In October the Romney Institute of Public Service and Ethics invited Senator Mitt Romney and Ann Romney to BYU Marriott to share advice with MPA students preparing for careers in the public sector. The Romneys drew on their years working in government and nonprofits as they answered questions ranging from personal ethics to marriage in the public eye.
Throughout Mitt’s career, he’s held himself to his own high standards of conduct. After all, he believes commitment to principles is what the Romney legacy is built upon. “My father, George W. Romney, was known for having an unwavering devotion to the things that mattered most to him,” Mitt said. “Anytime I have strayed from my conscience, it has been a burden. You can sleep better at night when you live by your principles.”
Many students asked the Romneys about what makes an organization effective and successful, so Ann offered advice from her experience with nonprofits. “I had many opportunities to review the nonprofits we support, and the most successful nonprofits are those with an eternal commitment to knowing that everyone is a child of God,” Ann explained. “That knowledge carries their mission in such an extraordinary way.”
Mitt emphasized the importance of ethics, both for organizations and public servants. “It’s remarkable that the character of one person can impact other people,” he said. “Stay true to personal ethics and political figures with good character, because policies come and go.”
One of the things the Romneys are most committed to—regardless of whatever professional endeavor they are pursuing—is faith and family. “Mitt actually supports me all of the time,” Ann said. “He’s always getting praise, but it means nothing to him. He values his family and his marriage. Half of the country loves him and half hates him, but I’m proud of him because he makes decisions based on his heart.”
Mitt also shared how he and Ann balance their many professional responsibilities alongside their personal lives. For example, he long ago set boundaries for work, and he honored those boundaries so he could have a healthy work-life balance. “I decided to take Sundays off from working long ago, and the cloud of stress was gone as I devoted myself to what mattered most: faith and family,” he shared.
“If you define success as money or promotions, you won’t feel successful,” he advised. “Most of success lies in serendipity, so measure your success through things that are in your control, like your faith and your people.”
Written by Maggie Olsen