Why We Serve: Lewis Mcilwain IV

In this series, you’ll hear stories from USDSers and learn why they decided to join, why they stay, and how their work is making an impact for Americans.

United States Digital Service
U.S. Digital Service
3 min readDec 13, 2022


Lewis Mcilwain IV (he/him/his), Talent Operations at USDS. Previously a Management Analyst with the Department of Agriculture. From The Chocolate City! Washington, D.C.

A Black man with brown skin, short hair and a beard sits on a couch wearing a black turtleneck. To the right, blue text on a white background reads “My superpower is remaining optimistic even in rough times.” — Lewis Mcilwain IV, Why I Serve, Talent Operations, Washington, DC

What led you to Talent Operations at USDS?

Before joining USDS, I had done everything from retail to higher education to human resources. By the time I started really getting in a groove with human resources, I found that I really enjoyed talking to new people and conducting interviews/onboarding.

After a few years working for another government agency, I was looking for a position with a bit more potential for growth when a friend put me in touch with someone at USDS. The more I read about it and the more I learned as I matriculated through the interview process, the more I knew I wanted to join a dynamic team charged with doing the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.

What is your day-to-day like in Talent Operations?

My day-to-day changes as my candidates move through the pipeline. Sometimes I work more heavily on scheduling, sometimes I am conducting more interview calls. I like that every day is a bit different.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job, outside of working with so many amazing people, is speaking to perspective candidates who don’t know a lot about USDS yet. I love hearing people talk about their backgrounds and being their point of contact as they have questions and move through our process.

Blue text on a grey background reads “I am super proud of the DEIA Survey project. I am part of an amazing team that all have great ideas and are equally as passionate about making a positive change while at USDS.” — Lewis Mcilwain IV, Talent Operations, U.S. Digital Service

What’s your superpower?

My super power is remaining optimistic even in rough times. One of my mentors once told me there are no new problems. You just have to use your resources, brainstorm, and overcome them.

Can you talk about a project you’re super proud of?

I am super proud of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Survey project that I’ve been a part of for the past few months here at USDS. It’s been a lot of work, but I am part of an amazing team that all have great ideas and are equally as passionate about making a positive change while at USDS.

What’s your sales pitch for USDS?

If you want to stay in government, USDS gives you the best of both worlds: The stability of the federal government with the flexibility and work/life balance that you’re looking for.

What’s on your playlist/reading list/Netflix queue?

SZA dropped new music and I am enjoying watching “The Watcher” on Netflix.

What books, music, film/television, or art changed you?

Kindred by Octavia Butler changed me. I had never read a book that blended science fiction and history from a Black person’s perspective before. I used to think I didn’t enjoy reading science fiction until I saw people I could relate to in the storyline.

If you’d like to work on these important projects, join us! We’re hiring mission-driven talent professionals, engineers, designers, product managers, bureaucracy hackers, procurement specialists, and operations pros who want to make an impact on the lives of their fellow Americans. Apply here.

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United States Digital Service
U.S. Digital Service

The U.S. Digital Service is a group of mission-driven professionals who are passionate about delivering better government services to the public.