#FellowFriday: Ricardo Mason’s Fellowship Experience

Ricardo stands in front of the Cuyahoga County seal on the wall of the county offices

The Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship offers emerging young leaders the skills and networks needed to create the community they envision and jumpstart a career in public service. In our #FellowFriday weekly blog series, hear from members of the 2016-17 Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship cohort about their year-long experience working and living in Cleveland.

Ricardo Mason

College: Kent State University (Undergraduate & Graduate)

Hometown: Euclid, Ohio

Fellowship Host Site: Cuyahoga County Office of Innovation and Performance

Why did you initially decide to participate in this fellowship?

I decided to participate in the fellowship to be a part of something bigger than myself. I wanted to change the connotation that public service can have, and I deduced this would be the perfect opportunity to do that.

What has been the most valuable aspect of your fellowship experience?

The most valuable aspect of my fellowship experience was developing relationships with top-level leaders, community members, and across sectors to help make decisions around systems level solutions.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your fellowship experience?

Learning all the operations and services available at the County.

When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing around Cleveland?

I enjoy frequenting the Cleveland neighborhoods (Gordon Square, Ohio City, and Tremont) for food, entertainment, and civic events.

What’s your favorite Cleveland restaurant?

Soho Chicken + Whiskey in Ohio City.

How has this fellowship affected your career plans?

The fellowship has affected my career plans immensely. The two biggest facets being relationships (mentioned above) and transferable skills. Technical skills, including project management, performance management and continuous quality improvement, have the ability to transfer to any organization. Skills such as leadership, emotional intelligence and problem-solving have been invaluable in my development.

Why would you recommend this fellowship program to others?

I would recommend the fellowship program for a multitude of reasons. My main three being the ability to engage in your passion, networking opportunities, and rich programming around our professional development.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship?

I have two pieces of advice:

  1. There is no road map to the job you are going to be doing. Knowledge, skills and abilities are important; Challenging the status quo is essential to success.
  2. Have fun!

Want to learn more about the Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship? Find details about the program and application process here, and sign up to receive email updates about the fellowship program here.