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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

Meet the Academy: James Higgins

James Higgins - Research Analyst, Strategic Initiatives

What is your role and primary responsibilities at the Academy?

I am an analyst for Strategic Initiatives, which means I not only help research and write reports but also support Academy events and produce the Management Matters podcast (subscribe here)! Although I sometimes work on typical Academy studies, I mainly focus on projects related to the Grand Challenges or to the Agile Government Center.

What do you like best about working at the Academy?

The Academy fosters a continuous learning environment through its people and events. I get to hear about cutting edge thought leadership in each of the Grand Challenges through standing panels, events, and MM podcast guests. I also learn and experiment with project management techniques that I hear through colleagues or the Agile Government Center. Each day is a new opportunity to learn from colleagues and Fellows at the Academy!

Which of the 12 Grand Challenges in Public Administration resonates the most with you?

Many of my interests are reflected in the Grand Challenges campaign including Advance National Interests in a Changing Global Context, Foster Social Equity and Make Government AI Ready. To be successful in any of these areas, however, the US must have a solid foundation and Advance the Nation's Long Term Fiscal Health. This Grand Challenge applies not only to the Federal government but to State and Local governments as well. Each level of government must do its job in this area and collaborate effectively to enable investment in programs that drive innovation, equity, resilience, and more.

Why is public service important to you?

I grew up in a household that valued giving back to a community that had already given so much to us. My mother, a high school chemistry teacher at the time, always encouraged us to participate in these types of opportunities, whether that looked like altar serving at our church or making signs and ringing cow bells at a Wounded Warrior Project run. My other siblings have all participated in public service (military, emergency services, and the state election office) so as the youngest it’s only natural that their interest has trickled down to me.

As I look forward in my career, I plan to continue to find ways to serve the public whether that is in a consulting role or in a more direct position.

What is your favorite hobby or interest outside of the office?

I enjoy playing recreational sports including flag football, kickball (with other Academy staff), and golf. I find that it’s a great way to meet new friends, get outside, and be a bit competitive.

What is your favorite travel destination, either past or future?

Right before COVID hit I was able to go to Hong Kong for a couple of days, and I loved it. There is an interesting mix of cultures there, always something to do, and really good food. I specifically remember hiking different trails, going to the horse races, and seeing a few really cool historical landmarks. Being able to go to the beach in the middle of October was also a nice plus!

									 James Higgins
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