NIU #ELGLInspire Speaker: Phil Kiraly

Posted on April 24, 2019


#ELGLInspire’s last stop for the 2019 academic year! ELGL is headed to Northern Illinois University on April 26, 2019! Learn more about our event speakers in these brief profiles, and connect with them on social media before and after the event!

Phil Kiraly

Image result for Phil Kiraly

Village Manager, Village of Glencoe

Website | Linkedin | Twitter | City Manager Blog

What was the very first paying job you held (that you paid taxes on)? 

I worked maintenance at the park district golf course where my father served as Superintendent. I was 14 and its wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had working (think cleaning the public restrooms on a 90 degree day)

What was your: undergraduate institution? Graduate institution? What was/were your degree(s) in? 

Augustana College (Rock Island, Illinois; BA in Public Administration) and Northern Illinois University (MPA- Public Administration

What class(es) (if any) are applicable to your job today? 

Anything that discusses strategic planning, technology, and especially organizational development (our orgs are changing constantly…try to understand the psychology around what that’s hard). Finance, human resources are both deeply important every day. Class work prepares you for a great deal of what we focus on each day, but it’s the application of certain principles learned in the classroom to the actual day-to-day work we do that makes a difference. So much of our success is built upon relationships. That’s not classroom-taught, but it’s certainly critical.

Do you have a work or life motto? What is it? 

Never get comfortable. To me, it means we should frequently make mistakes but learn mightily from them. It means we should challenge our assumptions about what we do and why. It means if we’re not striving to get better, we’re walking backward.

What book are you currently reading? Would you recommend it? 

The Fearless Organization by Amy Edmondson. It’s about how keeping our teams psychologically “safe” helps them overcome fear of innovation. I’m just getting into it, and thus far, its interesting.

Other than ELGL – do you belong to any other professional associations? Which one(s)? 

ICMA, ILCMA, Metro Managers

What’s the best networking advice for job seekers you’ve heard or shared? 

Networking is different for each person. Myself, I’ve always struggled with breaking into a new group. My best advice is to be willing to be your authentic self and seek ways to engage by learning more about those you are engaging with. Ask questions.

What’s the fastest way to NOT get a job or internship with you? (e.g. what should potential applicants avoid doing if they were to ever interview with you for a position). 

Two things: 1) Don’t do your homework, and/or 2) tell me you “only want to do (fill in the blank) in government.”

Firstly, you need to know about the place you want to work. Find ways to experience it so that you begin to understand what’s important to the community you are interested in working in/for/with. Every place truly is different. Secondly, these jobs are too multi-faceted to limit ourselves to one very specific area. Don’t get me wrong, we all specialize and gravitate to what we enjoy, but the breadth of government is literally limitless, and there’s a lot of fun to be had as we grow in our roles.

Why should an undergraduate student consider a career working in local government?

It’s amazingly rewarding, yet amazingly complex. We help people. We build community. Simply put, this work never ceases to provide opportunity. you will change the world for the better.

RSVP today for #ELGLInspire!

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