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Community Fellows Blog Posts

Regina Howson: What Makes the Heart of Silicon Valley Beat?

Regina discovers the intricacies of keeping a city vibrant.


Regina Howson, 2021-2022 Fellow

I am fortunate to be working with the City of San Jose in their Office of Economic Development (OED) department. The OED strives to attract, expand and retain economic activity in the City by supporting businesses with their public sector needs. These needs range from simple conversations about grant availability to complex inquiries about the City’s development process.

Because the OED has a wide array of responsibilities, each team member is required to wear multiple hats. While I have only worked with the team for one month, their knowledge and passion is tangible, and it has been fascinating watching them juggle their numerous tasks so effortlessly. The biggest surprise thus far has been realizing how dynamic my position is too. No day is the same and I am pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy the multifaceted aspect of my Fellowship. I do, however, have a primary goal and that is to support small businesses in their search for financial relief or expansion opportunities. Being in direct contact with business owners and employees allows me to develop my soft skills such as communication. I am also working on spreadsheet projects and research proposals which strengthen my technical skills. 

There are other skills associated with a fast-paced and dynamic work environment that I am now cognizant of. While energizing, working on various projects requires a sharp mind and great time management skills. The challenge of keeping my tasks organized and being able to switch in and out of them at any given moment is what makes my position even more exciting. 

The past four weeks have been insightful and I am really looking forward to the rest of the year with my team. I have a newfound appreciation for the public works sector as now I know how much goes into keeping a city vibrantly successful. I am excited to continue working more closely with my team, especially when I know (and admire!) how tirelessly they work to make San Jose the best city it can be. 

LSB Fellows,2021-2022