Leadership Southern California, first and foremost, put me in touch with a variety of people from whom I learned a tremendous amount. I was inspired by my colleagues, who came from diverse background, worked in an array of professions, and had a variety of viewpoints on public policy, politics and the private sector.
There were also leaders of every sort, including elected officials with whom we met, who shared their work on the environment, water use, homelessness, housing and healthcare. Laura Chick, the former Los Angeles City Controller, invited us to her office to discuss how she used her office’s audit powers to bring about reform in City Hall. Little did I know then that just a few years later I’d be in that very same office as L.A.’s controller.
Tell us of some ways you’ve utilized the tools and skills developed in LSC.
As the current L.A. city controller, I think about my experiences with SCLN all the time. In my interactions with constituents and my fellow electeds, I often try to look at issues through their viewpoints to see if a different way of addressing those issues exists and if the city could have an improved approach to them.
Likewise, one of the first things I did as controller was to launch an open data site (ControlPanel.la). We put a wealth of information about the city’s finances, expenditures, revenues, payroll, purchasing, special funds and more online, and made it all easy to view. One reason we did this was for the sake of transparency. But another reason was to engage the public in making a better L.A. Two years after the first launching of our site, I continue to meet with Angelenos who share insights dereived from our open data. It’s a way of extending the democratic process far beyond the walls of City Hall.
To learn more about how SCLN fellowships can build your career and leadership skills, contact SCLN Executive Director Nancy Olson.
(Controller, City of Los Angeles, LSC ’07)