February 7, 2013

Flanagan ’10 Making His Mark on Washington

Chris Flanagan and Senator Kerry

A Massachusetts transplant from the South Shore, Chris Flanagan '10 spent the past two years working in the Washington, D.C., office of former senator and recently appointed Secretary of State, John Kerry. Flanagan most recently served as Kerry's office manager. 

Though initially fostering an interest in psychology, Flanagan maintained a passion for politics and social justice, quickly won over by Emmanuel's political science program and all that it had to offer. Internships with different governmental agencies, a political science major and student government involvement contributed to Flanagan's decision to pursue a career in public service, though social justice and the betterment of others had always been in his heart.

"It started for me at a young age; after all I had been through," said Flanagan, whose mother passed away when he was 13 years old. "I can empathize with people. I wanted to be there in public service with the understanding of falling on hard times so that I could help others more effectively in similar situations.  It matters to people to know they aren't alone, that you can relate, that you know where they are coming from-to maybe be able to offer options they would have never thought of based on your own experience."

Flanagan kept a watchful eye on the horizon from the moment he first set foot on the grounds of Emmanuel College. He worked extensively for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's campaign and the Democratic National Convention, seeking an opportunity to emerge into the political forum. A number of professors and family friends directed him toward internship opportunities within state offices. He eventually gained the break he was looking for - an internship in the late Senator Ted Kennedy's office. 

Flanagan interned in Kennedy's Boston office for two years, went on to intern at the D.C. office in the summer of 2008, and then returned to Boston where he worked until the senator passed away, staying on for the transition until the election of Senator Scott Brown.

Ever in motion, Flanagan had his next goal in sight, to relocate to D.C. - and he found a way to do it.  Taking a job with a Democratic political consulting firm as an account associate, he was able to afford the move.  Shortly after his relocation, the firm folded and Flanagan was laid off.  He looked at this as an entrance rather than an exit and took the initiative to introduce himself at Senator Kerry's office. He started as an intern a few months later while waiting tables. 

As Kerry's office manager, Flanagan managed the office's budget, personnel and legal aspects of the office while pursuing a master's degree in national security through night classes at the Navy's Naval War College.

"I make sure everything we do is ethical and legal and I'm pursuing advanced degrees so that I can continue to better myself and to become more active in the legislative realm," he said. "I've always been interested in defense issues. My father served in the military and I almost enlisted a few times-I really believe in service.  I really admire and respect people willing to serve their country." 

Aiming to acquire his master's within the next three years, Flanagan hopes to enroll in law school in the D.C. area while staying involved with public service.

With such a wide arsenal of experience, he seeks to assist Emmanuel College students and give back to his alma mater by working with Emmanuel's  Career Center and the D.C. Metro Area Regional Alumni Club to establish a fund for students interning in the area.

Along with Lizzie Donovan '09, Flanagan will take on responsibilities within the alumni club, including fundraising endeavors and hosting events. He is thrilled to have the chance to be able to give back to the College, making it a priority whenever possible.

"I feel like Emmanuel has given so much to me," he said. "Honestly, I would not be here today without my experience at Emmanuel College."