Imagine this scenario: You’ve just finished a meeting with the boss. He’s been on the whiteboard in his office, talking through an initiative and conveying his vision and intent. He’s heading to a conference in a couple of weeks and wants to have a way to socialize his idea. He asks if you have any questions, to which you reply, “No Sir, I’ve got all that I need here, let me go ahead and put something together for you. I’ll generate a couple of different products that I think will capture your ideas, will further develop your concept, as well as help you share it with other senior leaders.” You leave his office and get to right to work, and as you’ve done so many times, you start crafting and coordinating a concept brief that will be used to convey important ideas that may potentially change your organization for the better. Sounds like just another day on the professional staff of your Headquarters, right? Well it’s not. It’s actually been a meeting at City Hall with a member of the local City Council, and you are utilizing your skills and experience as a military officer to develop a new initiative on behalf of the Council member that may help improve your city.
The above is just one example of my experience as a Veterans Local Government Management Fellow (VLGMF), assigned to the City of Colorado Springs Office of the City Council Administrator. I’ve had the tremendous opportunity to work with the Council and to be included as a member of the administrative support team that facilitates council member business and keeps City Hall moving. It’s been a perfect chance to validate how many of the skills we possess as military leaders easily translates to those needed for successful service in local government. I have also had the chance to meet and interact with key members of the City staff as well as various community organizations, further enhancing my professional network.
The VLGMF has also provided great professional development and educational opportunities. I have learned new and important skills that will aid in my effort to find a new career and to succeed in my local community. I’ve benefited from free access to local government education and training products and membership to well-known local government associations such as the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Most importantly, I’ve received sound advice and mentorship from experienced local government leaders and staff, all who have been very supportive and enthusiastic about the VLGMF program. Lastly, the VLGMF has been flexible, allowing me to benefit from a full fellowship experience while also finishing up my out-processing and final transition out of the military service. With all this in mind, I would absolutely recommend the VLGMF to any retiring or transitioning service member who has an interest in service to local government. Give yourself the opportunity to learn, prepare and excel as a Veterans Local Government Management Fellow!