The Governor of Virginia spent his last Friday in office with eleven outstanding next-generation leaders – the new Virginia Management Fellows. Flanked by retiring Secretary of Finance Ric Brown, Deputy Secretary of Finance June Jennings and Associate Director of SPIA (Richmond Campus) Leisha LaRiviere, the Governor announced the selection and hiring of the Fellows during a January 11 press conference. Supporting the event, a contingent of state agency commissioners, leaders, and managers applauded the Fellows’ on-boarding.
The Virginia Management Fellows (VMF) program is a partnership of the Commonwealth of Virginia and Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs. The VMF program addresses critical succession planning needs in Virginia, including vulnerabilities in the state related to retirement eligibility. According to the Commonwealth’s Department of Human Resource Management data, there are three key position areas of state government with significant percentages of retirement eligibility in the next five years: general managers, financial managers, and compliance and safety officers.
“Innovative and collaborative approaches define the VMF programming response to Virginia’s mission-critical succession planning needs.” – Anne Khademian, SPIA Director
Creating opportunities for participants to understand and actively affect how things are done at the state level, the VMF analyzes “bigger picture” issues and practical challenges of state strategic management and leadership are analyzed and understood.
Twenty-two state agency leaders participated in the multi-tiered process to select the Fellows. A learning and training 2-year program, the fellowships are salaried and benefitted positions, approved by the Virginia General Assembly. At the end of the VMF, it is anticipated that Fellows will apply to positions within state government.
The VMF program features four major learning components: customer service; operations; legislation, regulation, and compliance; and analytics. Each fellow is assigned to and embedded within a state agency for a rotation around these learning areas. A special feature of the rotation is the support and guidance of a mentor-leader in each agency supporting a fellow.
In addition to the agency rotations and mentor training, Virginia Management Fellows will research, study, and understand public administration theories and processes in seminars and lectures designed specifically for the Commonwealth. The fellows learn public administration management and leadership theory and practice via SPIA’s Virginia Public Sector Leadership certificate program earned across the two-year fellowship program.
The educational elements of the program are designed, researched, tested, and implemented by faculty from the School of Public and International Affairs in Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies
. The learning is interactive and multi-modal. Fellows study and learn both individually and in groups. Knowledge builds through the study of course materials, online research, agency documents (e.g. budgets, reports, strategic plans), and interacting with senior professionals. Self-directed learning, seminar group lecture, small group work and rotating agency internships comprise the two-year program. Cloud-based, asynchronous learning will thread throughout the two years using Virginia Tech SPIA online platforms, (i.e. Canvas).
Excerpted from the VMF website at http://vmf.spia.vt.edu/
The new Virginia Management Fellows introduced are:
- Jordan Burns, with a Master’s in political science from James Madison University and a Bachelor’s from Virginia Tech
- Nathan Conquest, with a Bachelor’s in Public Policy and Leadership from the University of Virginia
- Mary Feamster, with a Master’s in Counseling from Appalachian State University and a Bachelor’s from the University of Virginia
- Jacoby Harper, with a Master’s in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor’s from Virginia State University
- Bernadette LeMasters, with a Master’s in Environmental Science and Policy from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s from Virginia Commonwealth University
- Taylor Melton, with a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University
- Conor O’Donnell, with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Policy and International Relations from The College of William & Mary
- Laura Pearson, with a Bachelor’s in the History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health from Yale University
- Travis Rickman, with a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Old Dominion University
- Tyler Williams, with a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor’s from University of Virginia
- Connor Winstead, with a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Bachelor’s from Hampden-Sydney College
“Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) academic programs are themed around four learning elements: explore, prepare, engage, and lead. These four elements are brought to life in this learning partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia and SPIA – the Virginia Management Fellows (VMF) program. The development of the program involved several key players across both SPIA and Virginia Tech’s Center for Public Administration and Policy. Special thanks for a cadre of university and state colleagues who offered ideas and engagement throughout the process, including: SPIA Director Dr. Anne Khademian; CPAP Director for Richmond Dr. Joe Rees; PhD student and SPIA Manager of Professional Development, Rosa Krewson; CPAP Professor of Practice, Bill Leighty, former (don’t know her previous position/title) Emily Brock; (former) Secretary of Finance Ric Brown, Deputy Secretary of Finance June Jennings; former Deputy Secretaries of Finance Gina Burgin and Neil Miller; Director of Human Resources Management for Virginia Sara Wilson; Director of the Department of Planning and Budget Dan Timberlake; Director of the Division of Selected Agency Support Services Dennis Johnson; Director of Public Health Planning and Evaluation at Virginia Department of Health; and our current and future agency leaders serving as mentors to the Fellows” said Leisha LaRiviere, Associate Director of SPIA (Richmond Campus).”
Commonwealth of Virginia Agency mentors include: Birdie Porter and Robert Mason, from the Department of Criminal Just ice Services; Brad Jones from Treasury; Chris Gordon, Debbie Condrey and Gary Brown from the Virginia Department of Health; Cam Gutshall from the Department of Motor Vehicles; Jeanne Chenault from Virginia Retirement System; Patricia Waller from the Department of Human Resource Management; Kendra Shiflett and Kevin Schmidt from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Tod Massa from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia; and Brent Uzel from the State Corporation Commission.
Read the press release from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Communications Office here: http://vmf.spia.vt.edu/in-the-news/