Carl Urness had barely completed his duties in the IT Shared Services Department at DOT last summer when he boarded the Vamoose Bus, bound for New York City. Since August, he has been working as a VISTA Fellow at the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) in the office of the Mayor. There he is charged with developing and implementing anti-poverty programs for the city’s youth. Only halfway though his time in NYC, he has many accomplishments under his belt. One such accomplishment is launching the Work Progress Program, a jobs program for low-income young adults in NYC. The program provides wage reimbursement to non-profits so they can offer to pay their participants engaged in work assignments. In addition to overseeing a budget of more than $100,000, Carl is overhauling the data dashboard system that tracks the performance of CEO’s programs.
When asked if his AMP experience has served him in his present position, he responded enthusiastically in the affirmative. In particular, he credits the AMP program with honing two very important skills. One is Organizational Management. The other is the ability to present to executives. “One of the key things I learned during my summer with M Powered Strategies,” says Carl, “is how to manage up. In a perfect world you can spend hours telling your manager all you know about a subject. I learned to be concise, to convey only the necessary information. And to do that, you have to know your subject inside out.”
M Powered Strategies extends a warm welcome to Danielle O’Bannon. A Texas native, Danielle attended The Hockaday School of Dallas before traveling north to Hanover, New Hampshire to attend Dartmouth College. At Dartmouth, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in history and a minor in education policy. She also founded Dartmouth’s first financial literacy community service organization, which offered personal finance seminars to low-income residents of New Hampshire’s Upper Valley. Following graduation, Danielle returned to Dallas to join the Litigation Consulting Support Team at Bickel & Brewer, LLC, where she developed a keen eye for detail and an aptitude for organization.
Danielle has always had a passion for public service and is extremely excited to be in Washington D.C. She looks forward to being a part of a dynamic team committed to effectively supporting government clients. In her free time, Danielle enjoys running, trying new restaurants, and spending time with friends.
Springtime at M Powered Strategies means putting the finishing touches on the newly designed work rooms, finalizing contracts, and getting ready to welcome the AMPs. This year’s group promises to be the biggest ever — at least twice as many as last year.
Recruitment for the summer-long Applied Management Professionals (AMP) Program began last October. The applicant pool, graduate students from the nation’s top universities, has grown exponentially as the reputation of our program has risen. We have also expanded our roster of partner schools, adding Harvard, Tufts, New York University, University of Virginia, and University of Maryland to a list that already included some of the top universities in the country — Johns Hopkins University, The George Washington University, University of Texas, Indiana University, and University of California San Diego, to name a few.
The application process is rigorous and includes personal interviews as well as team exercises. Alessandra Colia, Director of the AMP Program, traveled extensively, from Boston to San Diego for face-to-face meetings. For the schools she couldn’t visit personally, she conducted intense conference calls via Skype. “I’m really excited about the quality of all our applicants this year. I can already tell that this summer’s group will deliver at the highest level yet. We’ve had so many qualified applicants that the toughest part will be making the final selection.”
Throughout the recruiting process, Alessandra has had a lot of help from her colleagues at M Powered Strategies, as well as former AMPs. Special thanks go out to Jenny Weng, Justin Heineman, Emi Azumi, Laurel Wemhoff, and all of the 2011 AMP alums for helping us complete a successful recruitment season!
M Powered Strategies held its fifth annual Refounders Day extravaganza Thursday April 5, 2012, at the Science Club in Dupont Circle. Current employees as well as former employees and AMPs were on hand to celebrate. It has actually been just four years since President/CEO Kendall Lott took the helm of our dynamic, ever evolving company. At that time, M Powered Strategies was not the unified, cohesive entity that it is today. But Kendall vowed in 2008 to bring the company together and build true team spirit. Looking around at the animated conversation and bonhomie of this year’s party (which was organized by Alessandra Colia), it was clear that he has succeeded.
The hard work of M Powered Strategies AMPs paid off for the Department of Veterans Affairs. An onboarding process map they developed last summer for Virtual Lifetime Electronic Records (VLER), one of 16 major initiatives at VA, was used in VA’s HR Lockdown last November. It has since become official department-wide policy and was recently published on ProPath, where VA stores all its compliance and procedures documents.
Under the guidance of team lead Jenny Weng, AMPs Rachel Brody and Alexandra Reames produced the map, which defines the contractor onboarding process. Our clients, the VLER Director and COTR/Compliance Manager, were impressed with the excellent quality of the AMPs’ work, not to mention the timeliness of the delivery. At the end of the summer, the AMPs were invited to attend a meeting of the Onboarding Working Group, where they provided advice on ways to improve the VA’s contractor onboarding process.
They came from all over the country – California, Florida, Texas, and places in between – for an informative but fun Happy Hour hosted by M Powered Strategies. More than a dozen candidates, all carefully pre-screened by our Human Resources department, were here to meet with members of the FSL team. There were undergrads as well as graduate students, liberal arts majors, former Peace Corps volunteers, Governance and Policy experts, all eager to learn more about M Powered Strategies and what they can bring to our Facilitation Service Line and the company.
The event, which was organized by Alessandra Colia and Jenny Weng of M Powered Strategies, took place in the large conference room at M Powered Strategies HQ. Andrew MacDonald, director of HR, was impressed with the caliber of candidates as well as the energy and enthusiasm exhibited by the M Powered Strategies team. “This is the kind of event we can replicate for other hiring efforts and service lines in the future.”