National Leadership Center

As director of the West Virginia Equal Employment Opportunity Office, Jann Hoke is responsible for training on issues related to equal opportunities and employment. She used to present a two-hour lecture on changes in the law and what’s new from the state Supreme Court and her office. The training is targeted to equal employment opportunity counselors, who may work in human resources or in another role for their agency. “In the past,” she said, “I’ve been very rigid about the way I presented the law and changes in the law. “Not only was it boring, but it wasn’t helping them do their job.” All of that changed last summer. Hoke was a 2013 Council of State Governments Toll Fellow and learned enough about herself through the leadership training to discover that she needed to change things. She thought her leadership style was more free, “more loosey, goosey,” as she puts it. It turned out that her leadership fell more along the lines of a play-by-the-rules, more rigid style.

Sannie Overly made history this year. The 2013 Council of State Governments Henry Toll Fellow became the first woman elected to a leadership position in the Kentucky House of Representatives. Even though it's not always easy, Overly encourages young men and particularly young women to pursue a role in public service.

Hasan Davis was on the wrong track. He was a juvenile offender. Two brothers were serving life sentences. Family members had died because of gang violence. And many people were telling him he was bad. “I was afraid that I was a failure. I was afraid that all those people were right. I was afraid that my kindergarten teacher made the right choice to lock me in the coat room to keep me away from the other kids,” said Davis, now the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice and a 2012 CSG Toll Fellow.

Before entering public office, Larry Teague, as a private insurance agent, learned an important leadership lesson he still values today.  While serving on the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Independent Insurance Agents Association, Teague spoke out against a measure with which he disagreed  despite being the only dissenting opinion.

Brian Selander, chief strategy officer to Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, shared his keys to effectively crafting--and sticking to--a cohesive political message. From determining the best angle to a story to dealing with the inevitable bumps in the road, Selander discussed the keys to communicating with press and constituents in a way that gets your message across. The discussion included ways to combine traditional and new media to spread information quickly and effectively.