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Blogs / ICMA Students: Trending from Tomorrow’s Leaders / Student Chapter Members' Reflections on Attending the ICMA Regional Summits

Student Chapter Members' Reflections on Attending the ICMA Regional Summits

Thanks to ICMA-RC’s generous support of the ICMA Student Chapter Program, Chapter members from around the country were able to attend the ICMA Regional Summits on Scholarships. The students found the experience to be informative and eye opening. Below is a sampling of attendees' thoughts on the Summits. We look forward to future Summit attendance by Student Chapter Members. 

The 2016 International City Managers Associate Southeastern Conference was an experience every public administrator, student, and professors should attend. With diverse audience from different parts of the southeastern region of the state, it was a great opportunity to build networks and learn from others experiences. “You Have What it Takes to be a Resilient Leader” gave me the opportunity to hear from others about how the triumphed the internal and external obstacles they were challenged with every day. Hearing their stories and their perspectives of growing to be a resilient leader in the public sector gave me hope that our society is slowly but surely starting to be a diverse society where our government officials reflect the people they serve. After hearing from the panelists, we had the opportunity to meet others at our table and discuss our goals and how we have made it to where we are now in our careers. Listening to others is always an amazing learning tool. It gave me the opportunity to connect and learn how we can work together to building a diverse society.

 -- Joshua Tatum, East Carolina University


 I had an amazing time networking with public servants from the Southeastern area, and I gained multiple pieces of advice from local government leaders.  I really enjoyed listening to Fire Chief Toni Washington during the Women Leading in Government’s “You Have What It Takes to be a Resilient Leader.”  The details she gave on her perseverance through adversity and her determination to reach her goals was compelling.  After she spoke, I was able to speak with her in further detail on the topics discussed and ask for opinion in my career aspirations. Before attending this conference, I was unsure of what career path I wanted to take following my graduation with a Master of Public Administration.  During the conference, I was able to talk to several city managers, county administrators, and other local government shareholders who are passionate about the work they do every day.  This conference peaked my interest in local government, and I look forward to learning more about local government and how to be the best public servant I can be, through other conferences and speaking with people who I met during this conference more in-depth. 

 --Chardae Caine, Auburn University

The 2016 ICMA Southeastern Regional Summit was a great experience for me.  I had the opportunity to meet several city managers and administrators from numerous cities in the Southeast region.  I truly enjoyed talking to them about their experiences in local government administration as well as how they got their start in the profession.  The You Have What It Takes To Be a Resilient Leader and Tools for the Balancing Act workshops were beneficial to mebecause they allowed me to understand different aspects of local government administration and think about various personality traits that go into a leadership position. 

 -- Rajon Hudson, Auburn University

I really enjoyed Mr. David Limardi and Mr. Robert Kiely, Jr.’s workshop presentation on their research entitled, “Tools for the Balancing Act – Exploring Local Government Goals/Success Criteria and Understanding the Psychological Characteristics that Define Effective Leaders.” I was very interested in their research findings on Domains of Leadership. According to their research, strong leaders fall into either one of two categories: Subjective & General or Subjective & Unique. I thought that this was very intriguing and helpful as their study can now serve as a guide for me as I progress through my graduate studies and embark on a career in city management. My favorite part of the Summit would have to be the reception and dinner. It was great to have the opportunity to meet with some of the best in the profession and try to pick their brains. Networking is a great tool, and it was great to be able to make some wonderful connections. I only wish that it had lasted longer!

 -- Dillion Wood, University of Alabama at Birmingham

“You Have What it Takes to be a Resilient Leader” was one of the most influential portions of the Summit. Each [panelist] had their own story and the barriers and challenges that they had faced when achieving their positions. This was quite informative for me as a male trying to go into city management because I now understand the different barriers that can present themselves for females, especially those in minority groups. With that being said, I now have a better understanding and further knowledge of how to apply the information gained from that session into where I end up gaining a position as I will understand how to run my office so that no one feels disadvantaged due to their race or gender. This was an eye opening experience, not just for me, but for my colleagues as well.

--Bradley Smith, East Carolina University

The final part of the Summit was the ICMA Southeast regional meeting, which introduced new people that spoke, as well as discussions about ethics, professional conduct, and strategic planning. I had the opportunity to meet great local government leaders and hear their stories regarding their career path. While, continuing the search for the job that will jump start my career in local government, the information gained and individuals met at the Summit will go a long way. I look forward to staying an active member in ICMA and look forward to attending more Summits in the future as an established local government leader.

--Michael Greene, East Carolina University

As a student, it is not always easy to network and learn from managers outside our state in a personal setting. The Regional Summit allowed me to do just that and it was indeed a rewarding experience. I was able to network and discuss ideas with vendors and managers from both Wisconsin, Iowa, and Indiana. During the regional meeting one of the ICMA tenets was being examined and managers were giving input on ways to change it. This was an interesting experience for me as someone new in the field. I was able to see the perspective of both new and old managers, while also providing my own perspective as someone new in the field. I also had the opportunity to meet the ICMA’s Pat Martel, something without this event I may have never had the chance to do.

--Emily Tipps, Northern Illinois University


I really enjoyed the discussions about how to engage coworkers in staff meetings. As an Intern, this is not something that I often think about, but I do think that our staff meetings are often run very similar to what was suggested at the conference. Our meetings can sometimes be lengthy, but the first thing that is done is always to go around the table for each department head to give a brief statement about current activities in their department, and within a few minutes, everyone is aware of what each department is working on. I also enjoyed the debate about whether or not to post a descriptive agenda for staff meetings. After some thought, I think that posting a very brief agenda for staff members to view is the best option.

--Alyssa Seguss, Northern Illinois University


At the open discussion forum on the topic of staff meetings I learned about the challenges leaders face in running effective staff meetings and their strategies for overcoming challenges. Some of challenges leaders face include having meetings end without the resolution of critical issues, the effect time constraints can have on the meetings, and the lack of confidence members have in raising their concerns at meetings. One of the creative strategies shared by one leader involved the use of a one-word agenda to gain the interest of staff members.

--Tasheik Kerr, Northern Illinois University

The entire summit reminded me of why I am a Master of Public Administration student and why I want to go into local government. Everyone I met at this summit was passionate about their job and the city, town or county they work in. Seeing many successful leaders doing great things throughout the South East, inspires me to become a great leader as well. As a woman, it was inspiring to see so many great leaders in the room, both men and women. The experience was great in that times have changed and they are still changing in that many women are taking on leadership and managerial roles and it inspires me to continue to work hard and achieve my goal of one day being a local government leader. This session also made me realize that everyone has their struggles that they face and have to overcome and being resilient is an important characteristic to have to become a successful leader.

-- Haley Thore, East Carolina University

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