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A Letter from New Interim President, Katy Simon-Holland

It is my great honor to extend my warmest personal greetings as Interim President and CEO for the Alliance for Innovation, effective December 1. I’d also like to congratulate Karen Thoreson on her well-deserved retirement. 

For those that don’t know me, I have been a long-time member of the Alliance tribe – a journey that began in the late 1990s as an attendee at a Transforming Local Government conference. Realizing the critical importance of the organization, I joined the Board of the Innovation Groups in 1998 and continued to serve for the next 14 years, including as Chair during the formation of the Alliance with ICMA and Arizona State University. After retirement, I joined the Alliance as a faculty member and Innovation Mentor for the Alliance’s Innovation Academy, authoring the “Innovation Playbook” used to support the work of our Academy teams each year.

Professionally, I am an ICMA Credentialed Manager who served 15 years as the County Manager for Washoe County, and I currently serve as an elected School Board Trustee for a district serving 65,000 students in Nevada. In every endeavor, public sector innovation is where I put my heart and my passion. The opportunity to guide the Alliance for Innovation through this transition is very personal to me, and I thank the Board of Directors – and our membership – for placing their trust in me.

We should all be excited about this next chapter in the Alliance for Innovation story! Transitions provide an opportunity to re-evaluate.  The Board has begun that process, and it is anticipated that the focus will include four key areas of Strategic Intention moving forward:

Connected Community of Innovators – We will continue to provide our outstanding Transforming Local Government Conference, support the new Chief Innovation Officers’ Forum, present the thought leaders’ BIG Ideas forums, and promote and expand our network of innovators at all levels of local government through our awards programs and online publications.

Innovation Ecosystem – We will continue to expand the work we do with organizations to assess their innovation readiness and identify specific strategies for enhancing their innovation capacity.  We will continue to offer tools and workshops that leaders, including elected officials, can utilize to strengthen member organizations’ innovative culture and practice, and we will work with partners like ICMA, NLC, NACo and others to expand the opportunities for innovation in local governments worldwide.

Innovation Learning – We will continue to offer cost-effective, high-quality learning opportunities for individuals, work teams and organizations to achieve mastery in their use of innovation processes to successfully design and implement emerging practices and new concepts to serve our communities.

Idea Cloud – We will work with partners and members to expand our searchable database of bright ideas and new solutions that will help our members to solve real-world problems, building on research done by our ASU academic partners, our network of collaborators, and our valued corporate partners.  We will continue to expand our support for idea exchanges and timely, topical regional forums.

We are very fortunate that Karen will continue to serve as faculty for the Innovation Academy, and will assist us in completing several critical business development projects she has underway.  We are extremely grateful for Karen’s dedicated stewardship of the Alliance and her passion for the work to inspire innovation that advances communities.

The Alliance Board will meet in mid-December to begin the process for recruiting and selecting a new President and CEO, which is expected to take four to six months. I will serve until the new CEO is on board.  Please stay tuned, as we will be reaching out for interested candidates and insights into the desired qualities, characteristics and experience for our next CEO.

As we move forward, be assured that our dedicated service to our members remains our core value. You can continue to count on us to be an extension of your network to help identify opportunities and solve challenges in innovative ways that will advance communities. Thank you for your continued support as we design and launch Alliance 3.0!

Katy Simon Holland, MA, ICMA-CM

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