A great element of being part of OLIP is a chance to attend receptions at Queen’s Park. These events are a wonderful opportunity for interns to mingle with MPPs, staff and interest groups. We met with Joseph Ragusa, Principal of Sussex Strategy Group, a public affairs consulting firm that represents some interest groups at Queen’s Park.
After attending a few receptions, the interns were eager to meet with Mr. Ragusa because a part of Sussex’s activities is planning receptions and we viewed him as the expert on planning a successful reception. However, when we met with Mr. Ragusa we learned that their role encompasses much more than wining and dining MPPs! Through our insightful discussion, we learned that the key to success in government relations is to find commonalities between the client’s goals and government’s goals. This requires a long process of collaboration and building lasting partnerships.
In addition to learning about government relations, the interns were keen to get some advice from Mr. Ragusa on the best way to network at Queen’s Park. At the centre of his advice was to “keep it real” and be as authentic as possible when getting to know people. Part of this means asking perceptive questions to showcase that you are knowledgeable and ambitious. This can be hard in a short interaction, but if you have a meaningful conversation, ask for a card and follow up in a few days to continue the relationship. Prior to meeting Mr. Ragusa, the field of government relations was largely unknown to most of the interns so it was very helpful and we look forward to seeing him around Queen’s Park!
The annual fall OLIP reception is just around the corner! Sponsors, alumni and Queen’s Park staff should keep an eye out in your mailboxes and inboxes for an invitation!