Author: Caley Trujillo (page 1 of 2)

Where Are They Now? Former ICMA President Sarah Hazel

Sarah Hazel giving us a thumbs up from her Charlotte office

Sarah Hazel giving us a thumbs up from her Charlotte office

1. What was your favorite part of being an ICMA Officer?

I really enjoyed working with my classmates and providing a forum for service-minded students to explore their local government interests and a platform to put on events that enhanced all of our learning experiences. A few favorites: Career Shadow Day, NC State/ UNC Mixer, and Dinner with Tom Lundy!

2. Where are you working now and what are your responsibilities?

I am a second year ICMA Fellow working in the City Manager’s Office in the City of Charlotte managing special projects and doing analysis. Right now I am currently managing a civic engagement project that aims to test an innovative model of engaging residents in diverse neighborhoods to redesign their public space. I am also leading a citywide records management initiative and organizing a Technical Assistance Panel with the Urban Land Institute that will bring experts from all over the Country to explore opportunities for mobility, investment and development in the SouthPark area of Charlotte.

3. What part of your ICMA experience have you applied to your current job?

As an officer, I worked with my fellow leaders and student members to enhance our learning experience above and beyond what was required. Often times, we were putting on events when we had busy work and school schedules and had to lead with passion and purpose. Managing citywide, cross-departmental projects, is often similar, where team members have their normal responsibilities in addition to the work we are committing to for the special initiative. I had a chance to hone some new leadership skills in ICMA that make me a better leader in the professional environment.

4. What advice would you give to current MPA students that you wish someone had told you?

Don’t sweat your final semester. Be confident and proud of the work you have done. Stand tall and proud and rock that portfolio presentation. Cherish this special time with great faculty, MPA staff, friends, peers, and future colleagues.

5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I hope to be in a strong position to connect people with opportunities to shape their communities and organizations, either in City Leadership or working with an organization that partners with local government.

Where Are They Now? Former ICMA Secretary Amanda Stratton

Amanda representing Carolina at her Buncombe County Office

Amanda representing Carolina at her Buncombe County Office

  1. What was your favorite part of being an ICMA Officer?

Being an ICMA officer gave me the opportunity to work closely with great colleagues, professors, alumni, and advisors, and was a great chance to practice collaboration among MPA programs. Our experiences certainly drove my commitment to local government.

 

  1. Where are you working now, and what are your responsibilities?

I work as a Human Services Program Consultant for Buncombe County Health and Human Services. My responsibilities vary widely, but generally focus on research and analysis of potential initiatives and external communication. I also have the opportunity to support the Buncombe County Service Foundation, a nonprofit entity that supports the programs of Buncombe County Government. I have worked on everything from implementing a staff-training portal to the coordination of meetings on housing and homelessness for our Board of Directors to leading results teams with staff to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

 

  1. What part of your ICMA experience have you applied to your current job?

During my year as an ICMA officer, our group was still very new, and we were working hard to establish our roots as a top-notch student organization. This involved gathering a lot of input from students, faculty, and advisors on what events and topics would be useful. It meant we had a lot of research to do on what other chapters were doing that made them successful. And, it required follow-through to ensure our vision was achieved. In my current job, I work with a team in a similar capacity—gathering input and research and helping implement initiatives to ensure Buncombe County maintains high quality service for our citizens.

 

  1. What advice would you give to current MPA students that you wish someone had told you?

It’s going to work out! Yes, juggling grad school, work, assistantships, and personal commitments is tough! You might not land your dream job right away—but every single experience is preparing you in some way for what is to come. Keep pushing. Keep dreaming. Keep connecting. And keep preparing for job interviews!

 

  1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I will have 10 more years of experience working for an agency that puts quality and service first. I will have built valuable connections and skills that will continue propelling me forward. I love where I live and I love what I do, and I hope to be lucky enough to continue here as a public servant for many more years!

 

 

Where Are They Now? Former ICMA Co-Communications Chair Brittany Bennett

brittany photo

1. What was your favorite part of being an ICMA Officer?

I enjoyed the camaraderie of working with the fellow officers (we had a great group of smart, fun people) and planning events.

2. Where are you working now and what are your responsibilities?

I started working at [self-help.org] Self-Help in Durham after graduating from the MPA program as the Development, Policy and Impact Associate. I do a lot of reporting to government and private funders, manage compliance for a couple of government programs we use, and help with some of our fundraising. I also get to work on special projects, such as facilitating a working group that’s exploring ways we can better engage with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and working on an internal initiative around race and criminal justice issues.

3. What part of your ICMA experience have you applied to your current job?

I’ve been able to use the teamwork and discussion facilitation skills that were honed as an ICMA officer. The experience of leading my peers was really valuable in giving me the confidence to do so in my current job.

4. What advice would you give to current MPA students that you wish someone had told you?

I’d say don’t worry about being prepared for a job. You have more skills and are learning more than you realize.

5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself continuing to do work that provides opportunities and makes communities great for everyone in them.

 

Where Are They Now? Former ICMA Vice President Michelle Holder

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Michelle Holder taking a UNC selfie in her Aspen office

 

  1. What was your favorite part of being an ICMA Officer?

My favorite aspect of serving as an ICMA Officer was having the opportunity to organize and co-create with my classmates! We were able to bring a lot of fun and informative events to our fellow MPA students.

  1. Where are you working now and what are your responsibilities?

I work as a Management Analyst with the City of Aspen, Colorado, where I am chiefly responsible for the creation of a citizens academy, a program to teach people about how the City functions (for more, see Professor Rick Morse’s invaluable resource: https://www.sog.unc.edu/resources/microsites/citizens-academies). I am currently reaching out to the community to gather input and ideas for the program. I also work on other fun projects in different capacities, including a departmental process improvement team and a city-wide task and performance measurement plan.

  1. What part of your ICMA experience have you applied to your current job?

Since I started in Aspen, I have drawn from the event planning and coordination experience that I gained through ICMA. It was helpful to be involved in planning so many events prior to graduating; once I arrived in my new position, event planning and coordinating were fresh in my practice.

  1. What advice would you give to current MPA students that you wish someone had told you?

Be confident, be authentic, and be humble, always. Seek advice from other, wiser folks.

In regards to your post-grad school job, research the hell out of the organizations you apply to. And once you’ve accepted your position, keep tabs on your organization and the community. Get to know this new place in which you will thrive.

Further, the revered Eric Peterson, town manager of Hillsborough, NC, did give me this advice: Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Learn and absorb as much as you can; go on tours, ride-alongs, read – always be continually learning.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years, I will have 10 years of analytical, community-focused municipal experience and will be in a high-level supervisory role that will allow me to serve the community from a bigger-picture perspective. I’m looking forward to it.

 

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