When I accepted the Conserving the Future communications coordinator position, Jim Kurth, then-deputy chief of the Refuge System, sent me an e-mail asking: "Are you ready to change the world?" Right then, I knew this opportunity would be profoundly special.


Using online technologies to open everything up was part of management’s vision from the beginning. In the end, more than 75,000 people visited AmericasWildlife.org, the draft vision received more than 10,000 comments, and thousands more connected through social media.


Coming from the Office of External Affairs, I understood the Fish and Wildlife Service’s social media policies. Knowing where the lines are drawn helps when you are changing the size of the envelope. Many of the cutting-edge tools already were being used in the agency, just not at this scale. We had the flexibility to try new things. Having management’s support made everything more fun and less scary.


Much of what we did is standard practice for large organizations.


However, some of it is new to federal agencies. The conference showed that we can change ourselves to better serve the mission and to be a leader in an evolving federal sector.


Despite anxieties, I knew all along that everything would work out because of our amazing teams. We owe the project’s success to their collective passion, vision and hard work.


This is only the beginning. Change starts with a spark—a fire igniting in all of us. Stop being afraid, and continue to fuel the fires of change that we need.