The Sixth Initiative

I have spent my first seven months in Gilbert discussing our community’s Five Strategic Initiatives and, essentially, developing what we will call our community’s Sixth Strategic Initiative.

What I will call our ‘Unofficial Sixth Strategic Initiative’ is to Build a Strong Organizational Foundation.  I have laid out specific organizational initiatives that support this sixth initiative, which in itself is key to supporting our Town Council-approved Five Strategic Initiatives.  Committees of Gilbert employees are currently working toward these commitments.  What our goal is, is to build a strong and sustainable foundation for our organization that develops and supports our leaders and builds pride and trust and success.

One of those organizational initiatives goes to the heart of everything we do, and why we do it – and that is our mission, vision and values statements.  We are currently working with our Town leaders to review and revise what our mission is and what values we support, as we reach for this 10-year vision of our successful future.  That is vital to our success, as it helps to define our culture and how we approach our work.  These statements will ensure that our hiring, performance evaluations and daily activities directly support that vision, which ultimately reflects our Five Strategic Initiatives.

This week I had an opportunity to work with some of the leaders we may see down the road in those 10 years, during Student Government Days at Town Hall.  Twenty-four students shadowed public officials, and then held their own mock student council meeting.  One, Liana Nguyen, shadowed me as Town Manager for the day.

If any of our initiatives are to be successful, it is critical that we commit to harnessing the talent of our future leaders, and creating a culture that promotes a character of success. The students on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee are taking that a step further as they investigate real interactive digital partnerships with local business, to build a strong foundation for their careers, and to support our important business community whose hard work make us thrive.

We also welcome one of our newest leaders, Dana Berchman, who will take on an enormously important task that will support our Sixth, and original Five, initiatives.

Dana will be focused on fundamentally rethinking the role of a communications manager, to emphasize forward thinking, inclusive and visionary strategies, as a Chief Digital Officer.  She will conduct a comprehensive review of the information and data we collect, to develop a strategy to not only make it available, but useful and relevant. She will be responsible for creating a digital roadmap for our Town that efficiently harnesses the power of technology, social media, web 2.0 and mobile platforms to the benefit of our residents and business community.

Gilbert is a land of opportunity, and I am confident that with our strong staff and our residents, we will become that premier community in the nation.

-Patrick Banger, Town Manager