By Jeremy Perillo
Giovanna Coia, White House staffer and CUA alumna, was invited to talk to students by the Network of Enlightened Women (NeW) to discuss her journey from Catholic to the White House this past Wednesday. Coia gave advice on what has helped her along the way to give current Cards some pointers as they tackle college, and beyond. Coia graduated from Catholic in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics and is currently the Director of Women’s Outreach at the White House.
The first piece of advice offered by Coia was to work hard. A very obvious point, but one she stressed as being one of the most profoundly effective in her journey.
“I think we are all so blessed to have attended, and be attending, such a wonderful University,” said Coia. “I think it is easy to forget that education and college is such a privilege, and it is also the first big investment we put into ourselves, so take it all in, enjoy your classes, and don’t take it for granted.”
She shared that even though she was by no means the smartest student at Catholic, she believes her work ethic and constant effort to do her best allowed her to excel at whatever she attempted to do.
The second piece of advice she gave was to be willing to hear the word no, more than one says it—To not let someone saying no to affect one’s mindset, ambitions, or attitude, but to take that in stride and thrive off of it. Coia referred to her relationships with many past colleagues and how setting yourself apart from others is always an advantage.
“I do strive to be a really good colleague. I have been told no many many times, more times than I can fathom, but I always try to say yes,” said Coia. She reminded the audience of the importance of being a good colleague and to help others as much as you can because it reflects positively on your character and work ethic.
The next piece of advice given was to take commitments seriously. Tied into the past two pieces of advice, you must be seen as reliable and dependable in both work and school.
“It is so easy to cancel or reschedule because you are tired, stressed, anxious, etc. but you should stick to your word because to be a person who is taken seriously and respected you have to be reliable and hold yourself accountable,” said Coia.
The final point made was a reminder to keep the faith. Coia referred to her senior year, studying for comps, waitressing, trying to find a job after graduation, but she found solace in the fact that she knew she would make it through the tough times.
“Working 13 hour days, commuting in and out of New York City, it was a really tough time, and I had only been out of college for 8 months,” offered Coia. “New York is where I was able to meet White House Press staffers, which allowed me to get where I am today.”
Coia’s warm personality mixed with her uplifting address served as a great combination for a group of students wanting to learn how to make themselves distinguished in a city that attracts thousands and thousands of prospective employees every year. It is reassuring to see Catholic University alumni are leaving a mark in our nation’s capital in a positive way.