Village of Wauconda
Tell us about your journey into the profession:
The suburb where I went to high school was in a post-WWII planned town, Park Forest. The original story of Park Forest, the community’s racial desegregation in the 1950s, and finally its redevelopment and revitalization efforts in the 90s piqued my interest in urban planning and public policy. I majored in urban planning at the University of Illinois and during my first internship, I realized that narrow focus wasn’t for me. Thanks to the assistant village manager there, I found my way to NIU’s MPA program. The best thing about city management is that among all of the variety of work, I still get to be involved in the types of planning projects that inspired me in the first place, but from a strategic perspective, which is a better fit for me.
How did you become involved with IAMMA, and overall what did you get out of your experience with IAMMA?:
When I had my first internship at the City of Naperville while working on my MPA, my supervisor was very supportive of my involvement in IAMMA. I will say not every organization is like that and it’s probably worth asking in your interview if the supervisor is involved in professional organizations or would support your membership. For me, IAMMA was my first introduction to networking outside of my organization. The longer I’ve been at this, the more I’ve realized the importance of my network.
Why is local government a good career path?:
In local government management, we are lucky enough to work on the most important issues of our time – things like environmental sustainability, economic development and more inclusive communities and workforces. Even if I can’t accomplish everything I want to, I’m planting seeds for a more prosperous region for all.
Fun fact about yourself:
My husband is from Arkansas and we spend a lot of time there. I’ve adopted the Razorbacks as my second team behind the Illini.
If you could give one piece of advice to future local government leaders, what would it be?:
Well, two pieces of advice. 1) Learn to be a good conversationalist. It helps build relationships with co-workers, residents, business owners, other agencies, consultants and just about everyone who can help you when you need it.
2) Don’t get discouraged if your career isn’t moving as quickly as you thought it would. It took me a long time and a lot of rejection to the job I’m in now. But, all those first and second interviews were great experiences and I don’t regret the extra time I had in past positions to learn and build my resume.
Shows/music/books you’re currently watching/listening to/reading:
I’m reading Mercury Pictures Presents, which is good so far. I just finished The Lincoln Highway, which I slogged through.
I’m trying to keep my Spanish strong, so I’m watching Club de Cuervos and El Rey on Netflix.
Hiking and spending time outside. I have a very energetic dog, whose long walks have become my only hobby, it seems. We run out of local paths to walk so I’m also looking for a good, shady trail.