Leadership Corner

New leaders bring real world applications to national priorities

April 19th, 2019 at 12:07PM
Lenise Lago in uniform.
Associate Chief Lenise Lago, USDA Forest Service

Congratulations to the graduates of the USDA Forest Service Senior Leader Program Class 13! I had the great privilege here in D.C. this week to interact with these passionate and innovative leaders from throughout the agency during the culmination of their year-long training and development program. I’ve been a champion of the program for many years now, and I see the value every day in the positive influences these leaders add to our culture, forest and grassland work, increasing scientific knowledge, and service to the American people.  

This week was the fifth and final residential program for SLP 13 participants. They, with the Executive Leadership team, participated in classroom and breakout sessions in the Washington Office Yates Building, presented Action Learning Team projects in the USDA Jefferson Auditorium, and ended with yesterday’s graduation ceremony and dinner. 

The Action Learning Team projects are my favorite part of the SLP because they are real world applications of the skills and competencies participants gain during the program, and something they can share with all Forest Service employees to advance our Five National Priorities. Descriptions of the Action Learning Team projects are on our internal website. I encourage you to read them and think about what you can apply in your own work or work environment. Projects include:

  • “H.O.T.* Topic Emphasis Program (HTEP) *Honest, Open, Transparent” in the uplifting and empowering our employees through a respectful, safe working environment category
  • “Effectively Managing Line Officer Transition” in the being good neighbors and providing excellent customer service category
  • “Promoting Shared Stewardship—Exploring a Peer Learning Model” in the promoting shared stewardship by increasing partnerships and volunteerism category
  • “Increasing Use of Fire for Restoration—Understanding Key Limitations” in the improving the condition of forests and grasslands category
  • “Rec Connection” in the enhancing recreation opportunities, improving access, and sustaining infrastructure category 

The SLP is a competency-based training program for employees who have an interest in enhancing their leadership behaviors and who have demonstrated the ability to progress into a senior leader role. They represent a cross-section of high-potential leaders at the GS-13/14 levels. Throughout the year, they participate in leadership training sessions focused on increasing their executive core skills and capacity. SLP is a developmental opportunity in support of the agency's leadership succession efforts.

I encourage you to learn more about the SLP [internal link] and, if you meet the requirements and have your supervisor’s support, to apply.

Group photo of senior leader graduates.
The 13th Senior Leader Program class graduated April 18, 2019. USDA Forest Service photo by Tanya Flores.