Comments Delivered by Terri Callahan, Program Director, Kansas Certified Public Manager(R) Program
At Graduation, On November 16, 2012
Congratulations, Class of 2012! You deserve this celebration and recognition for the time commitment and hard work you have put forth over the past year.
The Kansas CPM program started in 1993. As graduates of the CPM class of 2012, you have the honor of closing out the decade by being the 19th CPM class. So it seems fitting that as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Kansas CPM program next year, we take time to reflect on the history of the CPM program and the last two decades.
I would like to share the story of a public manager from the State of Georgia named Ken Henning. No, you will not see Ken Henning’s name in the history books, but Ken had an idea, a vision. He did not let boundaries or obstacles stop him from moving forward with his vision. He knew how to inspire others to join on his journey.
I love this definition of a leader by John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
Ken Henning was this kind of leader. As a leader he saw a need and moved forward with enlisting others to join his vision. He wanted to see a national professional certification designation for public managers similar to a CPA designation with training and education that would foster and encourage the highest possible levels of competence and ethical practice by managers in all levels of government.
He is now jokingly called the “Father of CPM.” In 1976, The Governor of Georgia, George Busbee appointed the Georgia CPM Board and the Georgia CPM program was born. In 1979, the National Certified Public Manager Consortium was established to preserve the standards for the Certified Public Manager designation with six charter states.
I share this story, because it is a story of one public manager with a vision, a vision to make a difference, and he took action and persevered through many challenges to make CPM a reality. It is amazing to me that today the CPM concept has grown to 41 CPM programs with thousands of CPM graduates across the US.
As I listened to your Capstones, it struck me that all of you as public managers, like Ken Henning and other leaders, have a vision, a new idea, a new way of doing business, and a new approach to providing services. I enjoyed hearing each of your Capstone presentations, because they reflected the purpose, passion, and perseverance each of you bring to public service and the people we serve. Thank you!
I want to close with a quote and challenge to all public managers and CPM graduates from Ken Henning (from 2003):
“That the Certified Public Manager Organization, from its inception to the present, has not only survived but has grown for three decades, is a remarkable achievement. Substantial opportunities, but also some significant challenges, lie ahead of us. If all Certified Public Managers will approach the future with determination to play an increasingly important professional role in our society and internationally, the future will be marked by a 50th anniversary of the CPM concept.”
I would like to add a twist to Ken’s challenge: What more can we accomplish together if we as public managers take on the challenges of our future with determination and dedication?
Once again, please join me in congratulating the Class of 2012!