Senior Executives Association

The December 13th 2018 Senior Executives Association Presidential Rank Awards Leadership Summit was a day full celebration, thought leadership, networking and professional development education.   More than 500 senior leaders from government, the private sector and academia were on hand to recognize the 131 Presidential Rank Awards and have peer-to-peer discussions.   In addition, distinguished keynote speakers – Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette; Margaret Weichert, Acting Director of OPM and Deputy Director for Management at OMB; and Joseph Heck, Chairman of the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service – discussed their leadership philosophies and recognized the enormous accomplishments of the PRA honorees.

Bill Valdez

SEA Members Share Their Insights on Government

SEA recently completed a member survey that explored the issue: “What keeps you up at night?”

The results?  A confluence of complex events – the Presidential transition, budget uncertainty, and the hiring freeze, in particular – drove the answers we received from SEA members.  The top three answers can be summed up in the following comments:

  • “Retaining quality staff.  Money comes and goes, but finding people with the unique skills we need and keeping them is tough.”
  • “So much to do, and can do, but not enough people or time. Frustrating to know you have the capability to be great, but held back by antiquated IT, contracting rules, and HR bureaucracy.”
  • “Constantly changing priorities and political mandates.”

This small, but important, sampling of SEA’s members points to the importance of knowing what is on the minds of senior career leaders.  You are the ones in the trenches and are working hard each day to deliver on the vital missions that have been entrusted to you.

With this knowledge, SEA can formulate a legislative and policy agenda that provides the tools and resources senior career leaders require to be more effective in their jobs.  It also helps to know that you are not alone and that your peers share many of your concerns and challenges. 

Until recently, however, SEA has not had the mechanisms in place to pulse career leaders on a regular basis.  This is why we did the member survey (which we discuss in more detail in a related article in ACTION) and are taking four steps that will provide more systematic feedback from SEA members:

  • We have created six Communities of Change (CoCs) – Acquisition, Cyber, Fiscal Accountability, Governance Innovation, HC/Leadership, and National Security – that I announced last week in an email to all SEA members. These CoCs will be forums for SEA members to meet, learn about new developments critical to your jobs, and develop solutions for big challenges.

If you have not already done so, please sign up for one or more of these CoCs.  You can do so by clicking this button: 

  • We are creating Agency Chapters and in cities with a major Federal presence (Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.).  
  • We are developing a collaborative engagement platform that will enable SEA members to participate in the Communities of Change and Chapters regardless of location.  This platform will have discussion rooms, listserves and other ways for SEA members to collaborate.
  • We are following up the recent mini-survey with a more comprehensive survey of all Federal career leaders.  The results of that survey will be used to create an annual report that assesses the state of leadership in the Federal government.  

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts about these initiatives, please drop me a line at  


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Our Corporate Advisory Council

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Special thanks to SEA's Corporate Advisory Council, helping to support a federal career executive corps of excellence.
Looking for SEA's partners? Check out the organizations we partner with.

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