Guest blog written by Doran Moreland
We live in complicated times occupied with strident partisanship, disinformation, social division, endless cyber distractions, and work and family interactions that are consigned to computer screens. Taking all these factors into account, the idea of forming and maintaining a community is in itself a radical act. Nearly two years ago, I enrolled in the HKS Implementing Public Policy Program to learn new skills to advance my career. Always eager to learn, my expectations were centered on professional development. This was to be an academic pursuit, not a social one. Although the course delivered academically, what I did not consider were the gifts of friendship, mentorship and candor I would receive from the 2019 IPP cohort.
With thousands of miles separating many of us, with myriad careers, roles and forms of government represented within our group, the word community seems an unlikely fit. But that is precisely what I’ve found. Connection, support, reinforcement, empowerment, these are the qualities of healthy communities that completely reflect the spirit of the hardworking and endlessly optimistic cohort that I am a part of. Within my cohort in the past two years, I’ve witnessed job promotions, weddings, the loss of loved ones and needed voices of support during uncertain periods.
I too have experienced many changes by starting a new career and job during the global pandemic. I have yet to meet my co-workers in person, or see the office that I’ll work from someday. Needless to say, the IPP community has been a constant for me, providing professional insights, laughs, and a sounding-board for wild ideas that turn out to be quite doable with the appropriate tools, attitude and support. If I have learned anything over the past two years, it is that anything long-lasting should never be done alone. Although each week presents new challenges, they are not insurmountable when you remember you are supported by many who are rooting for your success.