Inaugural Federal Executive Cohort Gathers for Second Seminar

The inaugural cohort of the Rodel Federal Executive Fellowship met for the second time in April in Charlottesville, Virginia. Twenty-three senior civil servants in the federal government gathered to discuss technological innovation in the public sector, the changing geopolitical landscape, and the evolving relationship between civil servants and political leaders.

Fellows engaged in deep and meaningful discussions throughout the weekend. Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and former Executive Director of Code for America and author of Recoding America: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better, guided the Fellows in a conversation on strategies for innovation in the face of bureaucratic obstacles. Richard Fontaine, Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security, moderated a dynamic session on geopolitics and the role of the United States in the world. To close the weekend, John Kroger, Chief Executive Officer of Rodel Institute, led a discussion on how to navigate relationships with political appointees to build trusting and effective professional networks.

The impact of the fellowship on the participants has been profound. In between the first and second seminar, a number of Fellows were promoted to new roles, including one who was accepted into the Senior Executive Service (SES) Development Program and another who was awarded the President Rank Award, Meritorious Executive. Further, three Fellows, all at different government agencies, worked together to push for policy reform. They shared that at points where their efforts normally would have died, the relationship they built with one another through the Rodel Fellowship allowed them to persevere and achieve a change in policy. Two Fellows also took to heart the urgency for change and the responsibility of civil servants to foster it. At their respective agencies, each implemented a new program. One initiative is designed to foster career-long learning opportunities, and the other program is designed to cultivate talent management. Both Fellows have seen successful results in less than a year.