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Learning Doesn’t End When You Leave the NextGen Summit

Meet the Finalist:

Who: NextGen Network at Census
Achievement: NextGen Public Service Award Finalist, Exemplary Group Category

“The NextGen Network at Census is an affinity group is geared towards generations X and Y at the U.S. Census Bureau. The group plays a vital role in career development, professional networking and mentoring. Events such as speed networking and federal resume-writing workshop provided essential tools for employee’s professional toolkit. The group has been instrumental in the development and promotion of the annual Census Diversity and Inclusion Institute. In addition, the organization has successfully collaborated with various affinity groups such as Toastmasters International, the Rainbow Alliance, Federally Employed Women, and the Census Latino Employee Organization.” – Kiyona Miah, External Affairs Lead at the Census Bureau. Miah nominated the NextGen at Census group for the Exemplary Group Category.

A Pew Internet survey shows baby boomers are retiring from government in droves, making training the next generation of government employees even more essential. But unfortunately, there are very few organizations or groups geared towards moving young govies into leadership positions. But an organization at the U.S. Census Bureau is aiming to change that.

Established in 2011, the NextGen at Census Group is one of the few organizations really pushing for millennials’ development and growth. The group was actually formed after its founders attended the 2010 Next Generation of Government Training Summit and were inspired. One of the leaders of the organization is Kiyona Miah.

“We are forward thinking, we’re innovative, we like to try to help bridge silos across the organization. We like to give opportunities for our employees to grow professionally through training opportunities and also through networking events,” said Miah.

In just three years, the group has grown to have more than 100 members. One of the reasons for their quick success? A push for collaboration.

“The way that we [millennials] grew up a lot of our education was structured in a way that we had no choice but to collaborate,” Miah explained. We are also the generation that came at of the beginning of the technological age so it’s natural for us to leverage technology to communicate better and to work together .”

A main priority for the group is to break down silos that are currently in government. “A lot a times people come into a government job and they’re put into a box,” said Miah. “’You are an analyst; this is the only job you can do.’ NextGen at Census is trying to stop that. We want people to be able to explore other skillsets, or utilize other skillsets that they may not have been hired for, but that help our organization.”

One of the ways the group is helping to bridge the age gap is by creating what they refer to as “millennial consultants.” “One of the things that our executive champion ,Stephen Buckner ,encourages is the idea of serving as “millennial consultants’. Basically, if there are technological innovations, initiatives, or advancements that are millennial-native, we offer ourselves as consultants to the Census. For instance, we’ve tested some of the mobile apps that Census has put out, and given feedback.”

Wanting to create a summit similar to NextGen, the Census group hosted their own Leadership Training Summit in April of 2014 for over 400 participants. “It was really just an awesome opportunity for people to take advantage of a full day of training,” Miah said. “The participants were able to get training credit and the managers were able to get management credit. We worked with our offices such as Workforce Development, Census Conference Center, Communications, and Diversity and Inclusion to ensure that the event is a success. I think that’s a great example of how the NextGen summit is really inspiring a lot of work around government, but it also just shows how collaboration with various offices really can help get the job done.”

Originally posted on GovLoop by Emily Jarvis

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Originally posted on GovLoop by Emily Jarvis.

Young Government Leaders (YGL) and GovLoop present the NextGen Public Service Awards for superior public service and achievement. The 4th Annual NextGen Public Service Awards will be given at the 2014 NextGen Award’s Ceremony, which will kick off the NextGen Training Summit on July 23rd in Washington, DC. We have 18 finalists in six different categories. All month long we will be introducing you to the finalists.

Meet the Finalist:

Who: Rosetta Carrington-Lue, deputy managing director and chief customer service officer for the City of Philadelphia

Achievement: NextGen Public Service Award Finalist, Silent Hero Category

“Poor customer service can make government overly bureaucratic whereas good customer service can help make government open, accessible, and efficient. Carrington-Lue has been largely responsible for the city of Philadelphia’s impressive transformation in customer service. Prior to 2008, there was no centralized contact point for municipal information or services. After Lue helped to implement a 311 system, she expanded the city’s customer service efforts to improve the experience of the 1.5 million customers engaging with Philly311 each year.” – Ryan Birchmeier, Assistant City Manager, city of Philadelphia. Birchmeier nominated Carrington-Lue for the Silent Hero Category for the NextGen Public Service Awards.

When you think of good customer service, you probably think of organizations like Amazon and Zappos, companies that are built around the needs and wants of their consumers. But Rosetta Carrington-Lue thinks government can also be a prime provider of customer service.

Government hasn’t always viewed the customer the same as the private sector, because with government services the customer has no other option – they have to deal with it as the only provider. But Carrington-Lue says this is all changing, and  there’s now a movement to begin to get government to understand that you need to begin to engage and collaborate and improve the services that are being delivered to the constituents.

“These are people have made an investment in the community by residing here, by working in the community, that we want to show that we’re listening,” Carrington-Lue said. “We want to begin to get feedback and begin to improve the way that we deliver services, and the way that we deliver information.

One of the ways that Philadelphia has adapted to the changing environment was to adopt the Philly311 program – a centralized customer service or call-center for the city.

“You dial 911 for emergencies, you dial 311 for everything else. Back in 2008, we created this type of operation, so that the residents have an ability to talk to someone about simple transactions, or when is service going to be delivered, or give feedback on an issue,” said Carrington-Lue. “We answer those questions immediately or put you in contact with the right person. No longer do you have to play phone tag with 17 different departments.”

The Philly311 program has revolutionized customer experience – and it has also created an abundance of data for the city. “We capture data based on those enquiries,” said Carrington-Lue. “You no longer have to guess what the feedback is on a new park or procedure. We are actually capturing [citizens’] feedback.”

Over the past six years the residents of Philly have come to depend on the Philly311 program. The police force has also been able to take a backseat on non-emergency calls which has helped the department streamline resources an improve response times.

“The police can now concentrate on more complex criminal activities, versus trying to get a cat out of a tree, or get a call that the garbage was missed,” Carrington-Lue said.

Carrington-Lue’s engagement initiatives haven’t ended with Philly311 – she also created the Citizen Engagement Academy a place where the government is actively working to educate the public about how government works.

“When I went into community meetings, I saw a strong distrust of the government from the community members. There where people who are cynical, and said ‘I’ve called the city so many times and I get no response.’ I saw that lack of trust as an opportunity to say we need to better educate our community about how government works.”

As a part of the Citizen Engagement Academy Carrington-Lue created the Neighborhood Liaison Program to find the informal community leaders, the people who has a vested interest, and teach them how government works.

Now the city has over 1,000 neighborhood liaisons, who all went through a series of eight-week classes taught by department leaders to help educate people how the city government actually runs.

“It’s not a debate as to whether a program is right or wrong, but more of an education awareness, here’s how the water department works, here’s how 311 works, or here’s how the budget works,” said Carrington-Lue.

The drive to improve the customer experience is baked into how Carrington-Lue operates. “Every day I get to come into work and see a change in someone that you’ve never seen before. I talk to people all the time, who have just given up on government, but then we put them in Citizen Engagement Academy and they feel a sense of pride! They see us really being passionate about what we do.”

We will be talking to all the NextGen Public Service Award finalists in the upcoming weeks. See the full list hereAnd register for NextGen!

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A Youth Revolt, the NextGen of Gov

Originally posted on GovLoop by Emily Jarvis.

Young Government Leaders (YGL) and GovLoop present the NextGen Public Service Awards for superior public service and achievement. The 4th Annual NextGen Public Service Awards will be given at the 2014 NextGen Award’s Ceremony, which will kick off the NextGen Training Summit on July 23rd in Washington, DC. We have 18 finalists in six different categories. All month long we will be introducing you to the finalists.

Meet the Finalist:

Who: Erin Carter, secretary for the Martin Luther King Steering Committee and the Regional Political Director for Senator Mark Warner’s campaign.

Achievement: NextGen Public Service Award Finalist, Courage Award Category.

“An Emerging Leader, Erin Carter, currently serves as U.S. Senator Mark Warner’s Political Director for the Hampton Roads area for his campaign. Erin’s dream for political success and achievement began at the early age of nine. Already entranced by the allure of local city council meetings and the political section of newspapers and magazines, Erin knew that a life dedicated to policy and public service would be a life for her.” – Gail Henderson, Legislative Assistant, Senator L. Louise Lucas’ 18th Senatorial District. Henderson nominated Carter for the Courage award.

For Erin Carter, public service started early. In grade school, she was her class president and began volunteering her time to state and local government organizations.

“Our country is faced with a lot of really hard and intractable problems, but if everyone would just do something to be a service then the world would become a better place for everyone to live,” said Carter. “That’s why I’m a public servant.”

In addition to her work on the Warner campaign, Carter was also a field organizer and staffed the 2013 gubernatorial campaign for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

“I believe that every election is an important election,” Carter said. “Most people will turn out for presidential elections and not for the state and local elections. As the Field Organizer for McAullife, I actually had the opportunity to get out there in the community and let them know that an election was coming. I got to educate people on the big issues.”

The one-on-one connection to the community and the government that serves them is what drives Carter to succeed.

“I’m so glad that I could advocate and educate people about issues and making the community and help them get involved,” she said.  “Because when more people get involved, that’s when you start to see change.”

At 20, Carter is the youngest finalist for the NextGen Public Service Awards. And unlike many people of her age, Carter thinks the government is the way of the future. “Most people think government workers are lazy and that they are just good enough for government work,” she said. “But the reality of the matter is the people that work in government do a lot for this country and for the sake of the United States. Most people aren’t aware of what the government actually does – it’s high time we change that.”

We will be talking to all the NextGen Public Service Award finalists in the upcoming weeks. See the full list hereAnd register for NextGen!

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Gain One-On-One Coaching with Office Hours

Want to network with government experts? Gain personalized career advice and coaching? Or glean insight from experienced industry professionals?

Look no further: Office Hours is back again this year at NextGen!

We’ve invited an esteemed group of nearly 40 NextGen experts to spend a little one-on-one time with Summit attendees.

Just like spending time with your favorite college professor, relive the campus office hours experience and garner insightful advice from our government and career experts.

NextGen Office Hours participants include: Virginia Hill (Young Government Leaders), Beth Flores (Groove Leadership Lab), Gwenda Atkinson (CTI Co-Active Coach), Emily Sadigh (County of Alameda, CA) and many more!

Don’t miss out on this chance to meet with a career expert or government leader one-on-one! To see a full list and sign up for your individual 15-minute session with a NextGen expert, go to the office hours registration desk while on-site.

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Originally posted on GovLoop by Emily Jarvis.

Young Government Leaders (YGL) and GovLoop present the NextGen Public Service Awards for superior public service and achievement. The 4th Annual NextGen Public Service Awards will be given at the 2014 NextGen Award’s Ceremony, which will kick off the NextGen Training Summit on July 23rd in Washington, DC. We have 18 finalists in six different categories. All month long we will be introducing you to the finalists.

Meet the Finalist:

Who: Megan Raphael, Education Services Specialist for the Warrior Transition Project

Achievement: NextGen Public Service Award Finalist, Courage Award Category

“Megan is a humble spirit yet shows so much love in what she does. Megan possesses an indomitable spirit of wanting to make a world where there is nothing but hope, love, faith, thriving, and reaching new unexplored possibilities. Megan is worlds apart when it comes to envisioning the possibilities of tomorrow. Megan is family oriented and at the same time people oriented. Her love and devotion to doing a great job hinges on making sure people are able to imagine a better world because of their contribution to making it better.” – Walter Leverette, Pastoral Counselor, Naval Medical Center San Diego. Leverett nominated Raphael for the NextGen Public Service Award.

“My job is tending to the soldiers who are wounded, ill or injured,” said Raphael. “Soldiers currently on medical are sent to the Warrior Transition Unit.

“They are at a critical point where they have to decide if they are staying in the US Army or not. I help them prepare for the different tracks, if they’re going back to the Army, to assist them in an educational goal, their new career focus,” said Raphael.

Transitioning soldiers from the battlefield to the classroom can be a huge challenge. “Service members have a huge skillset, but when they are looking at the job market and at what is required, they need some additional skills. But they need to know how valuable their training already is. By combining the educational goals and all their different military skills together, it makes it for like an easier transition for them into the civilian life.”

Although her job can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, Raphael sees its power to help heal. “My field has always been in the helping profession. I get to see the successes and I get a firsthand look at soldiers who have actually been able to regain their passion out in the civilian life.

For many military families the soldier is only half of the equation – the other half is the spouse. Raphael runs a marriage retreat to help couples separated by service get back in touch with each other and work out some of their issues.

“I get to help couples reengaging and reintegrating into the relationships. If you’ve ever been to a marriage retreat, you known it’s not always positive stuff comes out, but the responses from the actual couples who were able to reintegrate and work on some of those difficulties are inspiring,” said Raphael.

Seeing those couples reconnect and soldiers move forward in their lives is what makes Raphael so driven. “ I get to build a really strong rapport and relationship with the soldiers. I get to have down to earth conversations and really get to know the families and the soldiers who I work with. That is so rewarding.”

For Raphael her job hits close to home — her husband is an active duty Marine. “I am a military spouse. I understand. When I was new to the military lifestyle, I saw firsthand the deployments, the reintegration and adjustments that the families had to make. I was able to connect my understanding to my career interest, and it just made sense. I love what I do.”

We will be talking to all the NextGen Public Service Award finalists in the upcoming weeks. See the full list hereAnd register for NextGen!

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5 Ways to Millennial-Proof Your Agency

Originally Posted on GovLoop by Mallory Thayer.

Hi, my name is Mallory – and I’m a Millennial.

I know what you might be thinking: You’re one of those young whipper-snappers who grew up with the Internet, still lives with her parents and constantly posts narcissistic “selfies” on Facebook and Instagram. Wait ‘til you hit the real world, you Yuppie. 

That may not be an entirely false generalization of the segment of the population born between the early 1980s and 2000. But there is more to us Millennials than meets the critic’s eye.

We grew up with technology, which means we can handle rapid change and digitization. Google and online database searches are second nature. We learn quickly and often by experimentation.

On the other hand, our childhood was heavily supervised. We are accustomed to being monitored, tracked and in constant interaction with the world around us.

Most significantly, there are a lot of us – more than 80 million, approximately. By 2025, Millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce.

While the number of Millennials is climbing, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are reaching retirement age. Members of these generations typically hold management and leadership roles in established organizations. These traditional sources of authority, however, won’t remain in the workforce for much longer.

What does this mean for your agency? Quite frankly, you will need Millennials to be managers.

It may be counterintuitive for some to place the youngest members of our nation’s workforce in positions of authority and influence, but just like preparing your home for a newborn baby, you need to Millennial-proof your agency.

The first step to Millennial-proofing your organization is to understand a Millennials’ unique needs and expectations. A UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School white paper identifies what Millennials want from their employers:

  • Coaching. Raised with constant contact and frequent feedback, Millennials expect the same from their managers.
  • Collaboration. Millennials are prone to interaction. Extend the “share” attribute found on social media sites into the workplace.
  • Measures. Clear structure and job assessments help Millennials understand their employers’ expectations.
  • Motivation. Millennials are driven by goals and the creation of valued work. Recognize their achievements and reward success.

How can your agency create an environment that meets Millennials’ needs and maximizes their potential? Experts from UNC recommend using technology to attract, develop and retain Millennials as critical assets in your organization.

There are countless ways to use technology to keep Millennials engaged. Here are five sure-fire tactics for Millennial-proofing your organization:

  1. Hook them with virtual tours. Millennials want to know what they’re getting themselves into when considering a potential employer. Offer online tours and employee testimonial videos to give them a 360-degree of what to expect from office life at your agency.
  2. Provide online training opportunities. Millennials like to feel equipped, but they also value convenience. E-learning and online training tutorials make acquiring skills as easy as watching the newest episode of “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix.
  3. Be flexible and consider teleworking or BYOD. The monotony of a 9-5 workday may not appeal to all Millennials. Teleworking is a growing trend in today’s digital age and may be a better fit. More so, the option of bring-your-own-device allows Millennials to tailor their work experience and foster individuality.
  4. Communicate clearly. It’s important to keep Millennials in the loop and ensure they understand what is expected of them. This can be accomplished by simply dropping a quick email, text or Google Chat message for frequent check-ins. Also consider a shared document (like a Google Doc) to track progress on projects or goals.
  5. Publicly post their achievements. Millennials crave recognition. Highlight a job well done internally through a company email announcement or externally on the organization’s website or social media pages. Millennials are more likely to produce high quality work if they know they feel valued.

Let’s face it: the appearance of the modern workforce is undergoing a youthful transformation. But Millennial-proofing your agency doesn’t mean spoon-feeding this younger generation of workers. It does, however, mean you need to be speaking the same language.

Technology is an ideal way to connect with Millennials, learn what makes them tick and tap into their wealth of potential. Is your agency is ready for this new generation of leaders?

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Tending to the Wounded, Care Done Right

Originally Posted on GovLoop by Emily Jarvis.

Young Government Leaders (YGL) and GovLoop present the NextGen Public Service Awards for superior public service and achievement. The 4th Annual NextGen Public Service Awards will be given at the 2014 NextGen Award’s Ceremony, which will kick off the NextGen Training Summit on July 23rd in Washington, DC. We have 18 finalists in six different categories. All month long we will be introducing you to the finalists.

Meet the Finalist:

Who: Carrie Holley-McCormack, Social Worker, Warrior Transition Company

Achievement: NextGen Public Service Award Finalist, Innovator of the Year Category.

“Carrie works with United States Army wounded warriors coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. She helps with their family reunions by holding classes, counseling sessions, retreats, seminars, and interacts within the command to insure that the service member is adequately taken care of in every way possible. She comes to work early, stays late, works at home, if necessary, to insure that the service member and their families are completely cared for and all their needs are met. Carrie is comprehensive in her care for the service member. She does not stop working with a service member and their families until everything is right.” – Walter Leverette,Pastoral Counselor, Naval Medical Center San Diego. Leverette noiminated Holley-McCormack for the NextGen Public Service Award.

The daughter of a Marine, Holley-McCormack was born to be a social worker. “I got my degree in social work, got my master’s and really decided during my master’s program that I wanted to work with military families,” she explained. “I had a passion to give back to the community that I had grown up in.”

The Warrior Transition Unit, where Holley-McCormack is employed, works with soldiers who are going through the medical board process. Soldiers are put through a pretty intensive psychosocial investment to see what their needs are and get them involved with any kind of behavioral health treatment that they may need.

“I do a lot of relationship type counseling with our soldiers,” Holley-McCormack said. “I’ve had a few couples that I’ve done couples counseling with. Sometimes just the soldiers come in and they’ve been having some communication issues, and I am able to work through some of those issues with them.”

Holley-McCormack also works to stabilize faltering marriages that have been damaged due to frequent and sometime lengthy deployments. She said spouses often deal with a partner who’s not quite the same as he or she was prior to deployed. “I help soliders manage their feelings as a spouse.”

What makes Holley-McCormack such a valuable asset to the Warrior Transition Unit is her ability to communicate effectively with both the soldiers and their spouses. “When soldiers arrive and we do our initial intake, I let them know up front that I was a Army brat, because sometimes that kind of lets them feel loved,” she said. “You need to establish a rapport.”

Although the work can be grueling Holley-McCormack said she wouldn’t want any other job. “I’ve always wanted to help people. I get to encourage young soldiers and find out what makes them happy. I get to help them look in and find their strengths, and help them set goals that they attain while they’re transitioning.”

We will be talking to all the NextGen Public Service Award finalists in the upcoming weeks. See the full list hereAnd register for NextGen!

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Public Service is In His DNA

Originally Posted on GovLoop by Emily Jarvis.

Young Government Leaders (YGL) and GovLoop present the NextGen Public Service Awards for superior public service and achievement. The 4th Annual NextGen Public Service Awards will be given at the 2014 NextGen Award’s Ceremony, which will kick off the NextGen Training Summit on July 23rd in Washington, DC. We have 18 finalists in six different categories. All month long we will be introducing you to the finalists.

Who: Phillip Ashlock, Chief Architect for Data.gov

Achievement: Public Service Award Finalist in the Innovator of the Year Category

“As the technical lead for Data.gov, Phil handles a rapid pace of innovation to meet the goals of the President’s Open Data Policy to make data from all the federal agencies open and machine-readable by default. Phil has a mastery of numerous technologies and led the relaunch of Data.gov in January 2014, featuring a comprehensive catalog of federal data based on CKAN (Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network) and a complete re-design of the site in WordPress. The new Data.gov provides access to the publicly available datasets from agencies across the government in an efficient, user-friendly way and makes it easier for the public, developers, and businesses to find the government data to improve quality of life, support the creation of consumer-friendly apps, and serve as the basis for new businesses.” – Hyon Kim, program director GSA. Kim nominated Ashlock for the Innovator of the Year award.

For Ashlock being a public servant is part of his DNA. The second-generation government employee is working hard to bring openness and transparency to government.

“A lot of the work I’m doing now is actually helping agencies meet those goals of the Open Data Directive,” Ashlock said. “A lot of my work has been to help structure the way that we operate and the way that we help agencies release their data.”

Aslock and his team also redesigned data.gov, but they did it fully transparent. “For government doing everything out in the public, out in the open was totally different,” he said. “There was a preview version of the website that was available actually for many months of 2013 and I think it initially launched in July.”

Part of the reason for the successful redesign is the feedback loop that was created using open data. “We invited everyone to give feedback on the latest design iterations, and many of the codes that we were developing,” said Ashlock. “We learned the design had been sort of publicly viewed for a few months, and had some issues, so we started sort of attacking those one by one.”

For Ashlock, thinking in an open and transparent way is second nature. “Open source has been my native way of working for a number of years. I was working with a number of other people who were familiar with just working in the public and the tools and methodologies,” he said.

“But in some cases it did take encouragement for people to engage with us. It’s all out there on a public forum, but didn’t take very long for people to see the kind of transformative effect it had on you know the people who were paying attention to what we were doing, and, and who really cared about what we were doing, and sort of could see that feedback loop and that engagement, as being like real and genuine and productive.”

What’s Ashlock’s favorite part about his job? “I really enjoy seeing the culture of openness grow and expand within government. Seeing the impact of open data, as people develop new applications that genuinely improve people’s lives, or makes government work better, or make it more efficient,” said Ashlock. “I like translating the concepts that might otherwise seem sort of technical or wonky, into things that actually change the way that government operates.”

Ashlock said the biggest misconception about government work is that “People working outside government think public servants are not interested in trying to solve problems or are maybe inadequate to the challenges. That’s not true; there’s so much dedication and so many very big and complex challenges that people are working to address.”

We will be talking to all the NextGen Public Service Award finalists in the upcoming weeks. See the full list hereAnd register for NextGen!

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Boring Bureaucracy? Not in Texas

Originally posted on GovLoop by Emily Jarvis.

Young Government Leaders (YGL) and GovLoop present the NextGen Public Service Awards for superior public service and achievement. The 4th Annual NextGen Public Service Awards will be given at the 2014 NextGen Award’s Ceremony, which will kick off the NextGen Training Summit on July 23rd in Washington, DC. We have 18 finalists in six different categories. All month long we will be introducing you to the finalists.

Meet the Finalist:

Who: Karen Robinson, CIO, state of Texas

Achievement: NextGen Public Service Finalist, Advocate Category

“As the CIO of Texas and Executive Director of the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR), Karen Robinson manages the IT needs of more than 4,400 publicly funded entities, including the operation of the state’s IT security, communications technology services, cooperative contracts, data center services and the award-winning Texas.gov. This Texas native is a national role model for young women and men in public service as well as the science, technology, engineering and math field. She brings more than 35 years of government and private-sector experience to Texas.” – Thomas Johnson, Chief Communications Officer, Texas. Johnson nominated Robinson for the NextGen Advocate award.

In 2012, Karen Robinson launched an 18-month pilot program to study the benefits of cloud computing. Back then cloud was a buzzword, and very few people actually understood the technology. Robinson was adamant that Texas needed to understand and adopt the cloud.

“I kept hearing about the cloud, but I really needed to get my head around how the cloud worked,” Robinson said. “I need to better understand what the definitions were because it’s my job to help educate the legislature and leadership about technology.”

Robinson launched the Pilot Texas Cloud Offering (PTCO) project. It was focused on infrastructure as a service, but many of the lessons learned can be generalized for government agencies adopting any cloud offering.

“We gathered a couple vendors and did a pilot project. The pilot gave me the fodder I needed to go across Texas and say, ‘The cloud is here, it’s not going anywhere, this is the direction we need to go, and this how we need to approach things.’”

As a result of PTCO, the legislature mandated that agencies consider going cloud first when doing large projects.

But the cloud isn’t the only area of Texas that Robinson has been instrumental. She has also been a force on the redesign of Texas.gov.

“I was involved in promoting a data awareness, and going online and do things like renew your driver’s license, renew other licenses, really reaching out to the community. We focused on the community. We had to say, if their customers are happy, and my customers are happy, then I’m actually a good provider. Texas.gov is an award-winning program.”

With all of Robinson’s success, it would be easy for her to find a high paying career in the private sector, but Robinson says the mission of government drives her to succeed. “I have been in state government for almost 20 years. I felt like this is such an opportunity to work with amazing talent and really highly recognized elected officials. I took hold of technology, because I see it as a way to move the state forward. And through the advancement in technology we’ve really focused in Texas around economic development, and capitalized on our public and private partnerships.”

Don’t even try telling Robinson that government is dull. “People think government is stifling or bureaucratic or boring, but they are wrong. There are really energetic, bright shiny stars in government, and it is so fun to watch them grow and change government for the better.”

We will be talking to all the NextGen Public Service Award finalists in the upcoming weeks. See the full list hereAnd register for NextGen!

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Originally posted on GovLoop by Pat Fiorenza.

Young Government Leaders (YGL) and GovLoop present the NextGen Public Service Awards for superior public service and achievement. The 4th Annual NextGen Public Service Awards will be given at the 2014 NextGen Award’s Ceremony, which will kick off the NextGen Training Summit on July 23rd in Washington, DC. We have 18 finalists in six different categories. All month long we will be introducing you to the finalists.

Meet the Finalist:

Who: Vanessa Ros, Enterprise Architect, General Services Administration

Achievement: Finalist for the NextGen Silent Hero Award

 “Vanessa Ros is a consistent and reliable resource, who silently does such a good job, that her management team has to provide very little oversight as she leads high priority tasks to closure and a successful outcome.  Over the course of the last year, Vanessa has played a critical role in the Office of the DCIO/CTO as we have embarked on a consolidation project. Specifically, she has developed the CONOPs for Office of Chief Technology Officer to define roles and responsibilities, resources, goals, functions and processes.” — Brendan Longcore, Director, Office of Training and Usability, United States General Services Administration, CIO.

There’s been plenty of research on the quiet power of introverts. They are often the ones working hard to get projects done, not seeking the limelight, and putting their organization first. Vanessa Ros is one those people. Working as Enterprise Architect at the General Services Administrations, she has been an integral part of programs that are designed to reduce costs and make government more efficient.

“I am very honored [by the nomination]. It’s good to know that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, especially when I tend to be quiet at times,” said Ros during an interview with GovLoop. “I am a public servant because I feel it is very rewarding to be able to do something that helps our federal government and nation better. It’s really a way for me to give back to the community and drive change for the better.”

Ros’s hard work at GSA was brought to our attention by Brendan Longcore, Director, Office of Training and Usability, United States General Services Administration, CIO, through our NextGen Public Service Awards.

Longcore identified six projects that Ros has led, all of which are helping government reduce fraud, waste and abuse.

Digital Signature Project

Serving as the project lead for the first phase of the Digital Signature Project, Ros played an imperative role as she conducted background research to help GSA launch the program. “Vanessa developed an enterprise wide survey to assess the quality and value of enterprise architecture products and services on IT investments, business operations, and stakeholder satisfaction,” said Longcore. “This has laid the foundation for implementation plans for Digital Signature work at GSA.”

Sales Force Service Catalog

Ros has also completed an architecture analysis on Salesforce that lead to the development of the Salesforce Service Catalog, which streamlines service requests for applications.

“As part of her work on the EA team, she provided policy development and program oversight support on Federal-wide E-Government initiatives, including the development of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) version 2 updates, and the development of the Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture document, which provides guidance for practice of Enterprise Architecture (EA) throughout the Executive Branch of the U.S. Federal Government,” said Longcore.

Federal Shared Services Strategy

Ros also assisted with the development of the Federal Shared Services Strategy, which provides guidance to Federal Agency Chief Information Officers and key stakeholders on the implementation of shared IT services. Shared IT services has become an important tool for agencies to explore, as it can lead to efforts to eliminate waste and duplication – while also letting organizations reinvest existing investments back into mission projects.

“The strategy seeks to improve the return on investment for IT spending, close productivity gaps, increase communications with the managing partners and customers of shared services, and support agencies in implementing the PortfolioStat process,” said Longcore.

Enterprise Architecture Representative

At GSA, Longcore explained that Ros serves as the Enterprise architecture representative in the Enterprise IT Governance Board. The board seeks to identify, prioritize, establish and integrate business goals and activities into GSA’s strategy and architecture, while ensuring alignment with GSA’s mission and vision.

Records Management Lead

Vanessa is also the project lead for GSA’s Records Management initiative. “As part of this work, she has developed GSA’s Records Management Strategy to inventory and identify records in GSA’s systems, and analyze GSA’s system for records compliance to improve records management according to NARA policy and to meet OMB M-12-18 policy. This is a high priority initiative that involves working with a varied group of stakeholders across GSA,” said Longcore.

Enterprise Document Management Lead

Vanessa is also the project lead for Enterprise Document Management. “This is an effort to identify standards, consolidate systems and achieve cost savings and efficiencies by defining the technical and business requirements of solutions and aligning it to the business capabilities and needs,” said Longcore. Due to Ros’s efforts, this program led to a cost savings and avoidances of over $400,000 to date.

“In parallel to these efforts, Vanessa has also served as the project lead for GSA’s external websites consolidation effort to streamline communication and identify areas of cost savings to leverage.  This created the first comprehensive inventory of GSA’s external websites that was leveraged during the government furlough to help communication,” said Longcore.

This role has given Ros a unique perspective on government and helped her to gain a deep understanding of the challenges the public sector faces. “One of the biggest misconceptions about government is that change will occur instantly,” Ros explained. “When the government is asked to reduce costs we simply can’t cut our project or critical program without planning. You really need to consider the consequences and planning for resources, personnel, and also to ensure that we have a strategy in place to serve as a seamless transition as much as possible.”

Ros’s work is making a difference in government’s quest to reduce spending and become more efficient. Government employees everywhere can learn from Ros’s hard work and ability to take calculated risks to drive innovation.

“If there was less resistance to change in government, we’d be able to achieve the desired results much faster and more efficiently,” said Ros. And with people like Vanessa Ros, the government is well suited to modernize and change the way that it delivers services.

We will be talking to all the NextGen Public Service Award finalists in the upcoming weeks. See the full list hereand register for NextGen!