Kehli Cage is the director of mentoring for Young Government Leaders (YGL). In this role she oversees the mentoring program, recruitment, workshops, and partnerships pertaining to the program. She is a proud public servant who believes in the power of giving back, hence her keen interest in mentoring. She deems herself a lifelong learner—she believes that we never stop learning.
About Kehli Cage
Kehli began her federal career as a student intern with the Environmental Protection Agency. More than seven years later, she has become a professional career employee with the Office of Government Ethics as an ethics specialist. Kehli is an avid writer, was a featured blogger on Govloop during the 2014 and 2015 Next Gen Conferences, and just recently authored an article on Fed Manager titled, "Keeping Millennials Engaged in Government." Kehli has also been featured on Federal News Radio with Francis Rose.
What do you wish you'd known when you started working for the federal government?
I wish I knew and understood how important it is to retain and develop long-lasting relationships. The concept of "networking" is foreign to many starting out in government. Oftentimes it can be difficult to make those genuine connections that are necessary to help you maneuver.
What advice do you have for recent graduates considering getting into government work?
- Be open. I know it sounds very cliched; however, as an introvert it is hard for me to be open at an initial encounter. It really takes some warming up for me, but it's a great thing and leads to beneficial relationships.
- Be "you." Be the best version of yourself! Be honest in your intentions and make meaningful connections. You never know who you may meet again in D.C.
What challenges do younger federal workers face? How can they take these challenges in stride?
One of the biggest challenges that younger federal workers face is deciding if government is right for them—so, retention. For me, it was the knowledge, things I knew I could learn by working in government. I knew the more that I learned, the more I wanted to stay in government.
I had friends in the private sector who were climbing up the corporate ladder pretty fast, but I think once you understand government, and the function of government, and why we do what we do in government, you'll have a greater understanding, and you'll want to stay.