Spotlighting Humans of Public Service
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Spotlighting Humans of Public Service

January 3, 2023
Rachel Lin

Public servants have no shortage of inspiring stories to tell—and Humans of Public Service is on a mission to put them in the spotlight.

Founded by Brian Whittaker, a federal executive with more than 10 years of experience in public service, the organization promotes federal employees across the nation on social media.

The Partnership for Public Service recently featured Whittaker on its “Profiles in Public Service” podcast, which features the untold stories and accomplishments of public servants and traces their journey into government.

The episode also featured Amber Chaudhry, a customer experience lead at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and one of the first federal employees to be highlighted by Humans of Public Service.

Together, Chaudhry and Whittaker discussed their paths to public service, their efforts to promote diversity in government and their advice for those looking to launch a federal career.

Episode highlights

Before starting Humans of Public Service, Whittaker worked at the General Services Administration and as contract specialist.

After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, he was inspired to make an impact in a different way: by celebrating the diverse stories of federal employees to paint a more positive picture of what our government does—a critical venture at a time when trust in government continues to lag.  

“I think we’ve heard a whole lot about how government’s been described in the past. I wanted to offer a counterpoint to that and ideally show some of the diversity and the different people that are energized by working in the government and why they do it,” he said.

Chaudhry joined Whittaker on the podcast and discussed her efforts to design services that meet people’s needs to government at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Like Whittaker, Chaudhry began her public service career to promote diversity in government, specifically after experiencing Islamophobia and racism after 9/11.

Now, as a customer experience lead at HUD, she works to increase accessibility and provide a seamless customer experience for those who rely on the agency’s services.

“The goal of our team is to introduce and elevate the opinions, feelings and perspectives of customers across the entire ecosystems of services that HUD supports and provides,” she said.

Advice for starting a public service career

Whittaker and Chaudhry also offered advice for young professionals interested in entering the civil service.

“Don’t believe that the path is straight,” Whittaker said. “Everyone’s path is different, and I think there’s something to explore in regard to the going in and out of government and where that takes you and where that gets you.”

Chaudhry emphasized the value of finding mentors and champions. “Mentors are people who can give you advice and help you navigate a situation, while champions will open doors for you and advocate for you,” she said.

More on ‘Profiles in Public Service’

Humans of Public Service has highlighted the work of some of our Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals® winners, such as NASA’s Gregory Robinson for his work in overseeing the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Dr. H. Clifford Lane for his life-saving research over the last several decades and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cindy Newberg for playing a key role in an international agreement to decrease the use of climate-damaging chemicals.

2022 Sammies winners on stage at the Kennedy Center
The 2022 Service to America Medal winners during the awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Photo credit: Joshua Roberts.

If you are interested in learning about the unsung accomplishments and stories of our nation’s public servants, check out Humans of Public Service on Instagram and LinkedIn.

And to hear more inspiring stories, listen to “Profiles in Public Service” on any streaming platform. Episodes featuring United States Agency for International Development Deputy Administrator Paloma Adams-Allen and Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey will be released this month.

Rachel Lin is a former intern on the Partnership’s Communications team.

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