1. As a female in local government, what do you feel has changed over the last year?
First, I don’t know if the changes I have experienced in the last year are any different as a female in local government than the changes experienced by my male counterparts. That being said, more than any other time in my career, it seems as if everything changed rapidly and then kept changing. The ability to pivot in a new direction has recurred weekly and monthly. As the pandemic developed and transformed, I realized that it was essential to continually embrace the unknown, be flexible and adapt to change both at work and at home.
2. Did you see yourself becoming a public servant when you were growing up? If not, what else did you picture yourself doing?
I wanted to work for the EPA with a focus on environmental issues growing up. I don’t think I recognized that as public service necessarily but I wanted to make the world a better place.
3. Has there been a local government leader or local elected official who made a difference in your career or life, whether a close mentor or someone that you looked up to? What did they teach you?
Yes! Sherman Yehl, an assistant city manager in Des Moines, Iowa was my first boss. He was a brutal editor of everything I wrote for several years (I may or may not have been a quick learner) and he taught me how to write a city council memorandum and how to work with the local press. Both skills have been invaluable.
4. What advice do you have for people who are looking to work in a public service role?
Be open minded and work on anything you are asked to do. Listen a lot and speak up when you have something to contribute. Ethics matter, always. You will never find a more challenging career – or more rewarding.
5. What accomplishments, big or small, have you celebrated recently?
This past May marked my thirtieth anniversary working in local government. I looked back on my first year in 1990 and recall fondly the lack of a cell phone or email!
6. How long have you been part of the Legacy Project? and what do you hope to obtain while being a part of this organization?
I was able to be participate in the early conferences held by the Legacy Project. I hope that by participating in the organization I can continue to support women working in all levels of local government.