National Association of Attorneys General

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Employee Spotlight

Mary Winzenburg,  Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director and NAGTRI Program Coordinator

Mary Winzenburg left suburban Iowa to pursue her big dreams in the nation’s capital. Initially, the Johnston, Iowa native entered college with hopes of majoring in communications, but her path quickly changed when she took her first political science class.

“I came to college with intentions of being a communications major but I took a political science class and fell in love with it,” Mary said.

That is the beginning of her journey into public policy that would lead her to NAAG in June 2006. After working for NAAG’s Tobacco Project for two years as a project assistant, she applied and was accepted into several law schools but decided not to go. Instead, she successfully pursued the opportunity to work in the newly-created post of NAGTRI coordinator and executive assistant to NAAG Deputy Director and NAGTRI Director Chris Toth.

“It was perfect timing. I decided law school was not for me at the time. Plus, I wanted to explore my skill-set in other areas,” Mary said.

As the NAGTRI program coordinator, she works with the NAGTRI director in managing NAGTRI’s 40 national and mobile courses that are currently offered, recruits faculty, works with project counsel who oversee programs and builds partnerships with other established institutions, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mary is no stranger to working with Attorneys General. In 2005, she interned at the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, where she focused on public health issues, specifically underage drinking. While there, she shifted her focus from foreign policy to a more localized view of policy.

“Attorney General Miller had an influence on where I was going in my career. Working in his office made me see that a difference can be made working at the state and local level,” Mary said.

Mary holds a bachelor of arts degree in both political science and mass communications from the College of St. Benedict & St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. An energetic twenty-something, she stays active by playing tennis and is in training for the upcoming Miami Half Marathon. She also participates in a book club with a few of her fellow NAAG staffers.

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Talauega Eleasalo V. Ale, American Samoa Attorney General

Talauega Eleasalo V. Ale (left) is the attorney general of American Samoa.