professor david moguel
President, John Gardner Public Service Fellowship
Briefly describe the mission of your organization and how your role contributes to it. What does a typical day look like?
The mission of the John Gardner Fellowship Association (JGFA) is to bring together alumni of the John Gardner Fellowship Program at Stanford University and UC Berkeley for the purposes of self-renewal, job growth, leadership training, and social networking. The JGFA was started in 2003 and is composed of 162 members. The JGFA is an organization run entirely on volunteer labor. While it tries to assist the mission of the John Gardner Fellowship Program at both schools, it is independent of both Stanford and UC Berkeley. I am the current president of the organization, responsible for conducting quarterly meetings of the Board, and coordinating the management of the organization, its fiscal operations, our new website, fundraising and development activities, and alumni outreach.
What made you go into this profession? Why are you doing what you are doing?
As it did for many of our alums, the John Gardner Public Service Fellowship was one of the most formative and important experiences we have ever had in our careers. It launched our careers in public service and throughout those careers has opened doors to many of our most important mentors, positions, and opportunities in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. I am involved in order to give back to the Fellowship and ensure it continues to as much for a new generation of public servants as it did for me.
What recommendations do you have for current Stanford students interested in pursuing a career in a similar capacity? What skills or knowledge should they focus on at Stanford? What tips do you have regarding the job search?
This is a strange question. Being on a board is about being in a position to give advice, provide guidance, and impart wisdom to the people actually running the organization and providing service to the public. Board membership, in my experience, is by invitation, unless one is a founding member of an organization. So instead of looking for a board to be on, I think current Stanford students should be looking for organizations that share the same passions they do: serving the part of the public they want to serve, and serving in a way that fits their interests, dispositions and talents.
your life vision
How do you make this unconventional career path work in your life?
That’s a tough one. I always think of what Coco Chanel once said: “There is time for work, and there is time for love. There is no other time.” Volunteer and public service work seem to be some mix of the two. You are not working for pay, and you are not spending time loving and being loved by family or friends. But you are working, and you are loving the act of helping others. And I struggle to squeeze in the time between my real paid job and my very real family responsibilities: early weekend mornings before the kids get up, and late evenings after the kids go to bed.