Golden GOVIT Awards Logo

Recognizing individuals, government agencies and other public sector institutions that have advanced government technology through collaboration, innovation and service.

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Individual Leader

An individual who champions and implements innovation, inspires collaboration, is focused on improving service, and demonstrates a personal commitment to advancing the professional and career development of him/herself as well as others in their agency.

Nominee #1
Lorraine Brady, Carver County

Lorraine is a champion who promotes and implements innovation at Carver County. She provides innovation leadership to the entire County and shared her knowledge and experiences with other counties as well. She works on and promotes both short term and long term strategies, and has modified her facilitation methods to be customized to Carver County to streamline countywide business processes.

Lorraine has led the team to create many efficient processes through organization of interaction. There are 245 unique County employees who participated in Kaizen Events. For the employee teams, there were 530 improvement suggestions that came out of the events, and 95% of them have been completed. For the management teams, there are 88 improvement suggestions and 85% of them are implemented. Lorraine conducted 33 events to help departments change how the County does business and enhance efficiency to provide services to the public. She demonstrated how the County can break down complex processes into simplified action plans in the Kaizen report.

Lorraine started the first BA/PM group meeting July 27, 2015. She works hard to promote this group, which has grown to 150 people with 15 counties so far. This is a quarterly meeting held at Carver County where Lorraine is the host, organizer, and facilitator. She puts a significant amount of extra effort into this event to maximize the experience, including details such as planning lunch and ensuring nametags are available. She inspires other BA/PM's to share responsibilities and to brainstorm new topics for future meetings. There are 26 successful BA/PM county networking meetings that have been conducted thus far. The topics covered many IT areas, including project/program/portfolio management, innovation, SharePoint for internal and external communication, CRM solutions, business application demonstrations, project management software reviews, Office 365 implementation plan, and lessons learned. Many people and counties have benefited from this collaborative effort and knowledge sharing.

I am nominating Lorraine in the individual leader category because she has built lasting relationships within and between departments to create new opportunities for people to work together. She is slowly changing Carver County's culture for innovation, and also provides a bridge to connect counties in sharing ideas and knowledge for IT innovation.

Nominee #2
Millicent Kasal, MNIT @ MPCA

Millicent Kasal has a natural ability to connect with people. She has performed resource analysis and has tailored here communication style to match the receiving party, which allows here to build a strong bond with others. Millicent is very influential in the way she communicates with staff, peers, leadership and business partners. She uses enthusiasm to draw people in and motivation to give them a reason to action. Millicent is also a very good listener who analyses the content and ask many questions to help her consume the information. She is friendly, confident, and open-minded and is respect of everyone she encounters. In addition, Millicent is very good at nonverbal cues such as body language, eye contact, gesture, tone that are all valuable skills which she uses to build relationships.

Millicent is using her communication skills to inspire, empower, and guide her staff to step outside their comfort zone and achieve greater things.

Millicent's top priority is developing here staff. How do I know? I asked. According to Millicent, she spends 25 percent of her time meeting deliverables and self-development and 75 percent of her time developing staff and creating tailored curriculums to meet individual staff goals. She has integrated staff training into our business strategies even if the training is outside our current position description. Coupled with the training, Millicent aligns projects to the various training programs so that we have the opportunity to implement our learning in real-world situations. In addition, Millicent has established a continuous 360 assessment and feedback loop monitor progress and make adjustments as needed.

Nominee #3
Jessica Parker, Minnesota IT Services

Jessica participates in many Enterprise teams, as well as several MPCA management teams. She diligently communicates via several different methods in order to ensure her staff are not only informed, but understand the message, the strategic linkages, what it means for them, and how they can in turn, get involved themselves. She leads unit meetings with clear agendas and meeting minutes. She produces and presents presentations to units, project teams, management teams as well as Enterprise presentations. This work ensures the flow of information not only to her teams, but to all stakeholders that need to be communicated to, at the right times.

Jessica is the poster child for practicing what she preaches, and getting her teams involved. She and some of her staff have been on Enterprise teams to develop BA and QA standards, and present policies, documentation and proposals to upper leadership. Jessica is constantly practicing continuous improvement, both within her teams, as well as the project office as a whole. She has work with her staff to create templates for all project teams to use based off of input from her teams, and took the initiative to update her playbook with the new State brand. She participates in many events outside of work hours to promote the MNIT brand, and recruit potential employees. Event such as the State of MN Career Fair, PMI and IIBA events, IT symposium planning and speaking, among many other events. She encourages her staff to do the same, and membership/participation in professional organizations such as PMI and IIBA have increased under her leadership. Her staff have also volunteered to work at events such as the People of Color Career Fair. By this level of involvement, she is able to best represent the needs of her teams and promote their ideas.

Jessica goes above and beyond in her recognition efforts to ensure staff feel valued and appreciated on a day to day basis. She has a knack of finding sources of free training for her staff, which, according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, states that people are most motivated by contributing and using their skills. She is currently actively participating in the Mentor/Mentee program by mentoring a BA from another agency. By facilitating this environment of learning, she is creating team dynamics that are safe to explore, learn and develop. Her initiative to recognize staff in multiple ways outside of formal recognition processes, speaks to her dedication to the philosophy of creating a positive team dynamic.

Nominee #4
Lisa Wu, Carver County

In 2016, Lisa Wu was charged to budget the software expenditure for Carver County. She sent out questionnaires to workers to assess software needs. 175 workers expressed need for "Adobe Acrobat DC Pro". This tool allows workers to improve service deliveries to people they interact daily, with the essential function when deal with documents for both internal staff and external customers. E.g. redact text, graphics for sensitive data; edit scans; send docs for comments; combine files; create, export and edit PDF; integrate with Office. 175 Workers in Court, Public Health, Human Services, IT and Taxpayer Services had expressed the need for such function to server their customers.

However, a big problem is the price to purchase this software at $367 per license at discounted government price, totaled to $64,225 of her budget for just one software item. Lisa negotiated with the authorized dealer to lower the price. After many rounds of negotiation, the re-seller agreed to cut the price to $29 per person per year if Carver can sign up for 1000 licenses. Great deal but with another problem - Carver County has less than 1000 workers, only need 175 licenses. Can Carver justify purchasing 1000 license and wasting 825 of them?

Most people would give up this opportunity, but not Lisa. She took that as her mission to make that work for Carver, at the same time benefit other counties.

She talked to IT directors and managers from other counties whom she knew personally. She tried to get them onboard with the idea for the win/win strategy to purchase the software together. She also presented the collaboration concept at the Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative's ISSG committee meeting in June of 2016. She persuaded other counties to join in her effort. At the same time, she had to persuade Carver County's board willingly to risk purchase 1000 licenses but benefit 825 workers from other counties.

Beside the above persuasion and marketing effort, Lisa also did extra work at Carver, including: wrote Memorandum of Agreement; reviewed contracts with participated counties; got accurate license count; managed reimbursement from participants.

The effort paid off. This resulted in 1000 public workers get the software they needed at an affordable price, which enhance service deliveries to people in their communities. There is also other benefit from the IT perspective - standardize the version/edition of this software for ease of support.

Recently, one additional county joined in, Lisa negotiated further reduction in price, from $29 to $27.84 per license.

This goes beyond Lisa's role at Carver IT, she took on the tremendous effort to help other workers and people in Minnesota. I admire her courage and dedication to take on such challenge, resulted in positive impact to many people and communities. I truly think it is a role model for me; hence my humble submission to nominate Lisa Wu for the prestigious GOVIT award in Collaboration and Leadership categories.