews on election days,” she recalled.
After the primary campaign ended, she went to Denver with Hillary Clinton’s staff for the Democratic National Convention. “Hearing then- Senator Clinton, former President Clinton and President Obama speak in front of those huge crowds on issues I care so much about was really moving,” she said, noting that she also assisted with media monitoring for Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearings for Secretary of State.
Following that, Gudmundson went back to school to finish her studies while interning in the public affairs office at the Treasury Department. Upon graduating, she started officially working for them as a media coordinator. Soon after she was promoted to the position of new media specialist and charged with leading the redesign of their website, Treasury.gov, which hadn’t been updated in about a decade. She established and grew the Treasury’s first social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr, as well as launched, managed, edited and blogged on the Treasury’s first official blog, “Treasury Notes.”
Noting what an honor it has been to work in D.C. during this historic time, she said, “I got to witness some of the most significant pieces of legislation get implemented – from the Affordable Care Act, to Wall Street Reform, to the Small Business Jobs Act. And while sometimes it kept me at work until well past midnight or required me to get in at 4 a.m., those were the most exciting and memorable experiences.”
Gudmundson is now ready for the next phase of her career; she has accepted a position at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City as their senior communications associate and will move to the Big Apple this summer.