First Year Directorship: Drinking from the Firehose

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Learning Outcomes

  • Better identify and navigate obstacles in your first year in a leadership position
  • Prioritize and maximize relationships with appropriate stakeholders and entities
  • Better understand your role in setting and reaching goals for your department

Course Details

Enessa Janes, Ph.D., AICP, Director of Vibrant Community and Neighborhoods at the City of Arvada, CO, and Justice Walker, AICP, Director of Development and Planning for the City of Willmar, MN, will provide their perspectives as recently promoted, millennial planning directors. Justice and Enessa will describe their experiences from the first year of their respective directorships, including navigating relationships, political dynamics, and high-stakes decision-making.

Aimee Nassif, AICP, an experienced planning director and co-author of the Planning Supervisor’s Playbook, will facilitate the conversation.

The recording is of a group of peers in a virtual roundtable discussion on the challenges and opportunities of being a new leader. The discussion is an informal setting with current planning directors to tackle questions to help identify key management skills to improve while on the job.  

Topics include identifying skills to learn/polish, building necessary relationships, finding your communication style, and decision-making, especially figuring out what to do when you don’t know what to do.