Leadership reaches across all segments of society, including government. Public officials lead complex organizations with bureaucratic and political influences. At McDonough, students develop their leadership skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making, as a way to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Through coursework and hands-on experiences, our graduates are ready to make a contribution, which may affect millions of lives. They will need the confidence and expert knowledge to make fast and sound decisions, following the strictest ethical standards.


 

Sarah Long '93

1. Basic Information:

Name: Sarah Hurt Long
Title: Deputy Treasurer for the West Virginia State Treasurer
Location: Charleston, West Virginia , U.S.A.

2. Educational Record:

At Marietta College:
Graduation Year: 1993
Major(s): Accounting and Management
Certificate: Leadership Studies
Became a CPA within a year of graduation

3. Describe your organization and what you do in this organization (job responsibilities, recent projects, work environment).

As Deputy Treasurer for State Treasurer John Perdue, I oversee the disbursement of over $13 billion dollars a year and supervise 50 people. I have focused on bringing revenue into the state system quicker via electronic funds transfer, lockbox and the use of credit cards, in order to speed deposit times, which in turn maximizes taxpayer dollars. We are one of only a few states providing a backbone for credit card transactions and who have their own in-house lockbox operation. A recent initiative has been to upgrade the state's lockbox machinery in order to send an imaged cash letter to the federal reserve, which will result in even faster deposit times and save the state thousands of dollars each year.

4. Briefly discuss how "leadership" plays a role in your professional field.

Leadership definitely plays a role in my career and professional field. There are constantly choices that need to be made where good leadership skills are a valuable asset.

5. Briefly discuss how the McDonough Leadership Program prepared you for this professional field and leadership challenges.

I remember my professors preaching that it is not enough to maintain the status quo and "manage" but to encourage real and meaningful change in an organization. As I grow in my career, I realize the value of risk taking that was discussed so much in class.


 

Eric Johnson '06

1. Basic Information:  

Name: Eric T. Johnson
Title: Special Agent
Organization: Department of Homeland Security
City: Newark
State: New Jersey
Country: USA

2. Educational Record:

At Marietta College:
Graduation Year: 2006
Major(s): Psychology
Minor(s): Leadership Studies and Political Science
Honors/Awards: Cum Laude

Degrees after Marietta College: 
Area of Study: Homeland Security Management
College/University: Long Island University - Riverhead
Graduation Year: Summer 2011

3. Describe your organization and what you do in this organization (job responsibilities, recent projects, work environment).

The Department of Homeland Security is the lead federal agency charged with responding to both natural disasters and terrorist attacks within the United States. Created in the wake of the attacks on September 11th, 2001, the Department unified and strengthened the efforts of multiple federal agencies to prepare for, respond to, and recover from all hazards and disasters, both man-made and naturally occurring, that the United States faces. The agency I work for within DHS is charged with counter-terrorism missions specifically related to aviation security and other modes of civilian, public transportation to ensure an attack like that of 9/11 does not occur again. We are law enforcement officers who are trained and prepared to detect, deter, and defeat hostile acts targeting such transportation domains. My work involves extensive domestic and internationally travel; long, irregular working hours; maintaining both high levels of physical fitness and firearms proficiency; and keeping up-to-date on current events throughout the United States and the rest of the world, as my duties and missions respond to events going on in the world.

4. Briefly discuss how "leadership" plays a role in your professional field.

My position affords me a vast amount of independence, as I’m away from home roughly 3-4 nights a week. My operating environment is one that is constantly changing, working in different cities in different countries with different people. Leadership plays a significant role in my position because of how much responsibility I have on my shoulders. My actions have far-reaching repercussions. Being away so often means I hardly ever interact with my supervisor unless I have an issue in the field I cannot resolve myself. Situations I am involved with are dynamic and fluid, not affording me the opportunity to get on the phone with my supervisor to see what I should do. I have to make the decision myself and live with the outcome. The leadership style in my agency is very hands-off, as field agents act autonomously without much immediate oversight. However, we understand we are an image of the agency, the U.S. government, and U.S. citizens in general when we travel. Leadership in my position definitely falls more on the individual than from a more traditional top-down approach. You have to be able to operate independently or you will not be successful, jeopardizing your life and the lives of those you are to protect.

5. Briefly discuss how the McDonough Leadership Program prepared you for this professional field and leadership challenges.

The people I work with change on a daily basis. I do not have a regular partner assigned, unlike other law enforcement agencies. I have to be adaptive in the way I work to accommodate for the different personalities and leadership styles of those I work with. Otherwise, I’m in for a long day. McDonough taught me how to work with people with different types of leadership styles and to adapt my own style to work with them. Some days, I’m the Team Leader on a given mission so generally I make the decisions for the group of people I work with. On other days, someone else is the Team Leader for a mission, and I have to listen to his or her decisions. However, the structure is not very rigid, and we are able to make decisions that adapt to the situation at hand. Everyone listens to one another because we have to make decisions that are in all of our best interests. We all want to go home at the end of the day and need to work together in order to do so.