Alumni Spotlight: Ron Galperin (LSC '07)

This alumni needs no introduction. Ron Galperin has spent almost ten years serving the City of Los Angeles as the Controller. As he terms out in December this year, we wanted to connect back with our Leadership Southern California alum as he reflects back on his public service.

Q: SCLN works to inspire, prepare and connect leaders. In 2018, you were amongst the 30 notable alumni we recognized as a part of our 30th anniversary. Can you describe your experience working with SCLN and connecting to the network as an alumni?

I participated in SCLN well before I ever contemplated running for office—and I’m so glad that I did. I was drawn to the SCLN because I knew that I wanted to develop my leadership skills, and that I wanted to learn more about our communities and opportunities to create change in the world around me. It was great to learn more about Southern California and the City of Los Angeles that I love. It led to some lifelong friendships and allowed me to connect with colleagues with a shared desire to make a positive impact in the world around us.

Today, I continue to draw inspiration from SCLN as an alumni. Seeing a new generation of leaders with that same curiosity, that passion for service—I am thrilled to know that they are getting the opportunity to learn more about themselves and their communities. When we spend time honing our skills, exploring our passions, and building authentic relationships, we become more effective and receptive leaders.

Q: Describe your thoughts on leadership. Do you have any advice for aspiring leaders?

I don’t believe that there is just one paradigm for leadership—in fact, there are countless ways to thrive as a leader. But I do believe that we do our best work when we follow our hearts and our values and stay open to learning from those around us—that is where we maximize our impact. You have to know what your strengths are and how to work with other people to complement what you bring to the table. At times, the challenges we face can feel daunting, even insurmountable. But, as leaders, we cannot fall prey to thinking that the way things are is the way they will always be. I’ve found it very helpful to imagine that when someone says “No” to an idea, to instead pretend that they’ve said, “Not yet.” The toughest issues of our time require persistence and innovation if we’re truly going to meet the moment.

Q: After nearly a decade of public service as City Controller, we are heading into a new phase in the Controller's career. Can you describe leadership through transition periods and advice other leaders can take to manage periods of onboarding/offboarding roles?

Transition periods inherently carry a lot of uncertainty. We can try to plan as much as we would like, however, life will often unfold in unexpected ways and I find that to be especially true when you are guiding teams through large-scale changes. That’s not a bad thing—it provides us with new opportunities and fresh perspectives. It forces us to be flexible and continue honing our skills. I encourage leaders to lean into these transition periods and view them as opportunities for growth. I have been very fortunate to do a job that I love for the past 9 ½ years. It has truly been an honor to work as the L.A. Controller and serve the people of Los Angeles. And I’m very much looking forward to continuing to pursue my passion for public service and public policy.