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Author: The BCW

Public Servants Describe Their Pathways to Government Careers

As part of the Business Council’s on-going talent development initiative, several prominent current and former government leaders joined a Pathways to Public Service panel on Wednesday at Manhattanville College to share career insights with students and alumni interested in pursuing public-sector jobs.

Moderated by Christopher Thunberg, Director of Manhattanville’s Center for Career Development, the panel featured former New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, executive director of Sustainable Westchester; Joanne Fernandez, chief of staff to New York’s Department of State; Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins; and Wilson Kimball, president and CEO of the Yonkers Housing Authority.

The event’s panelists reminded students and alumni that any career that they want to pursue in the private sector has a public-sector analogue.

“No matter what your passion is, you can actually find that opportunity inside of government,” said Jenkins.

Kimball shared that her initial career choice out of college was a bad fit.

“I was making money in real estate, and yet at the end of every month, I was totally not fulfilled,” said Kimball. “So, I started working for the governor…and I loved every minute of it.”

Fernandez encouraged the students to use internships and fellowships as opportunities for networking and self-discovery.

“You might be at the stage where you are not sure if a particular area might be of interest. I would highly recommend, and strongly encourage, utilizing internships and fellowships as part of your learning experience,” said Fernandez.

Bramson warned that public service is not the realm of instant gratification, noting how the transformation of downtown New Rochelle happened slowly.

“It was the product of many, many years of patience and persistence, which I would say are probably the qualities one needs most in order to succeed in a field like government,” said Bramson.

The BCW co-sponsored the panel in partnership with the college as part of a year-long, broader workforce talent development initiative led by Robert Martin Company Managing Director Larry Gottlieb to foster stronger relationships with institutions of higher learning throughout Westchester.

“This started as a conversation between us and connections at the Business Council of Westchester about the importance of bringing in new, highly motivated, highly educated talent into the government space,” said Thunberg.

BCW president and CEO Marsha Gordon reminded the students that they represent the future.

“What we hear from our members, from our businesses, from our public sector tonight is that we really need young, creative people to enter the workforce,” said Gordon. 

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