12 06, 2020

Welcome to Fellows Friday!

2020-06-15T15:48:38+00:00June 12th, 2020|

Greetings! Welcome to the Virginia Management Fellows’ weekly blog, or “Fellows Friday” as we like to call it! The intent of the Virginia Management Fellows program is to strengthen the succession planning bench for leadership and management roles in all branches of state government. Over the course of two years, our cohort of eleven fellows will complete three eight-month rotations in three different state agencies. This blog is a space for us to share our broad range of experiences in public service. As Virginia Management Fellows, we are to learn about and contribute to the work of several different state agencies. This unique opportunity allows us to gain insights on how Virginia’s public servants are working to improve the quality of life in our Commonwealth. These improvements may range from working directly with citizens, to helping Virginia’s government run more efficiently. Each fellow brings their own perspective to the program, and the topics we choose for our blog posts will blend our current work with our diverse educational and experiential backgrounds. Every week, one of the fellows will author a blog post with a topic of their choosing. We hope you will continue to check in with us weekly for Fellows Friday! Until next time, The Virginia Management Fellows

23 02, 2021

Leading with Purpose: A Fellow’s Reflection on Public Private Partnerships with a Social Purpose (P4s)

2021-02-23T21:04:27+00:00February 23rd, 2021|

Elizabeth Spach, MPP February 22, 2021 As part of the Virginia Management Fellows (VMF) Program, I’ve had the opportunity over the past year and a half to work on a Public Private Partnership with a Social Purpose (P4) with the other fellows  and community partners. This service project is a new element of the fellowship where fellows “research, design, fund, and implement a public-private partnership with Virginia Tech” to help the broader Richmond community[1] As our project draws to a close this spring, I wanted to take some time to delve into the role of Public Private Partnerships (P3s) in the Commonwealth, how P4s are similar and different to P3s, and my experience working on the VMF P4. What is a Public Private Partnership? P3s are partnerships between the public and private sector where governments leverage private sector expertise to raise capital and private companies distribute risk to deliver services with agreed upon performance measures. These mutually beneficial agreements are often used for long-term, public assets such as roads, power grids and water systems.[2] The Office of Public-Private Partnerships (VAP3) within the Department of Transportation uses P3s to fund large scale transportation projects including the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and I-95 Express Lanes Extension. VAP3 recently broadened their role to include non-transportation projects in solar energy development, cell tower/wireless projects and facility construction. Other state agencies also work with private and nonprofit partners to accomplish their goals. When I rotated with the Housing Division within the Department of Housing and Community Development, nonprofit grantees provided essential services including weatherization, affordable housing development and housing solutions for those experiencing homelessness. P4s and the Importance of Purpose Organizational development research shows that organizational values and purpose define an organization far more than relationships between members. Having a common purpose orients the organization towards the same goals and serves as a North Star for employees (LaRiviere, 2019a). When individual and organizational purpose is aligned, workers demonstrate a higher level of performance and improved communication (LaRiviere, 2019b). P4s build on P3s by combining organizational development theory on purposiveness and public private collaboration to achieve a common goal. P3s are most [...]

5 02, 2021

John Cronin: Before the Fellowship

2021-02-05T20:55:21+00:00February 5th, 2021|

John Cronin Education: BA in Political Science, University of Mary Washington Hometown: Springfield, VA Career Interests/skills: Election Policy/Administration, Civic Engagement, Project Management Agency Rotations: Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) Department of Elections (ELECT) Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) What is your educational background and what made you pursue those majors, degrees, etc.? Growing up in Northern Virginia, I didn’t realize how unique my experience was living so close to Washington, D.C. and where government is conducted. It wasn’t until I got to college that I discovered my passion for public administration and the science behind why government works the way it does. The wonderful professors at UMW were extremely engaging and helpful in explaining their expertise, which got me hooked on these subjects going forward. To compliment my political science degree, I minored in business. I find the intersection between the public and private sectors very interesting, as each performs important roles in our society, and often can improve by incorporating some things from the other sector. Why did you pursue this opportunity? Why are you drawn to public service? The Virginia Management Fellows program was appealing to me because it provides a diverse experience across several state agencies. Through this opportunity, I have been able to meet incredibly dedicated employees that all have their unique ways in which they contribute to the Commonwealth. Seeing their knowledge and dedication only motivates me further, and makes me want to represent the younger generation well (and get more young people involved) so that the Commonwealth’s agencies can more accurately represent and help the populations which they serve. If you could offer a piece of advice to students pursuing a career in public service what would it be? My first piece of advice would be to give it a chance! Yes, some bureaucratic work can seem boring at times, but once you are involved you quickly see how impactful this work is and how many individuals are helped on a daily basis. My second recommendation is don’t be afraid if you don’t know something. I was intimidated when I first started the fellowship (some definite imposter syndrome, [...]

15 01, 2021

Joseph Roman: Before the Fellowship

2021-01-15T16:58:27+00:00January 15th, 2021|

Joseph R. Roman Education: Master of Public Administration Candidate, Virginia Tech, December 2021 Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (Health Services Administration) Old Dominion University May 2018 Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio Career Interests/skills: Healthcare Policy; Health Services Administration; Health Equity; Mental Health Awareness Agency Rotations: Department of Health Professions (DHP) Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Virginia Department of Health (VDH) What is your educational background and what made you pursue those majors, degrees, etc.? I have always had a keen interest in the healthcare field ever since I was young. In fact, going into college, I was actually planning on studying to become a Physical Therapist. The education required for Physical Therapists however, is incredibly rigorous and selective. After struggling through the science and math courses, I realized that this was something I no longer wanted to pursue long-term.  I aspired to find an alternative career pathway that was more of a blend between health sciences and business. Healthcare administration was that perfect balance. I excelled in the program and was later elected to serve as a peer mentor for younger students just entering the program. It provided me with a unique set of skills where I would be marketable in both the healthcare and business fields. Most importantly, these fields were something I was passionate about, making the journey exciting and rewarding. I am also currently working towards my Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degree, where I am scheduled to graduate in December of 2021. This degree is designed for leadership development in the public and nonprofit sectors. I hope to use what I learned in this fantastic program to help guide me towards becoming the best public servant that I can. Why did you pursue this opportunity? Why are you drawn to public service? This fellowship has provided us with valuable career experience while simultaneously continuing our educational development. You cannot ask for a better learning opportunity than that especially for a first job out of college. We fellows are extremely lucky to have been a part of this program and it will help develop and craft our public service toolkit.  I think I am drawn [...]

11 12, 2020

Bradley Shipp: Before the Fellowship

2020-12-11T18:27:56+00:00December 11th, 2020|

Bradley T. Shipp Education: B.A., Global Studies: Security & Justice, University of Virginia, May 2019 Hometown: Orange, Virginia Career Interests/Skills: Project Management, Program Evaluation, Compliance, Intelligence Analysis, National Security and Defense Agency Rotations: Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), Division of Law Enforcement Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), Office of the Chief Financial Officer Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), GO Virginia and Economic Development Why did you pursue this opportunity? Why are you drawn to public service? For me, the Virginia Management Fellowship (VMF) offered insight into government management from both a theoretical and practical, hands-on lens.  In the past 18 months, I have had the opportunity to work with talented folks across three agencies and be engaged with three very different, high-impact initiatives.  There are few opportunities that allow for this type of experience.  I have always been drawn to the altruistic nature of public service, and the stability that working in the public sector has traditionally offered. If you could offer a piece of advice to students pursuing a career in public service what would it be? For students pursuing public service, I would not be overly concerned about finding the “right” opportunity immediately out of college.  The process of selecting a major, an area of focus, and producing a thesis over a span of two years can sometimes feel like you are headed down a specialized path where there is a limited amount of relevant entry-level public sector job descriptions that fit your background and expertise.  And yes, while it is true that public sector jobs can be incredibly niche, there are opportunities for you to put your skillsets to use in unexpected ways working in jobs you didn’t expect. What are your goals after completing this fellowship in June, 2021? After completing the Virginia Management Fellowship in June, 2021, I am looking forward to furthering my career in public service.   “Before the Fellowship” is part of an ongoing series on the VMF blog where current Virginia Management Fellows answer questions related to their educational and career experiences prior to starting the fellowship.   Bradley Shipp is a Virginia [...]

6 11, 2020

Connor Eads: Before the Fellowship

2020-11-06T21:18:07+00:00November 6th, 2020|

Connor L. Eads Education: B.A., Government, Hampden-Sydney College, May 2019 Hometown: Chesapeake, Virginia Career Interests/Skills: Natural Resource Security; Environmental & Renewable Energy Policy; Education Policy; Risk Management & Compliance; Policy Research; and Data Analysis. Agency Rotations: Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) What is your educational background and what made you pursue those majors, degrees, etc.? Political science has always been the cornerstone of my academic interests. Stemming from my brief experience with high school debate, I gravitated towards political issues and understanding their implications on others. When I arrived at Hampden-Sydney College, where I received my bachelor of arts in government, I was exposed to the subtle complexities of law and public policy. I initially focused on first amendment driven matters and identity politics, thinking that my end goal would be to pursue law school. However, the courses I took on rural poverty and environmental policy redirected my attention and shaped my passion for solving public issues. I specifically was driven to environmental policy because the implications of implementing these policies directly impacted how I would live my life in the future—how could I fly fish for the native Virginian brook trout if their populations become stressed from warming rivers and streams? How could public policy be a tool for solving these problems? The education will not end there, as I hope to pursue a master of public policy (MPP) in the near future. Why did you pursue the Virginia Management Fellowship? Why are you drawn to public service? The Virginia Management Fellowship was fundamentally what I hoped to pursue post undergraduate studies—I wanted to establish my career in government, but simultaneously further my understanding of public policy. The program delivers on both of these components and offers much more. The program allows for a fellow to not only work at three state agencies during the two years, but it also provides the fellow with direct and indirect education from programs such as the VPSL or the countless executive leaders in Virginia who serve as mentors. Personally, I valued the opportunity to [...]

30 10, 2020

Ian Rose: Before the Fellowship

2020-10-30T21:49:05+00:00October 30th, 2020|

Ian Rose Education: Master of Public Administration, Virginia Tech, December 2019 Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Virginia Tech, May 2017   Hometown: Mechanicsville, Virginia   Career Interests/skills: Human resources, workforce planning & development, learning & development, the legislative process, state & local government   Agency Rotations: Virginia Retirement Agency (VRS) Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) Department of Behavioral Health (DBHDS)   What is your educational background and what made you pursue those majors, degrees, etc.? I entered college as with a plan to major in journalism. A semester in, I realized that my interest in journalism was rooted more in my passion for reading and writing about politics and less about becoming a reporter. Studying political science gave me an opportunity to indulge that passion for a few years. As I approached graduation, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in public service. Enrolling in Virginia Tech’s MPA program in Richmond was an incredibly important step for me in pursuing this goal.   Why did you pursue this opportunity? Why are you drawn to public service? Public service runs in my family—my dad and brother are both state employees as well. I grew up knowing I wanted my work to make a difference and be personally rewarding. Prior to joining VMF I worked as a probation office in Chesterfield County. I loved working in local government, but I wanted to broaden my horizons and get exposure to different fields and professions. The VMF program has given me that in spades.   How has your educational background helped you in your rotations? Connecting theory to practice, analyzing information, communicating clearly, and presenting are a few skills I developed as an undergraduate and graduate student. These have been invaluable to me through each rotation. Studying public administration in particular helped me develop the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for a career in public sector bureaucracy.   If you could offer a piece of advice to students pursuing a career in public service what would it be? Strike a balance between following your passions and being open to new professional experiences. My professional journey has been guided [...]

23 10, 2020

Elizabeth Spach: Before the Fellowship

2020-10-23T20:28:33+00:00October 23rd, 2020|

Elizabeth M. Spach Education MPP, University of Virginia, May 2019 B.A., History (with distinction), University of Virginia, May 2018 Hometown Virginia Beach, VA Career Interests/Skills Housing policy; creating communities of opportunity that are safe and prosperous for everyone; stakeholder engagement; state and local government; policy analysis; grant writing Agency Rotations Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary of Natural Resources, Office of the Governor State Council for Higher Education in Virginia What is your educational background and what made you pursue those majors, degrees, etc.? I have always been interested in history and understanding how we got to where we are. I originally wanted to major in history to prepare for law school after college. After taking a class on housing discrimination entitled “Race & Real Estate in the US” my sophomore year I quickly developed an interest in urban history. While I knew housing discrimination existed, that course introduced me to the policy decisions, federal policies, and zoning regulations that foster housing discrimination.  As I learned more about historical housing discrimination and urban history as an undergraduate, I realized I wanted to work on current housing policy issues in addition to understanding historic housing inequities. This desire to intervene in current policy processes lead me to apply to UVA’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. I appreciated their model of teaching both leadership AND public policy because it emphasized the importance of both quantitative and qualitative skills in policy making. Why did you pursue this opportunity [the Virginia Management Fellows Program]? Why are you drawn to public service? Throughout my time in college, I strived to make my learning interdisciplinary. Even though I was a history major, I routinely took urban planning, literature, and public policy courses to enhance my understanding.  The VMF opportunity creates 1) “opportunities for participants to understand and actively affect how things are done at the state level,” and 2) exposes fellows to “the ‘bigger picture’ issues and practical challenges of state strategic management and leadership are analyzed and understood.” The “bigger picture” lens of the VMF program is what intrigued me most. We are not only learning how [...]

9 10, 2020

Turning to Tuckman: How to Leave a Team

2020-10-09T19:36:35+00:00October 9th, 2020|

Hello, VMF blog followers. Hope you all are enjoying the weather, and looking forward to the long weekend! The VMF program consists of three eight-month rotations, which are designed to give us the knowledge, skills and experience needed to become leaders in state government. We’re now in the final week of our second rotation (actually, you’ll see this post on our last day), and preparing to move to our third and final rotation. Over the past eight months, us fellows have become part of our agencies (in my case, SCHEV) following public policy scholar Bruce Tuckman’s four stages of group development. We’ve “formed” with our agencies through beginning our rotation there, “stormed” through making the inevitable mistakes that come inexperience, “normed” through learning and improving from those mistakes, and finally “performed” through making our contributions to our agencies (Tuckman, 1965). Many thanks to our VMF Director Professor Leisha LaRiviere who recently brought this useful framework to our attention. These rotations are incredibly valuable and insightful experiences; eight months is just the right amount of time to become part of an agency, and go through Tuckman’s process. So eight months is perfect, until it’s gone. And then it’s not nearly enough time. It’s slightly ironic that the more integrated a team becomes – the better the job the team does – the harder it is to finish. In my case with SCHEV, I was fortunate to really become “staff” at the agency and participate in a variety of projects. Moreover, I had the chance to develop relationships with many coworkers, who were incredibly generous in their time and attention. Over the course of these crazy eight months, I’ve become part of a team. Tuckman actually amended his initial model to include a fifth stage – adjournment (or “mourning” depending on your source), which is how a team concludes their task(s) and recognizes their efforts. There can also be sadness, with the recognition of the change coming to the team (Tuckman & Jensen, 1977). I find knowing this helpful; not only are my feelings normal, they’re recognized by a major public policy framework! More importantly, I (and other [...]

2 10, 2020

Election Season Is Upon Us: Here Are Some Helpful Tips

2020-10-02T20:21:04+00:00October 2nd, 2020|

Most years Virginians circle Election Day on their calendars to remind themselves to go out and exercise their civic duty. While in-person voting on November 3rd is still going to be an option, as most of you know, this is not a normal election year. My rotation at Virginia’s Department of Elections has been an awesome journey, and it has put me in a position to help educate others who might not be up to date with the changes to Virginia’s election process. So in case any readers are not familiar with how to vote this year or want a simple layout to show someone else, I took the liberty of compiling some key dates and options for you. Enjoy, and do not hesitate to reach out with questions. October 13: Last day to register to vote/update your voting address October 23: Last day to request an absentee ballot by mail October 31: Last day to vote in-person absentee November 3: ELECTION DAY Ways to Vote: By mail before Election Day (per recent legislation, everybody can request an absentee ballot, no matter the reason!) Request a ballot at elections.virginia.gov/absentee by 5pm October 23. You can return your voted ballot by mail, by dropping it off at your local registrar/drop off location, or to your polling place on Election Day (11/3) In person before Election Day From September 18 to October 31 you can go vote in person at your local General Registrar or satellite location. In person on Election Day Polls will be open 6am to 7pm Find your polling place: elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation Bring acceptable ID: elections.virginia.gov/VoterID For more information, call your local registrar’s office, and check out the Department of Election’s “Pocket Voter Guide” at the following link: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/formswarehouse/2020-voter-outreach/pocket-guides/Pocket-Guide-digital_3Nov2020.pdf Also, for those interested, check out the recent marketing campaigns that ELECT has done to increase awareness and knowledge of elections in the Commonwealth: Defending democracy: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/defend-democracy/ “Free to Vote Absentee”: https://www.elections.virginia.gov/vote-absentee-by-mail/index.html   John Cronin is a Virginia Management Fellow currently working at the Virginia Department of Elections (ELECT).

18 09, 2020

Cassidy White: Before the Fellowship

2020-09-18T22:07:58+00:00September 18th, 2020|

Before the Fellowship Series Cassidy L. White September 18, 2020 Education JD, William & Mary Law School, May 2019 B.A., Political Science, Minor in Psychology, Certificate in Peace Studies, University of Kentucky, May 2016 Hometown Leitchfield, Kentucky (home to the great Fiddle Fest) Career Interests/Skills Legal, regulatory, and policy analysis; Commitment to ending domestic violence and sexual assault; Devoted to interests of public welfare, including social services & health (including behavioral health), and to the active dismantling of oppressive systems via equity in law, healthcare, education, housing, employment, credit, voting, and more Agency Rotations Virginia Department of Social Services Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services   What is your educational background and what made you pursue those majors, degrees, etc.? I received my juris doctor degree in May 2019 upon completing three exhilarating (and slightly nauseating) years of law school. William & Mary Law School bestowed upon me many lessons, significantly impacting both my professional and personal development; I’ll continue to tout the decision to attend this school as one of my best, and often wonder if the woman who had attended a different school, or who had chosen a different path entirely, would be much different than the one writing this today (my hunch is that she would be). Believe me, it is so tempting to write how law was “my calling;” that I knew from a young age that I was destined for public service. But that is not the truth. Although always a believer that government has a great duty to serve its people (greater social services! more libraries!), I was unsure of my career path when entering college. In fact, in my mind, my reasons for obtaining a law degree were mainly pragmatic – lawyers have the opportunity to wield significant authority in this country, and many (or should I say all) of our systems need fixing. Additionally, attorneys possess an assumed intelligence that is given credence – as a young girl who grew up in a town where individuals suggested, and assumed it best, that girls become educators (an important career, no doubt!) simply so that they can have [...]

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