Dan Johnson (@djwinfo) is the President of Progressive Public Affairs, a Chicago-based lobbying firm. Dan is a lawyer and believes that anyone can change the world if they are willing to work at it. PPA represents non-profit organizations, trade associations, individuals and pro bono clients that want to make the world a better place primarily by improving state and local government. You can find more information on his blog.
1. How did you get started in the industry? How can someone who is interested in your work get started?
I started as a lobbyist after law school when I took a job with a progressive non-profit organization. I got that job by volunteering when I was in college and law school for the issue (better democracy), so it was a natural to get hired when I graduated.
2. What’s the future of your industry or job?
I think there is an increasing demand for progressive lobbyists, as more people come to see that changing the world starts with changing your local and state governments.
3. What do you look for when you hire an intern or entry-level candidate?
I look for self-starters who have demonstrated a real interest in progressive policy, politics and an ability to get work done without a lot of hand-holding.
4. What is one thing an intern can do to make a favorable impression?
Interns who take initiative always do best. Since I’m not paying any interns, I take the time to develop a project that the intern can take ownership of that specifically advances his or her interests or career.
5. Can you share a positive intern story and an intern horror story? No names needed…
I’ve had a few interns who like to “check in” without actually working on anything that will help them develop skills or make new contacts. Those are frustrating.
Interested in interning with Progressive Public Affairs? They’re currently looking for interns! Apply now.