The opportunity to attend the ICMA West Coast Regional Summit was truly profound. ICMA’s continual support of MPA students is a true testimony to the high quality of the organization. Without opportunities like the ones that ICMA provides, students would not have a full understanding of what a career in municipal management means or what it entails. Thank you, ICMA, for providing such incredible opportunities for students to grow and to develop both personally and professionally.
The first session we attended was on resiliency and was delivered by several empowering, experienced West Coast women leaders. They shared their stories on both the challenges and the opportunities they faced as female managers in the profession throughout their careers. I really appreciated their candor and honesty in obstacles that they faced and the approaches that they took to learning and growing from them. Some of the key takeaways included the leaders not being taken seriously with their goals but they stuck with them anyway; they also sought out mentors who supported their growth instead of hindering it. They encouraged us to take chances, take risks and seize opportunities (look for the right time, the right people and the right challenges).
The next sessions led by Bob O’Neill were inspiring. Bob stood out immediately as an progressive, dynamic leader. I felt fortunate to sit in on his sessions before he departs from ICMA. The educational takeaways I enjoyed after participating in his sessions on organizational health and hosting meaningful meetings were countless; examples included thinking of oneself as a movie director when leading a meeting, the leadership pyramid of success (results, accountability, commitment, conflict trust), hiring someone who is hungry, humble and smart (intellectually and with emotional intelligence)—to name a few. The networking dinner was also very personally meaningful. It provided a pleasant landscape for connecting with professionals in an informal way. Overall, I felt that this conference was one of the best I have attended throughout my MPA career. What I enjoyed the most was the fact that the structure of the conference allowed for a relaxed flow and provided opportunities to breathe and reflect. I made lasting professional connections and look forward to attending many more ICMA conferences in the future.
Lauren Broudy, University of Washington, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, , ICMA Student Chapter President