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Carondelet to Capitol: The Remarkable Rise of Jalina Porter ’04

Celebrating the achievements of women and the transformative power of leadership and resilience.


In honor of Women’s History Month, we proudly spotlight remarkable women in our community who have shown strength and grace in their endeavors. Today, we are thrilled to spotlight an alumna whose achievements inspire us and pave the way for future Cougars. Jalina Porter ’04 made history in 2020, breaking barriers as the first woman of color to serve as the Principal Duty Spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State. Her journey from her time at Carondelet to her current endeavors as an entrepreneur and communications consultant reflects a remarkable trajectory fueled by determination, faith, and a strong sense of self.

Jalina was known around campus for her active role in the community. “I’m realizing this is my 20-year reunion from school… my mom is on the Board of Trustees, and my niece is also a graduate. So we’re pretty steeped into the Carondelet community. We loved that it’s centered around core values of family, faith, and service.”


Jalina’s confidence and communication skills were honed through her various activities; she sat on the Student Council, acted as a peer counselor, and was a member of both the Dance and Track teams. “I have always known who I was before stepping into leadership. And I think it was because of a combination of the experiences I had at Carondelet that led me on that path.”

 

After Carondelet, Jalina further explored her passion for communications. She graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor’s in Marketing and got her Master’s in Global Strategic Communications at Georgetown University. She even found time to give back to the community by volunteering with the Peace Corps in Cambodia. She continued her passion for dance by performing with the Washington Wizards and the Oakland Raiders. And throughout it all, Jalina relied on her faith to get her to the next step. “It comes down to that mustard seed of faith. Certain things had to happen in order for me to get to where I was. But in the moments where you experience darkness and uncertainty, I’ve realized there’s a reason I’m here. Not for me, but for a higher power. So that’s why you have to keep going.”

 


As the Principal Duty Spokesperson, Jalina’s impact was felt on a global scale. Her expertise and eloquence were widely recognized as she represented the nation. “Connecting the dots from what I did as a student leader and advocate to me having that same trajectory from working in the halls of Congress and still linking it back to my time at Carondelet has been nice.” During her time at the U.S. Department of State, Jalina’s primary responsibility was communicating U.S. foreign policy priorities, usually through daily press briefings.

 

Although her passion for communication emerged early, her experiences with the Peace Corps and corporate America and the rise of digital communication platforms propelled her towards a career focused on communications consultancy. “It’s a skill. I’ve been a communicator my entire life. And I realized at a certain point when I was getting so many calls and being solicited, that I should probably formalize this, so I did.” Recognizing a gap in the market and drawing from her diverse experiences, Jalina established her own boutique communications consultancy, leveraging her expertise to serve clients effectively.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us draw inspiration from trailblazers like Jalina. Her legacy at Carondelet and beyond is one of resilience, service, and the unwavering belief in the power of one’s voice to effect positive changes. Jalina’s story is a testament to the power of self-belief and the support of those who believe in her.

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