“Do not despair, keep trying.” – A key statement I picked up during a Patchwork Foundation Masterclass with the U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Yael Lempert.
Ms Lempert is a remarkable woman with an equally remarkable career. I was very excited to get the chance to (virtually) meet Ms Lempert and hear all that she had to share with myself and my fellow cohort members. It’s the kind of opportunity that I had never had before, so I wasn’t about to let it pass me by. For many years I’ve been plagued with anxiety and fears that I’d always be unable to live up to the bar and so I was particularly interested to hear if this was something Ms Lempert had ever experienced, and, if so, how she dealt with it.
My first impression of Miss Lempert was that she appeared to be a very smiley and friendly woman and this really put me at ease for the remainder of the session. I feel that all too often politicians are portrayed as serious and sometimes sinister people, however Miss Lempert is proof that that portrayal isn’t always accurate.
Whilst I’ve always been aware of the existence of Embassy and have had a vague understanding of their intents and purposes, it was nice to be able to gain further clarity on them and what they strive to achieve from listening to Ms Lempert. I learnt that as Deputy Chief of Mission, Ms Lempert has many responsibilities and plays a very important role within the U.S. Embassy. I can see why Ms Lempert would have been offered such a position based on her career history.
As I have mentioned already, Ms Lempert has had an incredible career so far. It’s no secret that throughout history the political field has been a challenge for women, from pay gaps to not getting a promotion they really deserved. Ms Lempert spoke briefly about her experience as a woman in the industry and the challenges she has faced. I found her advice quite humbling and very morally positive, she said, “focus on what you are doing and your work and let it stand for itself.” It was clear to me that Ms Lempert has a very ‘can do’ attitude towards her work and I admire this.
One thing that Ms Lempert mentioned repetitively throughout the session is how she feels it’s so important to keep trying. When asked what she felt her greatest achievement was and what she was most proud of, she said that she was proud of herself for trying despite failing. This really stood out to me. As a young woman dealing with mental and physical health issues, I’ve always found it so easy to criticise myself and only see the failures. Her positive outlook is something to keep in mind always.
I will really cherish this memory and the things I learnt from Ms Lempert. I look forward to future opportunities to learn, and I hope I will cross paths with the Deputy Chief of Mission again.
Written by Jess Lambert
2020 Masterclass Programme Participant