By: Teresa Gerton
What is your role and primary responsibilities at the Academy?
As the Academy’s President and CEO, I am responsible to the Board of Directors to lead the day-to-day management of all of the Academy’s functions so that we accomplish the Board’s strategic direction and intent. That includes making sure we live up to our Congressional charter to provide expert advice in matters of public administration, operate in an ethical and non-partisan manner, provide meaningful engagement opportunities for our Fellows, and generate enough revenue to cover our operating costs.
What do you like best about working at the Academy?
I absolutely love our vision—A just, fair, and inclusive government that strengthens communities and protects democracy—and I love our team. Getting to work every day with our incredibly smart, talented, and committed staff and Fellows to make the world a better place is a dream job.
Which of the 12 Grand Challenges in Public Administration resonates the most with you?
The GC closest to my heart is ‘Connecting Individuals to Meaningful Work.’ When I was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Veteran Employment and Training at the U.S. Department of Labor, I saw firsthand what a difference meaningful work made in the lives of veterans who were struggling after leaving military service. I also learned about the incredible resources that the U.S. government provides to individuals who are looking to connect to meaningful work, but also how complex that system is and how few people are even aware that the resources are there.
This Grand Challenge can help us think systematically about how to develop our workforce for the future. When we connect individuals to meaningful work, we recognize their dignity as human beings and offer a way for them to provide for their families that has a lasting impact on them, their families, their communities, and our nation.
Why is public service important to you?
I believe that we as individuals have a responsibility to care for and support our fellow human beings. While each of us can do that personally, government is the institution we’ve developed to do that at scale. It matters that government works well, and so it matters that we have a government workforce of people who are trained, committed, and equipped to accomplish that purpose. When I started out in the Army, I didn’t know public service would be my life’s work, but I’m honored that it’s turned out that way.
What is your favorite hobby or interest outside of the office?
My outside hobby is needlework, including cross stitch, embroidery, and crocheting—all of which I learned from my mother. I always have a project or two underway.
What is your favorite travel destination, either past or future?
My husband and I love to travel, and the Army gave us lots of opportunities to see interesting places. Our absolute favorite, though, was a week-long sail through the Greek Islands—we loved the food, the colors and sights, and the history.