Heather Geyer, Wheat Ridge (CO), Administrative Services Director/Public Information Officer

Posted on May 1, 2014


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We’re back with the new “New Sensation” feature. We’ve updated the questions based on your feedback. You’ll now learn about the best YouTube videos on the web, read about gift ideas for the holiday season, and learn about the career accomplishments of our new members.  As a reminder, we developed this feature to introduce you to new ELGL members and as a way on connecting ELGL members with similar interests.

Vitals

Heather Geyer

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Administrative Services Director/Public Information Officer at City of Wheat Ridge

Education: University of Denver, BA, Political Science & Public Policy and University of Colorado Denver, MA, Political Science with an Emphasis in Public Policy

Experience: Assistant to the City Manager/Public Information Officer, City of Wheat Ridge; Management Specialist, City of Greenwood Village; and New York Government Scholar/Intern, City of New York, New York

Leadership: Colorado Women Leading Government (CWLG)Founding Member

Honors: Savvy Award, 3CMA for the Mission Rollout Program Video, City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA)

Connect: LinkedIn and Twitter

Lightning Round

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(Complete these phrases) Best thing about the….

80’s was……. Crimper irons and New Kids on the Block

90’s was…… high school!

00’s was….. graduating from college and beginning my career in local government

Last year was….going to my first One Direction concert with my 12 year old niece and my sister…you can love boy bands no matter your age!

Today is….the Colorado Culture of Health Conference for work and an evening Pure Barre class!

Tell us about three accomplishments that you are most proud of.

Becoming an Administrative Services Director.  This step in my career was not originally on my “plan” for next steps.  I am thankful for the opportunity to learn so much about different operational areas in the City and to manage a team of talented staff.  Collectively, this position has been one of the greatest challenges in my life as well as one of the most rewarding experiences.

DocumentRepositioning Human Resources in my organization.  This division within my department has gone through some challenges in the past.   Last spring, I hired a new Human Resources Manager that jumped right in and we have been repositioning HR as a strategic partner in the organization even since.  This effort is no small undertaking but so vital to the success of our organization and staff.

Document (1)Leading the creation of the Wheat Ridge marketing logo and brand development.  This was one of my first projects at the City when I served as Assistant to the City Manager in 2007.  The marketing logo is on a major entryway sign off of one of Interstate 70 and Kipling Boulevard along with our park signs.  I feel a great sense of pride in knowing that I was able to make a contribution to the community in this way.

(Complete this sentence) I feel old when I…  

…stand next to my 12 year old niece who is much much taller than me.

Tell us about two mistakes that you’ve made that we can learn from.

images (1)Don’t personalize what others think about you.  When you manage people you will not always be liked or may even be the topic of a gripe session or two.  I was recently accused by two of my employees as “playing favorites.”  Honestly, I let this situation get to me as much as I knew better.  This is going to happen when you manage people.  You have to develop ways to learn to let go.  I save this quote on my phone to help me do this: “I will not stress myself out about things I can’t control or change.”

Never assume.  Always ask why? And why not?

Give us three of your favorite YouTube videos.

 

 

Our annual conference will be held in October 2014. Name three topics or speakers that should be included on the conference agenda.

  • Managing across generational lines.
  • Priority Based Budgeting – it’s the future of local government budgeting.
  • Wellness programs – why they matter more than ever in today’s local government environment.

Parent(s) can be influential in career choices of their kids. What was the career path of your parent(s)?

My mom ran her own in-home daycare business for 30+ years.  She taught me the true meaning and value of hard work.  Her one request for me and my siblings was that we go to college and get a degree.  All three of us received degrees and I went on to earn a Master’s degree.  My mom is my biggest advocate and has always supported my career in local government.

Name three of your mentors and describe them in five words.Michelle Kivela Web

Michelle Kivela, Deputy Town Administrator of Parker, CO  – smart, fun, honest, innovator, and stylish!

Gary Sears, City Manager of Englewood, CO  – motivator, teacher, wise, hardworking, and a  great leader.

Ron Miller, Retired Manager, former Manager of the City of Aurora, CO  – retired, funny, realistic, compassionate, and a great teacher.

Your hometown…..what is it best known for?

I was born in Rochester, NY and my parents moved to Colorado when I was two years old so I am practically a native.  I grew up in Aurora which has suffered great tragedy over the past couple of years.  Aurora’s motto is “Gateway to the Rockies,” but I often find myself describing the strong spirit of the community to individuals in light of what the community has suffered.

How can ELGL best contribute to the public sector?

Continue to engage emerging professionals in fun and creative ways!

Give us two items that are broken in local government.

tumblr_lhg2lwZxgn1qhbtrfo1_500Benefits, in particular, health care benefits.  I think there is a significant entitlement mentality surrounding the provision of health insurance benefits and a lack of personal accountability when it comes to managing your own personal health which is costing local governments (taxpayers) significant money.  There needs to be a balance between providing good benefits and a reasonable expectation of maintaining good health.

A leadership pipeline doesn’t exist in many communities and some citizens are disenfranchised with local government because of what they see happening at the state and federal levels.  Communities need to build leadership pipelines to attract and engage individuals to run for local office.  We need to share stories of how officials are making a difference every day and invite individuals to get involved.

Fast forward one year, what will factor into your decision on whether to renew your ELGL membership?

If ELGL is continuing to make me laugh on a daily basis, providing engaging educational material and great networking opportunities, odds are I will renew!

Give us two ideas for attracting and retaining talented individuals to the public sector.

Help make obtaining a graduate degree affordable. images (2)

Invite young people to consider a career in local government management if you think they have what it takes.  Or, if they are curious about what you do, share your story with them.

What questions should we have asked?

  • What’s my favorite drink at Starbucks?

What question(s) do you have about ELGL?

When do you guys sleep? All the posts I have read are great along with fun content???

Supplemental Reading

Englewood city manager Gary Sears retires

Budgeting Through a New Lens

Knope of the Week: Center for Priority Based Budgeting

Role Reversal: CPBB Puts ELGL Through the Lens

CPBB “Summit” Local Government High: Case Studies

Marketing Logo and City Seal – City of Wheat Ridge

City of Wheat Ridge Awards

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