Time, Treasure, and Talents
PROVO, Utah – Mar 03, 2023 – As a mom of four, Liz Mumford knows her way around the school system. Now, as a student herself in the MPA program at the BYU Marriott School of Business and as an elected official on the Davis Board of Education, Mumford is passionate about sharing her time and talents with the causes she believes in.
Mumford, originally from Davis County, Utah, traveled extensively while growing up. By broadening her physical horizons, Mumford gained a global perspective that influenced the rest of her life and her career choices. After moving back to Utah with her family, Mumford started teaching part-time while her kids were in school.
While working at the school, Mumford soon noticed a problem. “I saw a disparity between the policymaking that was happening and the actual challenges teachers were talking about in the faculty room,” Mumford says. “The board wasn't as representative of the demographics of our district as it could be, and so I felt like it was time for somebody who had children in school to step up. So, in 2015 I decided to run for public office.”
Mumford describes the experience of working as her own campaign manager as a crash-course in grassroots work. “I had never run for office or been involved in politics before,” she says. “I just figured it out.” Mumford knocked doors, canvassed neighborhoods for votes, passed out flyers, and opened up her home to people.
“Being elected was an emotional experience after putting in work like that. I have to give my family and friends so much credit,” Mumford says. “My husband was my right-hand man, and my kids put themselves out there while we campaigned.” The night of the election, Mumford drove around Bountiful gathering up campaign signs while watching the ballots come in. “When we finally found out I won, we were filled with relief and excitement.”
Her background in education and her time spent in her children’s schools allows Mumford to design policy with the firsthand knowledge of how it affects students. With the Davis School District team, Mumford helped create the Catalyst Center—a program focused on teaching technology skills to kids—and developed teen centers to support unhoused youth and other teenagers going through challenging economic situations. “I’m focused on bettering students’ education and supporting families,” Mumford says.
While entrenched in supporting the education of others, Mumford decided to further her own education and go back to school. “I was at a point where I wanted to redefine what the next part of my life looked like, and I felt like the MPA would be an intersection of my different interests,” Mumford says. She explains that coming back to school as an older student has helped her appreciate her studies in a different way than she did earlier. “Sometimes I'm supposed to be at a board meeting for the school district the same night as class, or I have to be at a public hearing and I'll need to zoom in. The program accommodates for that,” she says.
“Almost everybody in the executive program is similar to me—we already had busy, full, robust schedules and we saw the value of the program and plugged it into our lives,” Mumford shares. Specifically, the MPA program helped Mumford figure out how to fit her experience in the education realm into her nonprofit involvement by more effectively using data, budgeting better, and applying a broader range of financial and public administration tools.
“Ultimately, I would like to manage a nonprofit organization that influences the world of education,” Mumford shares. Currently, she serves on the board of several nonprofits, including Mentors International, a group focused on alleviating poverty through teaching sustainable self-reliance. “I love helping people all over the world,” she says.
Additionally, Mumford’s cohort has had a tremendous impact on her experience at BYU Marriott. “The team that I’m on is unique because one of the members works at the university, one of the members is in the military, one of the members manages a public works department in the state of Utah, one of the members manages a nonprofit organization, and then I have experience as an elected official,” Mumford details. Mumford describes the group as an amazing cohesion of ideas and different perspectives that has expanded her professional network and her outlook.
“I’m passionate that every single person can dedicate their time, talents, or treasure to an organization they believe in,” Mumford says. “Even if you’re a student and you don't have the money yet, you have some experience or passion you can share.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Liesel Allen