The KUPMC Blog

Resources to support the work of public sector professionals

Reflections from Emerging Leaders Academy Graduate: Mark Lopez

February 4th, 2015 by KU PMC

Comments Delivered By Mark Lopez, Firefighter/EMT, Shawnee Fire Department
On January 16, 2015

The word “leadership” has always been a fascinating word to me. It seems that if you ask a hundred people what leadership is, you’ll receive a hundred and ten very different answers – of which none are wrong! I’ve long wondered if leadership is truly a born character trait or if it actually CAN BE developed and mastered! I’ve been extremely fortunate in both my military and fire service careers to have the opportunity to observe VERY diverse leadership styles. I’ve always tried to notice which ONE leadership style and which ONE personal attribute tends to be the most effective so that I can emulate “that style” in order to be successful.

The truth is, there wasn’t a single style that I felt would fit every situation, and, more importantly, that wouldn’t require me to put on a guise. To be honest, it was extremely discouraging! How in the world do I learn to be a leader if I can’t “ACT” like a leader?

In the Emerging Leaders Academy, I learned a priceless lesson. Through the various classroom exercises, reading material, videos, presentations, personal reflection, and the insight and perspective from the instructors and speed coaches, I realized, surprise surprise, it’s NOT one single leadership style or one single personality trait that makes a strong and effective leader. By tapping into and embracing what is already inside: compassion, empathy, and trust, and by believing that every single person is capable of greatness – you just have to unleash their potential, that I’ve come to trust in myself as a next generation leader. A leader who will successfully lead men and women through not only the good times, but also, the bad times. And even through the bad times, I’ll lead with absolute confidence and stoicism.

Thank you.

CPM Student Profile: Katie Southworth

December 1st, 2014 by KU PMC

We’d like to introduce you to one of the CPM 2014 students: Katie Southworth

Bio: Katie Southworth, Zoo Supervisor for the Ralph Mitchell Zoo in Independence, Kansas, graduated from Friends University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Zoo Science in 2008. That same year she got married in September, moved to Independence, and in December was hired on with the park and zoo. In 2012, Katie was promoted to supervisor. Along with her full time job, she also teaches clarinet lessons at Independence Community College, plays with their band, and plays in the summer community band. She also spends a lot of time involved with activities with he church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

About the CPM Program, in Katie’s words: I was blessed to have a wonderful boss who saw the potential I had to be a great supervisor, and she recommended me for the class. I knew it would only make me better, and I was excited to work on my leadership skills. Going into the class, I was hoping to learn more techniques for teaching and coaching employees through conflicts and how to better deal with discipline issues.

One of my favorite quotes from class came from the book, “Orbiting the Giant Hairball.” It says, “Courage, courage to cross boundaries. And, if we are to grow, explore we must.” The CPM program has helped me to push past my boundaries to become more confident in my professional career, and it has also helped me grow personally.

I would recommend this class to others, since the skills learned will make any supervisor’s job easier; but more importantly, the people you meet and become friends with will the the greatest influences on how you are as a person.

Capstone Project Title: Education Program for the Ralph Mitchell Zoo

Capstone Project Synopsis:
What benefits do you hope to achieve by engaging in this project? Or is your primary purpose personal enrichment or professional skill? The main goal in creating an education program for the Ralph Mitchell Zoo is to provide opportunities to the public to learn more about the animals they love to watch. Our hope for the future education program is that it will bring more people from the surrounding communities to the zoo. We want to add a few programs with the desire that they will be ongoing and self-sustaining with the potential of added revenue for the zoo.

The other side of the education program is to create more educational opportunities for the park and zoo employees. Industry standards and best practices are continually evolving in the field of zoo-keeping and caring for animals. It is imperative that we provide keepers with opportunities to continue their education to maintain the best care possible to the animals in our charge.

Reflections from Kansas Certified Public Manager Graduate: Brent Narges

November 24th, 2014 by KU PMC

Comments Delivered by Brent Narges, Deputy Chief of Police, City of Pittsburg Police Department
On November 21, 2014

GOOD MORNING! My name is Brent Narges, and I work with the Pittsburg Police Department. I am very grateful for this opportunity to briefly speak with you this morning.

I first want to thank Terri and all of her CPM staff for their dedicated work throughout this past year, and I also want to issue a thank you to KU for offering this nationally recognized program to public sector professionals of Kansas.

This CPM program has given us the opportunity to grow professionally, and maybe more importantly, we have grown personally during our time spent with our fellow students and instructors. (And let’s not forget our many hours and long tedious nights spent with Blackboard.) Our time spent together in class has certainly given us networking opportunities, and notably, we have developed new and stronger friendships with our classmates and our CPM instructors.

Our small but energetic class of 12 is certainly very proud to be the first CPM class of southeast Kansas. We look forward to encouraging our co-workers to participate in this comprehensive program in the years to come. Throughout our classes and discussions about the many challenges we face daily within our organizations, such as dealing with personnel issues or budgeting shortfalls, we took time to analyze. We came to recognize that regardless of what organization we were from, the challenges we face were very similar in nature. We have been presented with many alternatives, or should I say, more effective methods, for fixing a problem. Doing the “right thing” is not always easy, but it should always be our primary objective.

Again, I want to thank you for this opportunity, not only to speak with you this morning, but more importantly, our class wants to thank all of those individuals that enabled us to attend the CPM program this past year. Thank you!

CPM Student Profile: Brandy Hodge

November 18th, 2014 by KU PMC

We’d like to introduce you to one of the CPM 2014 students: Brandy Hodge

Bio: For the past ten years, Brandy Hodge has been employed by Johnson County Kansas government. Currently Brandy is the Volunteer Services Coordinator and Catch-a-Ride Program Manager for the department of Human Services, an agency of Johnson County Government that provides programs and services to residents who are vulnerable because of restricted incomes, issues related to aging, or a disability. Brandy has a Bachelor of Science in Crime and Society with a minor in Sociology from Southwest Missouri State University. As well, Brandy has a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Mid America Nazarene University.

In November of 2014, Brandy completed the Kansas Certified Public Manager® program from Kansas University. Brandy has five years of experience in supervising employees and volunteers. She has a strong passion for people and service working with diverse populations. Brandy serves as the Executive Chair of the Young NonProfit Professionals Network of Kansas City (YNPNkc), which is a volunteer board that consists of young professionals working in the non-profit sector. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, volunteering, and quality time with her fur babies (pets).

About the CPM Program, in Brandy’s words: I signed up for the Certified Public Manager Program to further advance my education, skills, and networking capacity in the public sector. I was recommended to attend the program by a previous supervisor who saw great value in the program and knew that the program would be beneficial in my career growth. My intent in completing the program included learning additional tools to be a better manager and leader.

Through CPM I took an honest, raw look at my weaknesses or areas to improve upon. Although it was unexpected, I now have a new focus moving forward in my professional growth to strengthen those skills. For me, I am very strong on the people side (building relationships, communication) but could strengthen my financial skills. I will be looking at additional classes to make myself a better-rounded manager.

I would highly recommend this program to EVERY manager who wants to continue to grow in their career. The CPM program is priceless. I have completed my MBA this year as well, which was an amazing accomplishment, but the CPM program brought together full circle the educational component with the real life examples of how the principles and concepts apply in the workplace. The people I have met, the stories we have shared, and the lessons we have learned are well worth any monetary value, since you cannot put a price on your professional growth. I am so blessed to be a part of the CPM family.

Capstone Project Title: Cultivating Volunteer Engagement

Capstone Project Synopsis:
Problem Statement: Johnson County Human Services seeks to cultivate volunteer engagement by increasing efficiency in the office, enhancing communication with volunteers, and serving more clients by growing the existing volunteer program.
Desired Outcome Statement: Johnson County Human Services will survey volunteers, research new volunteer software databases, and speak with other volunteer organizations to examine different options in meeting the desired goal.

CPM with Distinction 2014 Recipients

October 19th, 2014 by KU PMC

The Kansas Certified Public Manager® (CPM) Program represents a commitment to lifelong learning. The CPM program certification is awarded for life, but successful graduates will seek to refresh and further develop the skills they honed during the program.

The “CPM with Distinction” credential recognizes CPM graduates who continue to develop themselves professionally and make significant contributions to the advancement of public services. These contributions may occur via teaching, writing articles, mentoring/advising on projects, joining professional development organizations, and taking additional management/leadership-related training.

The 2014 recipients of this honorable credential are:

•    Dena Ackors, Kansas Department of Labor – ISH
•    Mary Blubaugh, Kansas State Board of Nursing
•    Jay Davis, Department for Children and Families
•    Brett Deichler, Unified Government of Wyandotte County / Kansas City, KS
•    Andrew Diekemper, Lenexa Fire Department
•    James Eickhoff, Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office
•    Randy Frazer, City of Moundridge
•    Brenda Gammell, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office
•    Adrian Guerrero, Kansas State Board of Nursing
•    Paula Hinman, Kansas Geological Survey, University of Kansas
•    John Hooker, Kansas Public Employees Retirement System
•    Karen LaFrenier, City of Liberal
•    Scott Marriott, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office
•    Erin O’Donnell, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office
•    Charles Oldaker, Kansas Department of Transportation
•    Jason Patty, City of El Dorado
•    Teresa Pearson, USDA Rural Development
•    Mike Phillips, Kansas Department of Labor – ISH
•    Courtney Prewitt, Garden City Police Department
•    Jon Quinday, City of Russell
•    Michael Reagle, Garden City Police Department
•    Brad Robbins, Leawood Police Department
•    Jessi Snook, Kansas Department of Health and Environment
•    Jan Stavens, City of Dodge City, CVB
•    Tom Sybesma, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office
•    Heather Wilke, Kansas Department of Labor
•    Steve Zink, Dairy Farmers of America

15 Ways Leadership Training Is Like Getting to the Super Bowl

January 31st, 2014 by KU PMC

Our staff had a great time thinking these up! You’re welcome to add to them in the comment section.

1. You get better with practice and coaching.
2. You have to study the films (read and discuss leadership, watch TED talks).
3. You can study all the films in the world, but eventually you have to put feet to the ground and flex your (leadership skill) muscles.
4. Great quarterbacks are only as a good as their team.
5. Great success comes from every player doing his/her job.
6. It takes a franchise to make it to the playoffs.
7. Sometimes you have to go for it on 4th down if you want to win.
8. Make the catch before you start to run up field.
9. Filter out the crowd noise and execute the plan.
10. No-huddle offense tires out the defense…and the offense.
11. A mouth piece is essential.
12. Realize you’re only one part of the show. (Are you a commercial or the game?)
13. Always leading with your head can result in chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
14. Never expect a Gatorade/Powerade bath but savor it if it comes.
15. Play the game you’re best at playing.

Sometimes during leadership training they make you stretch to get you limber and ready for action.

Your turn! Who’s got something for the theme regarding a blitz and a Hail Mary pass? Leave us your thoughts in a reply.

Reflections from Emerging Leaders Academy Graduate: Amanda Keller

January 24th, 2014 by KU PMC

Comments Delivered By Amanda Keller, Public Affairs Coordinator, Mid-America Regional Council
On January 17, 2014

The Emerging Leaders Academy program has truly been an enriching professional experience. As a class we’ve learned about myriad topics — from concepts as pragmatic as how to create an effective meeting agenda to strategies for maintaining an ethical organizational culture.

Through the mentor shadowing experience each of us gained valuable insight into where we want our career path to lead, and we developed an actionable plan for how to get there. Using the Clifton Strengths-Finder Assessment, we identified our individual, innate areas of greatest strength and explored how to leverage those strengths in our professional roles. We learned that one of the keys to being the best kind of leader is working to multiply the talents of our colleagues by helping them focus their energy in areas where they naturally excel.

The Shawnee class is comprised of professionals from all levels of government — city, county, regional, state, federal — as well as from the nonprofit sector. Having classmates from such a wide variety of organizations made for a rich experience as we learned from one another’s stories, knowledge, and unique perspectives. We didn’t always agree on the best approach to a given scenario or topic… and that’s what made our discussions so engaging.

Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of our participation in ELA is one that may not be realized for months or even years to come — the public sector connections that we’ve made by getting to know one another through this program are sure to be of great value to us on the down the road.

On behalf of our class I’d like to thank our employers for supporting and investing in our professional development. Thank you to the instructors and practitioners who presented to us, discussed with us, laughed with us, and advised us. And of course we owe a BIG thank you to our fearless leader Noel, who expertly guided us through the ELA program over the last five months. Thank you.

Reflections from Emerging Leaders Academy Graduate: Sheri Parker

December 23rd, 2013 by KU PMC

Comments Delivered By Sheri Parker, City of Moundridge
On December 19, 2013

I have had many ah-ha moments during the past four months. One involved the simple, but complex idea of networking. This concept has taken on a whole new meaning to me. Everyone in this class has become a source of great information. I know when situations surface in the future, an email or phone call to anyone in this group will give me another way to look at solving whatever issue is in front of me. I look forward to continuing every relationship that has been started because of the great opportunity afforded me.

Another moment came one day not too long ago. I was listening to a discussion and the light came on! It hit me again, with a deeper realization, that every office really does have the same issues! The only difference is the number of people it affects. Everyone works with someone that is grumpy until they have had a pot of coffee in the morning or the perpetual trouble maker. All of us have traits within us to deal with these issues. The difference is our willingness to put forth the effort to figure out a solution and work together for the betterment of the agency. These traits were made very clear when we spent time finding out what our strengths are. I have to tell you that when my strengths were revealed, I was not sure I was very proud of what they showed. The longer we spent discussing them and looking into how each characteristic really make us who we are, I realized that being a reader, and having a “need” to always be learning, is part of the reason I looked forward to getting Noel’s emails with the next assignment and the opportunity to get together with everyone.

Before this class, if someone would have told me I am a strategic planner I would have laughed, but I can now see that I sometimes start with an idea in mind and then work backwards on a plan of action, while playing out different scenarios. I also look forward to the next change in my life. The characteristic that pointed this out also said something about a short attention span! Yeah, that made me happy! But… when spending time with that, I realized that the short attention span does help me get things done quickly and look for other projects… or… the next change!

We had some sessions that were more difficult to stay interested in and moved more slowly than others. I know that is true for each one of us. One day when I was having a hard time staying engaged, I found it interesting that others in the class were on the edges of their seats waiting for the next word to be spoken and the next idea to be given. I wrote your names down, so I will be in touch at some point in the future so you can explain those concepts to me again!

Each one of us will take something different from this class. We now have an improved set of tools to draw on when faced with the question of how to handle certain situations, whether it is personnel issues, interacting with the public, questionable business practices and many others. I, for one have always believed that being a leader doesn’t mean that you have all the answers! No one can have them all. You have to have the confidence to admit this to yourself and know where to turn for help and where to go for answers. We were all sent here by one set of leaders and now have 23 additional in our corner. Everyone has to make the most of the resources you have close at hand.

Why Enroll in the Kansas Certified Public Manager® Program?

October 22nd, 2013 by KU PMC

Terri Callahan, Director of the Kansas Certified Public Manager® Program, was recently asked the following questions: What do you feel are the main reasons that people should enroll in the CPM program? What are the main benefits to them? To their agency?

“To me, the Kansas Certified Public Manager (CPM) program is all about participants gaining leadership and managerial competencies. This includes the confidence to lead organizations in new directions, empower their employees, and engage their employees in the vision of the organization. I want CPM participants to build a culture in their organization that motivates and develops employees.

Organizations need to take on the task and focus of building highly-trained dedicated leaders and managers. It is a sad truth that more people leave their “bosses” than their jobs. Well-trained leaders, and even leadership teams, are needed for organizations to be progressive, creative, and innovative. Creativity and innovation will not happen if employees are not motivated and instead suffer under poor leadership.

In sending leaders and managers to CPM, organizations directly benefit from the CPM Capstone Project since the goal of each project is to generate process improvement, cost-savings, or innovative ideas.”

If you’re a CPM graduate or a current student, what were the reasons you chose to enroll? If you are a supervisor of a CPM graduate or student, what were the reasons that you encouraged your employee to attend? What benefit(s) did you or your agency gain?

Emerging Leaders Academy Graduation Speech: Charles Jones

July 21st, 2013 by KU PMC

Comments Delivered By Charles Jones, Director of the KU Public Management Center
On July 17, 2013

Charles Jones

Good afternoon and welcome to the graduation ceremony for the Spring 2013 Emerging Leaders Academy.

I want to congratulate each of you, and Noel, on successfully completing this program of intensive learning, reflection, and growth. None of you got here by accident. You were selected in recognition of your accomplishments, capacities, and importance to the future of your sponsoring agencies. Your organizations chose well.

While we’re doling out congratulations, let’s take a moment to acknowledge others in the room: those who supported you throughout this process.

  • We start with your sponsoring agencies, thanking them for their support through tuition funding and allowing you time away from the office. Most importantly, we thank them for their commitment to public service that works, that grows stronger even as challenges become more daunting. We thank those leaders who understand that strength of an organization lies in the capabilities and dedication of its staff.
  • We thank your family, coworkers, and friends who offered encouragement and even a helping hand along the way.
  • Finally, we thank the instructors and mentors who added their voices and insights to the ELA experience.

Graduates, I’d now invite you all to stand, turn, and give thanks, through applause, to those who join us today.

I received a call a couple of days ago informing me that one of our graduates would not be able to join us today. I’m not privy to the details. I only know that a law enforcement officer must sacrifice this celebration in deference to other administrative requirements. We will miss him this afternoon, but his absence serves to remind us of the sacrifices you all make to public service. Each day you run the gauntlet of fiscal strains, political pressures, public exasperation, and the wicked complexity of so many public policy issues. The challenges you face are mountainous and profound.

Perhaps the only thing larger and more powerful is the spirit of public workers like you. That spirit is fed by many things: your work is important and interesting, what you do matters – intensely and personally – to the people you serve. You share our workspace with like-minded people: this is especially true in organizations, like yours, that value staff enough to send you to a program like ELA. You know how to close ranks and move forward (Gettysburg reference) into unknowns and sometimes hostility.

But the most important source of public spirit is something each of you carries, something described by public administration scholars as “Public Service Motivation,” a personal nature that draws gratification from being:

  • other-regarding: contributing to the well-being of organizations and society
  • altruistic: doing good for others
  • meaningful: value intrinsic rewards of work that is important and provides a feeling of accomplishment

Speaking on behalf of the PMC and all your instructors, I can assure that it is impossible to be in the presence of public service leaders such as yours and not be encouraged and inspired. Your presence in the classroom and here today affirms that while public service challenges may be great, they are met by an incomparably well-equipped and highly motivated generation of public servants, like you.

So thank you for your service. Thank you for what you have accomplished and the many accomplishments that lie before you. It’s been an honor to walk with you these past four months. Keep in touch and know that you will always be part of the Public Management Center family.

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