- What was your favorite part of being an ICMA Officer?
The best part about being an ICMA officer was having the opportunity to help lead one of the largest, most active student chapters in the country. It was a good trial run for the responsibilities I have now, and I really enjoyed getting to know MPA students outside of my own cohort.
- Where are you working now and what are your responsibilities?
I am working as an ICMA Local Government Management Fellow for two cities in the Seattle metro area. The City of Issaquah (pop. 33,000) and has one of the oldest main street/ downtown areas in the state. The City of Snoqualmie (pop. 12,000) is an old logging town nestled at the foot of the Cascade mountains. My responsibilities have included:
- writing an employee code of ethics policy
- providing background research for a city-wide strategic plan RFP
- working with lobbyists to keep track of new state legislation
- analyzing cash flow for a proposed transportation bond measure
- preparing materials for a biennial budget review
- managing a departmental performance indicator pilot program
- developing a proposal for a new healthy community initiative
- participating in senior staff and council meetings, and
- attending conferences/trainings and reporting back to my boss!
- What part of your ICMA experience have you applied to your current job?
A better question might be, what part haven’t I applied to my current job. The most helpful thing for me was learning how to work in a professional environment with a team of colleagues who each have different strengths and interests. Being an ICMA student chapter officer also meant learning the art of self-direction and thinking critically about how best to herd cats (students)– a useful skill for any manager. And then there was the opportunity to be involved in ICMA at the state and national level– an experience that has helped me understand my chosen career path and prepared me to take on a leadership role in my state chapter’s Next Gen efforts.
- What advice would you give to current MPA students that you wish someone had told you?
- Be flexible and say “yes” to new skill development opportunities, even if it requires sacrifices. This is the time in your life to take crazy risks.
- Second years: start applying for jobs now. Get the lay of the land and interview as much as possible, even if it’s just to get practice.
- Starting out in a new field is intimidating, especially if you want to do management as a 20-something. Start finding ways to build and maintain self-confidence.
- The people who make up the local government profession are some of the smartest, kindest, hardworking individuals I’ve ever met. Stay in learning mode and get excited to do a job that is truly its own reward.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself as an assistant or deputy city manager, working to improve my community and meet the needs of residents! Beyond that, my dream is to return to China and do local government management training as part of the ICMA China Center.