Cristin Kane, ’06, will never forget the time she spent sitting in the backseat of a Richmond City police car. She was dressed in business casual clothing and holding a flashlight. Like many Jepson School students, Kane did a ride-along with Richmond City police as part of her coursework. The exercise challenges students to examine issues from different perspectives.

“We went into people’s homes, pulled people over, went to the downtown holding,” remembered Kane. “It was quite the experience.”

Kane completed her police ride-along as part of Service to Society (S2S), an earlier iteration of today’s Justice and Civil Society class. She describes how this class made the greatest impact on her.

“S2S really defined how I approach my role in my personal life, my job, and my community. I vividly remember writing my ‘systems paper’ and really beginning to understand that there is rarely a ‘one size fits all’ solution to any problem,” explained Kane. “The lesson has pushed me to always think about the big picture and consider solutions from a variety of perspectives.”

And for someone whose job affects the lives of 8.2 million people, being able to see different perspectives is very important.

As a health program analyst for the US Office of Personnel Management, Kane is part of a 20 person group that works primarily on policy development and benefit administration for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. The program provides more than $40 billion in healthcare benefits annually to employees and retirees of the Federal Government.

“The concepts I learned in S2S are still guiding principles for me today and have encouraged me to think about how my actions impact the people who surround me in my life and my community,” explains Kane, who spends most of her time working remotely from her home in Richmond.

Her day-to-day work involves tasks like conducting research, developing surveys, analyzing data, writing and editing policy memos, and meeting with coworkers and other Federal Government agencies. For Kane, it is the outcome of all of these projects and seeing the scope of their impact that is rewarding. As an example, she describes her work with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“My group and I have been involved with the ACA in a variety of ways since many of its provisions will impact how the FEHB Program plans operation on a daily basis. Our work has ranged from analyzing the impact of certain taxes to implanting the FEHB coverage for eligible Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations,” said Kane. “It has been incredibly rewarding to work so closely with such historic legislation, especially because the ACA has been so controversial and widely misunderstood.”

Reflecting on the effect her education has had on her career and what she wishes more people knew about leadership studies, Kane said, “I always tell people that leadership studies didn’t teach me what to do in my career, it taught me how to do it.”

And in Kane’s case, “it” means having an impact.