Graduates Feature: Ashleigh Kong, MIPP ’20

What is your current position?

Policy Advisor, Council Relations at the Office of Councillor Crisanti (City of Toronto)

What attracted you to your program of study at the BSIA?

I was interested in the International Public Policy stream for my Master’s studies and after further research from schools across Canada and internationally, I felt that BSIA was the best fit given the reputation of its faculty. Specifically, at the time I was interested in furthering my education policy studies with Dr. Colleen Loomis whom I had the pleasure of working under prior to my studies and during the duration of my degree. The additional benefit of having the fellowship experience with GAC made the decision for me to attend BSIA much easier in comparing other institutions.

What was the most impactful experience you had while completing your graduate degree?

The partnership with American University formalized during my studies and I was interested in attending this school before I decided I wanted to study in Canada. At the time, the scholarship opportunities presented to me during undergrad studies were not sufficient for me to attend the program I initially hoped to accept. When the opportunity came up during my studies at BSIA, I was eager and felt that this program was meant to be for me. I was the first student to attend AU through the partnership agreement and represented BSIA during the duration of my Executive Master of International Service studies. Unfortunately, due to COVID I had to opt in for remote classes but had the opportunity to live in Washington, DC for a few months. During this time, I completed a fellowship with the Royal Thai Embassy and had the opportunity to also work on Capitol Hill. My dream was to end up in DC at some point in my career to further my personal development and I hope to move back to DC when the time is right.

Tell us about your job, what do you do?

I am the lead policy advisor handling all City Council relations and Board Committee portfolios. Beyond assisting with policy and implementation, I am also tasked with managing internal and external stakeholder relationships, and attending briefings off and on site. I am responsible with ensuring the strategic policy initiatives to best represent the constituents with Etobicoke North are achieved in line with the City of Toronto’s policy goals. I work closely with the Mayor’s office and other Councillor offices in addition to senior staffers. I also attend briefings and special events as required.

How does your work help make a difference?

On the municipal level, the translation of policy to real world is felt on a grass-roots level. The Councillor I work for is the designated Seniors Advocate for the City of Toronto and we work very closely with the City of Toronto, its partners, and the community to ensure we put our best foot forward for senior Torontonians. Recently, our office introduced a motion on the Council floor to implement a 3rd Toronto Seniors Strategy and it was successfully adopted unanimously.

What are the next steps in your career progression… where do you see yourself going?

For the next steps in my career, I would like to enter the private sector continuing to focus my work on the Government Relations/ Political Affairs side upon my return to the US. Further down the road, I would like to get back into Capitol Hill politics when the time is right.

What advice do you have for a potential student looking to complete their degree at the BSIA? Or for someone looking to work in Global Governance and International Policy?

My best advice is to explore all areas you are interested in. Don’t feel like you need to become an expert in only one specific field of studies. If you are curious about multi-dimensional policies or fields even if they may seem different, it never hurts to take a few courses or gain more knowledge through other means outside of school or work. Taking in as much knowledge as you can will help you discover what you enjoy/ what you may not enjoy even if you thought you would. It also makes you very desirable for employees looking for someone with diverse skill sets!

Scroll to Top