Fellows Program Highlight: Meet Maria!

Meet Maria T. Khan. Maria was born in Karachi, Pakistan and raised in the San Fernando Valley since she was three. Since obtaining a degree in International Studies from UC Irvine, Maria aspires to continue exploring the economic models of social entrepreneurship. 

Among the countless opportunities that the fellowship has provided, my experience at the LA County Department of Public Works always stands out. The overarching mission of the Department of Public Works is to provide public infrastructure and municipal services to administer a county designed with the community and safety at the forefront. I was assigned to work with the Governmental Relations Group and Division of Business Affairs to strategize how the LACoDPW can increase contract opportunities for small businesses per the county’s motion released earlier in the year. In 15 robust business days, I was exposed to how deputies lead a department that employs 4,000 individuals and covers public buildings, waste management, water resources, transportation, development services and emergency management. The scope of my project allowed for the opportunity to interview 20+ individuals, attend conferences, shadow meetings, present a sustainable strategic plan and to be mentored by Pamela Manning. The most treasured memory I have of my work at the LACoDPW is developing a relationship with Pam. She provided a space for an inquiry, feedback, and learning. We still keep in touch and I am grateful to have met this fearless and insightful leader in public affairs.