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Featured Member: Jody Franklin '83

Jody Franklin ’83 was a Political Science and Women’s Studies major at Wellesley. She is now Vice President of Strategic Communications and Outreach at Child Trends, a social policy research organization. She is also writing her first novel.
 

Her favorite class at Wellesley: My favorite classes were women’s history classes and my favorite professor was Frances Gouda. She turned history upside down for me – in a most wonderful way.

What brought her to D.C.: I got a graduate degree in public policy, which led me to realize that what I really wanted to do was work in politics. I moved to DC in ’86 and then did a range of political work for about a decade.

On working for Hillary Clinton on the ’92 campaign: I think Hillary liked our shared Wellesley connection and that I came from Emily’s List, so I knew something about women candidates. I don’t know if she had her own goals to run for office at that point, but she was a forceful policy voice in that campaign. And that was very new and different.

On taking time off to raise children: I had twins, at a time when I was working in a job, for an organization—Share Our Strength—that I loved. I realized that I could not work full-time and be the kind of mom or worker that I wanted to be. So I decided to stop working. While fully my own choice, it was one I never expected to have made but it is the best decision I ever made.

On getting back into the workforce a decade later: I had missed the entire digital revolution, basically, when I was home with my kids. My field is communications and I just hadn’t paid attention. During a job interview, I was asked: “Why should we hire you? You don’t know anything about anything digital” – which was in fact true. This is where something that I learned from Wellesley came out: I said, “I’m smart. And I’ll figure it out.” And I did figure it out.

How she discovered her inner novelist: When my kids were in pre-school, I started writing fiction for fun and realized that I really love it. I went back to school part-time to at Johns Hopkins to get an MA in writing. Life got in the way of writing, so I took a long break. But now, with my kids in college, after all these years, I’ll finish the degree.

What the novel is about: I’m curious about how people end up living the lives that they do, particularly those who feel they ended up with the “wrong” life. Is there one moment that puts you on your path? Or is it a thousand different decisions?

Where she writes: I live in Bethesda and write in my favorite room in my house. It has lots of windows and light. And a fireplace for the winter. I realized I had to set up a separate desk and computer that could just be my fiction place—so that I won’t be distracted by bills and such. I write every weekend.

The flavor she would endow with the rumored Wellesley ice cream fund: When I was there, it was a broccoli endowment, and that was why there was broccoli at every meal! … Chocolate chip. That was easy!

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The Washington Wellesley Club is excited to introduce you to DC area alums through this new series of online profiles. Each month, a local alum will talk about living and working in DC and share memories of Wellesley. These profiles will illustrate how Wellesley alums stay creative and resilient despite the challenges that inevitably come our way. To view profiles of previously featured members, click here.

 

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