Senior leaders present Capstone projects to Forest Service leadership

WASHINGTON — Congratulations to the 40 new senior leaders who presented five Capstone projects to Forest Service leadership this week. Members of the 12th class of the Senior Leader Program presented tangible strategies and solutions intended to address five major challenges facing the Forest Service. Each group gave a 30-minute presentation and afterward fielded tough questions about their lessons learned and the applicability of their recommendations from the Executive Leadership Team and other attendees. There were five groups in this year’s class: Team Relevancy, Team Joining Forces, Team Fire, The Hill Project and Team Communication Virga.

The different teams presenting highlighted various areas of growth and improvement the agency can benefit from. Team Relevancy leveraged the power of a future leader in conservation by examining the agency’s relevancy with young adults. Team Joining Forces for Infrastructure Improvement took on the agency’s $5.3 billion backlog of deferred maintenance and encouraged shared stewardship via partnership with the Department of Defense. Team Fire developed an innovative training for decision-makers that may lead to more resource benefits via managed natural fire ignitions. The Hill Project looked for ways build on the internal and external coordination needed to build markets for woody material, thereby improving our ability to increase restoration efforts. Finally, Team Communication Virga encouraged the agency to be real, relational and responsible in our communication in order to make sure messages reach and resonate with the entire Forest Service workforce.

Those listening to the presentations could not help but feel inspired. The efforts to find solutions to some of the agency’s most pressing challenges were recognized by Chief Tooke when he noted, “I see all of the national priorities reflected in these projects.” The solutions the teams proposed embodied the aspirations of the Forest Service at its best.

To learn more about this year’s Senior Leader projects, contact Lisa Finley and Cathy Earl in HRM Training and Employee Development.

Photo: Group of people posed in room. Two portraits are behind them.
Senior Leader Program class 12 poses with agency leadership after its graduation ceremony Nov. 17, 2017. Forest Service photo by Dominic Cumberland.