2016 Emerging Leader Award – Amanda Kaufman
Excerpted from award nomination
The IaCMA’s Emerging Leader Award is presented to a local government and the chief administrator or assistant chief administrator in recognition of his/her innovate and successful programs.
The 2016 award recipient has been with the city of Marion since June of 2012 and has earned the respect of peers and coworkers with an exceptional work ethic. Our award winner is presently serving as the Assistant to the City Manager and has demonstrated a proven commitment to both the city and the profession.
Her initial projects for Marion included the setup and organization of the city’s communications and IT functions. She joined Marion in the midst of a reorganization initiative, and was charged with facilitating the addition of the city’s first in-house communication and IT positions. Amanda was involved in the hiring for both positions, with both staff members now reporting to her while she develops their work plans and assigns tasks. Her ability to do the initial prioritization and whittle down the long list of tasks to a manageable level for the new employees led to a smooth transition and dramatic improvements in city services on both fronts.
Amanda also played a significant role in Marion’s successful Blue Zones accreditation process that ultimately led to the City receiving the State of Iowa Healthiest City Award in the large city category in 2015. She was co-chair of the community policy committee, which researched and recommended policy changes to the City Council for new laws and procedures that would create a healthier environment. In a parallel duty, she was instrumental in helping the City become a Blue Zone certified workplace. A big part of this was her role as Marion’s well-being program coordinator as she helped craft, roll out, and administer the city’s first well-being program. In its first year, the city achieved an exceptional 83% participation rate of employees in the program, which is well above the normal expectations for the first year.
Since coming to Marion, Amanda has become heavily involved in working with the state professional association (IaCMA) members. She was instrumental in the creation of a young manager’s networking group, which brought together next generation managers from across the state using a combination of face to face meetings and interactive technology. From this sprung an eastern Iowa Manager’s group which meets regularly with educational and social events. This group is open to managers at all levels of government and in governments of all sizes. As a coordinator for the group, she books venues and dates, takes care of agendas, and comes up with the programming for meetings.
Amanda was also named by IaCMA as one of the coordinators for the Northeast Iowa Regional Manager’s group. As a coordinator, she helps set up the quarterly meetings for all the managers/ administrators in the northeast quadrant of the state and arranges programming and training for the meetings as desired. She was a presenter at the 2013 ICMA Conference in Boston, speaking on the “It’s Not Your Parent’s Local Government” panel. In 2015, she represented Iowa on the ICMA Conference Planning Committee for the 2016 conference in Kansas City.
Among these professional activities, Amanda finds balance by becoming involved in community interests. Almost immediately after starting in Marion, she joined Big Brothers/Big Sisters and has been a big sister and mentor. She has also been instrumental in creating a social group for area young professionals of all industries through meetup.com, and organizing social outings all across eastern Iowa.
Finally, among all of her other activities, she found time to become a published author, collaborating on a project with John Nalbandian at the University of Kansas.
Please join me in recognizing our 2016 Emerging Leader Award winner, Amanda Kaufman.