Reflections from Emerging Leaders Academy Graduate: Amanda Keller

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.