For Nani A. Coloretti, public service means applying the best of your skills and capability to improve outcomes for the public, no matter how you choose to serve.
Nani is an alum of the 1989 JSI at UC Berkeley. At the time, students were known as Woodrow Wilson Fellows. Nani received a BA in Economics and Communications in 1991 and credits the program with helping direct her to a graduate degree that combined her skills and interests. She went on to get her Master’s in Public Policy from UC Berkeley. Her experience at the JSI also not only helped her select the right graduate program, it also prepared her to successfully manage the intense workload of graduate school.
Nani uses the analytical tools that she gained in graduate school every day. In particular, graduate school helped her hone her ability to solve complex problems using data.
Most recently, Nani was confirmed to serve as deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This appointment makes her the highest ranking Filipino-American in the Obama Administration. Prior to that appointment she served as the Assistant Secretary for Management at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Nani has also held a number of other positions in the public sector, including Acting Chief Operating Officer for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and as a policy advisor and budget director in the office of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
In reflecting on what she has learned through her experiences, she realized that she thought she knew how important networking and keeping contacts was in college, but she has since learned over many years that it is critical to helping navigate a career and life in general.
She’s also learned how important it is to develop a leadership mindset in order to excel at work and in your career. “Pay attention to how you operate in the world – your knowledge of yourself becomes much more important the higher up you go in an organization. In particular, seek ways to develop a high level of emotional intelligence.”