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Leann Moore (MPA '14) joined IPA as an assistant policy scientist in July of 2016. Since then her role has continued to evolve and change, but Leann says she wouldn't have it any other way.
The Institute for Public Administration's Leann Moore (MPA '14) was recently recognized as part of the 2019 DBT 40, the Delaware Business Times' list of 40 Delaware achievers and innovators under the age 40.
While Moore, 29, currently serves as an assistant policy scientist within IPA's Conflict Resolution Program, her roleand in turn, her impactspans across many public service programs and projects, including The Democracy Project, the Spring Semester Washington, D.C. Program, and the Municipal Clerks Program.
We had a chance to catch up with Leann in between the meetings and facilitation projects that fill much of her schedule to learn more about her history with IPA, her motivation to contribute to the field of public service, and what being recognized as part of the DBT 40 means for her and her work.
Q: How did you join the IPA family?
A: As a student, I wasn't with IPA. I did my MPA at the University of Delaware, but my assistantship was actually through Residence Life and Housing where I was the liaison between them, Career Services, BHLP, and the Center for Black Culture. I ended up becoming a fellow and hall director in my final semester, which was my first time working with IPA.
However, in Dr. Jerome Lewis' intro class, we have to do a policy brief paper and I chose to do mine on foster care and aging out of foster care, which is something I'm very passionate about and still work with today.
At the time, IPA's Julia O'Hanlon was working on the Extended Jurisdiction Bill and a statewide committee was put together to work on that legislation, so after reading my paper Dr. Lewis connected me with Julia and I ended up helping to volunteer on that project. While I wasn't working with IPA formerly, I did help out on that project and ended up becoming the first legislative fellow with the Division of Research. From there, I was hired by the House of Representatives as an aide. When a position opened up within IPA's Conflict Resolution Program, Dr. Lewis reached out to me and suggested that I apply, the rest is history, and I'm very happy that I'm here.
Q: How has your role evolved and changed throughout the years?
A: So, I've only been here for three years, but since then my role has changed a lot. I'm still very much a part of the Conflict Resolution Program, but I'm very tangentially working on and with the CRP big projects, which include special education mediation, IEP facilitation, our Basic Mediation Training, and then any facilitation meetings throughout the year. I still help with those, but not as a primary contact.
The majority of my work is in facilitation, but for more intact groups. As an example, I worked with the Downtown Newark Partnership when it was doing a strategic plan to sunset that entity and then launch the Newark Partnership, which is situated outside of the city. That's now a huge chunk of my job. It seems like I'm the go-to person when it comes to facilitating pretty high-level meetings with the potential for conflict. I also MC the Newark Futures Workshop, which is meant as a way to hear out the Newark public's view on a variety of things, including university-city relations, public education, non-profit sector and services.
The projects that I'm most passionate about aren't necessarily around a specific policy area, which may be how some IPA staff members occasionally categorize themselves. We have specific areas dedicated to planning and education, but in a sense I'm dealing with all of it. Whether it be helping with a lit review and facilitation for education meetings or leading our Municipal Clerks Training Program, my role in all of that and what I'm passionate about is making sure that it all connects. It's kind of de-siloing not just the public vs. the private vs. the non-profit sector, but even within the university and within IPA no matter what policy area you're working on it always has an implication in another one. I'm kind of seeing myself with a connector, both with my outside contracts like the Newark Partnership, but also within IPA to make sure that where we're going is something that we're all excited about and that we're all using the same language to talk about what our vision and mission is.
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"The projects that I'm most passionate about aren't necessarily around a specific policy area... what I'm passionate about is making sure that it all connects," says Leann of her work.
Q: IPA's mission is serving the public good, shaping tomorrow's leaders. How has this become realized in the work you've done here?
A: Students are at the heart of everything that I do. I supervise graduate students and involve them at every facet of my projects. I truly think IPA does that better than anyone in our field. We've started all these wonderful summer fellowships, we have the Legislative Fellows Program and the Judicial Fellows Program, and there's just so many great opportunities. But we also do trainings contract work with people who aren't students in the typical sense of the word here at UD, but they are students because we're teaching them something.
Just like the rest of my colleagues here at IPA, when I go into a project I'm always trying to set that client up for success even when you've left. Whether it's a strategic plan, a comprehensive plan, or going into a mediation meeting with a family having troubles with schools, we're trying to set them up to feel empowered to do that on their own as well. So, we're serving the public because we do mostly public sector work, but even when we work with a private sector or non-profit client, we're teaching them how to include all voices at the table and how to take that feedback and actually make things happen from it vs. actually just taking about it. We're showing our students that, too, because one day they're going to be the supervisors, the ones leading a town, or the ones running a non-profit.
At the end of the day, no matter what I'm working onand no matter what anyone else is working on at IPAwe always want to find ways to play on everyone's strengths to make sure that the end product is the best possible one and can be adapted by the people we're working with even after we leave.
Q: You were recently recognized by the Delaware Business Times in their DBT 40 list. What does this mean for you? How do you feel being recognized for your work?
A: It's humbling to be around all of these people who are in a very different field than I am, but it's also interesting because we all have a similar style of doing things. No matter what sector or field you're working in, we're always trying to help make a better Delaware and not just better our little niche or specific industry. They ask: how does your vision, innovation, and leadership impacting Delaware?
It's humbling to be part of that group in a lot of different ways, but it's also a little exciting because I'm bringing a little more recognition to the idea that Delaware businesses don't operate without public sector support. When you think about a business you think about a private corporation, but really one can't happen without the other. In a sense, the public sector needs the private sector needs the non-profit sector. They all need each other. So, my whole application and nomination centered around the fact that I want to connect all of thosekind of going back to the things that I'm most passionate about. On any project I'm working on, for me it's about connecting, de-siloing, and making sure everyone has the experience they need so that everyone can achieve their goals.
I also believe my nomination and this recognition could open up a whole new and different client base for IPA. We're public administrators and because of that we focus on the public sector, but I think there's so many projects, especially in public education and economic development specifically, that involve private and non-profit groups. This is where you'll need the public-private partnerships to really achieve the impact you want. It's my belief that you can never have one without the other. I think this opportunity to network and connect more with the private sector side opens up a whole new window into what we could accomplish with our projects.
It's no secret to the staff at IPA that Leann's canine companion Jynx (pictured left) is very near and dear to her heart.
Q: What do you like to do on a day without work or other responsibilities?
A: There are three things I love most. For starters, I love my dog, Jynx, and I love going on hikes and being outside with her. Fall and winter are her favorite seasons, so I often spend my time outside with her sitting on the porch and reading a book. That leads into my number two love, which is reading. I read between 70 and 80 books per year. Finally, I really love spending time with my family. I'm what you might consider one of those 'weird' 20-somethings that likes to hang out with their familiesand not just your traditional nuclear family, but my aunts, uncles, cousins, cousin's spouses. All of them.
The Delaware Business Times will host their annual event highlighting and honoring those selected to be part of the 2019 DBT 40 on October 23, 2019. Those interested in learning more about the event can visit the 2019 DBT 40 announcement page.
The University of Delaware's Institute for Public Administration (IPA) addresses the policy, planning, and management needs of its partners through the integration of applied research, professional development and the education of tomorrow's leaders.
Article by Chris Kelley.