By Hilary Morefield
At our recent Institute session, Interim Mayor Todd Gloria dropped by to speak to our fellows and share his own personal principles and advice on what it takes to be a successful civic leader. Here are four of the essentials (and their backstories) that he shared.
“Passion breeds success.”
Gloria believes he is lucky in that he knew that he wanted to work in the area of public service at a young age. He pursued a number of opportunities related to public service throughout his youth and his enthusiasm helped him gain better experience. He developed his true personal passion for generating affordable housing after his time living in Washington D.C. It’s still an issue he remains passionate about and works toward today.
“Find folks who will be champions of yours.”
In his early work, Gloria found advice and encouragement from U.S. Congresswoman Susan Davis, whom he first met through a high school leadership program. Gloria and Davis remained in close contact over the years and developed a more personal relationship. When Gloria started navigating his early career, he looked to Davis’ mentorship to guide him and gain the footing he needed. He encouraged the fellows to seek leaders who shared similar values to their own.
“Remain open to new ideas and opportunities as they present themselves.”
After graduating from the University of San Diego with a degree in political science and history, Gloria was unsure of what to pursue next. He was invited to move to Washington D.C. to work for a number of months under a Truman Scholarship. He quickly decided to take the opportunity. Gloria took a red eye flight after graduation and found himself sitting across the desk from Hillary Clinton the next day. The transition was a fast one, but he chose to delve into the new position head first and remains thankful for it.
“You are your own worst enemy. Don’t allow yourself to be.”
Gloria works at a frequently unforgiving rate. His position tends to lend itself to a constant high energy pace, countless phone calls, and endless days. He says his passion for what he does and why he does it helps keep his personal energy level up. It is ultimately his confidence in what he is doing that helps encourage himself to keep moving.