The 2022 SEI Alumni Program features a mix of sessions that showcase the newly designed SEI program and that will help leaders meet the most relevant local government challenges. Connect and network with your colleagues as you refresh, learn, and grow together. Many sessions will be practitioner-led and will include “Psychological Safety”, “Leadership at All Levels: Creating a Positive and Productive Work Culture through Inclusive Leadership and Employee Engagement”, “Difficult Councils and MIT: Lessons Learned and Discussion”, “Unique Approaches to Employee Engagement Survey Results”, “Struggling Well: From Stress to Strength”, and “Submerged History”. Come prepared to share your experiences and to go back to your organizations and communities armed with new leadership tools and new friends in your network. Please scroll down for the draft agenda and to register.


Welcome, Introductions, Prelude
Molly Harlow, VIG Assistant Director for Leadership Development
8:15 - 10:00 am Darden Classroom TBD
Break 10:00 - 10:15 am Darden Classroom TBD
Psychological Safety
Molly Harlow, VIG Assistant Director for Leadership Development

Psychological safety is the number one way to create positive work culture and to bring out the most talent in employees willing to release discretionary effort in support of a common mission/vision/goals. Crack yourself open personally and examine your own values, assumptions, and behavior. The goal is to help you see the current state clearly and then figure out how you can take the next steps to transform your team and organization’s culture and performance by increasing the level of psychological safety. Come away with concrete behaviors to create more psychological safety.
10:15 am - 12:15 pm Darden Classroom TBD


12:15 - 1:15 pm Abbott Dining Room
Leadership at All Levels: Creating a Positive and Productive Work Culture through Inclusive Leadership and Employee Engagement
Nancy Olivio PhD, IPMA-SCP Organizational Performance Manager, City of Hampton, VA

This session shows a complete picture of leadership work. Follow the journey from strategy working with a clear and agreed upon mission and values to culture where the leadership philosophy is participative (Likert’s system 4) with operationalized behaviors linked to values that support and encourage a psychologically safe, positive work culture. Hear about using talent and other resources with engaged and motivated employees that have competency and clarity at all levels with support and resources invested in the employees. Understand structures and processes that efficiently and effectively execute the mission/vision of the organization. Discussion and examples will aid in creating a plan for your leadership work.
1:15 - 3:15 pm Darden Classroom TBD


3:15 - 3:30 pm Darden Classroom TBD

Unique Approaches to Employee Engagement Survey Results
Joe Mazzola, Director of Organizational Development and Performance Management, City of McKinney, TX

Some of our most valuable learning comes from our peers. McKinney, TX has long been a trailblazer in the application of SEI concepts that build high performing organizations. Hear about their methods for boosting engagement and motivation in service of a healthy and positive culture. They bring their experience in a unique way of creating change based on feedback from their employee engagement surveys through leadership teams that perform capstone projects. Be prepared to learn from McKinney’s example to boost engagement in your organization.

3:30 - 5:30 pm

Darden Classroom TBD


5:45 - 7:30 pm

Abbott Dining Room


Please note that all times are Eastern Time.


Molly Harlow, VIG Assistant Director for Leadership Development
8:15 - 8:30 am Darden Classroom TBD
Difficult Councils and MIT: Lessons Learned with Discussion
Randy Wheeler, City Manager for Poquoson, Virginia
Seth Sumner, City Manager of Athens, TN

This session highlights the challenges of the role of the local government leader in the gap between staff and councils. In a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world, where politics trickle down from the national stage into communities, there is a need for everyone from middle managers to CAO’s to better understand council’s role in order to navigate staff work while being proactive about the organization’s position in support of council’s vision/priorities. Hear specific stories and the lessons learned while inviting a robust discussion where all can share best practices for working with elected officials. Part of the risk in leading local governments is finding yourself a manager in transition (MIT). Get practical advice about preparing to be a MIT.
8:30 - 11:00 am Darden Classroom TBD
Break 10:15 am - 12:15 pm Darden Classroom TBD

Everything is Culture: Sharing Cary, NC’s Values Work and Creative Ways to Handle Low Performers
Ashley Lategan, Assistant Human Resources Director, Town of Cary, NC
Scot Berry, Chief Development Officer, Planning, Inspections & Development Services, Town of Cary, NC

In Cary, NC, “People First” is one of their primary values. Hear how they were able to embed their values into their culture and practices. Innovative tools will be shared as part of the presentation including their methods for dealing with low performers. Bring your own examples to engage in sharing best practices. Create your own action plan to embed values into your culture.

11:15 - 12:45 pm Darden Classroom TBD
Lunch 12:45 - 1:45 pm Darden Classroom TBD

Struggling Well: From Stress to Strength
Bridgette Gransden, Administrator, County of Midland, MI
Kathryn Snyder, Midland Area Wellbeing Coalition Coordinator

Wellbeing and resilience have taken center stage in the world of work as they should given the incredible challenges that local government leaders face every day. This session provides hope and strategy for organizations and communities to increase overall health. Take away specific and actionable methods for increasing your wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around you.

1:45 - 5:15 pm Darden Classroom TBD

Reception & Dinner

6:00 - 8:00 pm

Michie Tavern


Please note that all times are Eastern Time.


Molly Harlow, VIG Assistant Director for Leadership Development
8:15 - 8:30 am Darden Classroom TBD
8:30 am - 12:00 pm Darden Classroom TBD
Lunch 12:00 - 1:00 pm Abbott Dining Room & Terrace

Submerged History at the Jefferson School - African American Heritage Center (JSAAHC)
Andrea Douglas, Ph.D., Executive Director, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

Learning more about and understanding our past is key to leading communities. Using Charlottesville and Albemarle as a case study, we explore the submerged racial history that still impacts local government today. The role of local government is to provide equitable services to all community members. It is hard to see the places where its fails to do so without a thorough and complete understanding of the history of a place.

1:15 - 3:00 pm JSAAHC
Break 3:00 - 3:15 pm  

Application of Submerged History
Siri Russell, Associate Dean, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UVA School of Data Science

Be part of the facilitated conversation about how to be an equitable and inclusive leader for your organization and community. Hear examples from Albemarle County as part of their journey to equitable service delivery. Take back your own plan to understand your communities’ submerged history and use that information to create more equity in your community.

3:15 - 4:30 pm JSAAHC


Please note that all times are Eastern Time.
Andrea Douglas headshot

Andrea Douglas

Dr. Douglas is the Executive Director of the African American Heritage Center.  Dr. Douglas, holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. in arts management and finance from Binghamton University, NY. Douglas has taught graduate and undergraduate classes in African American, contemporary, and art theory, and has published exhibition catalogues and scholarly articles. From 2004 -2010 she was Curator of Collections and Exhibitions and Curator of Contemporary Art at the University of Virginia Art Museum.

Douglas was recently appointed to the Governor’s Commission to Study Slavery and Subsequent De Jure and De Facto Racial and Economic Discrimination. She is also the co-chair of the President’s Commission on the Age of Segregation at the University of Virginia and sits on Monticello’s Advisory Committee on African American Affairs as well as the state’s History of Lynching in Virginia Working Group. She has served on the City of Charlottesville Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Monuments and Public Spaces, the University of Virginia’s President’s Commission on Slavery at the University and was chair of the city’s PLACE Design Task Force.  Contact Andrea by email at: education@jeffschoolheritagecenter.org.

Contact Andrea: education@jeffschoolheritagecenter.org

Bridgette Gransden headshot

Bridgette Gransden

A CPA who found her passion in local government finance and administration, Bridgette has dedicated over 27 years to the County of Midland and the surrounding community. She is a proud graduate of Northwood University and has certificates in leadership from both the Harvard Kennedy School and UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. Her professional affiliations include national and state memberships and active roles on state boards and several ICMA committees/task forces like the Strategic Planning Committee. Bridgette’s community service is extensive — serving on the Community Success Panel and a founding member of the Midland Wellbeing Coalition. Dedicated to improving community wellbeing, she became certified in Applied Positive Psychology, and Creating Positive Change, with a specific focus on Engagement/Strengths training.

Contact Bridgette: BGransden@co.midland.mi.us

Molly Harlow headshot

Molly Harlow

Ms. Harlow is the Assistant Director of Leadership Development at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service and is also the VLGMA (Virginia Local Government Association) Conferences Coordinator.  Her passion is building leadership capacity for local governments. Molly’s role includes program and curriculum design for the Senior Executive Institute (SEI) and its companion program LEAD among other leadership development trainings.  She has decades of experience working with local government teams and is a trained facilitator.  Her other certifications include the Four Stages of Psychological Safety and Brene’ Brown’s Dare to Lead Teams.  Molly has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Virginia and a Master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Contact Molly: mjh3a@virginia.edu

Joe Mazzola headshot

Joe Mazzola

Joe is the Director of Organizational Development and Performance Management for the City of McKinney, TX, a suburb of Dallas.  It is one of fastest growing communities in the nation and was rated by Money Magazine in 2014 as the number #1 small city in America to live in.  

Prior to working for the City of McKinney Joe was President and CEO of a national education-based nonprofit in Washington, DC.  And before that he served over 25 years in the military where he rose to rank of colonel and held command positions in both Europe and the Pacific.  His other assignments included five years at the Pentagon and three years as Director of Character and Leadership Development at the United States Air Force Academy.  Joe’s military awards include the Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star, and the Meritorious Service Medals.  

Academically, he holds a Master’s in Public Administration  from the University of Texas at San Antonio, a Master’s in Education and Human Development from George Washington University, and in May of 2021 he completed all academic classes to earn his doctorate from SMU (dissertation pending). In October, Joe was presented ICMA’s 2021 Assistant Excellence in Leadership Award at their annual conference in Portland.

Contact Joe: jmazzola@mckinneytexas.org

Nancy Olivo headshot

Nancy Olivo, PhD

Nancy Olivo has served local government throughout her career, providing leadership in achieving their vision, mission and strategic goals through innovative human resources, organizational development, change management and leadership development initiatives. Nancy has successfully designed and executed strategies to improve and/or develop people, systems, work processes and culture through practice of high performance organization principles.

Nancy served as the Manager of Change and Development and Human Resources Director for the City of Norfolk, Virginia; Director of Human Resources for the City of Suffolk, Virginia; and currently serves as the Organizational Performance Manager for the City of Hampton, Virginia. Nancy also has served as professional staff supporting the LEAD program at the Center for Public Service.

Nancy holds a PhD in Social Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany and holds the designation of Senior Certified Professional by the International Personnel Management Association.

Contact Nancy: nancy.olivo@hampton.gov

Siri Russell headshot

Siri Russell

Siri is the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, a position created to be an integral part of the School’s leadership team and an important advocate for equitable and responsible use of data to serve the common good. She is interested in how data science can empower communities, individuals, and policy-makers to improve outcomes and maximize societal benefits.

Prior to joining UVA, Russell served as the inaugural Director of Equity & Inclusion for Albemarle County since 2018, where she led the creation and implementation of the County’s DEI program and initiatives. revising diversity recruitment strategies to creating a framework for assessing the equity impacts of policies, practices, and legislative actions. She collaborated closely with human resources on harassment and discrimination policies and created an organizational DEI curriculum with an emphasis on workplace application. Russell also serves on the President’s Council on UVA-Community Partnerships Workgroup and was a past lecturer at the UVA School of Architecture.

Contact Siri: ssr5v@virginia.edu

Kathy Snyder headshot

Kathy Snyder

Kathy Snyder is the Midland Area Wellbeing Coalition Coordinator. In addition to over 25 years of experience in education, she holds master’s degrees in both counseling and applied positive psychology. Kathy has certifications in resilience, change, diversity and inclusion, psychological safety, coaching, and PERMAH Survey administration. She is also a co-creator and teacher of two Wellbeing Lab programs. 

Contact Kathy: kathy@midlandareawellbeing.org

Seth Sumner headshot

C. Seth Sumner

Seth is the City Manager of his hometown, Athens, TN, a goal he set his sights on a decade ago. He began serving Athenians on Groundhog Day 2017. He previously served as Assistant City Manager of Savannah since July of 2012. He received his BA (2005) in Political Science, and Master of Public Administration (MPA) (2009) from the University of Tennessee and completed the University of Virginia’s Senior Executive Institute in 2012. After gaining his MPA, Seth became the then youngest City Manager in Tennessee when hired at Clifton, where he served for over two years. Seth has served as a local government executive in all three grand divisions of Tennessee. Seth’s service to the community extends far beyond the profession of local government management. Exemplifying the volunteer spirit, Seth believes in a collaborative approach to public service, and views community involvement as a means to practicing servant leadership. He has committed himself to professional growth by serving on the Tennessee City Management Association’s Board of Directors, where he is a Past-President, and is also active in ICMA serving on the International Committee and a special assignment with the Kettering Foundation: Making Democracy Work. Seth is an ICMA Credentialed Manager (ICMA-CM); a certified municipal finance officer (CMFO); a certified economic developer (TCEcD), a facilitator for the University of Virginia’s LEAD program, and is a member of Leadership Tennessee Class VII.

Randy Wheeler headshot

Randy Wheeler

Randy is currently the City Manager for Poquoson, Virginia where he has served in this capacity since June 1, 2009.  Prior to this, he was the County Administrator for Spotsylvania County and Deputy County Administrator, Assistant County Administrator and Director of the Office of Management and Budget  for the County of Fauquier.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Analysis/Political Science and his Masters in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  Randy is also a graduate from the University of Virginia Senior Executive Institute.

He was the 2013-2014 President of the Virginia Local Government Management Association and is a member of the International City/County Manager’s Association.  Randy has also served on Governor McAuliffe’s Transition Council on Local Government Issues and the Virginia Fire Services Board.  His other memberships include the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail Authority, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Poquoson’s Lion Club and Emmaus Baptist Church.

Contact Randy: Randy.Wheeler@poquoson-va.gov


DATES: The SEI alumni program runs from October 26-28, 2022. You can register until midnight on October 3, 2022.

LOCATION: University of Virginia Darden Business School, Charlottesville, Virginia

COST: $2,500 ($2,250 with a VIG member discount). Fee includes 4 nights of lodging, materials, instruction, and most meals. Additional registration options are available: 3 nights of lodging for $2350 ($2100 with VIG member discount) or no lodging for $2050 ($1800 with VIG member discount). Use the registration form below to choose your preferred option.


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This registration form is for the 2022 SEI alumni program to be held from October 26-28. You will receive confirmation and your invoice once the registration has been received.