This profile was part of the Faculty of Public and Global Affairs’ Generation FPA series, which highlighted up and coming alumni who graduated between 2008-2018. The series was published in 2018.

Hardave Birk is a Government Relations Advisor with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Why did you choose a degree in political management?

After undergrad, I began working with a senator on Parliament Hill where I met many alumni of the Master of Political Management program who had nothing but positive things to say. I eventually chose the program because I was interested in continuing my studies in a way that would directly apply to my work—I wasn’t interested in doing a thesis or research-based master’s degree.

The program actually filled the perfect niche of learning about politics, expanding my network, and acquiring skills I could use day-to-day at work. It was tailor-made for students who want a career in politics.

How did you end up in your current position?

After spending a few years on Parliament Hill and completing the political management program, I was ready to transition into a new role that would provide different challenges and advance my career. I saw an opening at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in the Government Relations department. I reached out to a fellow MPM alumnus on the team and eventually got the job. I now work with mayors and city councillors from coast to coast to advance their agenda with the federal government.

How does your degree help you on the job?

First and foremost, the political management program gave me a foundational knowledge of how Ottawa ticks. That foundation allows me to understand how and when I can work within the political process to advance the interests of my members. Beyond that, the Master of Political Management program has an extensive alumni network here in Ottawa and across the country. They are working in every aspect of politics. Tapping into that network has allowed me to build working and personal relationships with people across the political spectrum and has helped me have a more well-rounded understanding of Canadian politics.

Any advice for students interested in your field?

I really think that, to work in politics, it is important to keep perspective and build relationships with people across the political spectrum who work on different issues. While people may not always agree, everyone in politics is working towards the same thing: they want to improve people’s lives. That’s why it’s incumbent upon us to work to understand different points of view and use that knowledge to better our work.

Monday, June 11, 2018 in , ,
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