Building the Next Generation of Leadership in the Federal Government
On October 21, 2021, Management Concepts hosted a live panel discussion about Building the Next Generation of Leadership in the Federal Government. The esteemed panelists, mid-and senior-career-level federal employees across a range of agencies, shared their insights about cultivating the pipeline of leadership in the federal government. Michelle Clark, Director of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships at Management Concepts kicked off the 4th annual across generations panel by welcoming the audience and acknowledging the valuable role of the organizations who worked to produce the event: African American Federal Executive Association, Executive Women in Government, Senior Executives Association, Blacks in Government NOW Generation, and Young Government Leaders and introducing moderator Tinisha Agramonte, Architect of the First Generation Professionals Initiative & Chief Diversity Officer at Motorola Solutions.
During the one-hour discussion, the panelists were asked to reflect on their own experiences from the perspectives of an individual, a leader, and an advocate for emerging leaders. There were many helpful suggestions shared by the panelists and reiterated by the moderator. Here are a few of the highlights:
Personal and Professional Priorities
- James-Christian Blockwood, Executive Vice President at Partnership for Public Service, shared his perspective of stopping to breathe, reflect, and demonstrate what it looks like to be your whole self and fully transparent.
- Stephan Matthews, Blacks in Government Region XI Vice President, shared that he takes time to do what he enjoys to avoid burnout.
- Sheila Archambault Helke, National President, Young Government Leaders, shared that she blocks time for strategic planning and professional development.
- Michelle Bryan, Treasurer, Executive Women in Government and Deputy Director, Resource Management and Strategy and Policy at U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has learned to invest in herself to be better prepared for what’s next. She also has enjoyed having more time to spend time with her family without commuting or traveling.
Mindful Workforce Communication
- Ms. Helke shared that she makes it a priority to connect with people intentionally. She added that one of the positive outcomes of the pandemic is the numerous ways we now have to communicate with people, helping us to be more nimble.
- Ms. Bryan responded that it is not just about the work. She challenged us to create opportunities for open ‘human’ communication.
- Nancy Kreidler, Director, Cyber Implementation and Synchronization, U.S. Department of the Army, spoke about her enlightening experience that stemmed from instituting a daily roll call with her staff. She asked them to respond to a simple question that was unrelated to work. Although the initial intention was to get a read on every member’s health and wellbeing during the pandemic, it has made the entire team much more cohesive and collaborative, an unforeseen benefit.
Empowerment of Emerging Leaders
- Ms. Bryan spoke about the need for leaders to help their people recognize their value and potential and encourage them to seize available opportunities when they arise.
- Mr. Blockwood echoed Ms. Bryan’s remarks and shared that he focuses on modeling value-centric leadership and pursuing professional development and networking opportunities. He asks emerging leaders to reflect on why they want to be public service leaders and describe their career aspirations and individual development plans. He then does all that he can to empower them to reach their full potential.
- Ms. Kreidler spoke about sharing her experience as a mentor, helping clients reach goals on their own terms as a coach, and actively advocating for emerging leaders as a sponsor.
- Mr. Matthews emphasized that although leaders are responsible for guiding emerging leaders, each of us needs to be our own best advocate, build our network, and persistently seek out professional opportunities.
- Based on her own experience, Ms. Helke strongly recommends taking the initiative to set up meet-and-greets with leaders within your organization to understand their priorities better and speak to them about what you are looking for and the skills you have developed.
You can view the entire panel discussion here:
Natalie Komitsky is the Content Marketing Manager at Management Concepts. For more than ten years, she has been creating compelling content that tells stories, communicates ideas, and captivates readers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Nonfiction Writing, and Editing from George Mason University.