Inter-Departmental Correspondence

County Manager’s Office



May 4, 2009


May 19, 2009







Honorable Board of Supervisors



David S. Boesch, County Manager
Donna J. Vaillancourt, Human Resources Director



Executive Leadership Academy




Recognize and commend the County’s inaugural Executive Leadership Academy participants upon their successful completion of the 18-month program: Anne Marie Despain; Kathleen Boutte Foster; Linda Franco; Ignacio Guerrero; Gloria Kanu; Rita Kavanaugh; Rocio Kiryczun; Heather Ledesma; Bill Lowell; Arthur Morris; and Martha Poyatos.



Commitment: Responsive, effective and collaborative government

Goal 21: County employees understand, support and integrate the County vision and goals into their delivery of services


The Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) contributes to this commitment and goal by preparing talent within the organization to meet current and future workforce needs while ensuring continuity of outstanding services to our community.



In 2005, your Board approved a Countywide Organizational Review that included the assessment of existing management development opportunities to address anticipated retirements in key leadership positions. Based on findings, a Succession Planning Task Force (now referred to as the Succession Planning Implementation and Evaluation Committee) was established to recommend and develop a comprehensive Succession Planning Program to meet workforce needs. A key recommendation identified by the Task Force was for the County to develop an accelerated leadership program to prepare participants for Assistant Director, Deputy Director or Department Head level positions within the next five years.


The County Manager’s Office and the Human Resources Department developed a proposal for an ELA program. An Oversight Committee, comprised of the County Manager and Department Heads, monitored the development, implementation and evaluation of the program as well as provided coaching and mentoring to ELA participants throughout the program.



In December 2007, the ELA program was announced to all managers with informational meetings conducted by the County Manager. Over forty managers submitted an application and twelve were selected after a comprehensive screening and interviewing process.


The participants completed a rigorous program that involved the following three components:


Skill Assessment: Participants underwent an extensive skill assessment process to identify their strengths and areas of development in key competencies. The process included: an online self-assessment; an online 360 evaluation; and participation in an Assessment Center. Following the assessments, each participate was provided with a written skills assessment report. Members of the Oversight Committee provided feedback to each of the participants relating to their strengths and potential areas of development.


Skill Development: Participants were provided with individual and group training, coaching and development of a personalized Employee Development Plan (EDP) during this phase. Participants attended the 2008 Berkeley Executive Seminar as well as thirteen additional training programs on a wide range of topics (e.g., negotiation skills, finance, legislative process, coaching and mentoring staff and effective presentation skills).


Application: All participants identified a project to improve their leadership skills and advance their career goals. Some participants worked individually on their project and others partnered with other participants. Projects included a Business Continuity Plan, Succession Planning Efforts Case Study, Chronic Disease Management Plan, County Branding Project, Cultural Competency Project, and the facilitation, coordination and oversight of Employee Budget Workgroups. Each participant presented their project to the Oversight Committee and received feedback.


Throughout the program, ELA participants demonstrated their commitment and dedication to the County’s succession planning efforts, their own skill development and took on projects to support the County’s initiatives. ELA participants dedicated many hours to successfully completing the Academy and deserve recognition for their outstanding work. They have developed and enhanced new skills and competencies as well as formed a cohesive team.


The program has received excellent reviews and participants unanimously endorsed the effectiveness of the ELA. An extensive report evaluating the ELA program is being prepared by the Human Resources Department for review by the Oversight Committee and Executive Council.



Appropriations for the ELA Program were included in the Human Resources Department FY 2008-09 Adopted Budget.