Leadership Excellence for Acquisition Professionals

As budgets tighten across government, federal agencies are struggling with a critical question: How can they avoid cutting important components of their mission-critical work while still reducing operating costs? Increasingly, the burden of coming up with solutions falls on acquisition teams.

The Leadership Excellence for Acquisition Professionals program helps employees become more capable leaders agencies need to spearhead cost-saving, performance-improving, innovation-driving efforts.

Our eight-month program gives participants the time and space to become well-rounded leaders. Each three-day program session focuses on a different facet of leadership: leading teams, managing and motivating others, adapting to change and achieving results. By developing these core areas, participants graduate from the program with the ability to tackle government’s most complex acquisition challenges.

Application closed

We at the Partnership for Public Service remain fully committed to our nonprofit, nonpartisan mission. We also remain fully committed to you and your development. To help you continue to achieve your agency’s mission and grow your skills during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are continuing with all programs and will carry them out virtually through August. Just like our in-person sessions, each virtual offering uses research-supported methods from highly experienced facilitators. For more information contact Diana Starkes at DStarkes@ourpublicservice.org or call (202) 292–1014.

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Quick Details


May 2020–December 2020, 90 course hours
The May, July and August sessions will be virtual. All other sessions will be held in Washington, D.C.




High-performing acquisition 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 call (202) 292‑1014.

After graduation, 100% of supervisors said their employees in the program were effective at peer communication and networking within their organizations

95% indicated the program had a positive impact on their ability to innovate and be creative with their daily acquisition work

How to Apply

At the time of application, applicants must be high-performing acquisition professionals who have reached the GS-12 to GS-14 level and have at least three years of experience working in their field. At minimum, participants should possess an FAC-C Level II or equivalent certification. 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 your 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

Program Structure

The Leadership Excellence for Acquisition Professionals program is divided into two basic activities: learning and doing. During classroom sessions, participants explore foundational leadership principles with experienced instructors and alongside their federal acquisition peers. And then they put those classroom lessons to use when they return to their day-to-day jobs.

Participants further reinforce classroom lessons by working on results projects to hone their leadership and collaboration skills under the guidance of an expert coach. The results projects are more than just a program assignment—these projects address real-world challenges and have the potential to truly benefit agencies.

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.

May 19, 2020

Value-Based Leadership (Virtual session)
  • Improving interpersonal skills
  • Displaying values in your working style
  • Gaining motivation for public service
  • Refining your authentic leadership style

July 14–17, 2020

Leading Teams (Virtual session)
  • Building trust and better communication
  • Navigating conflict within a team
  • Recognizing personal and other people’s emotions

August 25–28, 2020 (Virtual session)

Managing and Motivating Others
  • Motivating and engaging others
  • Building relationships and trust
  • Communicating your ideas with clarity

October 6–8, 2020

Adapting to Change
  • Improving your ability to adapt
  • Expanding your mindset and perspective
  • Developing new problem-solving techniques

December 15–17, 2020

Achieving Results and Graduation
  • Enhancing executive presentation skills
  • Re-energizing ownership of your career and service

“This is a great program for all acquisition professionals who aspire to be future leaders.”

— Former participant

“The LEAP program teaches skills and self-development techniques that will allow 1102s to be the best in class for their agency.”

— Former participant

Meet the Coaches

Our executive coaching team is dedicated to helping participants reach their leadership goals. Our coaches possess a common set of core qualifications and bring a diverse set of backgrounds, global perspectives and training styles to the LEAP program.

Meet the Coaches

Randy Bergquist

Randy Bergquist has over 36 years of Federal service, having worked for the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, and Department of Commerce. Randy is a highly experienced human capital strategist with international, public, and academic experience who has demonstrated the ability to lead diverse teams of professionals to new levels of success. He has expertise and innovative practice in leading Department-wide (Cabinet level) initiatives such as: talent and leadership development, strategic planning, functional integration, shared-services, human capital business systems, workforce and succession planning, organizational and individual performance management.

Over the course of his career, Randy assessed, coached and provided career/professional advice to hundreds of entry to senior –level employees. He also facilitated hundreds of learning activities including workshops for large and small groups and strategic and management planning off-sites. From November 2010 to December 2015, Randy served as the Chair, Interagency Chief Learning Officer Council. This Council is comprised of Chief Learning Officers or their equivalents that collaborate with and between Federal agencies for the express purpose of sharing best practices, influencing regulations and maximizing the use of government resources to deliver effective and engaging learning and development opportunities to all Federal employees.

Randy received his Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Wisconsin. He served as an adjunct faculty for over 20 years with The Graduate School, USA located in Washington, DC, where he designed and facilitated a number of courses in the areas of Leadership Development, Communication Skills, Emotional Intelligence, Career Planning and Transition, Conflict Resolution and Consultation. Since 2017, Randy has served as a coach/facilitator for leadership programs with the Partnership for Public Service.

Alison Miller

Alison Miller is a leadership coach, strategic planning, organizational effectiveness, and leadership development advisor with over 25 years of professional experience. Alison has held executive level positions with information technology, management, and human capital consulting organizations, with responsibility for multi-million dollar budgets and the development and wellbeing of over 100 staff. Through her experience, training, and personal journey, Alison cultivated a desire and expertise to help other leaders and organizations develop their strategic vision, align their goals and priorities, and lead change by effectively communicating and supporting customers, stakeholders, and employees. Alison specialties are assessing and developing organizations, leading individual and team coaching programs, and delivering leadership development training. Focus areas most requested by clients include developing and sharing vision and goals; enhancing leadership presence; improving emotional intelligence; increasing influencing skills; managing conflict; setting clear expectations; providing effective feedback; motivating staff; and maximizing employee engagement.

Recognizing that clients often have too much to do in high-pressure, high-visibility, complex environments, Alison provides practical coaching and thought leadership. She collaborates with her clients to design actions that increase self-awareness about their current mindsets and behaviors and encourages them to incorporate new skills. Her support is always customized to the specific goals and circumstances of each client, and includes resources and frameworks to reinforce learning and adopt new habits. Clients consistently report their appreciation for her insightful questions, clear feedback, and helpful best practices that create a new way of seeing, thinking, and leading.

Alison has a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Clarkson University, an M.B.A. from Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, and she is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching program with a Professional Certified Coaching (PCC) credential through the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Alison is certified in the Bar-On Emotional Quotient-Inventory (EQ-i), Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP), Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) Element B, Klein Group Instrument for Leadership and Team Effectiveness, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and the Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI). She is currently studying positive psychology and applied neuroscience to support her client work.

Rachel Verlik

Rachel Verlik is an executive coach, facilitator and trainer with over 20 years of business and leadership experience in both the private and public sectors. Rachel partners with business leaders and professionals to enhance their communication, development and effectiveness while meeting their business goals. Throughout her career, she has conducted or overseen training design, development and delivery on a myriad of business and leadership programs.

Rachel is an authentic and approachable coach, focused on the philosophy of partnering with the whole person, team, or organization to initiate and sustain change. Her focus areas are on communication skills, emotional intelligence, increasing self-confidence, resiliency, and maximizing career fulfillment.

Rachel understands first-hand how difficult yet exciting it can be to switch careers or into a leadership role. Her varied roles have included Leadership Coach and Organizational Development Consultant, Project Manager (in IT, Acquisition, and HR), Assistant Director, and Chief of Staff. She was selected for and attended a Fellows Program at the Federal Executive Institute in 2008-2009. She has served at the U.S. Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Rachel is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching Program and holds a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential with the International Coaching Federation. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work from James Madison University and a Masters in e-Commerce from George Mason University. She also studied at the Universidad de Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain, which was a formative experience in seeing herself as a global citizen. She is certified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Leadership Circle 360 Profile, DiSC, 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team,  EQ-i 2.0 and EQ-i 360 Profile as well as a Global Career Development Facilitator. Rachel will be certified in Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead program in Summer 2019.

Rachel is a regularly featured contributor for The Huffington Post in the areas of personal development and entrepreneurship. She also volunteers with The Coaching Fellowship. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys spending time outdoors (mostly in her vegetable garden or at the beach), with her dog, friends and family, or at a baseball game.  She resides in Alexandria, VA.


Members from the Partnership staff will work with you throughout the Leadership Excellence for Acquisition Professionals 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 receive any training credits upon my completion of the program?

A: Yes, LEAP graduates receive 90 Continuous Learning Points (CLPs).

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

A: Yes, we administer and facilitate debriefs on two assessments. The DiSC assessment should be taken prior to kick-off (access to this assessment is contingent on paying tuition beforehand). Additionally, the program offers a multi-rater assessment of emotional intelligence accompanied by a one-on-one coaching session that will provide a complete “360-degree” view of your emotional and social functioning.