1st Year Fellow Series: Megan Sanders' Passion for Public Service
By Megan Sanders
Those who know me well often describe me as Leslie Knope, Amy Poehler’s character on the TV series Parks and Recreation. Leslie is a dedicated and perhaps overly enthusiastic deputy director of a small-town public agency.
I take pride in this comparison as I am firmly dedicated to public service. I desire to not only serve others well, but work with intentional love and care so that I inspire others to join in my efforts. Ten years from now, when I aspire to serve as a diplomat or in another political capacity here in Colorado, I hope my colleagues and constituents will describe me as dedicated, enthusiastic, effective, and more than anything, a listener.
I have tried to become a better listener as I continuously ask myself – what community am I serving? what does the community care about? how can I serve the community in the ways in which they have asked their leaders to serve? In writing my undergraduate thesis, I spent hours on the quietest floors of the library seeking policy answers on how to effectively resolve community-level conflict, and the answer was to listen to local communities. I came back to Colorado after graduating to listen to my community through public service. Yet, I felt I was missing something—a different way of listening to and problem-solving with local Colorado communities. That is why I came to El Pomar, to lean into a new way of serving Coloradans through the Regional Partnerships program and to learn from experts in their own communities about how to address some of our greatest challenges.
Through my Fellowship with El Pomar, I aim to further develop the characteristics I hope to embody ten years from now: a good listener, a strategic thinker and a fighter for Colorado communities. I hope to be like Leslie Knope in her enthusiasm for service and her dedication to doing the work and doing it well, no matter how mundane the task or small the problem. I also hope that down the road I will be able to lead less through my own ideas and lean more on the ideas of others, using my skills to bring everyone’s thoughts to the table, clarify the mission, strategize about the solution and bring resources to the experts for the greatest impact on our entire community.
Megan Sanders joined El Pomar Foundation as a member of the 2020 Fellowship class. As a Fellow, Megan works on Regional Partnerships, Communications, the American Council of Young Political Leaders and the Forum for Civic Advancement. In addition, Megan supports the Southwest region. Read more about Megan here.