The School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) 0ffers a plethora of opportunities for students, and Larissa Martinez knew the potential importance of these. As a student, Larissa (AB ‘04) participated in a study abroad trip to Verona, Italy where she developed a relationship with Dr. Bullock that paid dividends for her career path.

This connection eventually led to her opportunity with the former U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and other roles in Washington, D.C. Her first few years on Capitol Hill showcased the importance of leaders that inspire loyalty, continuity, and a team environment.

As the co-founder and current President of Women’s Public Leadership Network, Larissa uses her experience as a political strategist to help women across the country seek public office. She has worked within government relations at various levels that continued to grow her passion for bringing more diverse voices to the decision-making tables.

While part of the Alumni Board, Larissa hopes to connect and engage SPIA alums around the country and world to current students specifically within the nonprofit and international space. SPIA offers plenty of opportunities for students and graduates and showcasing those can attract students, encourage graduates, and build a stronger reputation.

Larissa helped to organize the Alumni Panel focused on Working in Government Panel. This was a mentoring event that offered students a chance to learn and engage with SPIA Alumni in a small group setting.

“People put so much pressure on failure – don’t be afraid to take risks in your career if you’re able to,” Larissa advised. “Anytime a risk pays off, count it as an accomplishment.”

Larissa can attest to the importance of building an authentic network and maintaining relationships, but she notes that career success is much more broad than the contacts you make.

“We get caught up in the scripted parts of life while we pass on opportunities to learn and experience unique things,” Larissa said in hopes to encourage students and graduates to take chances.