What attracted you to the BIF Summit?

All the people who attend the BIF Summit and speak at the BIF Summit are people I’d love to be trapped on a deserted island with for extended periods of time. They are thinkers, innovators, people I respect and follow, people who are challenging conventional norms in society. The BIF Summit is an opportunity to learn and see them in action, to connect with people with shared visions and purposes. And I’m looking forward to not just sharing my story but hearing what other people are working on, and coming back with lots of ideas and new friends to help advance our mission.

Tell us just a bit about the subject of your BIF Summit story.

I’ll talk about the role people have in facilitating and driving change and innovation in the public sector, and what happens when you give people a voice in government. That’s considered something government agencies aren’t open to. But what happens when you actually do that? What kind of change can you drive in the community, not just the government agency itself?

What, to you, is the value of sharing stories?

Stories are opportunities to hear ideas and to connect different ideas all in one place. A good story will inspire you, inform you, and activate you. Stories drive change by activating people to learn more that they can do. And stories allow us to build on each other’s work. It’s very difficult to pore through pages of academic research — the simplest way to start that process is with a story.

Do you have a motto, or “words to live by”? If so, what is it?

I have one word — empowerment. The role empowerment plays in change is embedded in my talk. Often you’ll read a business book on transformation, and it’s all about leadership. But it’s not sustainable if it’s all driven from the top. True, sustainable change happens when you empower people to lead that change themselves, to create change on their own.

What’s one thing (or more, if you like) would you like Summit attendees to know about you before they hear your story?

What most people don’t realize is that I’m an accidental public servant. I had a career in banking and then was recruited to be the Chief Financial Officer for a city. It wasn’t something I’d planned on, once I got there it opened his eyes to the ability of government and people to work together and do so much together. It became my driving passion.

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