The Boys and Girls Club of Union was one of several groups that Bonnie Gutman spoke to during a visit to her hometown of Union, New Jersey in May. Pictured here with some of the more than 60 youths (aged 12-18) to whom she spoke, Bonnie provided an overview of the State Department's overseas responsibilities and provided a glimpse of the rewards and benefits of living abroad and serving one's country. She shared stories of personal experiences in Mexico, El Salvador, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pakistan, and Turkey, impressing one 12-year old enough to announce that he wants to be President of the United States one day.
Bonnie also spoke at her alma mater, Union High School, to more than 300 advanced placement and ROTC students, those most likely to take and pass the Foreign Service exam. There, she shared her experiences in bringing democracy education to Bosnia and Herzegovina, pursing non-proliferation in Pakistan, and promoting environmental diplomacy in almost a dozen countries in Eastern Europe. Bonnie provided information on the Foreign Service exam process, the assignment process, and tips for enjoyable overseas experiences. She responded to questions on U.S. foreign policy, life abroad, and overseas opportunities for those interested in serving the U.S.
Bonnie also met with the board of directors of the North Jersey Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications in Newark, a chapter of the international association for women professionals in journalism, marketing, public relations, public affairs, communication, advertising, research and other related communication fields. As former president of Los Angeles Chapter, she easily compared the crossover skills of association members to those required for successful service in the Foreign and Civil Services. She talked about traditional diplomacy and described public diplomacy tools most effective for doing business. The group has invited Bonnie to return to speak to a regularly scheduled program in October 2004, when she will also speak at the annual Douglass College Careers Day in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Throughout the day, Bonnie distributed circulars, bookmarks, and other handouts with State Department Web site information; Weekly Reader inserts for younger participants; and State Magazine for professional communicators. Bonnie found it completely thrilling to return to her hometown and to help expand the horizons for a new generation of "Unionites."
Ms. Gutman talks with students at Union High School in New Jersey.