This is an ongoing series highlighting American Legion Auxiliary ALA Girls State and ALA Girls Nation alumna.
For over 80 years, the American Legion Auxiliary’s premier programs ALA Girls State and ALA Girls Nation have been one of the most respected and coveted experiential learning programs presented in the United States. Here, we take a look at the path one past participant has chosen and where she is now.
Mary Ellen Player
1999 SC ALA Girls State & ALA Girls Nation
“As my mother often reminds me, when I went off to ALA Girls Nation, I had planned to stay close to home for college,” said Mary Ellen Player. “When I came back, I decided to try for Ivy League.”
Since graduating from Harvard University, Player has been guided by the question, “What is the thing I’m most afraid of? Let’s go do that thing.” Her career has led her to management consulting and marketing, including work with the U.S. Army’s chief marketing officer where she helped launch the “Army Strong” campaign. Player is currently working with Google Fiber in Charlotte, N.C., where she is a city manager responsible for bringing high-speed internet connectivity to the entire city. “I get to work with the government every day, which is something I love, and I think it matters. I love what I do,” she said.
Player, an ALA member, said the opportunity to return to ALA Girls State each year and mentor delegates is a dream realized. She also personally sponsors several aspiring young women from her hometown to attend South Carolina ALA Girls State each year. “I know what this program did for me. I love it. I love seeing that they can now have the chance to experience what I experienced,” she said.
WANTED! Did you attend either of the American Legion Auxiliary experiential learning programs (ALA Girls State/ALA Girls Nation)? Auxiliary magazine is looking for past participants of all decades and the profession(s) you chose after college graduation for this recurring feature in our national magazine. Contact us at alamagazine@ALAforVeterans.org (please include the year, state, and program you attended in the subject line) or call (317) 569-4500 if you can help!