By: Donald Hammond
Who or what inspired you to work in public service?
My first federal position motivated me to a career of public service. I was one of the first team members hired by the Treasury Dept to staff the work managing the Chrysler Loan Guarantee Act and the financial assistance program for Chrysler. That experience demonstrated the impact that a small interagency team of motivated individuals could have. I was so impressed by the people that I worked with and their agencies (Treasury, Federal Reserve and GAO). I quickly learned that public service could be a very rewarding career.
What is something you are excited about right now?
I believe that cyber security is a critically important area for the effective functioning of governmental entities at all levels. The need to address the current state of threats while preparing for future threats is incredibly challenging. As more public services migrate online, this area will take on even more importance and require staff with many new skills.
What is your favorite class you have ever taught or taken and why?
It was really more of program than a class. The Leadership for a Democratic Society program administered by the Federal Executive Institute provided a broad perspective on the important role of public service and civil servants regardless of program or agency. The robust nature of the program was enhanced by the representation of a wide range of government agencies in the attendees.
What inspires you during these challenging times?
That despite all the recent challenges, the dedication of those who work in public service continue to deliver outstanding results under very difficult circumstances.
What advice can you give to folks beginning careers in public service?
Ask questions and take a broad perspective. Understanding your particular role is essential but learning how it fits into the broader organizational mission will enrich the experience.
What is your favorite midnight snack?
That’s easy - ice cream!!
Do you have any pets at home?
At this point we only a have a cat who’s role is to remind us that she is really in charge.
If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?
I would like to attend a Presidential inauguration ceremony regardless of the President. The transition of power is so fundamental to our government that observing it first hand would be special.
Do you have a favorite podcast, journal, newspaper, or other kind of media?
I still find print media to be the most satisfying for me though I spend an increasing amount of time with digital media.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Similar to my earlier response about advice I would offer, I was encouraged to ask questions and even as junior staffer to contribute to discussions. All opinions matter and better decisions come from broad participation.