Federal Spotlight Interview: Laniera Jones
Federal Spotlight: Laniera Jones, Training Officer, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Here is our Federal Spotlight interview:
MC: How long have you been in Federal Service and what is your main responsibility in your role today?
LJ: I have been in the Federal service since June 2003 which included serving all my time with the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Department of Commerce. I came into BEA working part time as an intern while I was attending Lynchburg College. BEA offered me the flexibility of adjusting my schedule to accommodate my course load. In June 2010, I was offered a full-time position with the Bureau which I graciously accepted.
Throughout my tenure at BEA, I worked in training and development and currently, I serve as the Training Officer for my agency. I have seen the progression of the agency’s investment in employee development mature over the years. I manage all training initiatives and programs, at the Bureau and program area level. I ensure that we comply with OPM regulations, chair our Training Council, and represent the Bureau and Department at the Federal Chief Learning Officer level. What I love most about my role is that I also have an opportunity to use my additional skills as an organizational development subject matter expert and facilitator. I also serve as a coach with the Federal Coaching Network. These sessions remind me of why I truly enjoy seeing the outcomes of learning and development. These events provide an opportunity to connect with colleagues and customers on a different level, helping them to realize their desired state. This is so intrinsically rewarding for me! It is truly a joy to have a position that allows me the flexibility to perform outside the role of a traditional Training Officer.
MC: What keeps you motivated and passionate to stay in the public sector?
LJ: The opportunity to serve the public is noble and honorable from my perspective. To know the work I do continues to grow and develop our workforce that contributes to the agency’s ability to fulfill its mission is motivation enough.
As I mentioned, I am able to experience variety in my role almost every day which is another facet that keeps me motivated continuously. Over the last four years, I have had the opportunity to work with the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP), by developing a mentoring program across the Federal statistical system. Part of this experience I could not have anticipated is the comradery the working group has developed during this process. Not only have we created a mentoring platform across agencies, but we have organically mentored one another in the process.
Last year, ICSP made the decision to focus on broader development opportunities for technical staff across the agencies. Thus, the employee development working group was formed under the sponsorship of Brian Moyer, the Director of BEA. We have been working diligently over the last 11 months to determine technical challenges across agencies and how to target those collectively. As a result, we focused on two main priorities: an action learning project team across four agencies and hosting an innovation showcase. The showcase, called Big Data Day, is an event highlighting the innovations across ICSP agencies around big data through posters, demonstrations, a panel, and lightning presentations. As the working group coordinator, I am grateful for the opportunity to lead these efforts, empowering me to step outside of my traditional role and learn while doing. We are thrilled about the potential of this exciting and engaging event!
Another motivator is my work with the Training Officers Consortium as an Executive Board member. I am the assistant newsletter editor and vice-chair of recruitment, marketing, and retention. Volunteering my time to serve others in the learning and development field, government employees, private sector, and vendor alike, has provided a more global view of our field at large. Our monthly professional development programs always target the right skills to support our own growth. The Annual Institute also provides an opportunity to really zero in on achieving our personal goals as we are so keen to do for others. Being part of an organization that provides development to those who support development is a wonderfully unique perspective.
MC: What is one of your biggest achievements?
LJ: My biggest achievement to date is growing from a team of one to a team of four in three years. When I first started as Training Officer, I was a department of one with limited assistance from another employee. Since then, the agency has seen how much value we are able to bring to the organization, from external and internal training to development programs, managing our learning management system, and partnering with the internal program areas. All of what we do is in support of the greater Bureau mission. With the team we have, we can provide more comprehensive, timely, and strategic support to the staff we serve. It is a great honor to know that we have built a rapport across our agency that justifies the support of my wonderfully capable team: Venicia Kelly, Cindy Nieves, and Erica Walls.
MC: What advice would you share with the next generation of leaders on entering government?
LJ: Government is a great place to be. The work we accomplish is more valuable than what is communicated in the press or than is visible in the public eye. It calls for applying your creativity, it can be complex, meaningful, and yet so much more rewarding than you could ever imagine. It is certainly worth your time and dedication. In the end, you are serving the entire American public, not just your agency.
*Answers reflect Laniera’s own personal views and do not reflect those in her official capacity.
Read more Federal Spotlight interviews by clicking here. And subscribe to this blog using the form at the top-right of this page!