Presidential Management Fellows Program Honors Agency Leaders

Last week the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program awarded seven individuals who have assisted the program in ushering in a new generation of workforce employees. During the event, PMF Director Arianne Gallagher discussed future prospects for the program and Senior Executives Association (SEA) Executive Director Jason Briefel discussed new approaches to human capital management.

PMF is a leadership training program which matches graduate students with agencies in order to jump-start young people’s careers in public service as well as give agencies access to diverse talent sets.

The program reported over 60 nominations for these awards and blindly selected the seven to be honored in an Office of Personnel Management sponsored event.

Among the awardees were:

  • Stella C. Forbes of the U.S. Department of Labor for Agency PMF Coordinator of the Year
  • Lisa Rosenmerkel of the Department of Treasury for Coach/Mentor of the Year
  • Michael C. Lawyer of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for Presidential Management Fellows Alumni of the Year
  • Victor Lyon of the Department of Agriculture for Supervisor/Hiring Manager of the Year
  • Geoffrey Kenyon of the Department of Labor for Excellence in Leadership
  • Marianna LaCanfora of the Social Security Administration for CHCO of the Year
  • Dr. Eugenio-Felipe U. Santillan of the Environmental Protection Agency for Excellence in Service

Preceding the presentation of awards, Gallagher encouraged individuals to promote the program within their professional networks to build a diverse fellowship base.

“We also want to increase the number of geographical diversity across applicants and schools. Sometimes we get large concentrations in D.C. We want to be able to increase the geographical diversity of our applicants,” Gallagher explained during the event, “Also there are some targeted skill areas based on what agencies are telling us that they are looking for for PMF talent that we want to increase awareness of folks in those pools, including cyber security, information technology and finance are some of the top areas that we are working, in other areas as well such as public health and STEM and other areas based on were agencies are looking for expertise.”

Gallagher noted how professional associations such as SEA have helped grow and improve the program over time. Executive Director Briefel gave the keynote address to HR and leadership professionals in attendance on how their leadership could improve the federal workforce.

“When we think about policy and personnel being policy and the government, that is often about political officials who are making decisions about the policy which, is their right and an appropriate role for them. But we don't think about the connection to execution,” Briefel explained. “That is where some of this human capital leadership challenges come in. And so, my assertion is that if we're not focusing on people, and this case the people being career federal workers, it's really hard to get those policy outcomes we promised the taxpayers, that we promised communities. I propose that we flip the paradigm on its head. We put people before policy and then trust good folks who are here for the right reason, driven by public service motivation with the public interest at heart… This is a difference of a bureaucracy and a profession.”

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