You have to have faith to do this. It can at times be unsettling not knowing what’s next, but knowing that He’s in control keeps me centered.
— Neda Brown

This month’s Purpose Driven Woman is my fellow Bennett Sister, Neda Brown. She is a U.S. diplomat currently serving at the American Embassy in Nassau, The Bahamas.  As a Public Diplomacy officer for the U.S. Department of State, she engages opinion leaders, civil society, media, academics, think tanks, and government officials in order to tell America’s story and promote mutual understanding and support for U.S. policy goals and objectives.

How did your journey begin?
My journey into the world of diplomacy began my sophomore year at Bennett College when I visited the U.S. Department of State and first learned how one actually pursues a career in diplomacy.  From that time I started to prepare and position myself to become a Foreign Service Officer. 

I’ve been with the U.S. Department of State for 12 years now and have been fortunate to have served in some really great places- the Dominican Republic, Colombia, India, New York, and at the White House. 

How did you know that this was the work you were supposed to do?
I didn’t always know that this is what I wanted to do or was supposed to do.  I didn’t even really know the path to a career in diplomacy.  I always knew that I wanted to serve and that I enjoy traveling and learning about people and cultures.  So when I came across this opportunity it clicked because it encompasses those things that I love.

What has been your greatest accomplishment and how did it feel?
I don’t know… I’m always proud when I hear how something I did impacted someone’s life.  For example, when students have participated in a program I designed and then they come back and say how it changed their life.  That’s what excites me.  Or when I hear about how something I started is still being used years later.  I’m glad that I can leave that type of a mark on something or someone’s life.   

What have you sacrificed?
I’ve always said that once I get to the point where I’m doing something I don’t want to be doing then I will move on.  On the day to day I guess there have been moments where I’ve sacrifice my time, sleep, and health to a certain extent- that comes with being a public servant though. It’s part of the job.  There are many other things that I would like to pursue which I haven’t been able to but I don’t really see that as a sacrifice.  It’s just not my season for that at the moment. 

What has surprised you the most? 
That I’m actually still doing this.  I thought I would do it for a couple a years and then move on to something else.  But amazing opportunities continue to flow. 
What mistakes have you made? And what did you learn from them
There have been times when I’ve tried to do too much.  I’ve learned how to say no though. 

What drives you?
Helping others succeed and creating experiences for people.

How has God been a part of your journey?
No matter where I go in the world and with all the changes I endure moving every couple of years, God is constant.  You have to have faith to do this.  It can at times be unsettling not knowing what’s next, but knowing that He’s in control keeps me centered. 

What advice would you give to other women in regard to purpose, life, career, etc.?
My advice would be to first prepare- research, study, align yourself with goal oriented people, get in position, and practice. Whatever it is you’re pursuing you have to know the ins and outs of it and you have to create opportunities to practice whatever it is.  Your preparation puts you in position.  And then step out on faith. I think people often get paralyzed with fear because they of course don’t want to fail.  I believe if you’re prepared though then you cannot fail.  Obstacles might come or things may not develop the way you’ve envisioned but with preparation you’re equipped to tackle those challenges.