What I Am with Katie Walpole, Clark County, NV

Posted on April 30, 2015

Link: ELGL Spreads Across the Country

“Cross between The Atlantic magazine and Buzzfeed” 

Welcome to our new member feature. We’ve all heard the excuse “I’m too busy” so we’ve simplified our feature to illicit short, meaningful responses for our new members. As a side note, ELGL is adamantly opposed to the excuse, “I’m too busy.”

3a4c3b3Katie Walpole (LinkedIn and Twitter) is a Management Analyst for the Department of Administrative Services, Clark County, Nevada. She has an undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and an MPA from the London School of Economic and Public Administration.

My most frustrating experience in local government was conducting a customer satisfaction survey via telephone during an internship I held. In college, I worked for a local police department as part of an internship-class to gather data and comments related to safety of the community as well as police patrol in school zones. The frustrating portion of the project was the use of telephones to gather responses when most people thought I was a telemarketer!

My top three career accomplishments are:images

  • Accepting my job offer to start as a management analyst intern with Clark County, Nevada. It was my first “big girl” job offer, and I accepted immediately. I was promoted to management analyst in February of 2015 prior to the end of the internship period.
  • Graduating with my MPA from the London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Being recognized as the recipient of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women: Young Alumna Achievement Award for Region 5 Alumnae Groups

When no one else is in the car, I… sing to country music. I grew up in a small town, and it was and has been my music of choice. 
I aspire to become an effective local government leader working to solve societal problems through data analysis, research, social media, and roundtables. And, while that may seem like a statement that many make, I have made it my goal to become the “best” at doing that.  Providing the very best service delivery to citizens comes from identifying the best alternatives, and in today’s world, identifying those alternatives cannot come from the same resources that were used 50 years ago.
I am afraid of falling.
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Yes, I know it sounds a bit weird. Heights and flying do not bother me. But, if you asked me to do an outward bound activity in a tree with just a rope and the possibility of falling, I would be running the other way.
Right now, I am working on legislative matters related to the Nevada State Legislature session. As I’m still new to my organization and the State of Nevada, it’s been great exposure to see the potential impact of a bill on service delivery. 
Here are three tips for interviewing…
Prepare, prepare, prepare. I think it goes without saying yet learn as much as you can about the organization/company you are interviewing with. Read news articles, do Google searches, use social media, and just know the basics. I’ve gotten the question, “So, tell us what you know about our organization/company,” more times than I can count.
Practice Skype interviews. If you do not know where to look or how your microphone works, it could be embarrassing  You need to know how it will look if you take notes. And, remember to actually dress up during a Skype interview.
Make sure that you get the names and contact information of anyone who interviewed you as well as those who set up the interviews. If there is a quick turn-around time, send thank you emails the same day. If you have a window of time, send a hand written thank you.
And, one thing that you should know about me is…
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that I once took a selfie with John Travolta.

In terms of telling the local government story, I think local government is something that members of Generation Y often overlook. After just graduating from graduate school, I think I’m one of the only few who decided to pursue a career in local government. It’s disheartening in one view that some choose to work in consulting or on a federal level, but I think the rewards lie at the local government level. When I ask my friends who work in DC about how their work helped someone or how they saw their work implemented, they often say that they cannot. Me? I can. I do not work in local government for rewards or accolades. I do the work that I do because I want to make and see a difference.
If I could start a non-profit to assist local government, I would focus on civic education and how to assist citizens in getting involved in local government. When more citizens are active and knowledgeable about the societal problems, change can occur.  The non-profit would need to focus on both online and offline communication methods to teach civic education and encourage active participation. It would almost be a citizen academy on steroids.  The mission of the non-profit would reflect the Athenian Oath.
For the next person that you interview, I would ask what his or her favorite place to travel is. I think you can learn a lot about a person by whether they like to spend time at the beach, hiking, or wandering a new city.
You should have asked me what sports team I love to hate.

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