To hear James King ’06 tell of how he came to work for Madeleine Albright brings to mind that J.R.R. Tolkien line: “Not all those who wander are lost.”
Arguably, it’s King’s wandering that cinched his position at one of Washington, D.C.’s most respected consultancies. King, a vice president at the Albright Stonebridge Group, is an expert in Latin American political and economic issues. He advises clients, NGOs, corporations, and nonprofit foundations, on market entry, expansion, and government relations in Latin America.
His boss, Albright, chair of ASG, was the first female United States Secretary of State, who served under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001. Additionally, Albright is a professor of international relations at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a New York Times bestselling author.
All of which makes for an intellectually rigorous atmosphere around the office, says King.
“She works incredibly hard and maintains an unbelievable travel schedule,” he said. “She’s never stopped being a college professor at heart.”
King, who has a B.A. in history, with minors in economics, international development, and anthropology from URI as well as an M.A. in international affairs from The George Washington University, complemented his classroom learning with years spent abroad, traveling, working, and, always, learning.
“When at URI, I traveled a bit, to Costa Rica and Belize. I fell in love with the region and the culture and took every opportunity to focus on and learn about Latin American issues,” King said. “Then, I backpacked across Latin America for two years and worked in South America.”
King audited Portuguese language classes at URI before graduate school. The complicated and multi-layered needs of his clients require that King bring all of his experience and education to bear on an issue, such as expanding access to water and wastewater management in developing countries.
As the first Albright Stonebridge Group intern to then be hired by the firm, King attributes his success to curiosity and tenacity.
“In the world of consulting, no two days are the same. I like that,” King said. “I live on my mobile. I do a lot of reading, of email and national and local language newspapers. I consume a lot of news. “It’s exciting, dynamic work.”