February 2017: State Budget & Public Leadership

2017 Perspectives from the Field, Part II
Throughout the 2017 seminar year, the LNJ staff  will ask two class members to reflect on their experiences following the monthly two-day seminars. The perspectives will change each month to include a wide spectrum of view points and expertise.

For more information visit our website at http://www.leadnj.org/.
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(Prudence Hall, Thomas Edison State University- Trenton, NJ)

Lead NJ 2017- State Budget & Public Leadership
February 9-10th
Trenton, NJ
By: Johanne Rateau 


The two-day conference was reduced in half because the weather commanded it to be that way.  State Budget, a subject that was not very familiar to me was the topic of our February meeting.  I arrived there on Friday, still shivering from the cold “2 block” walk, thankful for coffee and tea, and glad to see my acquaintances from the green group and those from the “Sassy” project.  Yet I was very conscious of the possibility that I might not grasp all the information I was about to receive.  Why did the subject of State Budget alarm me so much?  I think it is because I am aware that as a New Jerseyan, I should be very savvy about our finance yet I knew nothing and never took time to learn either.

Mark Murphy introduced that the New Jersey budget is the common core of every aspect of the State’s operation; that it underlines for us how we are getting where, and summarizes what kind of State we want to be.  On Friday, I learned that Budget matters.  George Pruitt, the president of Thomas Edison University, captivated me.  I found myself glued to every word he spoke.  I wanted to write down as he shared his knowledge and experience but, too afraid that I might miss an important word in between, I preferred to hear, and to listen, and to be inspired, and to be empowered, and to just rejoice in the experience, privileged that I was present.  “You will never find the answer to the wrong question,” he said so often. He was talking to me, I’m sure.  Me who never bothered to learn about the budget of New Jersey; forget about the wrong question.  I did not even ask. He managed to say so much in so little time but with so much power.  He gave us a history of the leaders of the State and the choices they made, many times, the choices they had to make.  I still wonder: if budget is the core of every aspect of what we want to become, who are we then when New Jersey seems to have a history of reacting when budgeting? In order to “become” we have to be aware of who we are.  

What a joy it was for all of us to be honored by such a speaker.  After all, I thought, maybe it is just fine that we missed Thursday.

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(Dr. George Pruitt, President, Thomas Edison State University)

 I enjoyed the next session which was on Myers-Briggs Personality Profile.  I am still perplexed by the outcome of my test result.  I ended up scoring as an INTJ with a NT temperament.  Interesting how I only got one correct. I am having a tendency to compare this exercise to our Simsociety project last month which emphasized on how our own perspectives on other “subcultures” can direct our reaction.  In this exercise, I found that my own perspectives on how I see myself may be different from who I really am; and how my unique personality may cause others to read me differently.

I felt that at the end of the day, the session on “What Happens When Managers Become Leaders” was a very good introduction to what is yet to come.  I liked that the session was mostly based on group discussion, group interpretation.  I liked that we were able to dig on personal experiences and share about the times we clearly encountered a brick layer who became an architect, a warrior who eventually transformed into a diplomat, a solver who grew to be an agenda setter.  In our discussion, we talked about the value of every piece of the puzzle.  We talked about knowing what and who is around us, integration, delegation, trust.  I personally cannot wait for the next session on Education. 

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(Beverly Winkler, Director- Organizational Engagement, Learning, and Development, PSEG)

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