Taking the Hill for Wamart: Jana Barresi '99

Jana Barresi spent her time on the Hilltop studying politics, acquiring skills she uses every day on the ultimate hill: Capitol Hill.

Jana Barresi '99As senior director of federal government affairs for Walmart, Barresi lobbies for the nation’s largest retailer on economic policy, tax and financial services. She regularly meets with members of Congress and industry leaders and assesses new policy proposals.

Like many freshmen, Barresi wasn’t sure of a major when she arrived at Saint Anselm. Torn between history and politics, her future was clarified with her very first politics class.

“My decision was made,” Barresi said.

While at Saint Anselm, Barresi, a native of Presque Isle, Maine, completed internships in the district office for Senator Olympia Snowe in Maine, and in the Boston offices of Govs. William Weld and Paul Cellucci of Massachusetts. She also worked at a government relations firm in Alexandria, Va. right outside of Washington, D.C.

During her time in D.C., Barresi knew she wanted to return there after graduation. “I had an interest in policy work, and I wanted to work in a place where politics and policy interceded, and for me, that place was Capitol Hill,” she says.

In her 10th year with Walmart, Barresi is humbled to represent the company’s 1.4 million employees before policymakers. The retail giant can bring a certain level of influence, and “When we engage on something, people pay attention.”

Dealing with Congress, she must know what issues are important to representatives, and frame conversation to makes issues important to Walmart and its customers relevant and understandable to them.

“To play a small part in representing all those people here in D.C. is an honor and a big responsibility, and I take it seriously.”

By Katie Lovett ‘02
Photo by Erin Schaff