Leadership In Action: Tiffany Gilligan

Tiffany Gilligan, Junior, Intern at The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA)

As a Government Affairs and Communications Intern at The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), I have a unique opportunity to combine my interests in criminal justice, politics, and communications. I feel as though the School of Public Affairs Leadership Program has set me up for success in this position by strengthening my professional, problem solving, and research skills. My second-year social action project with the SPA Leadership Program allowed me to research an issue in the criminal justice field, connect with stakeholders, and facilitate an event to help foster police-community relations. This project deepened my interest in criminal justice and helped me problem solve in difficult situations. The skills I gained from this project have proven to be very valuable in my position at the NSA.

In my position, I am responsible for drafting bill recommendations and letters of support, tracking criminal justice bills in the House and the Senate, tracking criminal justice grant funding, and attending a host of different events at The Department of Transportation, The Department of Justice, Capitol Hill, The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and others. I am actively using my leadership skills to make the most of this incredible opportunity.

Most importantly, I am learning so much about leadership in criminal justice and the relationship between the government and law enforcement. The NSA is currently working on a number of important initiatives including addressing mental health in correctional facilities, school safety, and the opioid crisis. In doing so, they are in charge of representing all the sheriffs across the nation and law enforcement in general. The interests of each county they represent vary drastically, and they have to make sure that everyone feels heard while also doing what they think is going to increase professionalism in law enforcement across the board. I admire the leadership of my supervisors and the executive and deputy executive directors for their ability to step up to this task. They never make hasty decisions, they collaborate with others through task forces and committees, and they prioritize listening over setting standards.

I am very grateful to work alongside such great leaders in the criminal justice field, and I feel valued and confident to grow as a leader myself.

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