2014 Inspiring Women in Public Administration Conference


20140626_ku_iwpa_0001Over 200 women gathered for the annual
Inspiring Women in Public Administration Conference, held at the University of Kansas Edwards Campus in Overland Park, Kansas.   The theme was “Daring Greatly.”   Speakers included San Bruno, CA city manager Connie Jackson; Tualatin, OR city manager Sherilyn Lombos; Parkville, MO city administrator Lauren Palmer; recently retired city manager Joyce Wilson of El Paso, TX; University of Missouri-Kansas City Athletics Director Carla Wilson; Deputy Regional Administrator of HUD Region VII Theresa Porter; Dr. Barbara Kerr of the University of Kansas, and several other inspiring women.   They shared insights about triumphing after failure – declaring your win. We heard stories of powerful women who have made amazing contributions to their fields.   We saw a TED Talk about leveraging the feelings of vulnerability to propel us toward innovation, creativity and change.   


Management Partners was a sponsor of this event, along with ICMA, ICMA-RC, Women Leading Government and numerous other organizations.

2014 FCCMA Conference

The Florida City and County Management Association is a professional organization of practicing public administrators from throughout Florida local governments. It is one of the largest International City/County Management Association state affiliates with over 500 members. This year, almost half of the members attended the annual conference last month in Orlando. Like other similar conferences, it is a chance for local government professionals from across the State to share stories of success and good governance.

Management Partners was well represented by Jerry Newfarmer (President and CEO), Kevin Knutson (Regional Vice President) and myself. For Kevin and me it was a homecoming of sorts since we both previously worked in Florida – Kevin for the City of Coral Springs and I for Broward County. It was exciting to see many of our former colleagues and share our current efforts to help improve local government in Florida and beyond.

Being a process improvement junkie myself, I very much enjoyed the session titled “There’s Always Room for Improvement: Lean Six Sigma.” Speakers in this session detailed how the City of Ormond Beach, Florida used lean six sigma techniques to improve the contract change order review process. Lean and lean six sigma are tools used to both reduce the non-value added steps in processes and reduce errors and anomalies. Applying these principals usually streamlines a process and saves money. What better way to serve our residents than making their government more efficient and effective?

As a company, Management Partners has conducted countless process improvements over the last 20 years. I have helped on a few myself and it’s always gratifying when participants gain a true understanding of how much work they put into a process and how much time and money can be saved by doing something more efficiently.

I look forward to assisting our clients throughout Florida and working with former colleagues again in my capacity with Management Partners.

2014 Women's Leadership Summit

US Treasurer Rosie Rios inspired an audience of over 250 at the Women’s Leadership Summit held in San Jose, CA on May 7.  She started her career in local government and was Fremont’s Director of Economic Development when I was city manager there.   This annual event is jointly sponsored by Women Leading Government and the Municipal Management Association of Northern California.   Management Partners was well represented by Karen Davis, Brittany Gabel and me.  Much networking went on during the day, new friends were made, and leadership aspirations and ideas on other pertinent topics were shared.  It was an enriching day.  

2014 Transforming Local Government Conference

The Transforming Local Government Conference is always a great forum for learning about innovative approaches to managing cities and counties, and this year in Denver was the biggest one ever. Management Partners is a corporate partner of the Alliance for Innovation, and I had the opportunity to attend this year to learn from colleagues and visit with friends from all over.

One presentation that really resonated with me was by the City of Denver Peak Academy that detailed their efforts to deploy innovation throughout the City, using process improvement tools that are proving to be effective at helping local government meet service demand with limited resources. Because of my own experiences with Lean Six Sigma and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, I’m always interested in how different agencies integrate continuous improvement into their own management systems. The Denver program is a good one, and they shared both success stories and failed ideas, which were valuable in understanding what could go wrong.

Many of our friends and clients gave presentations on interesting projects that they have implemented, including North Port, Florida’s online “living room,” yournorthport.com; San Mateo County, California’s call center customer service improvement project; Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s community engagement efforts; Sacramento, California’s digital communications policies and procedures; Montgomery, Blue Ash, and Sycamore Schools, Ohio three-way partnership on mycommunitree.com, a regional community communications effort; and Olathe, Kansas’ Balanced Leadership Program.

The conference offers an opportunity to keep up with the latest best practices and to hear directly from frontline staff how they successfully implemented these innovative ideas in their organizations. I know I’m looking forward to the next conference in Phoenix in 2015!

2014 APA National Planning Conference

apa_wayfindingCan you imagine 5,000 planners in one location? Atlanta was the site of the American Planning Association’s national conference, April 26-30. Urban planners from across the United States and the globe assembled to share local planning solutions, best practices and innovations. I was there representing Management Partners and, like many other certified planners in attendance, one focus, aside from connecting with colleagues, was to learn about applying land use and planning to address local issues. There was a broad array of informative sessions on topics that ranged from vibrant retail streets to best practice for public-private partnerships. The forums and symposia were substantive, addressing issues that government leaders must plan for and address as their local circumstances dictate.

Two sessions of particular note addressed Open Government and Engaging the Public, and Diversity and Livability to address an increasing number of aging baby boomers. For 2015, the conference theme is sustainability in one of American’s most sustainable regions, Seattle. I hope to see you there. 

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© Management Partners, Inc. 2011