May 22, 2024
By Cesar Fernandez, Programs & Membership Assistant

On Saturday, May 4th, 2024, the UNA-NCA Young Professionals (YP) Program hosted their semi-annual Career Dinner Series. This in-person series focused on Careers in the Foreign Service, Global Health, Peacebuilding & Conflict Resolution, and Climate Change & Disaster Relief. Part of the Young Professionals Career Dinner Series, discussions featured various professionals working in these respective fields. The speakers within this event offered inspirational guidance toward students and young professionals, sharing important perspectives and personal stories with respect to their fields.

From left: Paula Boland, UNA-NCA President; Lanice Williams, UNA-NCA Vice Chair of Young Professionals; and Anne Simmons-Benton, UNA-NCA Board Chair ElectUNA-NCA President, Paula Boland, started off the event by expressing personal remarks and the objectives of the Young Professionals’ Career Dinner Series, stating that this event “serves as an opportunity (for young professionals) to speak with mid to senior-level employees within a desired field to gain valuable insight into specific career paths.” Ms. Boland then went on to pinpoint the focus of the event’s panel on careers such as international affairs and human rights. Lastly, she introduced and thanked the event’s keynote speaker, Ms. Rachel Bowen Pittman.

Ms. Rachel Bowen Pittman has been serving as the Executive Director of UNA-USA since 2019. She is the first female and first African-American Executive Director of UNA-USA. UNA-USA is a grassroots movement of more than 20,000 Americans in over 200 chapters across the U.S., dedicated to supporting the work of the United Nations in communities, on campuses, and on Spring 24 Career Dinners Rachel Pittman SpeakingUNA-USA Executive Director, Rachel Pittman, presented keynote remarks.Capitol Hill. Rachel works to maximize UNA-USA’s advocacy impact by guiding the strategic vision for the organization, overseeing membership expansion, and managing partnerships. Rachel works closely with UNA-USA’s National Council and Affinity Group leadership to spearhead new initiatives that support a strong U.S.-UN partnership. Before she was appointed Executive Director in June 2019, Rachel served as UNA-USA’s Senior Director of Membership and Programs. In this role, she managed UNA-USA’s national programs and events, including the annual Global Engagement Summit at UN Headquarters, Global Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., and UN Day events across the country. She also led a nationwide fundraising campaign to provide education to youth in refugee camps. Rachel was first hired by UNA-USA in 2015 to serve as their Director of Membership, and then became promoted to Senior Director of Membership and Programs the following year.

Prior to joining UNA-USA, Rachel served on multiple leadership teams for several professional associations that represented lawyers, surgeons, regulators and engineers. In her many accomplishments, Rachel strengthened membership programs, directed rebranding initiatives and secured agreements with national associations representing China, Korea, Argentina, India, Peru, Egypt, and Mexico. While Rachel has worked with inspiring professionals across a diverse range of industries and cultures throughout her career, supporting UNA-USA staff and members in their efforts to make the future brighter is her greatest inspiration. Rachel holds a B.S.B.A in International Business from American University and an MBA in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University.

Within her speech, Ms. Pittman talked about her upbringing and professional background, how she got involved with UNA-USA, and discussed the importance of maintaining support and relations for the U.S. with the United Nations. After Ms. Pittman provided her keynote remarks, a brief Q&A session followed with guests and audience members. The first question asked by an audience member was: “What failures or setbacks have you had within your professional career?” To this, Ms. Pittman answered: “I didn’t know what I wanted to do in terms of a career path. I was in the process of finding myself, yet I embraced every opportunity I had to connect with others, and eventually was offered a position at UNA-USA. It’s always important to take these moments you get and enhance yourself within your current role or position to the best of your ability, because you never know what might end up happening.” Another audience member asked a question about future volunteer opportunities with UNA-USA, and to get more information on the Global Engagement Summit in New York and the Global Leadership Summit in DC. Similar to her response to the first question, Ms Pittman replied: “It is always a good opportunity to get involved in these networking or volunteer events so you can meet other people and expand your social and professional connections. I highly recommend attending either the Global Engagement Summit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, or our Global Leadership Summit which will be here in DC this June. Being able to attend these events and obtain such exposure to the knowledge and people around you can really help your future professional or academic endeavors, such as potential career opportunities.”

Spring 24 Career Dinners Careers in Foreign ServiceAttendees in the Careers in Foreign Service dinner listening to guest speakers, Jonathan Benton Senior Advisor to the State Department's Coordinator for Assistance to Europe and Eurasia, U.S. Department of State; Alicia Contreras-Donello Foreign Service Officer, USAID; and Na-Yeon Park Foreign Service Officer, USAID.In closing her remarks, Ms. Pittman reiterated that we as the audience and UNA-USA members are what drives her and the organization as a whole to thrive. After hearing such insightful experiences and remarks from Ms. Pittman, the event’s presenters and attendees were thanked for their participation by UNA-NCA President Ms. Paula Boland and Young Professionals’ Vice Chair Ms. Lanice Williams. In concluding the initial panel, Ms. Williams went forth to introduce the rest of the career programs for the night, and dismissed each group of attendees and speakers to their respective programs.

Need to Know


More >

Upcoming Events

More >