Posted at 2:17 PM
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker participated in a panel discussion on “The Business of Transition” at the Partnership for Public Service (PPS). She joined former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Steve Preston to discuss their leadership experiences in the public and private sectors, and shared lessons learned and best practices for the next Administration. Steven Pearlstein, business and economics columnist for the Washington Post, moderated the discussion.
Speaking before an audience of federal executives and employees, congressional staff, and private-sector partners, Secretary Pritzker reflected on the similarities and differences between leading private and public-sector organizations, noting that within both, leaders must first and foremost listen to their customers. Secretary Pritzker noted that during her tenure, she has made a proactive effort to engage with the Department's customers -- the American private sector – meeting with more than 2,100 business leaders to gather their viewpoints on a range of policy issues including trade, innovation, entrepreneurship, workforce development, and more.
Secretary Pritzker underscored the Department of Commerce’s unique role as a representative for the entire business community, and noted that when private-sector input is combined with a responsive government policy making apparatus, economic growth ensues.
Secretary Pritzker underscored her appreciation for the Department of Commerce’s employees, and their diligent work to support American businesses so they can grow and hire. She emphasized how proud she is to work with colleagues ranging from meteorologists, scientists, patent examiners, statisticians, and ship captains to accomplish goals such as the establishment of SelectUSA, the Skills for Business Agenda, the Commerce Data Service, and the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship.
The Secretary noted that substantive employee engagement and trust building is critical to the Department’s success, and that Commerce’s political and career leadership have worked together to create and institutionalize the Open for Business agenda and other significant initiatives at Commerce. With buy-in from all employees, the Department will be able to continue its mission of driving innovation and growth well beyond this Administration.
In closing, the Secretary offered advice to her successor and other senior officials. She also noted five areas upon which the next Secretary of Commerce should concentrate: the digital economy, data, commercial diplomacy, skills for business, and a continued focus on creating the conditions for and promoting foreign direct investment in the United States. In reflecting on her tenure in government, Secretary Pritzker affirmed that public service has been both an honor and privilege.