By Jon Barilone.

The USC Bedrosian Center conducted its ninth Executive Education (EXED) Forum for Public Policy for Local Leaders on November 20-21. The two-day workshop, held at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy’s Research Center in Los Angeles, featured seven world-renowned guest speakers who presented on topics ranging from key elements of building effective relationships as a leader to the future of housing policy in California.

“Our mission at the Bedrosian Center is to educate and train leaders–whether at the local, state, national and global level–to manage organizations and devise policies that make societies and communities better places for all. The Local Leaders Program is just one effort, but it is quickly becoming a popular one in California,” said Frank Zerunyan, Director of the Executive Education Forum for Policy at USC Price. “It’s always great to see such a diverse group of participants in the Local Leaders workshops. We are proud to share our expertise with California’s local government leaders, and we love hearing how graduates are applying what they learned to improve their own communities.”

Bob Denhardt and magician Steve Goldfarb wowed attendees with the first session, “The Magic of Relationships.” Denhardt mapped out how leaders can develop deeper relationships with their staff, while Goldfarb emphasized key points about perception with his impressive prestidigitation. Susan Robinson and Amity Lumper followed with a lunchtime presentation on “Environmental Leadership and Innovations Toward Zero Waste,” educating attendees on the factors involved in reducing greenhouse gasses and per-capita weight of waste. USC Price professor Dowell Myers closed out day one with “Responding to the Turnaround in California Demographics,” a data-driven look at the common myths of demographic projections in California. Myers fielded many questions from participants who were eager to learn how these demographics impacted various aspects of their own communities.

On the second day of the workshop, Bedrosian Center Director Raphael W. Bostic kicked things off with another forward-thinking session, “Shortage of Housing and the Future of Housing Policy,” that gave attendees better insight into the contentious viewpoints on affordable housing. During lunch, attendees enjoyed a visit from the esteemed U.S. Ambassador Gaddi H. Vasquez, who shared a number of powerful personal stories that demonstrated the skills needed for effective organizational leadership. USC Price professor Ali E. Abbas ended the EXED Forum for Local Leaders with an in-depth, interactive explanation of “decision analysis” and laid out a proven six-step method for decision-making.

“Our City Treasurer, a former Council member, attended the EXED Forum some years ago and recommended I apply,” said Christian Horvath, City of Redondo Beach Council member. “The leadership and policy presentations/discussions were highly engaging, informative and pertinent to the ongoing issues we face in our community. I can’t wait for the next forum.”

The next EXED Forum for Local Leaders will take place in the first quarter of 2016. Click here to apply and reserve your seat (the maximum number of attendees is approximately 25). “If you are a past EXED Forum alum, we welcome you with open arms to attend future events,” said Zerunyan. “Attending this workshop has become a steady habit for many councilmembers, thanks in large part to our varied curriculum and the unparalleled access to world-class guest speakers we enjoy here at the University of Southern California.”

Click here to view photos from the most recent Executive Education (EXED) Forum for Public Policy for Local Leaders.

Highlights from the “Environmental Leadership and Innovations Toward Zero Waste” session:

Full list of USC EXED Forum Cohort 9 graduates (alphabetical by last name):

  • Sal Alatorre – Lynwood
  • Jon Barilone – Tripepi Smith
  • Laura Emdee – Redondo Beach
  • Martin Gombert – Palos Verdes Peninsula Transit Authority
  • Yxstian Gutierrez – Moreno Valley
  • Christian Horvath – Redondo Beach
  • Peter Kim – La Palma
  • Rishi Kumar – Saratoga
  • Ray Marquez – Chino Hills
  • Cynthia Moran – Chino Hills
  • Ray Musser – Upland
  • Mark Orozco – Beaumont
  • Ali Taj – Artesia
  • Roberto Uranga – Long Beach
  • Bonnie Wright – Hemet
  • Charley Wilson – Santa Margarita Water District

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Jon Barilone is a Senior Business Analyst with Tripepi Smith, an award-winning communications firm specializing in supporting California local governments and special districts.