Category Archives: Celebrations

Noel Rasor – Emerging Leaders Academy Reflections

ELA Director, Noel Rasor, highlights the achievements of the Fall 2016 ELA class, as well as reflects on the program itself.

ELA Director, Noel Rasor, highlights the achievements of the Fall 2016 ELA class, as well as reflects on the program itself.

Comments Delivered by Noel Rasor, Emerging Leaders Academy Director

On January 11th, 2017

Welcome!

Good Afternoon. My name is Noel Rasor. I’m the Assistant Director of the University of Kansas Public Management Center and the program manager of the Emerging Leaders Academy. On behalf of the Public Management Center staff, I want to extend a warm welcome to our guests, the families, friends and supervisors of the ELA graduates—we truly appreciate your setting aside the time to be able to be here with us this afternoon to celebrate the work these individuals have put into this program over the past 5 months.

Beyond this, we truly appreciate the efforts on the part of all of our guests this afternoon that made it possible for the individuals here in the front to complete this program. You’ve taken the phone calls and handled the urgent matters while these folks were away for class. Families, we know that many of you added a few more items to your own never-ending to-do lists at home to cover things while they spent some time in the evenings preparing, and I suspect many of you helped them track down old copies of certificates and reports that they wanted to add to their portfolios. So, ELA class, please stand and turn around and join me in thanking your supporters for making your participation possible. I know I speak not only for the PMC but also for the graduates when I say we have deep gratitude for the investments all of you have made in your emerging leaders and in your trust of the Public Management Center to offer something of value to these individuals.

As a program that is meant to support the need for succession planning in public sector organizations, ELA targets promising non-managerial staff in government and other public service agencies to help them identify and hone the skills that are necessary for success in higher level roles. But by design this time spent in reflection and skills building also has immediate benefits for the participants and their departments. This is nearly always the case: when we remember to list our eyes from the road and look to the horizon, it offers us insight that we can bring to the here and now. Today’s program recognizes and celebrates the efforts of this group of public servants to elevate what’s important—thinking about goals, values, skills-building, their own strengths and those of the others, and the future– to co-exist with what all that is urgent in the everyday.

Looking to the horizon in ELA involves a lot of opportunities to engage with peers around topics and issues that show up in and shape all of our workplaces. While Public Management Center instructors bring important expertise and great content around topics like communication, ethics, leadership, and managing up, those of you who have been through a PMC class know twe believe that a good class is one in which participants learn as much from one another as they do from any of us as instructors. We structure our classes around opportunities for participants to engage and connect with one another as they leverage the many experiences they bring to class with them. I take tremendous pride in our ability at the PMC to create this environment from the first hour on the first day. Humans may be competitive, but we are also profoundly social creatures with big, active brains. We want to learn and we want to connect. When those of us “in charge” at any given moment create environments that allow for connection to happen, people step into that opportunity with eagerness, and everyone is better off because of it.

So thank you for being here today to help us recognize the efforts and accomplishments of this group of public servants in the Emerging Leaders Academy.  I’m so glad to have you with us to celebrate the achievements of these leaders who, we trust, will be a driving force in your organizations in the future.

 

Closing

I want to bring us to a close this afternoon with some thoughts about how what these individuals achieve in the context of this program shows us about finding our way forward in these tumultuous times of rapid change and competing world views.

One of the things that I most love about the opportunity to teach in our programs like ELA and CPM is that they bring together such a huge mix of people who hold such a variety of public service roles. Sitting together at a table in this group we might have a sheriff’s deputy, a lawyer, a DMV specialist, an accountant, and a fleet mechanic. At the next table you’ll find an executive assistant, a firefighter, an epidemiologist, an IT tech, and a building inspector. And the next table has yet another mix…all this to say nothing of the personalities of these individuals, or the many skills and passions they have outside of work. They bring backgrounds in theater, cheer squad, acoustic music, and tae kwan do. They serve as volleyball coaches, Boy Scout leaders, election poll workers, nonprofit board members, and Sunday school teachers. They organize BBQs to raise money for friends with cancer, and coordinate community groups to paint murals. We have a pilot, an Elvis impersonator, and a member of Box of Crickets (as the English translation is what I can pronounce), voted the #1 Latin band in Kansas City. All this is on top of the work they do managing the stuff that comes with family obligations, and I’m sure this list only scratches the surface.

As impressive as all this is—and let me assure you, this group is pretty impressive—I think they are simply a representative sample of all the talent and skills and passion that surrounds us every single day in our organizations. So that’s the first point that we should all find to be a hopeful and encouraging reminder: our government agencies are staffed by dedicated, passionate people with amazing abilities to address the challenges we face.

But there’s something more noteworthy at this particular moment in time: the extent to which these individuals found common ground and developed real friendships that reach across the divides in their experiences and perspectives. They discovered that they have common experiences in dealing with difficult colleagues, using clunky technology that sometimes makes their jobs harder instead of easier, in being proud of providing good service, in keeping mental lists of all the things they want to and are slowly tweaking to make government work better for its employees and its citizens, in their cynicism because of what they’ve seen and experienced, and in their inextinguishable optimism because of what they’ve seen and experienced. When we create settings for people to come together and connect, they find common ground.

It feels important to call all our attention to this at this very fraught moment in our culture when our attention is so often drawn to what divides us. And I’m quite certain there are some profound disagreements among this group in political perspectives, policy orientations, and beliefs about what is needed to create a strong future for our communities and our country. But quite frankly, mostly this didn’t come up. We were busy thinking about the circumstances in which we and others thrive in the workplace and how we go about creating that. And with that focus, we achieved what I think is a sure sign that something is going right in the class: some self-admitted softening around the edges among a few of our most cynical, road-weary professionals.

All this, I believe, shows us a way forward in these difficult times: be open to finding the goodness in others, and throw kindness around like confetti while you look for it. When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose to be kind. This smooths over the differences, highlights the common ground, and ultimately moves us toward a more perfect union.

Thank you so much for being here today. I hope you’ll stay and join us for refreshments, and I look forward to the next time our paths cross in the future.

Emerging Leaders Academy graduation – Faculty Reflections from Director Laura Howard

PMC Director, Laura Howard, gives her reflections about the course from the instructor perspective.

PMC Director, Laura Howard, gives her reflections about the course from the instructor perspective.

Comments Delivered by Public Management Center Director, Laura Howard

On January 11th, 2017

Good afternoon, everyone.  I am so pleased to be able to share some reflections on the occasion of this Emerging Leaders Academy Graduation Ceremony. It’s been great to participate as faculty in this Emerging Leaders Academy.  I’ve been privileged to get to know in a small way some very dedicated public servants

I have watched individuals learn and grow from session to session. Learning something one day and applying it at work the next day. I have listened to individuals and observed their dedication to both personal growth and organizational success.  I’ve seen folks moving eagerly, outside of their comfort zones.   I have listened to individuals learn new ideas or strategies to advance in their own workplace from people who work in entirely different organizations.

Before I introduce our keynote speaker, I’d like to say a few words to our graduates and to their organizations.

Your organizations chose well when they chose you.   As you finish this Emerging Leaders Academy, I would urge you to:

  • Continue on the journey to recognize, use and leverage your strengths; [Remember, Gallup has found that when people understand and apply their strengths, the effect on their lives and work is transformational. People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged in their work and three times more likely to say they have an excellent quality of life.]
  • Own your career – be the protagonist of your own career, not a supporting character;

In his farewell speech, I heard President Obama share some thoughts that I think relate well to the idea of owning your own future – President Obama said:

Show Up, Dive In, and Stay At It – Persist, and Sometimes You’ll Win. 

These are wise words – Showing Up is the first step.  You’ve done that.   And when you show up, don’t sit back passively – dive in with your ideas and passion.   And know that sometimes things are hard, and success takes persistence, and sometimes a different path than what we have planned.  Show Up, Dive In, Persist.

And to the organizations and employers, first I would say thank you for identifying and investing in your emerging leaders.   Thank you for understanding the importance of this investment not just to individual development but to organizational success.   But, just as I’ve encouraged the graduates today, I would also urge the employers and sponsoring agencies to:

  • Use these graduates; they’re ready and eager to contribute to the agency as a whole;
  • Let them take risks; give them permission to succeed and to ‘fail forward’’;
  • Look for engagement opportunities;
  • Look for ways to explicitly link the individual development goals of your emerging leader to your organizational goals;
  • Give your emerging leader a chance to help solve some of the biggest challenges you are facing as an organization – let them see behind the curtain; create opportunities for them to share their insights and ideas, and to volunteer for new challenges – this might mean creating ways for them to have a meaningful effect across your whole organization;
  • In the same way that you made a significant investment through sponsoring participation in the Emerging Leaders Academy, recognize and act on the fact that these emerging leaders are a critical organizational asset, that needs to be nurtured and managed accordingly.

Finally, to the graduates, on behalf of the Public Management Center and all the instructors, thank you for the chance to connect with you over these last several months.  It’s been our pleasure and privilege to be part of this process and to be heartened again by the heart and spirit of those invested in the challenging and rewarding work of public service.

Congratulations again, keep us posted moving forward, and know that you are now and forever part of the Public Management Center Family.

Lawrence Public Library Director advises graduates to lead through vision

Brad Allan, Director of the Lawrence Public Library, gives the graduation address.

Brad Allan, Director of the Lawrence Public Library, gives the graduation address.

Comments Delivered by Brad Allen, Lawrence Public Library Director

On January 11th, 2017

Thank you for having me here today and congratulations on your graduation from the Emerging Leaders Academy. I’m honored and humbled to be here with you today. I would never have thought anyone would ask me to give a speech at a graduation, so thank you Noel and everyone at the Public Management Center for this invitation. I guess this is what happens when you are recognized as a leader, so I guess this must mean I am one. It’s a bit surreal I’ll have to admit, but here we are. So let’s make the best of it.

Here’s what I want to say to you. When you are called to lead, lead, and work hard to do it well. One very important thing I’ll say, make sure you want to lead–or are at least willing to take on the responsibility involved in leading. Simple enough, right? Well, maybe, but you’ve already taken a great first step enrolling in this formal leadership academy.

To be honest, I never saw myself as a leader or ever really aspired to become one. I hope that’s OK to admit here. I’ve always been a fan of finding a great leader and helping them, providing the best work and expertise I could to serve their vision. So it’s confusing how I ended up where I am. I’ve always liked being a technical expert, and while I’ve always needed leaders who allowed me to speak my mind, I didn’t want to be the one to make the final decisions that have an effect on so many others. Whoops. Well, here I am now, and perhaps someday here you will also be. Or perhaps you already are.

So a little background on my accidental arrival at leadership and why I’m still doing it and hope I’m doing it well.

I entered the world of formal leadership for the same reasons many others have, I imagine. I didn’t like the ways things were. I had a vision of what I wanted–or maybe didn’t more honestly put, a vision of what I want. I applied for a job as a library director here in Lawrence because I saw an opportunity to create something from the ground up. A new building was being built. It was an opportunity to create something new and different and hopefully better and more fun than the norm. I had a moment of ambition I guess you could say, sitting In Seattle worrying I was in a dead end job. Much to my surprise, I got the job and all the responsibility that comes with it.

I try to accomplish two things at work. First, provide the best library I can to the community I serve. Many people may have many different views of what that actually means. So I use my best judgment, and even more importantly, I seek the counsel of those I work with and those I serve because those are my best tools for deciding what the best library for my community would be. I also make sure to regularly ask myself why I do what I do. I’d encourage you to do the same.

The second thing might sound a bit silly, but I decided I would try being a boss, a leader, whatever, in hopes that I would be a good one, and that there would be one less bad boss out there ruining people’s lives. Bad bosses have been one of the biggest stresses in my life, and as you probably already know, they are the single biggest reason people quit their jobs, even ones they like. I figured that even if I could just be a good boss, I could slightly improve the lives of the few people that worked for me.

So, given these two things, I see my job as a balancing act between running the best library possible and providing the most enjoyable, and hopefully fulfilling, working environment I can. Sometimes, these things coincide beautifully. Sometimes, they don’t. I see my job as bringing these two goals into harmony the best I can.

A leader sets the tone of the organization. I know that’s obvious, but it’s still important to articulate. What a leader says and how a leader behaves affects everyone in an organization. People look to their leaders to know what to do, how to act, how to understand what the rules are and what the organizational culture is like. Being mindful of your words and actions is a huge responsibility as a leader, and as a new leader, I think it’s really easy to forget that what you do and say has an impact like you never had before. So be mindful of that.

Earlier, I asked you to be a good leader, and I’m not sure how much advice I’ve given you in trying to achieve that, so in closing, let me give it a shot right now. I want to ask all of you to above all, lead with compassion and empathy.

Our world keeps changing and becoming more complex at an accelerated rate, and I don’t think it’s going to let up anytime soon. And until the robots come to take all our jobs–and perhaps that will happen sooner than we realize–most of us will continue to work. At jobs. For money. And our work will continue to involve bosses, people I prefer to call leaders.

So in this environment, I ask you to be the compassionate and empathetic leader our world demands. Work stress continues to increase. Life stress continues to increase. It is the job of leaders to provide the best environment for our colleagues to survive –actually, I’ll go ahead and say thrive–in the face of rapid, often overwhelming change and demands. Outcomes matter, efficiency matters, meeting board expectations matter, but none of those goals can be meaningfully achieved, or meaningfully celebrated if we lose sight of human factors. So, have compassion for yourself and have compassion for the human beings that surround you. Seek to understand and empathize with the day to day work struggles of those you lead. As a result, you will contribute to the positive feedback loop of making your workplace a place that achieves two important goals–its mission and vision, and to be a healthy, rewarding place for human beings to punch the clock and get their paychecks.

An organization is only as good as the humans and the human interactions that it consists of, so show your humanity to others and see the humanity in everyone you interact with. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and allow others to show their vulnerability. As a leader, these things are more crucial than they’ve ever been.

So be good to one another. Live long and prosper. Thank you for your time. Good luck and take good care.

Reflections from Emerging Leaders Academy Graduate: LaMonica Upton

LaMonica Upton, graduate from the Emerging Leaders Academy, speaks on behalf of her Fall 2016 ELA class.

LaMonica Upton, graduate from the Emerging Leaders Academy, speaks on behalf of her Fall 2016 ELA class.

Comments Delivered by LaMonica Upton, Livable Neighborhoods Liason for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS,

On January 11th, 2017

Good afternoon and thank you all for joining us.  THANK you to the University of Kansas Public Management Center for offering such a great program.  To the supervisors, managers, Department heads who thought it was worthwhile to expose your teams to such a phenomenal program.  Noel, I am so happy that it was YOU that lead us in this journey.  Your spirit and passion are reflected in the work of the PMC and they are BLESSED to have you.

ELA friends, what an AMAZING journey we are completing today.  We all travelled to this place via different vehicles.  For some of us it was:

Our turn – our organizations have a simple selection process “Your up next”

Good for your career path – taking a leadership class was a part of your “Goals” or a directive from the powers that be.

This is what leaders do – I should take this class and it will look great on my resume

Kicking and Screaming – Why do I need to do this, I’m not a leader, this is a waste of my time

Horseshack Moment – “Oooh  pick me, pick me”

The bottom line is that WE all ended up in the same place at the same time.  Kismet, fate, destiny, coincidence, fluke, chance or one of my favorite words to use “Serendipity”.

Reflect on these things:   We’ve learned a lot ~How will/can we use what we’ve learned?  ~Will it make a difference?  YES IT WILL!! If YOU use it!

As we move from this time and place to the next adventure in our professional and personal lives, Let’s strive to be Multipliers of professionalism, Unity, and Love and Diminishers of Mediocrity, Self-Doubt and Hate.  Fulfill your dreams of your GREATEST.

Trust yourself “Who you are”, Embrace the fact that you have something to offer

Don’t let others design your life for you, be intentional in finding situations that play on your strengths.

It is not simply enough to be Present!!! Amy Cuddy says that “Presence emerges when we feel personally powerful, which allows us to be acutely attuned to our most sincere selves.”  Our families, friends and communities need US to show up and when we do it gives others permission to SHINE!!!

Thank you

Reflections from Emerging Leaders Academy Graduate: Beth Benfield

Beth Benfield, graduate from the ELA program, with PMC Director Laura Howard, and ELA Program Manager Noel Rasor

Beth Benfield, graduate from the Emerging Leaders Academy, with PMC Director Laura Howard, and ELA Director Noel Rasor

Comments Delivered by College of Professional School Shared Service Center (CPS SSC) Grant Coordinator, Beth Benfield, University of Kansas

On January 11th, 2017

I can’t tell you exactly what happened in the five months, almost five months, worth of class and the connections we built.  I can’t talk directly about everybody in the class and what they contributed but hopefully this will give you a good idea of what went on with us.

The Emerging Leaders Academy brought together an assortment of personalities from diverse employers.  Although each one of us had a different reason for attending along with different expectations, we all shared the desire to improve our leadership.

From day one bonds started to form and we were made to feel at ease.  Remarkable what a little humor and honestly can do, so thank you Gary for breaking the ice and setting the stage.

Whether we struggled or exceled during our sessions, ELA cultivated a learning atmosphere covering old and new topics.  Along the way our perspectives changed, values were solidified, meanings explored and ideas communicated.  Strengths, abilities and accomplishments were shared while being celebrated with jazz hands and hoorays.

ELA has laid a foundation, provided tools and will remain a resource.  We will continue developing our leadership in current and future endeavors.  I for one will miss spending time with such an awesome group of participants and instructors.  Thank you for the opportunities and memories.

Reflections from Kansas Certified Public Manager Graduate: Megan Milner

Comments Delivered by Megan Milner, Deputy Superintendent, Kansas Juvenile Corrections Complex

On December 2, 2016

Megan Milner, 2016 Certified Public Manager graduate, speaks on behalf of her Topeka cohort.

Megan Milner, 2016 Certified Public Manager graduate, speaks on behalf of her Topeka cohort.

Good morning.

I am Megan Milner. I am with the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex and was asked to say a few words about the benefits of the CPM program.

In Topeka, our class was held each month at a national historic site, the Brown V. Board of Education building. For a group of people who were meeting with the purpose of learning how to better lead and manage people, being in this building was a constant reminder that how we treat other people matters.

I’ve put together a short list of those things that I found, and my fellow classmates found, to be most beneficial in the CPM program:

  1. Coffee – a very wise person recently told me that a yawn is a silent scream for This really resonated with me, so the steady supply of caffeinated fuel was very much appreciated.
  2. The thermostat, and having control of said thermostat, was a highly valued commodity in the Topeka
  3. I looked through my CPM notebook and randomly pulled out some of the ideas or phrases that, looking back, really made an impression on Things like:
    1. Servant leadership…
    2. Emotional intelligence…
    3. Learning to appreciate and value differences…
    4. Deep smarts…
    5. We completed our own flowcharts and org charts, and all had to face the ominous question of whether or not our position was really relevant to our organization (which, for the purposes of my supervisor and Deputy Secretary in the audience today, the answer was yes)
    6. We talked about creating public value for our agency…
    7. We learned that there is a fine science to putting together a PowerPoint…
    8. Remember discussing rock stars, steady-eddy’s and bottom dwellers?
    9. There were so many areas that we studied over the past year and I mention some of these as a reminder of what we went through and how far we have come since January.
  4. The CPM staff and facilitators – We are very privileged to have been able to learn from such a high caliber of Thank you for sharing your stories and experiences and mistakes so that we can be better leaders. Your devotion and enthusiasm for the program helped create a learning environment free of judgement or disapproval, and we could tell you genuinely cared about us and our success.
  5. Our fellow classmates – If one were to speak to every individual in this CPM program and ask them what was most beneficial, I am confident you would hear similar answers from almost everyone: having the opportunity to interact and network with such a talented and smart group of There were many times during our classes when one of you said something that stopped me in my tracks and made me re-think and re-evaluate what I was doing. The insight and experiences offered by our peers were an instrumental part of making this program work. Public service is a very rewarding occupation…and at the same time, it can be complex, frustrating and challenging. But if the future of public service in Kansas is sitting in this room today, from what I have seen, we are in pretty good hands.

As I was reminiscing and looking through my CPM notebook, I found a quote that I wanted to end with today. This quote was shared with us in the very first CPM class in January and I jotted it down on a sticky note and put it in my notebook. I think it holds as much relevance at the end of our CPM program as it did the day we began. The quote is:

“Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak today and congratulations to all of the CPM graduates on your hard work!

 

Reflections from Kansas Certified Public Manager Graduate: Colleen Stuart

Comments Delivered by Lieutenant Colleen Stuart, Topeka Police Department

On December 2, 2016

 

2016 Certified Public Manager Lt. Colleen Stuart from the Topeka Police Department speaks on behalf of her Law Enforcement Leadership Academy cohort.

2016 Certified Public Manager Lt. Colleen Stuart from the Topeka Police Department speaks on behalf of her Law Enforcement Leadership Academy cohort.

Although this Command School program is young, it is already highly sought after.  I recall feeling uneasy when Chief Brown announced in a Staff meeting he wanted to speak to LT Harden and I afterwards.  As we sat with him he very quickly asked if we would both consider participating in the KU PMC LELA Command School beginning in January 2016. Chief Brown wanted to invest in his Commanders to prepare them for future roles within the department.  I was honored to have been given the opportunity.

Afterwards, I began thinking of this year long program and what it would entail. I was a new LT at the time. While I had everything to learn, I knew discussion and networking was a large part of the program. What could I possibly contribute to a class full of experienced Chiefs, Sheriffs and Commanders from agencies across Kansas?

Over the course of the year, which was done before I was ready to let go of these amazing people; I took ideas back to my agency from our sessions- ideas like the one page project manager, the better understanding of how people are motivated and deal with conflict and the painful emotional intelligence profile. But I also learned much more than the lesson plans.

No matter the size of agency, there are similar issues and obstacles. When things go well we celebrate the same victories and we all share the same passion to protect and serve our communities. There are different leadership paths towards getting that job done; those that are at heart a street cop & soldier leading by example and from the front as our beloved CPT Dave Melton from the KCK PD did, leaders who are hardened administrators, no sugarcoating and seeing the bottom line but with a true heart for their people, and visionaries and innovators who look beyond the way things have always been done to what can be improved and done in a new way.  Each person within my class had a slightly different view of how to lead, how to deal with a situation, and I absorbed everything I could while I was in their midst.

Before I go I would like to thank Jonathan- our principal instructor.  Jonathan is the only non-law enforcement person I have met who seemed to really understand the quirks of our profession.  He understands why law enforcement thinks like we do, he would laugh knowing our brand of humor- even dishing it out on occasion. He created a learning environment that was enjoyable, relatable and valuable. He also hurt right alongside us when our brother in blue was taken tragically. He does not wear a badge but will always be one of us in my book.

In closing, I appreciate the opportunity I was given to join this program. As a result I stand now a better law enforcement officer, a better version of myself, because of each person in my LELA #3 class. And I thank each one of them for sharing who they are.  Thank you.

 

Reflections from Kansas Certified Public Manager Graduate: Daniel Cecil

Comments Delivered by Daniel Cecil, Assistant Director of Public Building & Grounds, City of Dodge City Parks.

On December 2, 2016

Daniel Cecil, graduate from the Hays CPM cohort, with PMC Director Laura Howard, University of Kansas Provost Neeli Bendapudi, and CPM Program Manager Terri Callahan.

Daniel Cecil, graduate speaker from the Hays Certified Public Manager cohort, with KU Public Management Center Director Laura Howard, University of Kansas Provost Neeli Bendapudi, and Certified Public Management Program Manager Terri Callahan.

Good Morning,

Thank you for attending the 2016 Kansas Certified Public Manager Program graduation Ceremony. I am Daniel Cecil from Dodge City and member of the Hays Cohort.

Back in January, when we first met as a class in Hays, there were many people who came from many walks of life, brought together by this class to improve themselves, their careers and the organizations they worked for and represented. We knew nothing or very little about one another so everyone was on their best behavior, ready to listen and learn about the expectations and course material Terri was about to send our way.

As the months went by, we went from a room full of strangers to friends that came together once a month for 2 days to talk, discuss and debate topics ranging from budgets and planning to managing projects and building relationships. We shared stories about work experiences and asked one another for advice and opinions on the tough questions we faced on the job. It was nice to know other people in the workforce were facing some of the same issues as myself and had positive feedback as well as solutions!

Even when we weren’t in class, many good memories were made. Group lunch was a regular occurrence in Hays with the help of the local class members providing their culinary expertise when we needed a restaurant to go to. We traveled to the City of Russell to watch the movie Seabiscuit on their big screen that was generously offered to us as an option. Setting on the rooftop patio at the Oread during the collaboration conference telling jokes and stories will be something I won’t soon forget.

Today as we gather for the last time as the 2016 class, I would like to thank Terri and all of the instructors for their time and dedication to the program to make it what it is, the best. The program is challenging yet rewarding. The capstone project provides an opportunity to improve on a work situation the individual has identified as an issue and the individual development plan allows people to continuously improve in both their work and personal lives. These projects along with the people and memories have made Certified Public Manager 2016 something to remember.

I believe that everyone who takes this class and fully invests themselves in learning and engaging will come away with a quality experience.

 

Thank you.

Kansas Certified Public Management Center – 2016 graduation commencement speech from Director Laura Howard

Comments Delivered by Public Management Center Director, Laura Howard.

Director Laura Howard speaking to the graduates

Director Laura Howard speaking to the 2016 Certified Public Manager program graduates.

On December 2, 2016

Good morning. My name is Laura Howard and I direct the University of Kansas Public Management Center. I would like to welcome you on behalf of the KU Public Management Center, the School of Public Affairs and Administration and the University of Kansas to this Graduation Ceremony for the 2016 Kansas Certified Public Manager Program.  We have the opportunity today to honor 77 Public Servants who have earned the credential of Certified Public Manager.   These graduates join a group of almost 40,000 across the nation and 1,700 in the State of Kansas who have earned this elite designation.

The Certified Public Manager Designation is a nationally accredited management development program targeted towards individuals in local, state, federal and tribal government, as well as other organizations that serve a public purpose.  We are privileged at the KU Public Management Center to be the organization that sponsors and operates the accredited program within the State of Kansas.  Today’s graduates have earned this credential by completing more than 300 contact hours in seven key management competency areas over this last year.   In addition to classroom time, these graduates have completed a number of competency-based assignments resulting in an e-portfolio that demonstrates the skills they have learned throughout this past year.  Each student has also developed a capstone project that directly benefits the graduate’s agency through improved processes, efficiencies, improved outcomes or an innovative approach to an agency need.

Like the graduates before them, members of this class share a belief and commitment in service to others and a belief and commitment in the common good.  They truly exemplify the values of the National CPM Consortium – Connect, Engage and Lead.   These graduates are leading the way in public management.   Please join me in applauding today’s graduates for their hard work and accomplishment.

We also have with us some past CPM graduates.  If you are one of the 1600 graduates who have come before this class, please stand and be recognized.

The Public Management Center does not do this work alone.   We have some wonderful partners who are here today.   I would also like to thank our formal CPM partners – the Kansas Association of Counties, the League of Kansas Municipalities, the Mid-America Regional Council as well as the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.  Thank you for your ongoing commitment to good public management, your efforts in marketing and outreach and all that you do to help make the Kansas CPM program one of the best in the nation.

Reflections from Emerging Leaders Academy Graduate: Angela Harshbarger

Comments Delivered By Angela Harshbarger, Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS
On January 29, 2016

ELA Graduate Angela Harshbarger

During the graduation ceremony, Angela Harshbarger shares what she gained by participating in the Emerging Leaders Academy.
©2016 University of Kansas (source: Marcom)

We have made it to graduation. For those completing the class today, we are probably reflecting on the things that we have learned and the fun that we have had along the way. For our guests, you are probably wondering what it is exactly that we have been doing these past few weeks. What if I told you we have been working on becoming one-buttock players? Let me explain.

On our first day of ELA we watched a presentation by Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, titled The Transformative Power of Classical Music. In his presentation, Mr. Zander talks about how part of his job as a conductor is to awaken in others the possibility to love classical music. He compares the process to a child learning to play the piano. At first, the child drives the music by playing each note forcefully and with purpose. With time and practice, the child’s playing progresses and they begin to focus more on the melody, so that now every few notes are played with emphasis. After a couple of years the child is playing almost fluidly with confidence and passion.

So what changed? Remember, in the beginning the child was the driving force behind the music. In time, the child has come to appreciate the experience of playing. He or she is so moved by the music that their body shifts in response until they are now sitting so that they lean to one side, becoming a one-buttock player.

So how does this translate to leadership? For us, the last few weeks have been like learning the piano. In the beginning we were so focused on taking in the information about what good or great leadership looks like, but by the end we were more focused on the actual experience of being a leader. We have become open to new possibilities that leadership brings with it.

Our task is now to awaken those possibilities in others. In order to accomplish this, we spent some time learning about our own strengths, those things that we do that energize us the most. Imagine what we can be inspired to accomplish if we spend more time doing the things we enjoy. And, what if we were to take that same opportunity and apply it to those around us? What would it look and feel like to work with staff that truly wants to be where they are, rather than feels like they have to be? This is just a little bit of what I will take with me from ELA.

Noel Rasor, we are grateful to you and all of those involved in ELA for giving us this opportunity. To our family, friends and guests, thank you for supporting us today and always. To my classmates, our work is not finished. Learning the theory and the principles of leadership was the easy part. It is time to put it into practice.

I would like to finish with a quote by Peter Bergman, from his article “Why So Many Leadership Program Ultimately Fail”: There is a massive difference between what we know about leadership and what we do as leaders. I have never seen a leader fail because he or she didn’t know enough about leadership. In fact, I can’t remember ever meeting a leader who didn’t know enough about leadership. What makes leadership hard isn’t the theoretical, it’s the practical. It’s not just about knowing what to say or do. It’s about whether you’re willing to experience the discomfort, risk, and uncertainty of saying or doing it.”

Thank you.