What’s your background?
I’ve been in tech for the past ten years, and have really focused on working in industries and with organizations that aren’t familiar with user experience and product design. Most of my roles have been in standing up design best practices and processes while also delivering products and services that meet users’ needs.
What inspired you to join USDS?
When I was living in Austin, I was volunteering for the local Code for America brigade and doing a lot of community organizing for my neighborhood on local issues. I believe in government services that are people-centered, are inclusive, and that work for the people who need to use them. When I heard about USDS, specifically about healthcare.gov, the efforts being made to digitize the immigration process, and the work for Veterans, I jumped at the chance to join and make a difference at the federal level.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge has been balancing the solutions that we propose with the organization’s appetite and willingness to embrace change. Even though I’m eager to roll out new initiatives to solve for all the things, I’ve learned to take a step back and determine what solutions make sense for the existing culture. Sometimes, that means that we have to do things incrementally. It’s more important that our work is sustainable, so I work with our government partners to understand where they’re coming from and to find the right path forward, together.
How does your work make an impact?
I’ve been fortunate to work on a lot of different projects at USDS, and I think USDS’ value is in delivery and building capacity. We’re able to work on projects to take an idea to implementation, and guide teams on best practices for how to continue this momentum even after we’re gone. In terms of my work, this can mean firefighters get funding for equipment faster, or federal agencies can find and hire qualified talent.
What do you want to do after USDS?
I want to continue to do work that has a greater impact on society and create positive change, maybe in federal, state, or city government, or with nonprofits and foundations.
What will you miss most about USDS when you leave?
Definitely the people — everyone’s passionate about our mission and are just generally awesome, thoughtful, and caring individuals.
“Improving the aging technology that government and its services runs on was an extremely compelling goal.”
“I was inspired to join USDS because technology can do more than entertain and amaze us. Combined with good government, it can be a force for good in people’s lives.”
“If you are thinking about totally disrupting your comfortable lifestyle and moving to Washington, D.C., for a family adventure like we did...”
“I’ve been involved with so many things I am proud of, but probably the most meaningful contribution is making the civil service stronger.”
“But when you serve at USDS, you wake up every day, serve your country, and have the opportunity to change the lives of millions of Americans.”
“I think that President Obama instilled in all of his staff the sense to do what is right, not always what is easy.”
“I was a little concerned about whether I could make a difference in three months, but after my experience here, I wholeheartedly recommend that you should consider doing it for as long or short a duration as you can.”