Our FUSE 2017-18 class of fellows have embarked upon their fellowships with healthy doses of excitement, humility, inspiration, and optimism. These experienced leaders are tackling some of the biggest challenges facing our communities today — homelessness, affordable housing, minimum wages, anti-recidivism, criminal justice reform, job training, economic development, healthcare, eldercare, public education, police reform, racial equity, civic engagement, and much more.
We asked our fellows why they chose to dedicate a year of their lives to public service, and here’s a sampling of what we heard.
Thelá Thatch: “My project, which is to invest in human capital to help end homelessness in LA County, is not only stretching my existing knowledge, but it is providing the meaning and purpose that I have been seeking in my career.”
Casswell Goodman: “Many people are unaware that L.A. County has the largest jail system in the entire world. As a FUSE fellow, I’m able to contribute to a process that will remove barriers for formerly incarcerated individuals. This will allow them to tap into the vast pool of employment related resources led by the county and community at large. It’s truly an honor and a professional privilege to take on this project.
Sami Iwata: “I am raising one child but I feel called to raise an entire generation of children. FUSE was an irresistible opportunity to help drive systemic change that touches the lives of children and families throughout my community.”
Nichelle Toomire: “There’s something so fulfilling about having the ability to affect change through work in the public sector and to be involved in government where decisions are made everyday impacting the world around me; the same world my son sees through the lens of an eight year old.”
E. Aminata Brown: “Police reform is one of the most pressing issues of our time and the New Orleans Police Department has a critical role in transforming the culture of violence and crime prevention in our city. I welcome the opportunity to support these tides of change with a deep sense of personal responsibility to the community that I love.”
Sofia Style: “FUSE opened a new world for me, making my passion for civil service a reality. I view human capital management as the glue that holds the City of Long Beach and its community together. This opportunity allows me to collaborate closely with stakeholders, and set the stage for the essential progress towards building a public service for the 21st Century.”
Jason Weiner: “My first job out of college was with the City of San Francisco, so I’ve known my whole career that local government is where you can make change that most impacts the community — and you can’t ask for a bigger impact than the opportunity to build a culture of college-going in Stockton.”
Demetrius Glover: “I became a FUSE fellow because it gave me the opportunity to engage with my community under a different brand on an important issue that until now I cared about but did not have an opportunity to impact directly. Indianapolis has 211 parks and 135 miles of trails that cover a total of 11,254 acres. I see the value in securing additional funding to improve and maintain these spaces so that we maximize the health and economic benefits for our community.”
Ann Rogan: “In a city that has struggled with bankruptcy, skill-readiness for the workforce, and pockets of generational poverty, Stockton has experienced its fair share of challenges. I took this fellowship because I think Stockton’s experiences are also indicative of a larger national restlessness about jobs, and the future of work in the face of globalization and automation. I believe creating access to economic opportunity for the workforce is a powerful tool to build hope and resilience for communities.”
Eric Mattenson: “In today’s fraught and complex healthcare environment, I welcome the opportunity to play a pivotal role in facilitating access to healthcare and creating a patient-centered experience for the over 600,000 residents who depend on the nation’s second largest public health system for their care with the newly created Office of Patient Access for L.A. County.”
Jon Quimby: “FUSE Corps offers private sector professionals the opportunity to support government agencies and, with luck, to help these agencies address complex issues. It’s hard to imagine a better opportunity to grow professionally and serve the greater good at the same time.”
Flavian Marwa: “The complexity of the issues involved in the quest for inclusive economic growth calls for application of diverse frameworks and experiences, hence a need for ‘collective’ participation in finding solutions. FUSE Corps provides for me a platform to effectively participate in my community, leveraging my background, towards achieving that goal.”
Andrea Lipton: “The Los Angeles Department of Transportation is at a critical crossroads: new technologies are radically changing the services the department provides, at the same time as a critical mass of its most senior employees are eligible to retire. My fellowship gives me the opportunity to aid the department in preparing supervisors to lead in this new era while making a difference for the people of my city.”
Karen Doolittle: “FUSE Corps had me at ‘hello’ when they recruited me to help solve a pressing challenge facing our local government. It was more of a call to action and adventure versus a typical consulting engagement.”
Mark Lee: “I’m eager to leverage my core consulting experiences along with public administration education to focus on actionable strategies and their successful implementation to bring efficiency and effectiveness in a government agency while always keeping in mind of the grand mission of improving our society.”
Kimberly Dubin: “I’m honored to have the opportunity to help San Francisco address the communication challenges surrounding affordable housing and community development. Together, I believe we can elevate the city’s efforts and connect more residents in need to available resources.”
Ann Zald: “I was looking for a way to transition from the private sector to a career that would have civic value. FUSE provided me with a way to actively utilize my years of the experience for the public good.”