05/30/2014 11:10 am ET Updated Jul 30, 2014

Overseeing America's Community Service

Wendy Spencer is the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund and other programs that engage more than 5 million Americans in service and volunteering. Spencer, who has held positions in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, spoke about her goals and challenges with Tom Fox, a guest writer for On Leadership and vice president for leadership and innovation at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. Fox also heads up their Center for Government Leadership.

Q. What type of culture are you trying to foster at the Corporation for National and Community Service?

A. The culture I'm trying to encourage is to be compassionate. You really need to care about service, and you need to have a passion for it because you can't fake that. You either have to care about people or get out of the way. This is consuming every day for us.

Q. What do you hope to achieve during your tenure?

A. I came up with this strategy called EDGE. E is expanding economic opportunities for individuals and families, and finding a pathway for Americans to thrive. D is for driving innovation and impact. G is for growing national service and volunteerism, and E is explaining why service matters. These are my goals and priorities.