Dr.  Shah recently met with a group of 75 Presidential Management Fellows (PMFs) and PMF alumni at USAID. The discussion focused on engaging the dynamic PMF community in the reforms associated with USAID Forward.

Presidential Management Fellow Class of 2008. Photo Credit: Harry Edwards/USAID

Notable guests at this event included Deborah Kennedy, the Director of Human Resources, and Ambassador Barry Wells, the Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity. Deputy Assistant Administrators Mark Lopes and Barbara Feinstein, who started their careers as PMFs, were also in attendance. These senior leaders from across the agency offered advice and wisdom to the PMFs at USAID.

The Presidential Management Fellowship program is a prestigious two-year government fellowship that places recent graduate students in USG federal agencies. The PMF Program was established in 1977 to attract outstanding citizen-scholars to Federal service from a variety of academic disciplines and career paths who have an interest and commitment to excellence in the leadership and management of public policies and programs. The PMF Program is competitive and designed with a narrow focus: developing a cadre of government leaders. By drawing graduate students with a variety of backgrounds, the PMF Program provides a continuing source of trained men and women to meet the future challenges of public service. Students use this two-year fellowship as a stepping stone to highly visible and respected leadership positions in the Federal Government.

USAID, along with the State Department, is one of the most sought-after placements for PMFs, and PMFs at the agency are grateful for the opportunity to work here. The PMF community at USAID is a vibrant and dynamic group of young professionals and staff who are eager to be more deeply involved as leaders in agency reforms, such as those associated with USAID Forward.

Dr. Shah told the PMFs that we are at a unique point in time in the agency. He encouraged PMFs to be the voice of results-oriented thinking and learning, particularly around key USAID initiatives such as Feed the Future, Climate Change, and Global Health. As he said, “You can be the symbols of how we work in the future.” This was the first time Dr. Shah had met with the large PMF community at USAID, and he expressed an appreciation for the program as a tool for recruiting and retaining talent.

Many PMFs were inspired by Dr. Shah’s words: “You can be a part of the most significant transformation of a major bureaucracy in the most important area of how we as Americans express our values in the world.”