28 May Roundtable offers diverse, inspiring examples of public service
By Gergana Kostadinova
Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board
The Boettcher Foundation and the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board co-hosted a public service roundtable on May 26. The event featured Boettcher Scholars from unique backgrounds who are currently involved in diverse positions of public service. Tim Schultz, president and executive director of the Boettcher Foundation since 1996, moderated the panel and provided insights from his experiences in public service. The panelists included:
- Russ George, president of Colorado Northwestern Community College and a Boettcher Foundation Trustee, who has a long history of public service, including the position of former Speaker of the House for the State of Colorado;
- Angelique Diaz, environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
- Julie Marie Shepherd, director of Aurora Public Schools Board of Education; and
- Kathie Novak, former Northglenn mayor and city council member.
The evening was a refreshing reminder that service can take many forms. To start things off, Tim, who has always been driven to “look for ways to do the right thing,” emphasized that the foundation expects scholars to give back to their communities and the state of Colorado, and public service is one way to do just that. Kathie agreed, explaining that the scholarship inspired her to give back as a public servant.
Julie’s interest in public service was triggered by her genuine passion for state and local government, explaining that through her position she feels responsible for the day-to-day lives of 42,000 children. For Angelique, a passion for service grew from her admiration and respect for her father, a firefighter, who inspired her to use her “unique skill-set to make a difference.” Russ formally began his career in public service after 25 years in law, but giving back was always part of his life. He mentioned that, “volunteering is a close cousin of public service.”
Public service jobs are not always easy and come with constant scrutiny, which is a hurdle the panelists continuously fight to overcome. But their commitment never wavers. Tim reminded us of the Boettcher Family’s expectations and that the future lies in the potential of hard-working Coloradans, such as the impressive panelists.
Based on her experiences, Kathie explained that public servants are driven to solve tough problems, and we need the best minds working on those big challenges. If you are interested in tackling any of these challenges, Tim has a reminder: The Boettcher Foundation is here to help all scholars in their pursuit of public service.