A letter from the Partnership’s chair: Perseverance through adversity

By Tom A. Bernstein | August 26, 2020

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Partnership staff at a virtual “brown bag,” an informal presentation during lunch. I discussed my professional background, shared advice based on my experiences and answered questions from the team, including “Why is now a crucial moment for our government and our organization?”

In my 16 years on the Partnership’s board, I have seen the organization navigate difficult situations many times, but the challenges associated with the coronavirus pandemic are unprecedented in our history. Now is the time to be bold and imaginative to persevere through adversity. The Partnership has adapted to the new reality, and our mission to transform the way government works and support our nation’s dedicated public servants has never been more relevant.

Our federal government, the largest enterprise in the United States and our greatest tool for collective action, is also adapting to the new reality. In my talk, I pointed out the importance of helping our federal workforce to maintain its effectiveness while operating in a virtual environment. The Partnership continues to support the federal workforce through leadership training programs, research and recognition of the accomplishments of federal employees.

As many of you know, the Partnership has transitioned its leadership programming to the virtual environment to keep our programs accessible to federal employees without requiring in-person attendance. Before this transition, much of our training was available only to people who could attend live events at our Washington, D.C. office. Now, federal employees anywhere in the country or the world can attend the Partnership’s virtual programs.

Similarly, we’ve thrown open the doors to the annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals gala, so the general public may help us celebrate the accomplishments of America’s selfless civil servants. In 2020, the “Sammies” will be hosted virtually, enabling people to learn about the work of these top federal employees. We expect holding the event virtually before a nationwide audience will lead to a more widespread appreciation of what these finalists have achieved.

The role of a public servant is important, especially in times of crisis. As our nation continues to deal with the coronavirus, I encourage you to take a moment to learn about the achievements of the 2020 Sammies finalists. This year, honorees are taking on problems such as the opioid epidemic, human rights abuse and cybersecurity. Our finalists include Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top expert on infectious diseases who has shared his knowledge throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

To learn more about how the Partnership is supporting the federal workforce now, visit the organization’s coronavirus page. To learn more about federal employees doing great things, check out the Partnership’s “Stories of Service” blog series. Recent editions include:


Tom A. Bernstein