Blog post by Cindy Orellana Good, Program Manager, National Technical Information Service (NTIS)
I have been a public servant for roughly 11 years. Most of my time has been dedicated in helping organizations overcome challenges and identifying opportunities for growth. It’s these types of experiences that fuel my passion in being purposeful and making a difference.
As a program manager for the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), I have the opportunity to partner and work with industry, universities and non-profits to help federal agencies leverage innovative data solutions to advance national priorities, promote economic growth, and enable operational excellence.
My current project is supporting the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Joint Artificial Intelligence Center to help them accelerate the delivery and adoption of artificial intelligent capabilities across the DoD.
I grew up in Long Beach, Ca. and moved to Northern Virginia in 2011 to pursue a new opportunity. For those of you that come from Hispanic families (mine being Salvadorian), this was outside the norms of our culture. The most powerful Hispanic value is family. Growing up, I was very fortunate to have them close to me. This included my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins from both sides. We were all within a 5-10-mile radius. And this is why the day I told my parents I was moving cross country for a job, they were in disbelief. As a first generation American, I knew I was going to face generational and cultural differences with my parents, but what I was always certain about were my values. Family is and will always be important to me. And fortunately, thanks to technology, being distant didn’t feel far, to this day I feel like I’m close to them.
I recently completed my MBA in Business Intelligence and Entrepreneurial Leadership from Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business. I also hold a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Maryland.
There are four quotes that I stand by and have shaped me to be the person I am today.
1) First and foremost is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This is my guided principle for living.
2) On Failure: “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” -- Thomas Edison. Particularly in the public sector, we tend to look at failure as a bad thing. But we must be able to learn from our mistakes in order to grow from it. As Edison also said “our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”.
3) On Growth: “The day you stop learning is the day you stop living.” Everything we do is based on knowledge. So never be afraid to learn something, because as Albert Einstein also puts it, the moment you stop learning is the moment you start dying. Make it a point in your life to learn something everyday that you didn’t know the day before.
4) On Self-Growth: “Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone.” -- John McCain.
Service is integral component of my life. It was embedded in my mind as a child. Through my parents, I witnessed integrity, honesty and service. Service to them, was organic. They had a passion for taking care of those around them. It was from them where I learned that through service we can make change. When you decide to notice, when you decide to act, when you decide to make a difference, you’ve taken the first step in making the world a better place.
My desire to help individuals and communities, and the ability to make change, is what brought me into becoming a civil servant.
An advice I would give today’s youth interested in a federal government career is that It’s at the intersection of passion and personal talent, where value is made. Use it, break through the noise and make meaningful change.
Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce Hispanic employees in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15--October 15).