What inspires you to work for government?
My father was a dedicated career public servant who recently retired from the Loudoun County Department of Social Services, so I grew up seeing first hand his service to our community and how much he gave back in the process. I’m inspired to stay in government because I enjoy being a part of the solution and working with such amazing colleagues.
I don’t know if I’ve ever had a “typical” day, to be honest. Each morning we start with a coordination meeting with the communications and creative team members to verify everything happening that day or address any outstanding issues. From there I may coordinate on a web content or page development task, brainstorm digital engagement ideas for an upcoming announcement or hot issue, or work on department or agency web strategy projects. What’s exciting for me is the opportunity to touch a range of issues that are all equally important and interesting – from nutrition policy to rural development and conservation to animal or plant health.
What advice do you have for senior level executives to help them cultivate the next generation of public servants?
It’s most important to be open to fresh perspectives and to foster an environment of innovation from all levels. Whether that means having informal lunches or conversations with those newer to government or placing individuals on cross-functional teams, being open to the opportunity can yield fantastic results.
Do you have any mentors? If so, what role have they played in your career?
Informally, yes. In large part my mentors have provided support as I’ve risen within the department and grown personally. It’s really important to have mentors give feedback for specific situations and help you shrink ‘blind spots’.
What’s your favorite D.C. hangout?
I’m not much of a D.C. person, to be honest. One of my favorite places to go, however, is USDA’s Friday Farmer’s Market that runs Memorial Day through October adjacent to the People’s Garden. I love the fresh produce steps from the office and often get lunch there during the summer. I’m a Virginia girl at heart, and can be found in a poolhall every Tuesday playing with my competitive 8-ball team.
How do you unwind?
I have a few hobbies that keep me sane and grounded. Knitting is a social media/web practitioners dream. Instead of becoming ever more enslaved to digital devices and social media channels, I happily knit away and end up with fantastic finished objects and accessories. Pool is also a great outlet (see above), but I started to learn golf last summer, and I’m hooked!