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Office of Administration Announces Graduation of Eighth Missouri Leadership Academy Class, Launch of Ninth Class

August 4, 2022

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Today, the Office of Administration announced the graduation of 32 state employees from the Missouri Leadership Academy – a program helping develop the next generation of state government leaders.

The graduates were chosen by senior leadership to participate in the cross-department leadership development program, which focuses on three core areas: leading themselves, leading others, and leading change within state government. The Office of Administration also announced another 32 emerging leaders who are participating in the ninth class of the program this fall. The Fall 2022 class held their official kickoff earlier this summer. You can learn more about the new class of the leadership academy here.

“We want to thank each of the Class Eight graduates of the Missouri Leadership Academy for their hard work and dedication these last six months. Their innovative solutions will help improve the service state government provides to the people of Missouri,” said Governor Mike Parson. “The Missouri Leadership Academy highlights talented team members across state government and presents them with opportunities to continue their professional development. We’re proud of this program’s success in helping team members become even better future leaders.”

“Since the beginning, the goal of the Missouri Leadership Academy has been to provide professional development opportunities for our emerging leaders and through collaboration and research, present exciting new ways to improve our organizational practices for the state,” said Commissioner Ken Zellers, Office of Administration. “These past months have been an extensive undertaking for our graduates. Through this program, they have made enormous strides towards becoming better leaders, who are committed to providing excellent customer service, and making Missouri a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

“As part of the Missouri Leadership Academy coordinators, we had the wonderful opportunity to join these team members on their journey for the past six months. The amount of growth we had the pleasure of witnessing first-hand in each of them, from our kickoff day on through graduation, is just tremendous,” said Aaron Dimmock, Deputy Director of Operational Excellence, Office of Administration. “We are incredibly excited to see what each of these team members accomplish for themselves and with their respective teams as they keep moving forward, continuing to put all they have learned into practice.”

The Spring 2022 Missouri Leadership Academy class presented new ideas which will further improve the lives of Missourians. The teams presented their capstone projects to Governor Parson, senior staff, and cabinet leaders on August 2 & 3. The capstones included - employee resource groups, management evaluations, mentorships, state benefits, and a Missouri Youth Leadership Academy that would allow inspiring youth to job shadow leaders across state government.

The evening of August 3, Governor Parson hosted the Spring 2022 class for their graduation ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda.

The Missouri Leadership Academy is an innovative program, which pushes state team members to work together, develop new skills and become more efficient leaders. The idea of the program is that by developing leaders, Missouri state government will continue to improve and better serve its citizens.

Throughout the program, the recent graduates were able to meet with many state leaders, including statewide officeholders, members of the judiciary, Cabinet leaders, and reporters covering state government. They also toured the Supreme Court, Jefferson City Correctional Center, and the Missouri River with staff from the Department of Natural Resources. 

“The Missouri Leadership Academy has been the most immersive, engaging and rewarding training experience I've had. I've been challenged and enlightened, and I'm proud to say I've come out of this a stronger, more confident leader,” said Taylor Brune, Communications Manager, Missouri Department of Transportation. “I'm already seeing the impact this growth is having on the teams around me. The many talented and dedicated state team members leaving this program are leaving ready and eager to make changes and impacts for the good of their teams, the state, and those we serve. Thanks to the academy, I’m fortunate to call some of these leaders close friends.”

“When I found out that I was selected for Class 8, I was both honored and excited. The Missouri Leadership Academy (MLA) is a great resource to not only make networking connections across state departments, but also friendships. Thanks to the MLA, I’ll be able to lean on those relationships for years to come as I grow as a leader within state government,” said Leah Norment, Human Resources Manager, Department of Economic Development. “Overall, I think of this program as a fast-paced, 6-month leadership crash course; one of which I’m very fortunate to have been a part. I have no doubt that the leaders graduating out of Class 8 WILL make a difference in State Government.”

To be considered for the program, department leaders from across the state must nominate their team members. Nominees then submit a resume and brief memorandum explaining why they are an ideal candidate for the program to a committee of Cabinet leaders. The committee reviews the applications, and then makes final selections.

Since launching the program, the state has graduated close to 200 emerging leaders and continues to have two classes each year, in the spring and fall.