38; executive director of What Works Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative to improve the effectiveness of city government through data-driven practices
Best advice you’ve been given? I was struggling with the decision to leave venture capital/finance because I enjoyed aspects of it. But I was really drawn to the question of how we use innovation and 21st-century tools to improve social goods like education, public safety, affordable housing, and more. A mentor said to me, “You’re the kind of person who does what you love. You’re not going to make yourself love what you do.” He was right, and it made the decision much clearer for me.
Secret to your success? I’ve found work I care about and let interesting opportunities guide me. Sometimes I feel like it would be helpful to have a 10-year plan, but I never have—and what I’m doing now is not at all what I would have expected even five years ago. Following what’s exciting and what I care about has made my career meaningful for me, even if it’s been non-linear.