January 10, 2013 | PRA Culture | Abigail Lemon Abby Lemon The professional world is small in Albany and an organization’s reputation tends to get around. So when I decided to start looking to further my professional career I knew I wanted to look at Policy Research Associates. After talking to many current and former PRA employees and applying not once but twice I finally landed an interview. I was ecstatic both for the opportunity to interview and at the prospect of possibly working for the company. I’m sure like most interviewees my enthusiasm promptly turned to sweaty palms, butterflies in my stomach and nervousness that Friday afternoon. That moderate amount of nervousness promptly turned into something boarding on sheer terror when not one, not two but seven woman filed into the room to interview me, five in person and two via webcam. Previous positions had included one maybe two interviewers but never seven. Questions were rapid, remembering everyone’s name was challenging but in the end I left feeling like I had nailed it. After what seemed like an eternity a few short days I was awoken from a nap by a ‘518-439’ number which I immediately recognized as PRA; Pam Robbins offered me the position, without a moment’s hesitation I accepted and one month later I started work as a SOAR Senior Project Associate/PRA ‘newbie’. When starting a new job where travel is required, one would generally assume that travel would begin after a few months or once you have gotten comfortable in your position – not me and not at PRA. I didn’t even have time to set up my over sized College of William & Mary mug filled with sharpies before I was off to New York City to observe my first training. We are talking day #2 – travel; but it was great, I dove right in and was able to get to know my colleagues. My second week of work I was slated to fly to Austin, TX to observe a SOAR forum; however hurricane Sandy foiled that trip. My third week as a newbie involved a weeklong training in Denver – a place I had never been and to be honest a place I never thought I would be able to go. Next up was rural Bath County, NY with many more trips to come in 2013. But it wasn’t just the immediate travel that both shocked and thrilled me; it was also the fact that I am challenged everyday and feel an immense sense of community when I walk through PRA’s door. Being a ‘newbie’ can be hard but being a PRA ‘newbie’ has proven to be fun, challenging and welcoming. Next up from this newbie – co-piloting from Boston to Albany. Stay tuned!