Saturday, November 29, 2008

Giving the right tools for Young Feds to succeed

I like most of my fellow Young Feds are very energetic and passionate about public service and are truly looking to make a difference at our respective federal agencies. For some of us, the events of 9/11 inspired this drive for public service.

Unfortunately, many agencies have yet to step up in helping the Young Feds achieve this goal. So what exactly are we asking for? Well here is just a snippet:

· Mentorship: We desperately need the support of the Older Feds to help us navigate the behemoth that is the Federal Government and to encourage and guide our career path to where we want it to be.

· Proper Operating Procedures: A lot of agencies’ ways of doing things are not properly documented. The retirees leave, taking a chuck of legacy knowledge with them. A Young Fed entering into this situation is left to fend for themselves most likely resulting in mistakes.

· A chance to think outside the box: I always hear… “This is how we doings things here” and never… “Okay I see where you are coming from, why don’t we try this.” Agencies need to greatly empower the Young Feds to take risks and think outside the box.

· Continuing Education and Student Loan Repayment: I know this might be tied to the amount of funding an agency receives, but I believe this is one of the best retention tools an agency can give a Young Fed. Education either towards a certificate program or a graduate program improves the chances of a Young Fed to be promoted. Student Loan Repayment increases the chances of a Young Fed to stay longer at an agency.

This by no means is a complete list but these are some of the tools I believe if given to Young Feds will help us succeed at our agencies.

Ms. I.J Ezeonwuka
Chapter Liaison 2008-2009
Young Government Leaders

I.J works for the Department of Homeland Security/United State Coast Guard as a Contract Specialist. She is on the Executive Board of Young Government Leader and is also a Community Leader on GovLoop.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jim Trinka on "High Impact Leadership"

Jim Trinka and Les Wallace - whom some of you met when he was here for the January 29th book signing dinner - had an article published in Leadership Excellence this year. About the article, which has been made available at, Jim says,

"It speaks of not only the effect of a high impact leader on the organization, but also some thoughts on how to act like one. You know that I’m always bold to suggest these types of topics, but sometimes I certainly admit that I fall short of my own recommendations. I think it might be interesting to talk about how we measure up to these standards ourselves and if we observe some of these characteristics in our leaders. If the answer is painfully no, then let’s discuss why. Looking forward to your responses."
--Jim Trinka

Comments, anyone?

Leadership, by Lora Allen

This guest post originally appeared at on Wednesday, April 9, 2008. Permission to reprint it here was given because many individual posts share one link on that page. Lora ably coordinates the PMF Program at the U.S. Department of Education.


While my fellowship experience in the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is coming to a close (graduating this summer!), I will carry with me important life lessons on leadership. In fact, I keep them posted at my desk as daily reminders. They originated from daily observations of federal leaders and mentors that I deeply admire and respect. These extraordinary folks taught me that…

The workplace ought to be the most creative place on the planet;

Everything is an experiment;

Expect the unexpected;

Everyone is invaluable and irreplaceable;

Give people respect when they least expect it and least deserve it;

Playing it safe is risky (never be afraid of change – don't become complacent);

but Maturity does not equal conformity;

Go the extra mile; and

Leadership is an action, not a position or title.

Young feds, what are you learning about leadership? How will you apply those lessons in your life and career? Whether surrounded by good or bad leaders in the workplace, I encourage you to write down your observations on leadership. You'll be surprise by your list, and hopefully inspired and transformed.

Lora L. Allen

Young Government Leaders, Membership Committee Chair, 2007-2008

Presidential Management Fellow, 2006-2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

An Astonishing Lack of Urgency

John Kotter expresses what I've been sensing lately about the danger of complacency. In "An Astonishing Lack of Urgency (And What You Can Do About It)," he says,
True urgency is a set of emotions, a gut-level feeling that we need to get up every single day with total determination to do something to deal with those hazards and opportunities and make some progress, no matter how modest, and do so today.

The remainder of the column may be found at If we haven't already, I think that we who are in government must consider this right now. No matter where we're placed, there is something that is ours to do. Are we doing it?