Posted May 14, 2018
This blog is the second in a series of posts that will spotlight the experiences and accomplishments of White House Leadership Development Program fellows and alumni.
Bruce Hollywood began his career as a military officer and later transitioned to working as a public servant in the U.S. Department of Defense. He says the White House Leadership Development Program piqued his interest because of the opportunity to tackle the most challenging, cross-cutting problems in Federal Government.
As part of the first WHLDP cohort, Bruce completed his fellowship at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He speaks highly of his experience and the relationships he built while there.
“All you hear about in the news are the things that Veterans Affairs does wrong. When I got there, I found a team of amazingly dedicated public servants who were trying to solve really big problems for our veterans.” He hailed the psychiatrists and psychologists who worked alongside him saying, “Each one of them could go off and make more money, but they stay because they have a passion for veterans.”
Bruce’s description of his fellowship experience demonstrates that the WHLDP program not only benefits the fellows, but also the departments who host them. “I brought strategic planning expertise to them during the fellowship, and afterwards they gained an ambassador,” he says.
Bruce says the most valuable aspect of the program was his exposure to the other fellows in his cohort from across the executive branch of government. His cohort had diverse and contrasting perspectives. He noted that two of the people he learned the most from came from USAID.
“DOD focuses on the most effective way to solve problems and protect U.S. interests,” he explains. “The USAID perspective cares about solving the problem, but also places a huge emphasis about the way we leave the situation. They are always thinking about the end and we seem to focus more on solving the problem at the beginning.”
Bruce says that flipping the problem on its head in this way can illuminate different information and provide more dynamic insight. Back at the Department of Defense, Bruce says that he can now can better see alternative solutions. He says, “I provide a divergent, but valuable perspective that I would not have gained without my experience in the WHLDP.”