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News | May 27, 2021

Atlanta graduates next generation of leaders

By Jason Kaneshiro DCMA Eastern Region Public Affairs

DCMA Atlanta graduated their second cohort of future leaders from their NexTIER Leadership program Jan. 21.

Sonya Ebright, DCMA executive director of contracts, was the keynote speaker for the annual event and congratulated the graduates on their accomplishments.

Ebright said the skills they learned from the program could be used throughout their careers in government service and allow them to steer their agencies toward future success.

NexTIER graduates spent nine months working together to develop leadership philosophies and styles.

Program participants also had the opportunity to build their personal and professional network, said Adam Akin, a contract safety specialist who graduated from the program.

Akin and his cohort undertook a community service effort as their first project.

“We had a group brainstorming session to select what the project would be and how we approached problems,” Akin said. “COVID was obviously our biggest roadblock.”

The collaborative effort led to a drive to support an Atlanta-area school.

“We were able to raise around $2,000-worth of school supplies for a local elementary school,” Akin said.

The successful completion of the project demonstrated the participant’s development of some of their executive core qualifications: leading change, leading people and building coalitions.

Executive core qualifications are the skillsets identified by the Office of Personnel Management as being essential competencies for individuals seeking a position within the Senior Executive Service, which are the highest pay grades for federal civilian employees.

The capstone project for this year’s cohort was developed by the students. It was a cross-functional three-week virtual training series that demonstrated how each of the functions in the contract management office depended on each other to accomplish the performance priorities identified in DCMA Atlanta’s Organizational Contribution Plan.

The training series also encouraged a deeper understanding and acceptance of the processes underlying the Business Capability Framework by exposing the participants to the activities of each of the contract management office’s functional areas, expanding the students’ perspectives beyond the scope of their normal work duties.

The group adapted to COVID-19 restrictions by planning and executing the training in a completely virtual environment.

This initiative promoted DCMA’s strategic goals of developing methods to work smarter, not harder, and enhancing and strengthening the skills, readiness, and effectiveness of the total workforce.

Akin said the cohort worked together to capitalize on each other’s strengths, while simultaneously mitigating and strengthening areas of weakness and leaned on one another in the face of adversity and uncertainty to successfully overcome obstacles.

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