- Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
We are thrilled to share that the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission’s (MRC) Chief of Staff, Vivian Pham, has been accepted to the John F. Kennedy School of Government Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MPA)and has been named as one of this year’s three recipients of the Bradford Fellowship. The Bradford Fellowship Program offers outstanding managers the opportunity to attend the MPA program at the Harvard University Kennedy School. Bradford Fellowship recipients will receive a full-tuition scholarship and a full salary while attending the program.
Vivian, who received her Masters in Social Work (MSW) from Boston College, has spent her career working within government to help better serve the people of Massachusetts who experience life with a disability.
“It’s a prestigious award. The program has existed since 1996, and only 65 people have been selected, so to be a part of that smaller cohort is very humbling,” Pham said.
“I feel extremely privileged to attend as a Vietnamese American woman, particularly in government and spaces where there are not a lot of people that look like me or share my lived experience,” she shared. “It’s a distinct honor and responsibility to gain knowledge and tools to enhance how the Commonwealth serves its residents, especially those with disabilities.
While she has been recognized with professional accolades, her involvement in a near-fatal car accident last summer helped her deeply reflect on her personal and professional life. “This life-altering experience made me think, “What do I want to do and why? And how is that aligned with who I want to be in this world and what the world needs?” Vivian shared. The experience opened her eyes to those in parts of the country that don’t have resources to medical centers like those in Massachusetts. “I became aware that we must do better in Health and Human Services for people who don’t have the same access to care.”
Vivian will take a year-long sabbatical from MRC starting this July to begin the intensive coursework. She’s excited to share what she learns from her experience with the agency, including classes like “Mitigating and Managing a Crisis, “Foundations of Digital Government,” and “Leadership from the Inside Out: The Capacity to Lead and Stay Alive.” “I want us to be an agency that is prepared for anything and can meet people’s needs in a changing environment.”
“This is the first big risk I’ve taken in a while,” Pham shared. “Right now, I feel like I’m impacting policies and programs at MRC. But I will take a year to invest in myself as a leader so that I may return and increase my capacity to effectuate change. I am eager to be surrounded by new perspectives and lessons from my classmates, and I equally am looking forward to sharing my passion and the work we do here at MRC.”
More than 80 countries are represented in her class, with over 60 languages spoken. “Being in a community with this diversity of thought and experiences will bring new and innovative approaches to our complex challenges.”
“I am driven to transform the perception of government from sluggish and bureaucratic to one that embraces change and pushes the limits of what is possible for the betterment of the public.”