Tom Vannoy

I finished the Council for Excellence in Government’s Fellows program in 2007, started in 2006. It’s comprised of seven sessions over a 10-12 month period. Tuition cost plus travel is probably around 12-13,000. The seven sessions are 1) Vision, Values, Mission; 2) Results; 3) Leading People; 4) Leading Change; 5) Building Partnerships; 6) Business Acumen; and 7) Synthesis/Celebration.

The Council starts a group in the Fall and the Spring now so you there are two choices for you to attend which helps in terms of budgeting/schedule/etc.

You go through the program with the same group of people, usually 18-25 strong, and typically the mix of people in the group ends up representing 10-15 agencies.
Positives of the program: Length of the program and time between the sessions enables you to practice what you learn between sessions and report back to your peers in the next session. Each group is led by a coach and CEG has some fantastic coaches to learn from. The program also utilizes co-coaches which are recently graduated (Senior Fellows) participants in the program who get a chance to lead a subsequent group through the program. Exposure to relevant leadership books, benchmarking non-profits, for profits, and public sector organizations in each session. As an example some of the places I have been are: google, apple, Seattle Light, Starbuck’s, Arlington County, Food and Friends, etc.

The council now has a tie-in with the University of Maryland for what I believe is an MPA degree – you get credits for completing the Fellows program.

Negatives of the program: If any I’d say what you get out of the program is really self-driven. What you get out of the program is directly proportional to what you put into the program. If your a person that tends to due some, or a good bit, of self-reflection you will get a lot out of this program. If you are someone who does not engage in self-reflection my personal belief is that you are better off going to the Federal Executive Institute’s (FEI) Leadership for a Democratic Society (LDS) course which is a month long.

For more thoughts on the CEG program you can listen to two episodes of FedTalk, the September 12, 2008 show and the September 14, 2007 show:

As for the FEI course I also highly recommend it and you will need agency sponsorship to attend it as well, I believe the approximate cost is $16,000 or so. The course has two options: 1) take the four week course, 2) take two weeks, return to work for about 4 or 6 weeks, and return for the final two weeks of the course.

The first week is all about you and learning/sharing about yourself. The entire class is usually 80-90 people and you will be in a smaller group of about 10 led by a facilitator. You spend a lot of time with your small group in the first week as you learn about one another. The first weekend you stay at the facility in Charlottesville as you have work to do on that Saturday and Sunday. You get your 360 results on Saturday and meet with your facilitator on Sunday to go over it and discuss what courses to take for the rest of the month. The last three weeks you have one course per week in the mornings and afternoons are for shorter 2-3 hour seminars. The course offerings for weeks 2 through 4 change for each session of LDS. Wednesday evenings are typically left open for students to give presentations if they like or have group dinners.

In terms of doing the 2 week/2 week or 4 week course and the benefits of each. Everyone I talk to loves whatever option they did and can’t see how the other option is any better. So either way it is a good experience.