Federal IT Leaders

Information technology is quickly becoming the government’s latest Catch-22. Federal agencies need IT systems to efficiently and effectively run operations and deliver services to the American people. But the more reliant they become on IT, the more vulnerable agencies become to cybersecurity attacks and data breaches.

To maintain IT systems that are both effective and secure, agencies depend on IT leaders with superb technical skills and exceptional management capabilities. The Federal IT Leaders program empowers participants to manage inevitable IT complications and drive vital innovations to strengthen agency operations.

The eight-month program gives participants an opportunity to periodically step away from their day-to-day jobs so they can focus on their long-term professional development. The program meets once every few months for three-day sessions focused on key leadership concepts. Under the guidance of our expert instructors and coaches, participants explore management best practices and practice using their newly developed suite of leadership skills.

Application closed

As the federal government continues to expand telework options and encourages more employees to stay home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain committed to supporting our nation’s civil servants. To help you continue to achieve your agency’s mission and grow your skills, we have converted many of our in-person offerings to virtual training and development. Just like our in-person sessions, each virtual offering uses research-supported methods from highly experienced presenters. For more information contact Diana Starkes at DStarkes@ourpublicservice.org or (202) 292–1014.

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Quick Details


October 2020 – May 2021, 90 course hours




High-performing IT professionals who have reached the GS-12 to GS-14 level at the time of application

Program Details PDF


For more information contact Diana Starkes at DStarkes@ourpublicservice.org or
(202) 292-1014.

How to Apply

At the time of application, applicants must be high-performing, IT professionals who have reached the GS-12 to GS-14 level and have at least three to five years of experience working in their field. Please be aware that your agency may raise the level of qualifications to meet their guidelines.

Program content is geared toward motivated individuals with the experience and ability to take on needed leadership positions within their teams. We have high standards for all participants and evaluate their applications to ensure they will be able to contribute fully to the exceptional quality of the program.

Applications must include personal information, professional experience and objectives, an up-to-date resume and an endorsement from your supervisor. Carefully consider your short-answer responses to ensure your government career objectives align with our high expectations for participants. You may save your application and return to it later.

If you have further questions, please see the FAQ section.

Application closed

100% of Federal IT Leaders participants feel that the program has made them a better leader

95% would recommend the program to a colleague

Hear from a Federal IT Leaders alum on why he recommends the program to all federal IT professionals. 

Read the Q&A

Program Structure

The Federal IT Leaders program is divided into classroom sessions and experiential learning opportunities to ensure participants can use the skills they develop.

The innovative coursework gives participants a chance to examine leadership principles and determine how to personalize them for their own leadership style. The results projects give participants an opportunity to test their leadership philosophies while developing solutions to real-world problems that agencies struggle with every day. Each results project team consists of peers from different agencies and receives guidance from our veteran coaches. The program also includes best practice benchmarks and facilitated dialogue with industry leaders.

Participants remain in their full-time jobs throughout the program. We expect that participants will attend each session and adequately prepare for each one by working on team projects and reading reports, case studies and articles. Prior to applying, you should review the program schedule and confirm your availability.

October 27–29, 2020

Self-Awareness and Discovery
  • Identify personal core values 
  • Examine the need for leadership in addressing the unique challenges facing the IT workforce
  • Understand the distinction between management and leadership
  • Assess personal leadership strengths and development areas

December 8–10, 2020

Leading and Motivating Others
  • Examine leadership styles and how to adapt to different people, situations and environments
  • Lead projects, stakeholders and colleagues more effectively to achieve results
  • Develop systems of accountability

February 2–4, 2021

Driving Innovation
  • Examine IT and management systems and the leader’s role in using different functions to fulfill government’s mission
  • Understand the leader’s role in thinking and planning strategically
  • Define and identify strategic and meaningful results

March 30–April 1, 2021

Leading Across Agency Boundaries
  • Build relationships with key stakeholders and leverage networks
  • Understand the role of partnerships and coalitions in driving and navigating change
  • Develop an enterprise-wide perspective

May 25–27, 2021

Public Service and Synthesis
  • Understand the role of the leader as a public servant
  • Synthesize cumulative program learnings and reflect on successes and challenges
  • Reassess personal leadership strengths and development areas to support continued pursuit of personal and professional growth opportunities
  • Plan for continued application of program learnings in addressing future challenges

“Best program I’ve ever been through. Totally impactful.”

– Former participant

“I am now using my skills and lessons learned to build other leaders within my agency.”

– Former participant

100% report applying program lessons on the job


John Riordan

John Riordan has been committed to challenging people and organizations to reach their full potential for many years—first as a leadership program founder and director in East Africa, and now as an organization and leadership development consultant.

John knows what it means to face the challenges of leadership and produce real results under extremely difficult conditions. Beginning in 1990, he invested 8 years in the future of a nation struggling to overcome a tragic history of genocide, racism and anarchy. John and two colleagues developed a vision for a community that would build a new generation of leaders for Uganda. What emerged was Cornerstone Leadership Academy—a comprehensive boarding school community for young adults focusing on leadership, character, spiritual and intellectual development.

John and his family lived on-site and dealt with the challenges of turning a revolutionary vision into a reality in the midst of racial and tribal tensions, scarce resources, and numerous physical hardships. In 1998 he successfully handed the leadership of the community over to the Ugandan staff he had developed over the years (including several of the school’s own graduates). These same committed colleagues continue to build leaders for Uganda to this day. Over 600 graduates of the Academy have gone on to take positions of leadership and service in their communities, including two current members of Parliament. Graduates have also helped establish Leadership Academies in Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan and Kenya.

John has consulted with a broad range of Federal, private sector and non-profit organizations over the past 15 years. He has conducted hundreds of workshops ranging from large groups (200+) to small teams, and is adept at making sure the approach for the work fits well with his clien’s style. He brings his diverse experiences to bear in working with organizations and individuals, helping them establish strategic and business plans, build strong teams, and fully develop their leadership capacity. He prefers to tackle the “real work” that needs to be done—hether helping clients lay out business plans, establish operating agreements, or identifying specific leadership challenges to overcome—and use that engagement to strengthen the team.

John has 15 years as a Coach with the Excellence in Government Fellows and other Agency-based leadership programs, and has supported hundreds of rising leaders, from across the federal government, in expanding their leadership capacity. He has impacted many more individuals in various short-term leadership and training workshops over the years. He continues to work with young adults as a volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol (Air Force Auxiliary) and supports a variety of non-profit organizations with leadership development training and facilitation.

Monica Thakrar

Ms. Thakrar’s expertise builds on over 15 years of experience focused on strategy, organizational change management, leadership development, training and executive coaching. Monica brings to all of her work a deep understanding of human and organizational development based on years of working with large-scale organizations, executives, mid-managers, and individuals on leading change, building strong relationships, creating high-functioning teams, enhancing leadership capacities, and working across organizational silos.

She has worked with individuals and organizations to enhance their effectiveness, realize greater efficiency, and develop increased capacities in leading people, leading change, and building relationships. Monica has worked with clients in the private sector (Marriott, Lucent, Cable and Wireless, Cannon, Hanley Wood, MedStar), the public sector (US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of Education, US Agency of International Development, US Department of Agriculture (NIFA and NRCS), US Department of Energy, US Department of Health and Human Services (NIH, SAMHSA, and ACL), NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the US Postal Service) and abroad (Central Bank of Jordan and Greater Amman Municipality).

Ms. Thakrar is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and has a Masters in International Trade and Business from Columbia University. She is a graduate of Newfield Network’s organizational coaching program. Ms. Thakrar’s is an ACC certified coach through the International Coaching Federation and is certified in the Myers Briggs assessment, the DISC assessment, the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) 360 Assessment Suite, the LEI 360, the EQ-I 2.0 assessment, the Change Style Indicator, and the Healthy Leader Profile.


Members from the Partnership staff will work with you throughout the Federal IT Leaders program to ensure that your experience goes smoothly.


Q: What application materials must I provide to be eligible?

A: You are required to submit a copy of your resume and a complete supervisor endorsement form. Your resume should include all professional work experience, including nongovernmental experience. Your supervisor endorsement form must come from your direct supervisor.

Q: How will I know if I’m accepted?

A: You will receive an email from a Partnership representative notifying you of your acceptance status within one week after the application deadline. If we have an agreement with your agency to accept you as part of an internal selection process, you will receive word from your agency first, but your acceptance is not confirmed until you have received a notification from us.

Q: I’m no longer able to attend, can I defer my enrollment? Will I receive a refund?

A: Yes, you can defer your enrollment, but only if you paid your tuition prior to the tuition deadline of the program year for which you applied. If you have not, you will need to reapply. We do provide credits or refunds to agencies who have paid but are no longer able to send participants to the program. If you have participated in one or more sessions, we will determine the credit or refund amount on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Can I reapply if I am not accepted into the program?

A: Yes, you are able to reapply as long as you meet the program’s minimum qualifications. However, please check with your agency prior to reapplying—we do limit the number of accepted participants from a single agency in order to maintain a sufficient diversity of agency perspectives.

Q: Is there an application fee?

A: No.

Q: How much is tuition?

A: Tuition is $6,500, which includes all course materials (e.g., books, articles and management tools), online collaboration tools for team projects, and access to the Partnership’s resources, expertise and networks.

Q: When is the tuition deadline, and what are the options for tuition payment?

A: Pay should be arranged prior to the first session (the specific date will be provided in the first program communication to accepted applicants). Your agency is responsible for paying tuition. We do not accept payment from individual applicants.

We accept the following forms of payment: credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express), purchase order or Standard Form 182 (SF-182). The Tuition Form will provide instructions to request a purchase order that can be paid by your agency through Automated Clearing House transfer or check.

We will work directly with the agency POC (e.g., training coordinator, human resources specialist) responsible for paying your tuition, but we will need you to provide us with the name, email and phone number of the POC. Any tuition status update requests should go through your agency POC.

You are committed to paying the full tuition once you begin the program.

Q: What should I do if I have to miss parts of a session or an entire session? Do you offer make-up sessions?

A: Graduation from Partnership programs is contingent upon full attendance and participation in sessions. In the event of a conflict, please contact the program manager or program associate as soon as possible. Should you miss any part of a session or an entire session, you will need to attend the same session topic during the following year’s program. We only offer make-up sessions within the same program year for the first session.

The first session make-up will take place before the second session, but you MUST receive permission from the program manager to attend. Failure to attend the first session or make-up session will automatically result in your withdrawal from the program, even if you can attend the remaining sessions.

Q: Where will the sessions take place?

A: All classroom sessions will take place at the Partnership (see address below). There will be off-site visits throughout the program to federal agencies as well as nongovernmental organizations in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area. Participants will be notified of these visits in advance.

Partnership for Public Service
1100 New York Avenue NW, Suite 200 East
Washington, DC 20005

Q: Will I take any personality assessments as part of the program?

A: Yes, we administer and facilitate debriefs for participants on one personality assessment throughout the program. Potential assessments include emotional intelligence 360s, Strength Deployment Inventory, DiSC and Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator. Assessments will vary depending on your program.