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Environmental Factor, September 2012

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Austin selected for advanced leadership program

By Eddy Ball

NIEHS Associate Director for Management Joellen Austin

Austin joined NIEHS in 2011, after serving four years at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, where she had been associate director for management and executive officer. (Photo courtesy of Joellen Austin)

NIEHS Associate Director for Management Joellen Austin will be a part of the winter session of the highly competitive Leadership for a Democratic Society (LDS) program. Austin was notified in August of her acceptance into the four-week training session Jan. 6-Feb. 1, 2013 in Charlottesville, Va.

LDS is part of the Federal Executive Institute (FEI), which is sponsored by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The program uses the U.S. Constitution as the principal guide in helping federal executives, with exceptional credentials, to understand the diverse goals of the government and the citizens they serve. FEI fosters executives who excel in a 21st century world, while remaining connected to the constitutional principles forged in the 18th century.

When she learned of Austin's LDS program acceptance, NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., said, "This is a big honor for Joellen." Birnbaum also reflected on her own experience in the LDS program, saying, "I took the training 12 years ago and it was a life-changing experience and a tremendous learning opportunity."

Since 1968, FEI has been known for the personal attention it gives to every executive who attends its programs. The FEI approach builds a learning community where federal executives and faculty are both teachers and participants. The LDS program promises to help participants advance their leadership abilities in several ways, including:

  • Gaining a broader understanding of the Constitution and how it continues to guide today's government.
  • Understanding the policy framework in which executives must lead, and the interplay among major stakeholders at national and global levels.
  • Developing keen insights into leadership strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Devising a plan to enhance an organization's performance.
  • Increasing networks for enhanced problem-solving support.
  • Appreciating more fully the importance of federal service and the diverse talents of federal executives.

The participants receive five hours of post-program executive coaching after they return to their day-to-day organizational challenges.

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