Ed. Note: Cross-posted from the GSA blog.
This week, in partnership with the White House Office of Public Engagement, I had the opportunity to sit down with an engaging group of leaders from across the Orlando area for a women’s leadership roundtable. Many of the roundtable participants were small business owners and told stories of how they were reworking their business models to remain competitive in challenging economic times — targeting new sources of business and coming up with creative solutions. In fact, many were considering pursuing government business for the first time and had questions about how GSA procures goods and services.
The bottom line is that participants felt that our collective inventiveness will be what pulls us out of these economically difficult times. Small businesses will play an important role here in Central Florida and across the country, but government -by being open, transparent, and efficient- can also be an effective partner in creating new jobs and fostering economic growth.
I am always struck by how conversations like these highlight the importance of getting out of Washington, DC to hear directly from the American public about their ideas and concerns. And I am not alone. There is a concerted effort for Administration officials (myself included) to set aside time to meet with citizens and community leaders whenever we are travelling around the country. These conversations help all of us in Washington do our jobs better, and I look forward to participating in more in the future.
Martha Johnson is Administrator of the General Services Administration.