Investing in yourself

On Tuesday, I joined a group of our County colleagues who are investing in themselves and our ability to better serve our community – at the latest “graduation” from our Leadership Certification program.  This talented group of employees included veteran leaders, new leaders, and aspiring leaders.  It ranged from people in formal leadership positions, like department directors, to informal leaders.  The class included people from 15 departments throughout our County team.  What they had in common was their belief in themselves and the importance of leadership as a skill to be developed.  And they knew becoming a better leader would help them in both their professional and their personal lives.

More than 160 people have earned the Bronze, Silver, or Instructor leadership certifications in this year alone.  I can’t thank Mary Ransier enough for all her work in developing and leading this program.  Mary and I talked about the importance of promoting and valuing leadership at the County three years ago – and she, and the “small but mighty” Organizational Development & Training (ODT) Team are making it happen!

And then on Wednesday, I joined the latest ODT Leadership Cohort Call, which featured nationally known speaker Redmond Ramos.  Red was a Navy Corpsman serving with the Marines when he lost his foot to an IED in Afghanistan in 2011.  He has a powerful story of adapting and overcoming adversity, including competing in the Invictus Games and on The Amazing Race TV show.  You can learn more about Red’s story at his website.

The Leadership Certification program is just one of thousands of training and self-development opportunities available to you.  Even in the pandemic, when we are all facing many personal and professional challenges, most of our colleagues are still making the time to invest in themselves and their futures!  Pierce County employees completed 14,104 trainings in 2021. The training included digital and virtual instructor-led courses as well as conferences, seminars, and training from partner agencies.

During the Leadership Certification “graduation” I ask everyone to share why they invested their time in this program.  Trish Bennon captured it well when she said we have a “new workforce with new motivations facing new challenges” and leaders need the skills to help our colleagues deliver for our community!

Our success in serving our residents depends on the innovation and creativity prompted by continual learning and professional development. As a learning organization we strive to remain agile, adaptable, and innovative.

Have I inspired you to take your learning to the next step and become certified?  If so, you can learn more about our leader certification program at

In the meantime, I hope you will join in the celebration of learning next week by attending two lunchtime virtual meetings:

Dec 6 – Noon – Employee Learning Week Lunch and Learn – importance of learning and professional development

Dec 9 – Noon – Employee Learning Week Awards

Before I close, I want to include a couple of shout outs to outstanding County employees:

  • I just received a great note from Judge Sorenson from Superior Court. In part, it read: “Congratulations to Superior Court Administrator, Chris Gaddis!  He was presented this morning with the Court Management Council–Court Manager of the Year award.  This is a significant statewide award and reflects excellence in enhancing the administration of justice and inspiring public trust and confidence in our justice system.  This is another example of statewide recognition that Pierce County Government has received for our efforts in improving the lives of our citizens.  In this case it is a direct reflection on Pierce County Superior Court and the hard work that our judges, commissioners, staff and administrators have brought to bear in dealing with, among other things, creating and maintaining a vibrant court system during the time of a pandemic.”  Thank you, Chris, for the many ways you’ve served the people of Pierce County, and congratulations!
  • Emergency Management Director Jody Ferguson was selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to serve on the agency’s National Advisory Council (NAC) – a group of 35 professionals from across the country representing public institutions, private organizations and companies, state, local and tribal governments across many disciplines related to emergency management. Jody has years of experience in emergency management and her term on this Council will give Pierce County a voice at the national level to share our focus, experience and best practices and help shape emergency response across the nation. Congratulations, Jody!

Lastly, I received a lovely note of appreciation from the Executive Director of My Sister’s Pantry, the recipient of donations from this year’s Employee Incentive and Recognition event.

“Thank you for donating $9084 to My Sister’s Pantry at your November 3 event. It was fun receiving daily donations and having my phone register each with a “ping.”  We appreciate you selecting us. And for those of you who have volunteered here in pre-pandemic days, we miss you. Wishing all of you a very happy holiday season.”

Have a great weekend,

Bruce Dammeier Signature