Newt Gingrich once said, "Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did."

Life in politics can be an everyday hustle, but for Danielle Lam ’07, working with Mayor Ed Lee on a daily basis is a rewarding profession that makes her hard work worth the effort.

Tell us about your time in high school and how it impacted your career?

I was involved in track and field and served as the editor-in-chief for the yearbook. What I liked about the yearbook was the collaboration and how we highlighted different people within our community. I was able to go six inches deep into everyone else’s work. These are the same skills I use now. I have to be a quick study on so many issues. San Francisco is a diverse city, where language access, the central subway development plan, and a variety of topics arise every day. Working in the public sector helps me act as a conveyor in bringing diverse parties to the table.

As a student, I also went on a Venaver immersion trip to the Blackfoot Reservation in Montana. Coupled with yearbook, the Montana trip opened my eyes to poverty in America. It was very cold sleeping on the gym floors and I remember taking tours of the reservation and seeing the people and what they were going through. I recommend SHC students participate and take that opportunity to look beyond their own community.

Describe your college experience.

I attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and received a Bachelor’s Degree in City Regional Planning. I joined Alpha Kappa Delta Phi and held several leadership positions in the sorority and Greek council. At Cal Poly, I learned how passionate I was about zoning, broader topics in the community, and how to create change through grass roots activism.

After graduating, I interned with the Chinatown Community Development Center and worked on the Central Subway Station. I helped relocate tenants who are being displaced and organized community forums. That is when I realized how much I cared about San Francisco and the Chinatown, Asian-American community.

All my internships, jobs and volunteer work is community based. I currently serve on four different boards: The Asian Pacific Democratic Club, Friends of Roots, the California Dragon Boat Association and the Chinese Historical Society.

It is a time commitment, but I truly enjoy helping my community!

Tell us about your secondary education and future plans

I’m attending USF right now, getting my Master’s Degree in Public Administration. I should be finished by December of 2015.

Hopefully, I will be able to work for a national organization down the road. Working for a non-profit that supports young women or one that stands for immigration issues would be a great goal.

I would also like to work for an elected official at the federal level. My dream would be to have big budget to pass out to non-profits.

What are you doing now?

After college, I worked for three years at the Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs Office as the Senior Program Manager. My role involved capacity building for non-profit and public policy issues around language access and pathways to citizenship for undocumented people in San Francisco.

Following that venture, I worked for a consulting company called BMWL. We were backing the "No on Prop E" campaign. My parents and grandparents are small business owners, and I didn’t think it was fair to tax those individuals who sell soda. Now, I currently work at Mayor Ed Lee’s office as a campaign organizer. I am assisting with his reelection campaign and fundraising even though he is running unopposed right now.

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Through my work in the city, I have discovered that SHC has a strong name in the community. Lots of city employees are affiliated with the school and it has such a good reputation. I am fortunate enough to have had a variety of positions in a short time and hear SHC’s name through my professional relationships.

How can SHC students and alumni get involved with their local communities?

Get in touch with your board of supervisors, intern in one of their offices or intern at the City Department (youth commission). You could be a part of rallies in supporting low-income youth and make friends. It is all about relationship management.

I’m passionate about San Francisco and the success, growth and preservation of the Asian-American community in Chinatown. Sixty percent of housing is single room occupancy in Chinatown, it is the most densely packed living, well below the poverty line. Through grass-roots activism, change can occur on a local-level and I want to continue to find those avenues to make an impact. I hope that others feel the same.

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