30 years and no change in the percent (13%) of women managers in local government. It’s time for a change. We’re asking you for your perspective and ideas for action. In the next several months, we’ll introduce a series of initiatives to address the 13 percent issue.
City of Sierra Vista – Management Analyst
Where were you in 1984?
I was trying to be patient for a few more years until I would be born.
Describe your view of whether local government has been effective in attracting a diverse workforce?
Workforce diversity varies greatly among individual local government entities. While I think most organizations strive to mirror the demographics of their community, there is generally more diversity at the lower levels of organizational charts. I would like to see more women and minorities becoming directors and managers until those numbers mirror the demographics of society at-large.
I do not think local government professional associations have done nearly enough to attract diverse members but are starting to demonstrate good intentions. It’s time to drastically ramp up those efforts.
Wave a magic wand and give us three suggestions for improving diversity in the local government workforce.
Get ‘em while they’re young. Improve outreach to graduate, undergraduate, and high school students who may not be aware that working for local government is the best career in the world. If you teach a class—make sure you are bringing in diverse guest speakers as well. Too often in graduate school my classes had a slate of speakers full of only older white men. If you “can’t find” more diverse speakers—look harder and ask for help. Students are heavily influenced by being able to see themselves in the shoes of successful leaders.
As a graduate of Smith College, a women’s college in Massachusetts, my dream is to create partnerships between local government organizations and women’s colleges across the country to promote internships and MPA programs.
Take advantage of retirements and turnover to recruit and promote diverse talent.
Give us the names of the local government professionals that you look up to.
There are so many! One of my favorite parts of working in this profession is the incredible network of committed public servants eager to share ideas, resources, and advice. Some of current role models include:
- Mary Jacobs, Assistant City Manager of Sierra Vista, AZ
- Nicole Lance, Deputy City Manager of Surprise, AZ
- Gilbert Davidson, Town of Marana, AZ
1984 – Archives
- Kristen Crane, City of Del Mar, CA
- Megan Smit, County of Cabarrus, NC
- Polly Hulsey, College of Southern Idaho
- Benjamin DeClue, City of Lebanon, MO
- Whitney Rhodes, Pierce County, WA
- Carmen Mays, City of Spartanburg, SC
- Diedra Lane, City of Tallahassee, FL
- Sarah Bledsoe, Village of Rye Brook, NY
- Michelle Daniels, City of Henderson, NC
- Dr. Penelope Culbreth-Graft, Culbreth Associates
- Dan Weinheimer, City of Fort Collins, CO