Tackling issues that range from climate change and global health to social justice and migration, Brett Smyth thrives on building policy and partnerships for meaningful global action. With a diverse career spanning both the public and private sectors, Brett’s unique blend of expertise has empowered him to approach complex issues with a versatile and holistic perspective. He is actively working to advance better environmental and social performance by supporting organizations to be agents of change for the greater good.
A career path that led around the world
Starting his career as a management consultant working across the public and private sectors, Brett loved the global exposure and demanding nature of the work. “My favorite projects involved crafting long-term visions and strategies for governments, and then working hand-in-hand to improve delivery capabilities,” he said.
In 2013, Brett embarked on the exciting journey of entrepreneurship. “I founded The Engage Group based on my insights that genuine transformation can only be achieved through an engaged, motivated, and empowered workforce that is willing to act.”
Today, Brett and his team collaborate with clients from diverse sectors. They are the proud recipients of international awards for successfully shaping inclusive organizations that foster positive transformation from the inside out.
What drew Brett to Harvard’s Public Leadership Credential (PLC)
While his academic background was focused on economics, finance, and business (he has an MBA from London Business School), much of Brett’s consulting work revolved around the public sector. “I recognized the need to enhance my credentials in this domain, and the PLC program was the perfect opportunity. Its flexible format would enable me to balance my studies with my demanding work schedule, and the prestigious Harvard brand added to its appeal.”
The PLC delivered beyond his expectations
Brett was initially apprehensive about the effectiveness of an online course, but the PLC quickly won him over. “The curriculum is cleverly designed to cut through the clutter and give you all the essentials. The PLC exceeded all expectations and delivered an exceptional learning experience.”
Brett was able to apply these new frameworks of thinking almost immediately. “The Leadership and Ethics coursework transformed my perspective as a government advisor, emphasizing the importance of empowering communities to take ownership of their challenges and the need to work together to find solutions. The Evidence for Decisions course was also great in helping to demystify and simplify quantitative methods, empowering me to make better use of data in my policy development work.”
Plugging into the course and engaging with the faculty
Brett was impressed by the amount of interaction the online PLC courses gave him with the faculty and his peers. “This is an online course by design, but I was pleasantly surprised by the effective visibility of the faculty through video recordings and valuable online feedback. The incorporation of live faculty webinars was an unexpected and excellent addition, facilitating direct interaction and the opportunity to ask questions in real time. The teaching team and support staff were always responsive.”
“The course content was brilliant,” he added. “With a diverse range of engaging elements including informative videos, relevant case studies, insightful readings, interactive group discussions, and stimulating assignments, the course’s comprehensive approach ensured a well-rounded experience.”
Connecting with, and learning from, his peers
Brett had anticipated that the small group projects would be the least enjoyable aspect of the coursework, but they turned out to be the most rewarding for him. “Collaborating with individuals from diverse backgrounds worldwide and working on engaging assignments together proved to be incredibly stimulating. It served as the catalyst for true learning and brought the course content to life. If I had to choose a favorite part of my experience, it would undoubtedly be the group work.”
Why the PLC might be right for you
Brett would recommend the PLC program to others without hesitation. “PLC provides a flexible and accessible pathway to pursue growth and contribute to positive change, making it an ideal choice for ambitious individuals seeking to make a difference in their respective fields (while maintaining a balance with family and career commitments).”
What lies ahead for Brett Smyth?
The PLC program prompted Brett to make a significant change in his professional life. “The experience at HKS stands out as one of the best in my academic journey, leading me to pursue a full-time master’s degree at the Harvard Kennedy School. Without the exposure and inspiration provided by the PLC, I would have never considered applying to such a renowned institution.”
Inspired by John F. Kennedy’s famous exhortation, Brett promises that he’ll continue to ask himself, “What can I do?” as he embarks on the next chapter of his journey.