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A View From the Top

From her office windows, Vicki Iseman ’90 has a great view of Washington, D.C. The Indiana native is one of the youngest people in the lobbying firm of Alcalde and Fay and one of its most senior partners.

Two weeks after graduating from IUP with a degree in elementary education, Iseman joined a friend in Washington and was hired as a receptionist. With only a few months’ experience on the job, she said she “walked into my boss’s office [the president of the company] and said, ‘You don’t really know me, but I answer the phones. I’m a college graduate and I’d like you to consider me for a secretarial or an administrative position.’” He agreed to try her out for three months. Within a year she became his special assistant.

President George W. Bush and Vicki Iseman

Lobbyist Vicki Iseman is well connected in Washington.

Alcalde and Fay represents clients from cruise lines and universities to airports and broadcasters. With no background in politics or telecommunications, Iseman realized she needed to know as much as possible to survive her new job. She spent most of her waking hours learning the business, and it paid off handsomely. Eight years later she became the youngest partner ever in the firm, counting among her clients PAXtv, Religious Voices in Broadcasting, Telemundo, the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation. In addition, she has met Melanie Griffith, Britney Spears, Bo Derek, and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Iseman said that the most important aspect of her job is the effect that one person can have on legislation in small communities and educational institutions. “Where my heart lies is in education,” she said. “I believe it is the great equalizer.”