Images of Kelsey recipients

ICMA is happy to announce this year’s winners of the Judy L. Kelsey Scholarship. The award was named in honor of Judy Lyn Kelsey, a pioneer in the local government management profession and long-time ICMA member, who generously gifted $109,000 to ICMA in her estate. With her gift, ICMA established the Local Government Management Fellowship Judy L. Kelsey Scholarship in 2019, to assist emerging women leaders who have been accepted into the ICMA Local Government Management Fellowship (LGMF) program, which places a fellow in a manager’s or department head’s office in a council-manager community.

This year’s winners of the Judy L. Kelsey Award are fellows Melissa Mata and Kat Consador.

Melissa Mata Headshot


Melissa Mata

Currently a fellow with Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Melissa plays a pivotal role in the public affairs division by contributing to content creation, building connections with business owners, representing the city in events, and identifying career-ready strategies for students and re-entry citizens under the Great Jobs, Great Cities program.

She was also assigned to be the equity and engagement lead in the innovation track program of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. The nine-month program focuses on understanding residents’ perspectives on public safety through innovative techniques and fostering community partnerships.

Melissa graduated with her MPA from University of Arizona, where she also served in a leadership role in the ICMA student chapter on campus. She has diverse experiences in public administration, law, and economic development, which help shape her unique perspective as she aims to learn from different cities to understand the complex needs of their constituents.

In Melissa’s essay, she shared, “My journey as a female minority in local government is currently shaped by both triumphs and challenges. As I strive to contribute meaningfully to the fellowship, I am determined to overcome any and all hurdles to continue being an advocate for increased diversity and representation in local governance.”

Melissa is dedicated to the profession and shows commitment to increasing representation in the profession. She plans on using the scholarship to supplement personal costs and savings to remove barriers that will take her career to the next level.



Kat Consador

Serving as a fellow in Phoenix, Arizona, Kat has been coordinating council and leadership meetings in the city manager’s office. Previously, she led the strategic planning process for parks and recreation. Kat will conclude her fellowship with a rotation in the office of innovation. She is also engaged in special projects and events for the international relations division of community and economic development. Her diverse fellowship experiences have reinforced her conviction in the transformative impact of effective local government.

Over the past decade, her career has covered various sectors: sales, finance, development, diplomacy, energy, and security. She transitioned from the private sector to pursue her passion for a meaningful career focused on making a positive impact. Kat earned her master’s in global management with a focus on global affairs from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

As she expressed in her essay, “This scholarship represents more than just financial support; it symbolizes an investment in breaking down gender barriers and empowering women in local government management—a cause I am dedicated to championing. Before pivoting to local government, I experienced firsthand the difficulty of dealing with the challenges of being a woman in male-dominated industries. While confronting such obstacles has been difficult, I have chosen to view these encounters as opportunities for growth, empathy, and advocacy, which fuels my commitment to fostering a more inclusive environment.”

Kat is committed to uplifting others and breaking down barriers. She is grateful for the opportunity to use the scholarship toward student loan repayment.

Headshot of Erika Cooper


ERIKA COOPER is senior program manager of career advancement at ICMA (


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