How long have you been a FCCMA member and why did you join?
I have been a member of the FCCMA since 2018.
Are you an ICMA member, why did you join, and how long have you been a member?
Yes, I am currently an ICMA member, I joined the ICMA in 2018 when I registered with the FCCMA. I joined because of the profession, and the people itself. Professors, mentors, and colleagues shared with me the professional development and the opportunities the ICMA presents to its members.
Please describe your areas of formal/advanced education.
I am currently getting my Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Florida Gulf Coast University, I graduate this December.
Why did you select a career in public service?
I selected a career in public service because I enjoy giving back to people, helping them, but mainly being a symbol of hope. I am always referred to as the “poster child” by mentors in the higher education realm. Growing up in a minority community, I experienced first-hand how the people felt. They felt as if the government gave up on them. I want to be able to represent all people especially those of underrepresented communities. I want to be a role model to the youth, and change their perception about local government.
Have you always been in the public sector or have you had experience in the private sector?
I worked at Florida Gulf Coast University as a Graduate Assistant since January 2018, but my career path in local government began in July 2019.
Please tell us about your current position and give a brief job description if you are not a City Administrator/Manager. If you are currently a student, what is your program of study?
I am currently a student who is obtaining their Master’s in Public Administration at Florida Gulf Coast University this December. I am also a part-time Code Enforcement Officer for the Town of Fort Myers Beach. In the role as a Code Enforcement Officer, I ensure that the town residents/contractors are acquiring the necessary permits for their planned construction, assist the director in rewriting ordinances, handle and tend to citizen complaints, and administrative work.
Please describe your typical day.
The typical day for me consists of work, school, extracurricular activities, and reading articles about our solar system. I have always been intrigued with the mysteries of space and our solar system, every day I try to read an article or two about new discoveries, and potential harms to the planet. Sometimes I try to come up with methods or solutions for planetary devastation to work on my problem solving and critical thinking skills (everyone will thank me later).
What is your favorite part of the job? For students, what is your favorite part of your educational process thus far?
The favorite part of my job is just coming to work and working with the phenomenal town employees. It never feels like work for me, I admit that I am not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to ordinances or statutes; but that is why I like the job. It gives me an opportunity to educate myself and my personal development will grow substantially compared to a seasoned individual. As a student, my favorite part of the educational process is definitely the classes, professors, and colleagues. Dr. Lee (Robert Lee) has been my mentor since the first semester of the master’s program, and has prepared me for the field and what to expect. John Meyer has been a colleague of mines who has motivated me into breaking barriers, teaching me lessons about life, and the importance of just being a human being, which we all tend to forget sometimes.
What is your least favorite part of the job? For students, what is your least favorite part of your educational process thus far?
The least favorite part of my job is not having the same knowledge of my superiors/peers. This is due to the fact that I am still learning and developing as I start my career in local government, so it will take time. As a student, I have not had a least favorite part of the educational process!
If you could give one piece of advice to people interested in a career in public service, what would it be? If you are a person interested in a career in public service, what question would you ask a seasoned manager?
If I could give one piece of advice to people interested in a career in public service, it would be “hard work beats talent, when talent fails to work hard.” Being talented will only get you so far in life, but in local government, hard work/work ethic never gets overlooked.
Who were your mentors and how have you passed this information down to other aspiring public administrators? If you are a student or new to the profession, who are your mentors?
As stated previously, my mentors are Dr. Lee, and colleague John Meyer. Currently, as the President of the FGCU ICMA-Student Chapter, the knowledge and the advice I have acquired throughout my time in the master’s program, I have passed on to my students officers and members. The officers of the student chapter knows that I want them to be more successful than me, I always put them into positions to succeed and thrive. I invest in people and the futures they will create.
Do you have a story you can share about how being a member of FCCMA has helped you or impacted you in a positive way?
I grew up in a rough neighborhood, where I thought the government gave up on us. Being a member in the FCCMA has been truly wonderful. I joined the organization because of its people. The FCCMA and its people (staff/members) has opened my eyes about the field, what to expect, and has changed my perception as a whole. I have developed close relationships with city/county managers that I thought would not have been possible before. What I appreciate so much about the organization is that the time they take to mentor and educate their student members. I have phone calls with Brad Johnson (Assistant County Administrator of Sarasota County) once every two months about what qualities I need to have or what knowledge do I need to know so that I can have his position one day. The investment and time they take to chat with me is what sets this organization apart from everyone else!