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My Story with India Adams, Albemarle County, VA

Posted on December 2, 2014


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ELGL’s mission is to connect, communicate, and educate. One way we do that is by “telling our story.” Today India Adams shares hers. 

I started working in local government when…

1I interned in my County Administrator’s office the summer of my junior year in undergrad and knew instantly local government was where I wanted to begin my career in public service.  After completing courses in my public administration program at George Mason University, naturally, I thought about pursuing a career with the federal government. I also was exposed to the state level as a part-time worker at a state agency during graduate school.  Despite the attractiveness of the federal government, I believed I would make a greater impact in local government.

My first experience in local government was…..

Last fall, I saw the posting for the ICMA Local Government Management Fellowship and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to be entrenched and exposed to local government in a nontraditional position. I was chosen as an ICMA Local Government Management Finalist and accepted a position with Albemarle County, VA. Although I had a summer internship in local government, I consider this fellowship my first  local government experience.

Most frustrating experience in local government was….

I have not had too many frustrating experiences in local government, but I would have to say going through my first 5-year resource plan with the Office of Management and Budget. It was frustrating for me because I was able to listen to each of the department heads needs and hear the stories of how they have been doing more with less for years and knowing I couldn’t help them solve their staffing needs. Knowing that the recession forced departments across the nation to work with the bare minimum and unfortunately, my locality is no different, is frustrating. However, I am excited to be a part of the next generation of government leaders to solve these ever changing challenges.

My top three career accomplishments are…images (1)

  • Speaking at the Virginia Municipal League Annual Conference. Myself and along with two other young colleagues, were asked to speak on the topic, “What can the Young Guard teach the Old Guard”. It was inspiring and humbling as a Millennial to “teach” the Gen Xers and Boomers, how they can begin to think differently, incorporate new ideas, and  recruit  young talent into their respective local governments.

Right now, I am working on….

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  • Albemarle Performs: I am maintaining Albemarle Performs, which is the County’s performance management website.
  • Fire Rescue Staffing Analysis: I am working on the second and third phases of a project on behalf of the Albemarle County Fire Rescue Department. In the first phase, I conducted surveys with some of our peer localities Fire Rescue departments volunteer divisions. In the last phases, I am focusing on the training and prevention divisions. With the data retrieved, I will be able to see how other localities are managing their departments. This will allow be to analyze ways we excel and ways we can improve in comparison to these other localities.

Here are three ways to impress me in an interview:

  • Lead with your values. At the end of the day, we work for our values.
  • Be real and honest. No  person or organization is perfect, tout your successes and your challenges. I want to help turn your challenges, into successes.
  • Sell yourself and your organization. As much as I need a job, I should be excited to want to work for your organization. Moreover, if your coming to work for my organization, I want to know what sets you apart and your Myers Briggs personality type.

What are you afraid of? Obstructionist.

In terms of telling the local government story, I think local government….

old-man-at-computer…could do a better job of telling their story through constant communication. We must leverage new technology and  use existing  traditional media.  It would be through constant contact via social media, using the school system’s email listserv to reach more citizens and surveying annually. The CEO should communicate regularly through Twitter or Facebook, preferably through a pre-defined time where they are accessible to the public.

For the next person that you interview, I would ask….

What advice would you give a younger you?

You should have asked me….

What do you hope to change or accomplish in the next 5 years?

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