By: Kaitlyn Blume
What is your role and primary responsibilities at the Academy?
My role is to connect with and engage the Academy’s nearly 1,000 Fellows. As the Academy brings in new funded study work or embarks on new strategic initiatives, it is our Fellows who provide expertise to help guide our amazing staff. It’s my responsibility to build relationships with our Fellows in order to not only know who might provide the right expertise but also so our Fellows want to continue to provide their time, talents and treasures to our organization.
What do you like best about working at the Academy?
The staff and the Fellows. It’s a joy to work alongside such a talented, fun, open-minded, and easy-going group of employees! I value the chances I get to brainstorm with them about new initiatives and take part in continuing to build a culture that’s inviting.
Additionally, my role involves daily conversations with our Academy Fellows, which is also the best part. I learn something new every day from them. To have such a wealth of knowledge and expertise at my fingertips is so rewarding not only intellectually but it’s just fun too! They share stories about government over the years, the latest developments in the field, and the joy in their personal lives and it’s just such a pleasure to connect with so many amazing people.
Which of the 12 Grand Challenges in Public Administration resonates the most with you?
“Fostering Social Equity” as I have dedicated much of my volunteer time on aspects related to this Grand Challenge. I spent several years as a volunteer with Back on My Feet DC – an organization working to combat homelessness through the power of running. It shed light on the various factors that contribute to opportunities and successful outcomes and how just simply where you live could determine so much. Additionally, I lead the Kiwanis Club of Alexandria where we provide nearly $50,000 in scholarships every year to graduating seniors – most of whom are first generation college students. I get to witness the impact even a small scholarship has on ensuring they can attend school.
These are just two examples of so many that shed light on how equity must be built into the infrastructure of our programs and policies from day one to ensure all individuals have the same opportunities to achieve their full potential and the right resources to get them there.
Why is public service important to you?
Public service is what makes our country whole and public servants are at the heart and soul of our democracy. It’s the thread that weaves the fabric of our wellbeing. From protecting our democracy to making someone’s day just slightly better, public service is what builds, strengthens and protects our communities and I believe community is what we all want.
What is your favorite hobby or interest outside of the office?
Currently, watching my 18-month-old daughter explore the world. I love introducing her to new things and seeing her reactions. It’s amazing to watch how fast she learns and I love (most of the time) seeing her little personality come out!
What is your favorite travel destination, either past or future?
I have lots of ways I want to answer this question: