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Robert Vega, Director FAC 18 / 2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200 78712-1508 • 512-471-7900

Focused Advocacy

Spring 2012 Site Review

Position: Government Affairs Intern
Student: Government Sophomore

At the beginning of my internship, all the interns had a weekly task to complete. I was in charge of tracking a few bills that our firm was trying to get passed. Throughout the week, I would monitor the progression of each bill then send an email to our clients, that these bills effected, if there was an improvement. Our supervisor usually had a meeting with the partners at the beginning of each week to see what projects needed to be completed. She would split the projects amongst each intern with a deadline. Every intern then diligently worked on his or her assignments and emails our supervisor on Fridays with our progress.

If clients were to come into the office for a meeting, interns can have the opportunity to sit in on it and observe. If you were assigned a proposal, you could even propose your project and work with the clients. It is very thrilling to be place in charge of a project and have the chance to attend meetings out of the office.

Over the winter break I was left in charge of the office when our supervisor was out of town. I was in charge of the partner’s schedules and the newer interns. It was a great opportunity to run an office and be responsible for others. This internship helps you realize what is currently going on in our government and world. You are working with up and coming companies that are trying to make a difference in the world and you get to be a apart of making that happen. I highly recommend interning at this company. It is a great start and its gives you so much valuable experience.

Fall 2011

Position: Government and Public Policy Intern
Student: International Relations & Global Studies Sophomore

A Day in the Life of a Focused Advocacy Intern

Although they do say that they require a certain amount of hours per week, they are very flexible with the times so it can easily work around your school schedule. I do recommend trying to have your classes in the evenings and intern in the mornings because that is when they have most of the fun things like events at the capital.

You can either work in one of the nice empty fully equipped offices, or if there are a lot of interns you would work in a back room with cubicle spots. I prefer this better because I like to interact with the other interns because they are really awesome people.  

You will have different kinds of assignments, at least one that is a weekly occurring on (like keep track of 2012 elections on a spread sheet and send it to them every Thursday), long tiresome projects like client proposals that might make you stay late or even come in on weekends, and of course a bunch of clerical things like organizing the copy room, re-stocking the kitchen and personally inviting 100 guests to one of their receptions.

I also recommend getting to know the partners and letting them know what you are interested in and your career plans; ask them to go to lunch with you one day. They offer very good advice and can even help point you in the right direction to find a job after graduation.

Summer 2011

Position: Intern
Student: Government & History Junior

I would highly recommend interning at the Focused Advocacy lobbying firm for anyone who is interested in Texas politics and the lobbying industry in general. It is a young company (approximately 4 years old) that has grown into one of the larger lobbying firms in Austin. The office is very friendly, fun, and professional, making for a great atmosphere in the workplace.  As one of six interns, we were able to share the workload in order to help each other and handle our tasks efficiently. Although there are some small projects, I usually received a briefing on a project at the beginning of the week in order to have it finished by Thursday afternoon for the partners to read first thing on Friday morning. Sometimes projects were assigned individually but usually the interns took turns acting as project leader and mitigated work to other interns. After working there for a few weeks each of us had more experience in a particular field or type of legislation than the others. For example, many of my projects involved coal, energy storage, and energy efficiency legislation. Thus, if a project involved one of these topics I would often act as project leader.

The best part of working at Focused Advocacy was the respect we received from the partners and the other employees. From the start, they told us they would not waste our time with menial tasks such as answering phones and running errands. Not to say that we never helped to pick up the slack with typical office duties, but the vast majority of our time was spent doing research for clients. However, with this responsibility we could also expect more stress and more commitment to our internship. Sometimes projects had hard deadlines and we had to stay late in order to make sure our work was finished. Additionally, we edited and reviewed our work several times to ensure that we gave our clients perfect research because we knew our actions or flaws could potentially lead to the company losing a major client. But if this responsibility does not bother you and you are interested in working with Texas issues and making frequent visits to the capital, Focused Advocacy is a good internship.

Summer 2011 Site Review

Position: Intern
Student: Government Junior

I am interning at Focused Advocacy as a legislative analyst. Focused Advocacy is a public affairs firm that specializes in lobbying and political consulting. Focused Advocacy has a beautiful office downtown complete with a personal gym and full kitchen. My typical day starts at 9 am and ends at 4pm. I am given weekly projects on Mondays that are to be completed by the end of the week.

The majority of my projects involve research in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Focused Advocacy operates the campaign Texas is Hot in order to advocate energy efficiency. As a result, many of their clients are in the renewable energy and power sector. Many of my projects have dealt with researching solar energy policies of Texas and comparing them to other states. In addition to a legislative perspective, I have also researched potential clients from a business standpoint. Through research I would form a company analysis of a potential client that would include their previous lobbying reports and what they could gain from our lobbying.

In addition to research, I would help advocate on behalf of our clients at the Capitol during the summer special session. I would pass out information and discuss our client’s views on current bills that were on the floor. Interning during the special session provided me with a great opportunity to see lobbying and the inner workings of Texas government. Occasionally, I would attend committee meetings that discussed important bills to our clients. In conclusion, Focused Advocacy was a great opportunity to experience real world Texas politics. I would recommend the internship to anyone who is interested in a future career in politics or public affairs. The internship was a great tool in networking with others in the political sector in Texas.
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