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Telling Public Service Stories: ASPA Webinar September 19

Washington, DC–Look out for the next ASPA webinar, scheduled for Wednesday, September 19 at 1 pm EST. This webinar is free as a member benefit. Entitled “Telling Public Service Stories,” the webinar will be led by Mary Hamilton and Ruth Paskowitz.

Practitioners need to be given permission and taught how to tell their stories so that citizens understand what they contribute to making democracy and our society work well. In today’s anti-government climate, it is vital that invisible, and frequently heroic, public servants be supported and encouraged to tell their stories.  Most of these people have been taught to stay in the background, not make waves, and do their jobs diligently but invisibly.

Hamilton and Paskowitz will:

  • Discuss what democracy is and the paradox of having a professional public service in a democracy
  • Introduce the concept of “Delivering Democracy” developed by Robert and Janet Denhardt, and discuss how it applies to public servants–how the routine and non-routine aspects of their work help to further or frustrate democratic principles and how they can act to be more effective in their respective positions.
  • Discuss how and why perceptions of government have shifted over the past century
  • Describe the importance of stories to changing the public perception of government and public servants
  • Provide a template for telling their stories based on the StoryCorps Do-It-Yourself Guide
  • Perform a role play example using the template
  • Conclude by emphasizing the importance of quality government to a healthy democracy and impress on the audience that public employees can help by sharing their stories so that the average citizen better understands what government workers do for them every day.

You have a vital role in making democracy work! Remember why you selected public service—to, in the words of John Kirlin, be “A central part of the grandest of human endeavors—shaping a better future for ourselves and those yet unborn.”

Mary Hamilton is senior executive in residence in the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska Omaha, and director of the Nebraska Certified Public Manager® (CPM) Program. Previously she was the executive director of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), and was a senior executive with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), both in Washington, DC.  She was also regional manager of the GAO New York Office.

While at GAO, Hamilton was a member of the Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.  She was also a Judge for the President’s Quality Award, and for the Secretary of the Air Force Quality Award.

Rita Paskowitz has been the Storyteller for the Nebraska CPM Program since its founding in 2007.  In that role, she co-teaches classes on knowing yourself as a leader/manager, leadership, leading change, making effective presentations, and telling the story of public program/organizations.  She also teaches Storytelling and Education in the College of Education at UNO and is the co-founder, artistic director and storytelling/theatre artist for GATE/Grief and the Arts Training Experience (an arts training program for bereavement specialists) and EDU-GATE (GATE’s sister program for educators).

Paskowitz also leads workshops and retreats for a variety of public, private, nonprofit, healthcare, religious and social organizations while maintaining an active Storytelling performance schedule.

A template to help public servants ‘tell their story’ will also be provided. Registration is now open.

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