Federal Spotlight: Ali Pourghassemi
Ali Pourghassemi serves as a Human Capital Manager for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Here is our Federal Spotlight interview:
MC: How long have you been in Federal service?
Ali Pourghassemi: I have officially been a “Fed” since July 2012 so that puts me at a little over five years… time flies!
MC: What keeps you motivated and passionate to stay in the public sector?
AP: The people. The people who come to work daily and contribute 100%. The people who consistently seek ways to improve or eliminate unnecessary processes. The people who believe in collaboration. The people volunteer and are not “voluntold.” The people who think outside of the box. The people who are passionate about their agency’s mission and mentoring future leaders. The integrators. Those who realize we are truly public servants that collectively have a responsibility to the American people to fulfill our missions.
Connecting people who would have never met otherwise is essential. I am an integrator. That is my passion.
MC: What is one of your biggest achievements?
AP: Honestly, one of my biggest achievements was, and continues to be, connecting mentors and mentees—particularly during the 2015 cohort of the HHS Acquisition Mentoring Program.
As program manager, my responsibility is to pair individuals whom I feel would have a reciprocal learning relationship. Long story short: in this scenario a mentee did mock practice interviews with their mentor in preparation for a “big interview,” that GS-12 to GS-13 jump. The mentee reached out to me and advised me that he “got the job!” and directly attributed it to the mentor/mentee pairing he participated in.
This success story keeps me passionate and engaged in my current role as the Program Manager for the HHS Acquisition Strategic Leadership, Mentor and Talent Exchange Programs at HHS. I love to see other people WIN!
MC: What advice would you share with young people on entering government?
AP: This is a loaded question, right? No, my biggest advice is to never stop investing in yourself. What I mean by this is: volunteer, don’t be “voluntold.” Take training that is beneficial to your career. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Take risks. Most importantly, never compromise your integrity.
The government may seem large but everyone is connected. Build meaningful relationships and network, network, network.
My grandmother used to tell me you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Just be yourself.