The Collaborative No. 13
Today we are featuring Everyday Visionary Amanda Mack, who is a City Manager for Spencer, Iowa.
City Mangers bridge the gap between politics and the everyday operations of a city. As a non-elected official they have to possess an innate talent for creating collaboration among parties that might not necessarily have the same agenda. City Managers also have the unenviable job of answering to the city officials, while also being the voice for the people.
Externally, Amanda is responsible for hearing the concerns and requests of the community and bringing them to the attention of the governing bodies. Internally, she is responsible for implementing and overseeing policies to ensure all procedural requirements are followed. It is a balancing act that requires clear communication and dedication to the position.
Amanda was chosen from five finalists for the position of City Manager. She is a tireless voice for community growth and economic development in Spencer. There is a huge opportunity to explore new business endeavors in rural America and Amanda is the force that is reminding Spencer that a small community can think BIG.
You can follow Amanda Mack on social media by clicking these links:
- Where do you currently work?
City of Spencer, Iowa
- What is your current role?
- How would you describe to a child what you do for a living?
I manage the day to day operations of the City. I work with all of the departments to make sure the work that citizens need done is completed and help the Council think BIG for what our community needs in the future.
- What do you hope you have a reputation for as a professional?
I hope my professional reputation is that I am a leader who exhibits kindness, compassion and dedication in all that I do.
- What is an accomplishment from your career that meant the world to you?
I graduated on Saturday (May 5, 2018) with an Executive Master of Public Administration Degree. It was difficult, and at times I wanted to give up, but I'm so glad I didn't!
- What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve had to learn the hard way in your career?
There are times when you can do everything right, and BE right, and still find yourself on the receiving end of very strong criticism. It's very hard not to take those moments personally, but to try and learn from them.
- What are some of your go-to sources of inspiration and staying on top of emerging trends that impact your field or industry?
The ICMA (International City Management Association) is an excellent resource for me. At times it has been a true lifesaver. I also appreciate the Truly Human Leadership philosophy championed by Bob Chapman of Barry-Wehmiller.
- What is something you need in your work environment in order to thrive in your role?
I need flexibility. I put in a lot of hours and a lot of the work I do is mentally draining. I need the flexibility to take a longer lunch if needed, or go to my kids' school programs, or just being able to spend time "thinking" and not necessarily "doing".
- What you envision for your customers/clients/stakeholders/ patients/citizens/students, etc.?
I envision that every interaction with me will be positive. Now, that doesn't mean that I can please everyone, or everyone is going to be happy with what I tell them, etc., but I never want someone to feel disrespected or unimportant. I take everyone I come in contact with seriously, from the bank President to the grocery clerk. I want not only the citizens, but my employees as well, to feel empowered to tackle new things, embrace change and collaborate with one another to make truly amazing things happen in our community.
- What is one of the biggest challenges you are facing or trying to solve right now?
Right now, in my community, we need bodies. Our community has remained stagnant in growth for too many years to count. That is a positive when other smaller communities all around us are shrinking, but a great disadvantage when we are trying to recruit new businesses and industries.
- When and where do you tend to get your ideas?
I tend to get most of my ideas in the evening, while I'm hanging out with my kids. They are a great source of inspiration!
- What are three of your favorite books?
The Round House
Oh, The Places You'll Go
- What’s one of your favorite non-profits?
- If you could collaborate with any group or individual in the world, who would be your top three picks?
- What would you want to collaborate on with the people/groups you just mentioned?
Community Development. Rural America has potential that when unleashed will change the trajectory of this country.
- If you were invited to give a TED Talk (or have given one), what would you speak about?
I would speak on Community Engagement and the critical need for informed, engaged citizenry.
- How do you unwind at the end of a stressful day?
Netflix and snuggles with my boys.
- What do you think your 80-year-old self would tell you right now?
My 80 year old self would tell me it's ok to be tired, it's ok to be overwhelmed, and that it's also ok to want to be the best. Being the best doesn't make you stuck-up, or snobby or any of those other negative adjectives. Wanting to be the best means you invested in continued self improvement, and that's admirable.
- What do you think your 10-year-old self would be most impressed with about your life right now?
I think she'd love the fact that she's in charge. She'd love the amazing people she gets to work with, and would be in total awe of the amazing husband and beautiful boys she has.
- What does your creative process entail when you're doing what you do best?
When I am in my most productive mode, I'm facilitating a meeting and fully engaged in the conversation with participants. We are collaborative, inventive and totally jazzed about the conversation. Usually this revolves around community engagement.
- Is there anything particularly compelling that you want us to know that we didn't ask?
I LOVE what I do. In a world where politics has gone completely off the rails, it's beautiful to work in a community that puts all of that aside to make lives better. I'm a lucky lady.