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Anne Marie Gaura has been an ICMA member for more than 20 years. During graduate school, she decided to pursue a career in local government while serving as an intern for Elk Grove, Illinois, in 1990.

“I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in government,” said Gaura. “I just didn’t know at what level until graduate school. I feel serving at the local level is a wonderful way to make a difference in the daily lives of our citizens.”

She began her full-time career working for Lombard, Illinois in 1991, after receiving a master of public administration degree from Northern Illinois University. Gaura served Lombard for nine years, starting out as an administrative assistant and advancing through the organization to the role of assistant village manager. From 2000 to 2012, she served as village manager for Montgomery, Illinois.

“Throughout the past decade, Montgomery experienced explosive growth and realized a 237% population increase,” noted Gaura. “I had the opportunity to work on many significant projects that helped shape the future of the village, including construction of a Village Hall, a police department facility, a water treatment plant, and other major capital projects.

Gaura resigned from her post in Montgomery a few months ago, and was recently appointed interim deputy village manager for Buffalo Grove, Illinois. “I am looking forward to the next phase in my career,” she said.

A little over a year ago, Gaura worked with nine other female local government professionals to launch the Legacy Project in Illinois. “The goal was to begin the discussion on advancing women in local government,” she says.

“We are extremely proud to have the opportunity to organize the first ever educational session dealing with women’s issues at the 98th ICMA Annual Conference. We are also helping to coordinate a brainstorming session where we hope to have members from all across the country share ideas on what they have implemented in their home states, and to suggest innovative ideas to be explored. The focus for both of these sessions is how we encourage women to consider careers in local government, advance in their careers, and help diversify the profession.”

“Part of the purpose of the Legacy Project is to create a mentoring program and a networking system for women. I helped start the Legacy Project to create a system I always wished for when I was starting out and advancing in the profession. Some of our Legacy Project initiatives in Illinois include monthly brown bag luncheons in the Chicago suburbs and our inaugural Women’s Legacy Conference in May 2012, which had more than 100 participants.”

“In coordination with our state conference earlier this year, several professionals spoke to an undergraduate class of female students at the University of Illinois to explain careers in local government and encourage them to consider that path.”

“I feel lucky every day that I found my career path in local government. I hope to share my passion, commitment, and knowledge with the next generation of professionals.”