Senior Executives Association

On December 13th, 2018 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., the Senior Executives Association and Senior Executives Association Professional Development League will host the 2018 Presidential Rank Awards Leadership Summit, a full-day event offering exceptional educational, mentoring, and networking opportunities for current and aspiring government leaders.

The event will include:

  • Lunch Awards Reception Recognizing Meritorious Rank Award Winners & Evening Awards Reception Recognizing Distinguished Rank Award Winners
  • Expert Policy Panels and Educational Training Seminars Across Multiple Content Tracks on Advancing Public Leadership
  • Small-Group Speed Mentoring and Dedicated Networking Opportunities with Career Federal Leaders

The Summit will feature educational tracks that address the three most pressing areas of concern for Federal career senior leaders, including: Future of Work, Future of Workforce, Future of Workplace.

The conference will also recognize the extraordinary public service of senior career professionals by honoring the 2018 Distinguished and Meritorious recipients of the Presidential Rank Awards. The Presidential Rank Award represents the top award a civilian federal employee can receive, awarded by the President of the United States to the top 1% (Distinguished) and 5% (Meritorious) of federal employees, as nominated by their respective agencies. In 2017, more than 300 Senior Executives were among the event's 500 attendees.

Spots are limited, reserve your seat today. Learn More >>


Building a 21st Century SES: Ensuring Leadership Excellence in Our Federal Government

Few would argue that the Federal Government’s Senior Executive Service (SES) is a critical part of our system of governance, serving as the link between the deciding and the doing of the public’s business. 

However, as that cadre approaches its fourth decade of existence, it is no exaggeration to suggest that without some much needed reforms, its future is at risk. 

No one knows this more than members of the SES themselves. Legislation diminishing SES appeal rights—potentially even making career executives ‘at will’—has begun to proliferate, and the pendulum of politics continues to swing between benign neglect of career executives on one hand, and overt distrust on the other. However, those are merely the latest dark clouds on the horizon. Years of pay freezes, limited (or lost) bonuses, even cancelled Presidential Rank Awards have also taken their toll.

Today, more than 65% of the SES corps is eligible to retire, a bubble that’s been ballooning for a decade, and it is only a matter of time before that bubble bursts.

But can anything be done to mitigate that risk? A number of us—current and former senior executives and political appointees who have served Republican and Democratic administrations with distinction—have come together to offer a comprehensive blueprint in that regard. Our thoughts are set forth in a landmark anthology entitled Building a 21st Century SES: Ensuring Leadership Excellence for Our Federal Government, published by the National Academy of Public Administration and available at no charge in pdf and e-book formats on the NAPA Web site.

The book’s premise is straightforward: The excellence of our Nation’s SES members is vital to the effectiveness of 21st century government institutions—especially but not exclusively Federal ones—yet they are developed, selected, paid, and promoted according to a system conceived in the 20th! And although a number of incremental changes to the SES have occurred over the course of its relatively young institutional life span, there is some question as to whether the original, (and as-yet-unrealized) vision of the SES—as a mobile corps of savvy senior leaders deployed to meet the Nation’s challenges wherever and whenever they may arise—is still valid today…and more importantly, tomorrow.

It was my great privilege to produce and edit the volume, as well as to co-author a chapter and provide extensive ‘color’ commentary throughout. I also attempted to synthesize the priceless practical insights of our contributors as the basis for over two dozen recommendations set forth in the book. For the record, I take sole responsibility for their content, not out of pride of authorship but just because I would never presume to speak for the contributors individually or collectively. However, taken together, their insights and my recommendations are intended to provide a blueprint for doing just what the title of the book promises—that is, build a 21st century SES…and in so doing, ensure continued leadership excellence in our Federal government.

Visit the NAPA Washington website where you can watch the full discussion, including a Q&A segment with the audience. 

NAPA Washington Future of SES Event >>


 By Ron Sanders, Vice President and Fellow, Booz Allen Hamilton


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Tags: events, SES, NAPA

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