One of the greatest benefits of local government service is being able to learn from the creativity of other communities and strengthen the state of the profession as a whole in the process.
Last month I had the privilege to participate in two unique Arizona initiatives in cities beyond my regular work in Goodyear. While one targeted women in the workforce and the other youth leadership, I believe both will help strengthen the profession long-term and could be replicated easily in almost any jurisdiction.
Women Leading Government
My first trip was to Surprise, Ariz., where the visionary leaders have run with the national Women Leading Government (WLG) movement’s call to action.
Surprise held a kickoff event for its city-specific WLG initiative with more than 100 employees gathering in the city hall courtyard to share ideas for improving gender balance in local government leadership.
Surprise’s initiative is very grassroots. Teams of employees across departments are working together to develop and implement action plans in several areas including:
- gender awareness and action;
- leadership training; and
- strategic planning.
These efforts combined with strong executive support will help both male and female government employees further their career goals, create a more inclusive organization, build relationships across departments, and ultimately provide better services to Surprise residents and visitors.
Local government professionals throughout Arizona have embraced the national Women Leading Government movement to advance women in city and county leadership across the state.
2017 Sierra Vista Limitless Teen Leadership Conference
The second annual Sierra Vista Limitless Teen Leadership Conference, was my second stop last month. This one-day, city-sponsored event brings together local high school students for a day of leadership development and networking.
The event also serves to strengthen ties between the city and youth in the community. Students have the opportunity to hear from city and state leaders, practice teamwork and innovation, and compete for a $1,000, Rotary-sponsored scholarship.
My presentation at the conference discussed emotional intelligence, authenticity, and the journey that brought me to my career in local government.
When I was a high school student, I didn’t even know the city management profession existed. It was largely coincidence that led me to discover my passion for local government service. Now, it is up to those of us passionate about the profession to ensure that future generations learn about this challenging and rewarding career path, whether through formal outreach like the Limitless Teen Leadership Conference, or informal relationship building with local schools and community groups.
The desire to serve is alive and well among students. The key is to help encourage and direct that passion.
Pam Weir has been the assistant to the city manager in Goodyear, Arizona, since April 2016. Prior to this, she served as the Management Analyst and Budget Officer in Sierra Vista, Arizona for two years.
Weir’s previous municipal government experience includes service as the Management Assistant in Fort Collins, Colorado where she helped write the organization’s first enterprise-wide strategic plan. She also served on a temporary assignment with the town of Estes Park, Colorado in 2013, assisting the Town in disaster recovery efforts from the autumn floods. Prior to her time in Colorado, she was the Management Intern for Avondale, Arizona.
Weir holds a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Urban Management from Arizona State University, where she was also named a Marvin Andrews Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She is a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the Arizona City/County Management Association (ACMA), and Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). Weir also serves as the Chair for the Alliance for Innovation’s NextERA Advisory Group, representing the next generation of local government managers to promote innovation and collaboration in the profession.
Having grown up in the Grand Canyon State, Weir is passionate about helping to shape the long-term future of Arizona communities, both through her local government service and other volunteer activities.