#ElliottProud: Laurisha Cotton

Laurisha Cotton works as a Marketer with cLabs, an international blockchain organization. She’s always believed public policy needs and marketing need strong technology and storytelling to be the most effective. At the Elliott School, she graduated from the MA European and Eurasian Studies with a focus on Documentary Film. While in school, she interned at the State Department focusing on public diplomacy.

When did you realize you wanted an international career?

My mother was in the diplomatic service and my father was in the military and served overseas, so you could say I was inspired to pursue an international career. After studying abroad in France and Belgium, I knew I wanted a career in international relations.–I loved learning outside the classroom and developing relationships with locals.

Describe your current position and what new skills have you developed since starting?

I’m currently a Partner at cLabs focusing on Social Media. Since my time in the European and Eurasian Studies program, I’ve focused on enhancing my marketing skills such as CRM. I’ve been in the blockchain industry for almost three years and I’m discovering something new every day. Most blockchain users are outside of the US, so my international background is beneficial.

What part of your experience at the Elliott School best prepared you for your current position?

I’m constantly sharing reports. The adjunct professors showed me the importance of Executive Summaries and memo writing so I’ve used this skill when writing stakeholders emails.

Moreover, my op-ed class gave me the skills to share important ideas with sentimental statements. As a marketer, I need to know how to resonate with an audience and create an action afterwards–this is what you want in policy too.

What advice do you have for prospective students who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in international relations?

Learn a transportable and interesting skill. If you stay in DC after you graduate, almost everyone has an international relations or public policy background so make yourself more competitive.

If you would be any type of food/drink, what food/drink would you be?

I would be champagne, because I like to stay positive and celebrate wins.


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The #ElliottProud profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights graduate program alumni to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.

The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.