Leading up to our 2015 human rights conference in Brooklyn, NY, March 20-22, we are highlighting six Amnesty International USA staff members and moments in their life that have helped build their career in the human rights movement! Read all six in our “Meet me at the AGM” blog series.
NAME: Sara Golden
I WORK FOR AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA AS: Direct Response Coordinator
IN THAT ROLE I:
- Get copy and design approved for our direct mail packages
- Lead the coordination of marketing and sales management and execution of programs for Direct Response and special projects.
- Assist in the development and implementation of annual Direct Response plans and programs.
- Liaise with cross functioning staff to communicate deadlines and plans effectively and consistently.
- Act as a source of information for the Direct Response and Development offices.
HOW DID YOU GET THERE?
I began at Amnesty as the Assistant to the Deputy Executive Director of External Affairs in 2012. Previously I worked as an HR consultant at UNICEF and held several internships at NGOs during my time in graduate school. While I didn’t have much experience with development, I thought the DR job would be a good fit for my background and skillset, and when it became available I applied immediately. I learn more about it every day!
WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL?
My mom participated in Write for Rights every year so I grew up admiring the work Amnesty does globally to advocate and campaign on behalf of individuals and communities at risk. I vividly remember helping her address the envelopes and write the letters. I became involved again when I joined Amnesty as a staff person.
OUTSIDE OF WORK I HAVE A PASSION FOR: Cooking (and more importantly, eating!)
MY ACTIVIST TOOL OF CHOICE IS:
- Pen and paper ←
WHY? The power of a letter, and in Amnesty’s case, thousands of letters, has been shown to affect change in a way that many other mediums cannot. Government officials are hard pressed to ignore boxes of letters in their offices! Letters can also give hope to people and let them know they are not alone.
AN INDIVIDUAL WHO I ADMIRE IS: My mom! She is a life-long supporter of equal rights for all persons and taught me that the most important thing in life is working to support and protect the rights of others.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST BARRIER BUILDING YOUR CAREER?
One of the biggest barriers to beginning a career right now is getting an organization to take a chance on you! The market is over saturated with graduates wanting to work for NGOs (which is amazing!), but makes it difficult to showcase your talents. Networking and building connections with people interested in the same line of work is the most helpful advice I’ve been given. Once you get your foot in the door the sky’s the limit!
THE GUTSIEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IS call out the perpetrators of human rights violations by name in direct mail pieces to ask members to contact them and demand justice directly. Not really gutsy, I know!
AS AN ACTIVIST WHEN WERE YOU MOST OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE?
I began working in my current role. I was initially conflicted asking people for money, but I now see how the two worlds of advocacy and fundraising intersect to ensure that donations are put toward our powerful campaign and program work that can impact change globally!
THE MOST IMPORTANT CLASS YOU TOOK: “Gender and Development” at the New School. It opened my eyes to the necessity of global grassroots work/participation to build successful development schema.
WHAT SPARKED YOUR PASSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS WORK?
I have wanted to work for a human rights organization in some capacity since high school. I’m not sure when exactly I had my “ah-ha” moment, but I couldn’t be happier to be at Amnesty right now! I get to work with and learn from some of the most passionate and intelligent people around and for that I am truly grateful.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME AND GIVE YOURSELF 3 PIECES OF ADVICE WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
- Things will work out – don’t stress the small stuff!
- Envision your goals and work towards them every day. Your experiences along the way will help inform your future decisions about what you do and don’t like to do. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do at the beginning of your career (although I’m sure it’s helpful!).
- Blonde is not a good color for you
The “Meet me at the AGM” blog series highlights six Amnesty International USA staff members and moments in their life that have helped build their career in the human rights movement.
There are many paths, types of work, areas of interest and specialties that make up the Amnesty movement. See how these young professionals tackled barriers, faced challenges and made a career in human rights.
Meet Sara and hundreds more on March 20-22, at our biggest human rights conference of the year in Brooklyn, NY. Nearly 1,000 activists are expected to attend what will likely be our largest Annual General Meeting to date. Register online here!