Governor Parson Announces Graduation Of Missouri Leadership Academy Fall 2020 Class, Launch Of Spring 2021 Class

Jefferson City, MO (STL.News) Today, Governor Mike Parson announced the graduation of 29 state employees from the Missouri Leadership Academy.

The graduates came from 15 of the state of Missouri’s executive departments and were chosen by senior department leaders to participate in the cross-department leadership development program.  Governor Parson also announced another 28 emerging leaders who will participate in the sixth class of the program starting today (see biographies below).

“Investing in our emerging leaders through the Missouri Leadership Academy is important to improving state government,” Governor Parson said.  “I commend the graduates for growing as leaders and learning new ways to better serve their teammates and the people of Missouri.”

Earlier this week, the Fall 2020 Missouri Leadership Academy class presented recommendations from their capstone projects to Governor Parson and Cabinet leaders.  Project recommendations ranged from how to improve state government’s customer service to forging innovative partnerships to help raise awareness of public service careers among high school students.

Yesterday evening, Governor Parson hosted the Fall 2020 class for their graduation ceremony followed by a reception in the Capitol Rotunda.

The Missouri Leadership Academy is an innovative, nationally-recognized program that brings together public servants from across state government to develop new skills and become better leaders.  The program is based on the idea that by developing its leaders, Missouri state government will continue to improve and better serve its citizens.

Emerging leaders from the Missouri Leadership Academy build their capabilities in three core areas – leading themselves, leading others, and leading change in state government.  The Academy partnered with the University of Missouri’s Novak Leadership Institute to implement elements of the program.

The Academy continues to adapt to the COVID-19 environment to protect the safety of participants while ensuring the quality of the program.  The Fall 2020 class divided time between virtual and in-person meetings and followed proper safety protocols, including participant screening, social distancing, and mask wearing.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the class was able to meet with numerous state leaders, including legislative leaders, statewide office holders, members of the judiciary, Cabinet leaders, and reporters covering the Capitol.

The Spring 2021 class will continue to adapt to COVID-19 as needed to maintain safety.

“The Missouri Leadership Academy is the state’s flagship leadership development program whose graduates make a difference every day,” State of Missouri Chief Operating Officer Drew Erdmann said.  “This class demonstrated great commitment to making the program a success while adapting to the COVID-19 environment.  The opportunity to work and learn with these public servants inspires me.”

“I was honored and excited to be selected for the Missouri Leadership Academy.  I knew of its excellent reputation of providing a unique, cross-departmental leadership experience. It far exceeded my expectations,” said Rachel Jones, Department of Mental Health.  “Meeting talented leaders across state government, all committed to common goals despite our diverse backgrounds and expertise, was inspiring.”

“I gained a new set of leadership skills that I apply to my day-to-day work.  The commitment from the Governor’s Office, Cabinet, state legislators, and other leaders across Missouri government speaks volumes,” Ms. Jones continued.  “The Leadership Academy certainly strengthens Missouri government for Missouri citizens, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

“This experience, with the mentorship from great leaders like Chief Operating Officer Drew Erdmann and Corrections Director Anne Precythe, has challenged me to continue pursuing leadership excellence that is focused on providing the best services for every Missouri taxpayer dollar,” said Vince Rost, Department of Corrections.  “We all love our state and are rolling up our sleeves in response to the Missouri Leadership Academy’s challenges so that we can help Missouri thrive, not just survive these historically significant times.”

“Leadership Academy has been one of the most impactful experiences in my career,” said Shasta Miller, Department of Social Services.  “It has given me the confidence to be an effective change agent not only within my department but all of Missouri government for the betterment of all Missouri citizens.”

To be considered for participation in the program, department leaders must nominate candidates. Nominees then submit a resume and brief memorandum explaining why they are a good candidate for the program to a committee of Cabinet leaders.  The committee reviews the applications and makes the final selections.

Since launching the program, the state has graduated over 100 emerging leaders and will continue to have two classes per year.  The Fall 2021 class will be nominated by Cabinet leaders in May 2021 and begin in July 2021.