A year of impact at the Public Service Leadership Institute
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A year of impact at the Public Service Leadership Institute

June 14, 2023

One year ago, we launched the Public Service Leadership Institute, the preeminent place for public service leadership perspectives, programs and policies. 

In her remarks at the launch of the Institute, Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland declared that the Institute would “set the standard for effective federal leadership” and do groundbreaking work.  

We met that expectation. From the nearly 6,000 leaders who engaged in our programming since the launch, our surveys show that 94% of our participants believed our programs made them a better leader, and 91% applied lessons back at work. Over 90% also reported developing new relationships with people they plan to collaborate with in the future.  

However, for the incredible team of more than 30 employees here at the Public Service Leadership Institute, the work of developing government leaders is about far more than numbers.  

Here are my reflections on some of our accomplishments over the past year—specifically related to our efforts to amplify the importance of public service leadership, develop public service leaders through world-class programs and unify around the single standard of the Public Service Leadership Model.  

Amplify the importance of public service leadership

Since the launch of the Institute, we analyzed the data of thousands of public service leaders who took our Public Service Leadership 360 assessment tool. This analysis resulted in a four-part series, “LeadHERship in the Federal Government,” that reinforces the importance of understanding women’s experiences in federal leadership roles, and the barriers and challenges they face.  

Participants at one of our executive leadership retreats.

We went on to present this research 15 times in various forums—on podcasts, during LinkedIn Lives, at leadership conferences and to agencies directly—to executive audiences. This research is resonant, action-oriented and validates women in government. There is more to come as we understand and publish on the macro experience of public servants through our 360 data.

Develop public service leaders through world-class programs

We built the Institute on the foundation of having worked with tens of thousands of leaders since the Partnership’s inception. Since the launch of the Institute, we developed nearly 6,000 leaders, including almost 1,500 senior executives. We also partnered with Secretaries Becerra, Raimondo and Buttigieg at the departments of Health and Human Services, Commerce and Transportation, respectively, to develop their teams and build their strategies. 

Toni Townes-Whitley, keynote speaker for the EIG Spring 2022-2023 cohort.
Toni Townes-Whitley, keynote speaker for the Excellence in Government Fellows Program, Spring 22-23 cohort.

Unify around the leadership model

One of the reasons we launched the Institute was to provide a home for the Public Service Leadership Model—and to hold it up as the unifying standard for effective government leadership. We spoke to thousands over the past year on the unifying power of public service leadership, including at conferences hosted by GovExec, Deloitte and Executive Women in Government, and at the Changemakers Conference, which we co-hosted with the Senior Executive Association. In all these forums, we invited appointees and career leaders to unite in their common stewardship to serve the public. 

Public Service Leadership Model.

When we walk into a room or speak at an event with public service leaders, we know we are on sacred ground. Our noble work supports leaders as they align their values to the causes they lead; as they remember their higher purpose; as they draw more deeply from their stewardship of public trust; and as they strengthen their commitment to public good.   

For these reasons, leaders leave their experience with the Institute different than when they began it. As one leader put it: “I feel restored and newly inspired to make waves for the public good.”  

We will continue to make waves for the public good and are just getting started in our efforts to strengthen public service leaders, who will go on to build a better government and stronger democracy.  

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