Institute for Excellence in Governance


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The IEG Governance Workshop Series

Governance Workshop I
Training for first-term elected leaders

Mayors Boot Camp
Leadership training for Mayors

Governance Workshop II (Coming Soon)
A learning contiuum for elected leaders who have taken Workshop I or who are in their second term of office

Governance Workshop Refresh (Coming Soon)
A one-day refresh and update for those who have completed any Governance Workshop

Communications and Relationships

In politics, everything is personal. Elected officials are constantly on show, and the way in which they interact, sustain relationships, and communicate is always under scrutiny. In a job where a simple misunderstanding can burn bridges, learning how to avoid much mishaps is important.

This session is dedicated to building your understanding of the types of relationships you’ll be expected to cultivate as a civic leader. You’ll walk away with an understanding of what stakeholders make up the fabric of the community, as well as the various ways to manage those relationships.

This session focuses on communication strategies through an interactive and insightful panel of elected and appointed officials. You’ll get a feel for some real-world successes – and failures – and the lessons learned from each.

Things That Matter and Things That Don’t / Making Decisions

Citizens hold elected officials to a higher standard. Not only are you expected to be an expert on every topic, but no matter where you go, constituents bombard you unsolicited opinion about issues and actions facing your Council.

With so much attention and information, how do you separate the necessary from the important, as well as identify the “avoid at all costs” elements of the job?

This workshop covers the laundry list of distractions that take council members off task, drive them into the weeds, and create unnecessary work for staff. Special focus is placed on understanding how to analyze and apply information, legal advice, consultant recommendations, constituent opinion, council member input, and the other various elements associated with Council action. In the end, you’ll gain a level of confidence that will allow to you focus on the most important and relevant decision-making criteria and minimize distractions.

Doing Your Homework / Time Management

Working as a councilmember typically is considered a part-time job. But when you receive the weekly agenda and accompanying packet filled with detailed analysis and documentation on initiatives that full-time staff members have spent weeks compiling, it’s not surprising that you might be burning the midnight oil sifting through all the information.

This session will help crack the mystique of the weekly binder and agenda packet, allowing you to understand how to read and analyze information, and make sound decisions about what needs to occupy your attention. Seasoned council and staff members will provide insight on how to gather additional detail as needed, and how to efficiently study in order to arrive at meetings prepared and informed.

You’ll leave this session with the tools you need to balance the demands of your council job without sacrificing time and attention to your career, family and outside interests.

Council Meetings

This session focuses solely on Council meetings and will explore the types of meetings from regular business meetings to zoning meetings and executive sessions. You will also receive instruction on parliamentary procedure, motions, and amendments to help ease your transition to formal meetings.

The highlight of this workshop is a mock city council meeting, in which you will actively participate in a council meeting in which regular “time-outs” will be called to discuss the dynamics and to answer the inevitable “what just happened” questions. Local and experienced community leaders will share constructive comments and guidance with the attendees creating a dynamic opportunity for experiential learning.

Oh, Know You Don’t

Often times, an outside perspective is the most insightful, and this session features the experienced voices of those who have been in your shoes and who will share their experience and tips based on their years of experience with councils.

A true “tough love” session, panelists will focus on mistakes they’ve seen new council members make, and discuss the hard lessons learned. You’ll hear first hand ways to avoid pitfalls, survive failure, and how to keep your head held high when it seems everything is working against you. You will gain a level of confidence from this session that will serve as a tool you can use as you navigate your council experiences.

Your Public Face - Your Public Space

If you’re fresh off an election victory, you’re undoubtedly ready to hit the ground running and establish a solid presence with your constituents. The first six months of your term is an ideal timeframe to build relationships and engage citizens of your community.

This session provides insights on how to create, maintain, and implement short- and long-term strategies for constituent relationships. You’ll learn what types of social media has the greatest impact, as well as other innovative ways to connect with your community members.

You will also learn the new reality of being a public person. There are rules and expectations that govern your behavior; what you can say, what you should say, and when you should say anything at all. You will learn how to be an effective communicator in your new role as a public figure.

Support for Action Planning and Implementation

As IEG facilitators, we know one thing for sure – you’ll leave the workshop energized and excited about the impact you’ll be making on your community. We also know that a two-day workshop can’t anticipate all of the challenges and questions you’ll face during your elected term.

To ensure that all of our attendees have all of the support they need from day one until they leave office, IEG provides ongoing support as you begin navigating the gauntlet of challenges that undoubtedly will arise. Upon completion, you will have gained a new network of peer support thanks to our intentionally small class sizes designed to build rapport among attendees. You’ll also receive ongoing communication that will provide workshop graduates with a seamless flow of advice and information as you embark in your public service.


General: $450
Price includes:

  • Continental breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • All materials

Questions? Contact Debbie Brinkman at (720) 224-1314


Mayors Boot Camp

No other training will take you where this one does - inside being a mayor. The session is taught by current and former mayors - your peers, the people who have actually been in your shoes. This workshop is also supported by managers who will share sage advice and lessons for working together.