By Donna Malpezzi

Frequent readers of our blog have probably noticed that we tackle many of our projects in partnership with our dear friend and frequent collaborator Donna Malpezzi of DMMConsulting (that’s her in the picture above!). This month, we asked Donna to talk about what it’s like to move from the public to the private sector – and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

Almost four years have elapsed since retiring with more than three decades of public service. Over the course of that time, I had the privilege of working for several PA Senate Majority Leaders, one Governor, the venerable and Honorable Dick Thornburgh, and the late House Speaker Matthew J. Ryan. This perspective, in conjunction with my current experience, presents an opportune time to reflect “on the other side” of the public continuum as the Principal of DMMConsulting.

DMMConsulting provides strategic counsel and legal advice to entities interested in advancing public policy through the legislative and executive branches of government. I contribute to the development of individualized policy agendas, analyze and draft relevant legislation and suggest potential contacts – most often in collaboration with John Denny and the team at Denny Civic Solutions.

Although starting a new business can be daunting, I never looked back; and, with the purchase of office supplies and a calendar book, along with completing a number of required administrative procedures, the exciting venture of DMMConsulting was launched.

To encapsulate my thoughts, a comparative review of life on both sides of the proverbial fence follows:

  • Few things can compare with the hectic pace and pressure of a senior legislative position, but sharing my personal knowledge and experience with committed, caring organizations struggling to find their voice in the formulation of sound public policy is equally rewarding.
  • Gaining insights into the plight of children and individuals with problems I never fully comprehended before has been life-altering, and inspires me daily.
  • Working with the strong and compassionate team at Denny Civic Solutions in an engaging, productive, and amusing atmosphere exemplifies cooperation at its best.
  • Learning and understanding policy issues from different perspectives – while monitoring, analyzing and drafting legislation, conducting research, talking to public and private policy experts, and writing reports – is integral to either role.
  • Getting to know and work with new people, particularly young professionals entering the workforce, while embracing a mentorship role, is always exhilarating.
  • Going through security – rather than walking freely through the halls of the Capitol (often on nights and weekends, at that) – has been a humbling adjustment.
  • Driving to Pittsburgh on the Turnpike, especially when compared with rarely leaving my former Capitol Office, is often challenging, especially in the wintry and rainy weather that always seems to shadow me, but it is definitely manageable.
  • Finally, being able to spend more quality time with my family, especially my new granddaughter, is truly invaluable.
At the end of the day, most striking of all is the fact that our state government and our clients are ultimately working towards the same goal, albeit from different angles: making life better for our fellow Pennsylvanians. And for that, I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to truly have the best of both worlds.