Dear ELGL members,
I’m going to start telling a story in this blog each week about the meaty, substantive stuff that’s going on behind the scenes with ELGL, instead of just compiling all of the cool content, education series, and job posts that we produce.
Y’all are competent web users so I think you can find that information without me doing a recap. We’re heading into a new era of ELGL (read more about that below) and so I want to ensure that our members are part of that planning and changing that I anticipate will happen in 2017.
In other news, I turned 40 this weekend and want to thank the ELGL family for their kind birthday wishes. I always thought that being 40 might make me feel weepy and haggard, but instead it has lit a new a new fire and motivated me to build out ELGL into an organization that is sustainable, meaningful, and relevant. I can’t wait to see what the next year – five years – ten years – bring for us.
What I’m reading:
- Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klein
What I’m listening to:
- Pardon My Take from Barstool Sports
What I’m watching:
- March Madness!
I wanted to make you all aware of a change in my employment situation. As you know, last year I left my local government job. I found work with a gov tech startup that had been paying me to advise their company and train their staff as they developed local gov software products, and at the same time, I stepped into a new volunteer role as the ELGL executive director.
Working with the startup was an amazing chance to get a first hand look at entrepreneur culture (#funfact: it is very similar to ELGL’s trajectory) and compare and contrast startup and public sectors. This opportunity was also tremendously meaningful because it gave me a paycheck and also a lot of time to focus on ELGL and to think boldly and “bigly” about local government innovation.
As I am sure you can imagine, a decision to leave local government and then run a professional association is a pretty big decision. This past year gave me the chance to ease into this opportunity, really consider if it is a professional decision I want to make, and did so in a way that was professionally fulfilling and interesting.
What I learned over the is past year (and I hope is also evident to you), is that ELGL is a better organization when there’s someone at the helm; devoting as much time as possible to the organization and its programming, growth, and long range focus.
And now, my work with the start-up has come to an end. I’m at another crossroads. I am now turning my focus to how I can create a paid position within ELGL; in the short-term for myself but more importantly, thinking broadly about how to create an ELGL position that ensures the sustainability of the organization.
At the core of this project will be our values of remaining affordable, being nimble and responsive to the needs of our members, treating private sector companies like equal partners, maintaining our flat organizational structure, and allowing anyone who wants to get involved the chance to be an ELGL leader. Our big-tent focus on local government service will never waver.
From time to time, I might ping membership with questions or requests for feedback as I work with Kent and Ben (my fellow legal officers for the organization) on what ELGL next steps look like. I appreciate your prompt replies and feedback.
To be honest, I fluctuate between being excited about adding a paid position, which I think will sustain ELGL even if all of us get simultaneously hit by trucks. And, I’m also worried about changing an organization that has flourished and thrived because of the awesome work of our all-volunteer crew.
Thanks for reading this and for your support over the next couple of months while we sort this out and continue to make ELGL the very best local government organization in the universe. I welcome your honest comments and feedback about this idea to add a new paid position to ELGL. I have pretty thick skin, so you can’t hurt my feelings, especially if your comments are productive about how to make ELGL sustain for the next 40 years of my life (and hopefully longer).
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I had great conversations this week with CivicBrain, LinkedIn, and FLO Analytics about ways that ELGL can work with both companies on things like social media metrics, social media innovation (CivicBrain); recruitment, headhunting, job postings (LinkedIn); and GIS resource sharing, shared services, and new technologies (FLO). One of my favorite parts of this job is finding ways that cool companies that do great work in the public sector can share their knowledge.
Our ELGL private sector members are full and equal partners in the work we do to connect, communicate, and educate about local government. Just because someone works for a city, doesn’t make them more meaningful to our work than someone who works in the private sector. I can’t wait to see what develops from these potential partnerships, and what all of us can learn about how social media, online recruitment, and GIS partnerships can make our local government services stronger and better!