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Learning How to Lead in the Front Office

Young Government Leaders (YGL) and GovLoop present the NextGen Public Service Awards for superior public service and achievement. The 4th Annual NextGen Public Service Awards will be given at the 2014 NextGen Award’s Ceremony, which will kick off the NextGen Training Summit on July 23rd in Washington, DC. We have 18 finalists in six different categories. All month long we will be introducing you to the finalists.

Meet the Finalist:

Who: Allison Gillus, Briefing Book, White Inter-Agency Support, Department of Homeland Security

Achievement: NextGen Public Service Finalist, Courage Category

“Allison Gillus may be one of the DHS Office of the Executive Secretary’s quietest employees, but she is also one of our hardest working. Because of Allison’s insight and professionalism, she has distinguished herself as a go-to person for the Office of the Executive Secretary and for DHS Front Office leadership. She regularly provides advice and recommendations to DHS Component officials on how to respond to executive tasks or meetings. Allison’s performance as a member of the Secretary’s and Deputy Secretary’s briefing book team is exemplary.” – Donald Swain, Deputy Executive Secretary, DHS. Swain nominated Gillus for the Courage Award.

Since joining the Office of the Executive Secretary in February 2013, Gillus has had the opportunity to be the lead staff member for the Secretary’s briefing book and for the Deputy Secretary’s briefing books.

“Allison is able to float with ease, responding as meetings are added and shifted on their respective calendars and tasking papers to be prepared for both Cabinet-level DHS Principals, while becoming an expert in the different editing and formatting styles that these complex and detailed materials require,” said Swain.

Gillus also learned virtually all of the office’s business practices and within one week of starting, willingly took a detail in another section, showing her commitment to assist the office meet its leadership requirements.

This commitment includes frequently coming into the office on weekends and staying late to ensure that the Secretary is fully prepared for the following day or for upcoming travel.

“Gillus has drafted manuals, training guides, and operating procedures and has taken the lead in providing training and guidance to new team members,” said Swain. “The processes she has learned and shares her knowledge of are inherently complex, and Allison must provide significant, detailed and extensive guidance for a new employee to learn and develop.”

Gillus’ position is confidential and has national security implications. “She demonstrates sensitivity to the information afforded her in this position, especially to the Department leadership’s schedules and personal movements. Whatever we ask Allison she does with an extraordinary level of professionalism,” said Swain.

“She is known for not only for her outstanding work ethic, but for her willingness to contribute to the accomplishment of any task and the friendly, professional and positive attitude she has brought to the team. Allison has the ability to make people feel comfortable with her very quickly, which is essential when collaborating with leaders from DHS’s 22 Components,” said Swain.

We will be talking to all the NextGen Public Service Award finalists in the upcoming weeks. See the full list here. And register for NextGen!

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