Assistant to the city manager in Coronado, California, Dominique Albrecht, MPA, (DA) was looking to deepen her local government knowledge and build on her leadership skills by applying to the Emerging Leaders Development Program. In this interview, she explains how this program allowed her to build a cohort of local government colleagues she can rely on when problems arise.

ICMA: Why did you choose to apply to this program?

DA: I applied to the Emerging Leaders Development Program (ELDP) because of great experiences with other ICMA trainings and workshops. I thought this program would be an opportunity to build on what I’ve already learned and to deepen my local government knowledge.

ICMA: How did this program influence your approach to staff effectiveness?

DA: ELDP provided both an understanding of how individual departments function as well as the “big picture” perspective that’s important to successfully lead a high-performance organization. In each course we discussed emerging trends, issues, and opportunities to improve departmental collaboration.

ICMA: What aspect of the program have you been able to apply to your role as assistant to the city manager?

DA: After each class there was always at least one significant takeaway I could immediately apply in my role. I work across several departments – from Public Services to Recreation to Community Development and Public Safety. The material we read during the program offered helpful insights in each of the major operational areas. As a cohort we shared experiences from our own diverse work backgrounds that brought the written material to life. Our instructors drew on their unique professional experiences and offered valuable lessons learned – I took a lot of notes. The course on ethics particularly stood out – we had a lot of great discussion around the ethical dilemmas that are not so obvious and how as public servants we can demonstrate integrity in our day-to-day lives.

ICMA: What was your biggest takeaway from participating in ELDP?

DA: The biggest takeaway from the program is – you’re not alone. Often during our class discussions, I was struck by how many of us – different states, size cities, etc. – had experience with or dealt with similar issues. Your cohort is lifelong and in local government it’s important to build a team of colleagues you can call when questions arise.

ICMA: Did you enjoy the coaching experience? How did you benefit from it?

DA: The coaching experience is one of the most helpful parts of the ELDP program. I had a mentor before beginning the program but ELDP augmented the coaching process. Together we used the ELDP coursework to highlight areas of focus and opportunities within my current role to expand my knowledge even further.

ICMA: If you could give one piece of advice to women who are considering a program like ELDP, what would it be?

DA: My advice to women who are considering the ELDP would be to go for it. The time spent in the program is an investment you’ll be glad you made.

Get more information on the ICMA Emerging Leaders Development Program. Application deadline: August 31, 2020.