i3 Director Looks to Retirement as Latest Change Opportunity

Carol Lyons farewell

Carol Lyons (center) is joined by members of OII’s i3 Team to celebrate her 39 years of federal service and wish her well in retirement.

Earlier this month, OII said goodbye to Carol Lyons, who directed the Investing in Innovation (i3) Program since 2011. Carol retired after 39 years of federal service.

As i3 director, Carol supervised two busy years of complex grant competitions, annual project director meetings, and day-to-day monitoring of an ever-increasing portfolio of i3 grantees, including the recently announced 2013 cohort. While her time as the i3 director was likely the most hectic, she has had many wonderful opportunities in the federal government throughout her career. Carol worked at the Library of Congress, on Capitol Hill, and at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, before it was split to create the Department of Education as we know it today. She also taught school briefly before embarking on her federal career.

In conversations with her staff, Carol stressed the importance of keeping perspective. The work often seems endless, but it is important to remember that we are doing really good work, she said.

Though Carol felt especially connected to the work of the i3 program, a lot of her favorite memories of OII are not i3-related; Carol fondly recollects staff picnics in the spring, meaningful and long-lasting friendships with her colleagues, and silly holiday party antics.

As Carol enters the next phase in her life, she is excited about her newly flexible schedule. She hopes to travel more frequently to visit her son, a sophomore at Texas A&M University, and plans to get into some new hobbies, like jewelry-making and ceramics.

Carol is a big believer in the positive effects of change, and advised her staff to consider switching things up every five years or so, trying out new career paths, or even just taking on a new project. She stressed the importance of being open to new experiences and opportunities. Carol has set herself up with a great opportunity to practice what she preaches, and we wish her the absolute best of luck as she embarks on her next adventure!

Holly Clark and Allison Moss are program specialists with the i3 Fund in the Office of Innovation and Improvement.