Will Longwitz was sitting in his office in Washington, D.C., when Hurricane Katrina hit his home state of Mississippi in 2005.
Days passed and he hadn’t heard from his family and friends....
Michigan Rep. Phil Cavanagh won’t say that public service is in his blood—even though he comes from a long line of public servants, including his father, who served as mayor of Detroit from 1962 to 1970....
Pennsylvania Rep. Pam DeLissio believes many people involved in politics today see it primarily as a sport.
That leaves a lot of people out of the equation, she said....

by Brian D. Shaw, President of the George C. Marshall Foundation

Public officials at all levels need a type of courage that’s not often taught. They are expected to develop a bold vision for strategic change and to produce results that address the demands and expectations of multiple, often conflicting constituencies. One exemplar of the courage to lead is George C. Marshall. In a long, productive career of public service, Marshall solved some of the biggest, most complicated problems the world had seen.

South Dakota Revenue Secretary Andy Gerlach, a 2013 CSG Henry Toll Fellow, has seen his experience in government help him other arenas—such as when he was deployed to Afghanistan with the National Guard. “You can take a lot of lessons in government—working with different agencies, different areas of government, state, local and federal, and the different branches, and try to come together with a common approach,” he said.

Nevada Assemblyman Jason Frierson has learned a few lessons in leadership as he’s represented people, from his grade school classmates to the constituents in his Las Vegas-area district. “Sometimes, the best leader is one who lets everybody get credit,” he said. “It’s less about credit and more about results.”

Noted author and historian David McCullough said Missouri-born president Harry S. Truman exhibited many traits that helped make him a great leader.

Speaking at Friday’s luncheon, McCullough said Truman’s sister Mary Jane sent him letters in 1945, shortly after he became president, complaining about how difficult it was for her and their mother to get ready to visit him at the White House.

One semester in the early 1970s, when he was supposed to be in classes at Oklahoma State University, Richard Opper hitchhiked his way around the country. He visited almost every state but knew immediately when it was time to stop looking. “From my very first footstep on Montana soil, I knew I was going to live here,” said Opper, now the director of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and a 2012 CSG Toll Fellow. “If you’d ever been here, you understand why.”

Alan Calandro was never a big fan of politics, but he did like public policy.That’s one reason he migrated from working as a business manager in private industry to public service, where he thought he could make an impact.

In the Spring 2013 Newsletter:  In Memoriam: Arch Lustberg and Representative Jessica Sibley Upshaw; 2013 Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills; Leadership: An Ongoing Balancing Act by Art Dykstra; Alumni Accolades; and Upcoming SLC Events.