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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
REGION 8: Advance Leadership Development Program:  Is it news?
Region 8, December 1, 2008

By Alexandra Pitts
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a strong interest in and commitment to developing leaders within the agency and demonstrates this by supporting two cutting edge leadership development programs at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepardstown West Virginia - Stepping up to Leadership  for GS-11 and 12 employees and the Advance Leadership Development Program (ALDP) for GS-13 and GS 14 positions.  The goal of ALDP is for participants to explore leadership in the Service and to assess, learn about, and develop themselves as leaders.  During the program, participants have opportunities to get acquainted with and observe these potential leaders as they develop and improve their leadership skills (Full disclosure: I was coach for ALDP Cohort VI).

 

Sounds great, but is it news?

It is when two of ALDP’s Cohort VIII land on the front page of the Ashley News Observer (highlight) in Crossett, Arkansas.  As ALDP participants, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office Listing Division Chief Debbie Pierce and Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge (highlight) manager Bernie Petersen exchanged jobs in November as part of the program’s 30-day rotational assignment or job swap. While this may not have made the papers in Carlsbad, the high visibility and hands on aspect of the refuge in Crossett meant that Pierce was news.

As Pierce tells it, News Observer reporter Michael Ford was intrigued by a casual conversation about the program between Pierce and a refuge biologist.  Originally riding with the Service to see a release of triploid catfish, Ford ended up doing his story about the job swap between Pierce and Peterson instead. [Link]

In the article, both Pierce and Petersen are first rate spokespeople for the ALDP program.  Pierce highlights the leadership aspects while Petersen shared how the swap opened his eyes to a completely different aspect of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Both emphasized their new appreciation and respect for the other’s job.

Petersen, Pierce and 22 other ALDP participants will reconvene in January to assess the job swaps and prepare for the next assignment, a 60 detail somewhere in the Service.  By the end of the program, the participants will have spent 114 days focused on their leadership skills and developed a strong bond within their cohort. Additionally, as potential emerging leaders within the Service, ALDP graduates’ continued development may be assessed periodically after graduation.  A Service emerging leaders program is currently under development and a pilot program that will include all ALDP graduates is anticipated later this year. 

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov