Last year the National Association of Counties (NACo) launched the NACo High Performance Leadership Academy, a 12-week training program for entry and mid-level county employees held entirely online and available to all members. Why would you want to get involved? WSAC talked with Snohomish County Councilmember Nate Nehring, a graduate of the leadership academy, to learn more about his experience with the program and whether or not this is an opportunity for WSAC members.

Councilmember Nehring

My experience with the NACo Leadership Academy has had a positive effect on my work in my county,” Nehring said. “One example is communication: during the leadership program, there was an entire segment which focused on communication. This was extremely helpful and relevant, and I was able to take what I learned (from the content as well as from other county leaders) and apply that to my own work in order to improve my communication.

The webinar-based learning program is unique in that it offers the ability to interact within small cohorts of peers with an emphasis on interactivity and community, while still providing the ease of a self-paced curriculum. County leaders participate from all across the country, not only giving a broader perspective but facilitating the sharing of information and networking. The program is built for entry-to-mid-level county professionals, especially staff who manage teams or are preparing to supervise.

The academy focuses on building five essential skills of county leaders: leadership, organization, collaboration, delivery, and communication. The program is moderated by an expert to keep students on track while prominent public, private, and academic sector leaders impart their wisdom and knowledge during online sessions. Topics include working with stakeholders, executing organizational change, building partnerships, creating clarity, and achieving priority-driven results. Each 12-week course is split into four three-week modules, with each module hosting a one-hour live webinar and one-hour breakout discussion. Daily assignments range from 3-35 minutes, and live classes are recorded for students who cannot attend.

As leaders, I think it is very important that we are always striving to grow. We can always learn more and better ourselves so that we can in turn better serve the communities we represent.” – Nate Nehring, Snohomish County Councilmember

Click here to find out more about the NACo High Performance Leadership Academy.