Fat Heads & Collaboration
It’s no wonder why politicians have a reputation for limited humility. I’ve been talking a lot about myself since April. This six-month-long interview teeters on a fine, but requisite, line between confidence and arrogance. While I’ve done a lot of talking and answered a lot of questions, I’ve spent most of my time learning from and discussing with citizens ideas, strategies, and opportunities for Mapleton – each of which would only succeed as the product of effective teams. A City Council should council together and enhance discussions through diverse expertise, varied experiences, and representative perspectives. So, while I might be annoyed at my own ego inflation over this time, what I’m hopeful to join is a team of skilled, engaged leaders and talented staff who council together with citizens for the best possible short- and long-term benefits to our beautiful city.
Since campaign season is kicking off again, I wanted to write about some of the most fundamental of the questions I receive from Mapleton residents – why are you running, why now, and why should we vote for you? I value the opportunity to prove myself and respect those voters who pose evaluative questions, contemplate the community benefits, and vote with an eye towards the brightest tomorrow. I take pride in transparency and responsiveness; after all, my neighbors deserve no less.
Now, it’s time to get a little personal and go back to my fat head…
Having been involved in leadership development for years, I’ve encouraged many people to apply for that next promotion, seek that higher degree, and run for elected office. Lifting others has been a rewarding experience; yet, I soon realized I had been asking others to do something that I had not yet been brave enough to consider. I had repeatedly been encouraged to run for an elected office, but ignored the promptings and feared the vulnerability and awkwardness that surely would accompany that task. Yet, the seed was planted.
In consultation with valued mentors, experts, and friends – and upon interviewing City personnel, leaders, and citizens – I felt no less than compelled to try. I discovered how my skills and expertise could benefit my community right now and help pave a pathway for the future. I learned that I could show women and girls they, too, could be involved in this way. I saw how modeling civic engagement benefits far more than myself. I believed my son would enjoy a legacy to which I’d contributed. I knew I could translate the feedback of many into thoughtful decision-making and give voice to those who felt exasperated and unsure. I knew that I could bring collaboration and camaraderie to the table.
Now is when I can best serve Mapleton.
Mapleton is at the crossroads of major decisions regarding growth, infrastructure, and culture. These three principles meet at the intersection of strategic planning, data-driven decision-making, vision, and values. Coincidentally, this is the intersection in which I’m known for directing traffic.
As I investigated a potential candidacy, my interest piqued. With recent City planning updates and strategies completed or forthcoming, my strengths in analysis, strategic planning, and communication quickly jumped to the forefront of the conversations. The work we need to do in Mapleton is the work I’ve done with dozens of organizations to move forward initiatives in cohesive, thoughtful, and intelligent ways. When I realized how I could meaningfully contribute to my home town, the decisions was solidified.
Regardless of any excuse I gave skeptics, including myself (my responsibilities were great, I had no funding, I didn’t want people digging in my personal life, my son is too young, I don’t need to subject myself to this, there’s too much to do at home and work), the answer was always the same compelling words:
Now is when I can best serve Mapleton.
I have had an incredible career. I’ve pushed through doors that allowed me to innovate and serve in remarkable, rewarding ways. As I reflect on those things, I see how my experiences and expertise line up to prepare me for a role in the City Council.
[Enter Fat Head]
Over the last two decades, I’ve held leadership and service roles in the community, civic, non-profit, entrepreneurial, corporate, and educational environments. The breadth and depth of learning and application that has occurred across these environments both prepared me for the City Council as well as demonstrate my competence.
I am dedicated to learning, knowing there are always opportunities to be refined. I hold a bachelor’s of science degree in psychology, a master’s of education degree in instructional technology, a doctor of philosophy degree in educational leadership, and continued my education post-doctorate to earn certificates in advanced leadership, technology, and finance. My academic background elevates my contribution by elevating strengths in strategy, data analytics, writing, finance and budgeting, management, communication, and teambuilding. As the Executive Vice President of Strategy and Engagement at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, these skills are used daily.
I’ve consulted with dozens of organizations on strategic planning and visioning, resulting in increased efficiency, collaboration, and focus. My current board service (e.g., UVU Presidential Advisory Board, Osteopathic Physician and Surgeon Licensing Board, American Council on Education Women’s Network Executive Council, Provo City Strategic Plan Implementation Committee, BusinessQ Editorial Board) and public recognitions (examples below) provide additional validation to my contribution.
- Fellow of the Federation of State Medical Boards
- 40 Under 40 (Utah Valley BusinessQ Magazine)
- Special Recognition Award (Utah Women in Higher Education Network – UWHEN)
- StartFEST Beehive Award (Beehive Startups)
- Presidential Award of Excellence (Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP))
- Fab 40 (Utah Valley Magazine)
- Board Recognition Award (American Red Cross of Central & Southern Utah)
- Chamber Champion (Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce)
I believe the opportunities I’ve created and enjoyed are tied directly to my reputation as an intelligent, hard worker who values collaboration with others. To learn more about my fat headedness, visit my LinkedIn profile.
Since I’ve talked about myself a little much for my comfort level, I’m hopeful this will be the last time I write about myself! For more important matters, check out my blogs at jessicaegbert.org on issues that affect all of us – water, growth, infrastructure, culture, open space, tax reform, etc. [That’s the good stuff.]
I look forward to rolling up my sleeves as a City Councilor and ask for your vote.
Please reach out should you be interested in meeting, hosting a small group, asking questions, telling me you love me, or discussing the importance of the Oxford comma – email to firstname.lastname@example.org, text or call me at 801.367.3634, or reach out on social media!