The 100th ICMA Annual Conference opened with President Simon Farbrother, the Chief Executive of the City of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, welcoming several thousand people who had traveled to Charlotte, NC for this significant event. ICMA was created by eight people a century ago to promote professional city management, and in 2014, we are celebrating that achievement. The keynote speaker was the inspiring storyteller and Pulitzer Prize winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin who talked about leadership skills of Theodore Roosevelt and the lessons learned from both his and William Howard Taft’s presidencies, chronicled in her new book, The Bully Pulpit. She skillfully wove city management into the stories of these leaders. She authored The Team of Rivals, on which the movie Lincoln was based.
Among the leadership lessons she learned from Teddy Roosevelt were the ability to:
- Withstand adversity and motivate oneself to keep going after hardships
- Inspire and motivate others
- Surround yourself with capable people
- Inspire excellence and camaraderie by always doing your best; Roosevelt said, “Example is the most potent of all things.”
- Set aside time daily for reading
- Learn from mistakes
- Negotiate but be willing to walk away or use authority to win when necessary to protect the public – “Speak softly and carry a big stick” and “don’t hit until you have to and then when you do, hit hard”
- The higher you are in office, the more it’s important to get out into the field and see for yourself what is going on
- Speak plainly to relate to people
- Relax and replenish your energies and renew your spirit
Jerry Newfarmer, Amy Paul, Jan Perkins and Karen Davis attended the dinner co-hosted by the International Hispanic Network and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators dinner held at the Levine Museum of the New South and heard an interesting presentation by the President of the National Museum of Mexican Art in Illinois.