My departure from Code for America is bittersweet. I’ve decided join the New America Foundation and lead a California focused project that will be launching soon. The past year and a half at Code for America has been a tremendous growing period for me professionally and personally so I wanted to share with you some of my feelings as I step out of this role and into a new one.
My first conversation with Jen was at a coffee shop in Hayes Valley in February 2010. She told me about her crazy notion that there were talented technologists that needed an avenue into public service. She went onto explain that those talented techies would introduce new models within local governments to make change possible. I immediately knew that I had to be a part of whatever Jen created. The organization’s success started with a passionate founder, but has grown exponentially because the Code for America staff are some of the most talented, driven, and creative people around. Honestly, I probably could have done most of my job from my home office but I chose to come into the Code for America office everyday because the people I worked with, fellows included, were incredibly engaging and made me better at my job.
I’ve recently come to regard Code for America as a trim tab. The trim tab is a tiny tab at the edge of a rudder that when moved has the ability to turn a whole ship around, and that’s exactly what Code for America is doing to local government. Code for America’s fellowship program impacts just a small portion of the larger machine (government), but Code for America is the trim tab that is changing the direction of the whole ship. I am proud to have been a part of that and will always remain close to their work.
While at Code for America I found myself telling people I was a “govie” at heart, but Code for America is not just about local governments. It’s also about the fellows that dedicate a year of their lives to public service. As much as I will miss being a part of Code for America’s work, mostly, I will miss the absolutely amazing people that show up everyday to make change. My personal growth has come from the wonderful relationships I share with our fellows and the inspiring, creative work they do everyday.
I will bring the Code for America passion, ingenuity, and opportunity with me to the New America Foundation and continue creating more trim tabs in the civic space.