Federal Spotlight: Manny Ramirez
MC: How long have you been in Federal service and what is your main responsibility in your role today?
MR: I began working for the Federal government in June of 2010; this summer will mark my six year anniversary as a Federal employee. I was originally hired as a Program Analyst in the Child Nutrition Division. In 2013, I took a detail in the Human Resources Division to work on the Diversity and Inclusion Program, which led me to my current position with the agency. I am the Diversity Program Manager for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). I serve as the primary advisor to FNS senior leaders on workforce diversity and workplace inclusion by managing the Diversity and Inclusion Program. I am fortunate to work with management and staff in a variety of areas to spearhead the agency’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. I manage the Special Emphasis Programs, Diversity Leaders Council, and administer training that empowers employees with the tools to exhibit inclusive behaviors and build inclusive teams.
MC: What keeps you motivated and passionate to stay in the public sector?
MR: I have worked in a variety of industries in my career, but being a public servant has been a very rewarding experience with a great purpose. My biggest motivation is striving to make a difference in an organization that has a wonderful mission of providing assistance to the American people in need. Each and every day I get to work with talented individuals, and they inspire me to have a positive impact in all aspects of my life.
MC: What is one of your biggest achievements?
MR: I have been blessed to be part of individual and team success that I can be very proud of, but my biggest achievement is going back to school full time to graduate from George Mason University in 2013. To achieve my educational goals, I balanced work, school, and family life – which includes being a husband and father to three kids. While continuing my studies, I felt it was important to keep family as a priority without letting my work suffer. It was critical to coach my kids’ sports teams, be present for school events, and help my kids with their school work. Finishing my studies has been a dream of mine that I never lost sight of throughout the years. But, I noticed that completing my educational goals were no longer just about me. When I walked across the stage during graduation, I kept a childhood promise to my mother, and set the example for my children to follow and reinforced the importance of education.
MC: What advice would you share on making public service a career and not a pit stop?
MR: I am fortunate to have two family members that have more than 60 years combined service to the American people. The long standing devotion to being a public servant for many years has had a great impact on me and my family, and I would encourage folks to follow down the same path. The Federal government provides a wide variety of careers that require diverse skillsets which allow the opportunity to grow professionally without having to leave public service. If you leverage the wealth of resources available to guide your career and take the initiative to step out of your comfort zone to learn new skills, Federal service can provide a meaningful career with an outstanding purpose.
MC: What advice would you share with young people on entering government?
MR: Continuously be open-minded with an eagerness to learn, seek and respect different perspectives of others, and leverage the diversity of the Federal workforce through inclusion. There will be challenges along the way. Be confident in your ability, yet exhibit humility to constantly work on your craft and understand there is a lot to learn throughout the journey. Begin to network immediately and obtain a group of people that support you. I highly encourage everyone to have formal and informal mentors with different experiences and backgrounds.