“Up-and-coming” is a regular FedScoop feature profiling the rising stars in federal government.
Cameron Brenchley (@chbrenchley)
Director of Digital Engagement
Department of Education
What inspires you to work for government?
One of my favorite responsibilities is collecting success stories from around the country for our Homeroom Blog. These individual and relatable stories from schools and communities inspire the work I do every day. They put a human face on high-level policies, and while we often talk in billions and millions here in Washington, those figures have a real effect for individual teachers, students, families and communities, and that’s a big part of what I want our audience to see.
What does your typical day look like?
A typical day for me involves anything from setting the department’s digital strategy for a big announcement, to responding to individual tweets and Facebook comments that the department receives. One reason I really enjoy this job is the variation, whether it is traveling with the secretary to incorporate digital into a town hall event, or pouring over mind-numbing metrics. Each day is different than the last.
What advice do you have for senior level executives to help them cultivate the next generation of public servants?
The advice I would give senior level executives is to encourage and cultivate creativity and innovation from within government. In previous federal jobs, I’ve seen smart and creative coworkers ultimately leave because the culture wasn’t inviting to new ideas or different ways of doing things. It’s vitally important for the next generation of public servants to feel free from the “this is how it has always been done” paradigm. It will be good for government, public servants and the taxpayers.
Do you have any mentors? If so, what role have they played in your career?
I have a great group of mentors that I’ve labeled my personal board of directors. They’ve shaped my career in many small and important ways. Whether it’s just a lunch to throw around ideas, or quick comments on my writing, these brief exchanges have added up to play an important role in my career.
What’s your favorite DC hangout?
My favorite DC hangout is none other than National’s Park. Nothing beats settling in to your seat, with hot dog and beer in hand, to watch America’s favorite pastime. I love the fact that no matter our political leanings, our cultural background or lot in life, Nats fans can always rally together in cheering on the defeat of the Phillies.
How do you unwind?
Books help me unwind. I like to alternate between classic literature to current events or history. I have a goal of reading Modern Library’s 100 best novels of the 20th century. The list means nothing, but I like goals and checking off lists. After four years, I’ve read an unimpressive 34 of the 100 books on the list. Given my career choice, it seems somewhat ironic, but I hate digital books. There is just something about holding a book, turning a page and flipping through an index that I can’t give up.