Do you want the next generation of advocates coming from a highly regarded institution with a reputation for scholarship in ethics and a pro-business environment? Well of course you do. If you care about policy and politics, then you care about the caliber of the young people coming into the profession and the caliber of their training.”
“Your word is your bond,” was Sen. Lamar Alexander’s message to students of the TFAS’ 2012 Institute on Business and Government Affairs (IBGA) at this year’s Congressional Scholarship Awards Dinner. “Always tell the truth – tell the exact truth, and if you have to, tell the other side.”
The senator’s message is one that comes up again and again throughout the summer for IBGA students in their coursework and lectures. And at International Paper as well, these ideals – maintaining the highest of ethical standards – filter down to its IBGA interns.
“I think that none of us would survive in Washington very long if we didn’t operate with a set of core values that includes telling the truth – telling all of the truth – and making sure you have kept your word,” said Ann Wrobleski, vice president of global government affairs at International Paper.
To Wrobleski, this is what sets IBGA interns apart and why International Paper continues to support and participate in the institute every summer. According to Wrobleski, it’s important to her profession, her company and the business community that future lobbyists coming through IBGA are exposed to these core values.
International Paper has had a long history with TFAS. An original sponsor of the IBGA program at its start in 1990, they have funded IBGA every year since and continue to take interns each summer.
According to Wrobleski, this partnership has continued for over 20 years because of the quality of interns that pass through IBGA each summer. “We’ve always had terrific interns. They’ve been smart, and they’ve been ready and willing to work,” said Wrobleski. “We get so much out of it, frankly, and we want to continue to be a part of the program.”
IBGA students benefit tremendously from this partnership as well. Students get a meaningful internship with real exposure to the industry and projects that go beyond typical office responsibilities. “Through the course of the year, we tend to save projects that need some real special attention for the TFAS interns when they come in the summer,” said Wrobleski.
Senator Alexander’s message to students came from his own experience learning the ins and outs of Washington, working at the White House. His advice: pick someone you admire, volunteer to help them, watch what they do well and what they could do better, and learn from it.
The student experience at International Paper – as at other organizations that host IBGA interns – fits Alexander’s model for success. Coursework from the class Power and Values in Organizations is reinforced at the office, and students learn how to apply these high standards to their future careers in Washington.
“Do you want the next generation of advocates coming from a highly regarded institution with a reputation for scholarship in ethics and a pro-business environment? Well of course you do,” said Wrobleski. “If you care about policy and politics, then you care about the caliber of the young people coming into the profession and the caliber of their training.”
At International Paper, IBGA students are receiving that high-caliber training to become successful advocates for business and for high ethical standards in government relations. And International Paper’s support allows TFAS to continue to find the high-caliber students that will fill these influential positions across Washington in the future.