36 episodes

Taken from a famous Theodore Roosevelt speech regarding his own time “In the Arena,” this podcast features government officials who are truly making a difference and challenging the status quo. Governing President, Cathilea Robinett, tours you through the halls of cities, counties and states to bring you a slice of what is best in American leadership today.

In The Arena Cathilea Robinett and GOVERNING Magazine

    • Government
    • 5.0, 30 Ratings

Taken from a famous Theodore Roosevelt speech regarding his own time “In the Arena,” this podcast features government officials who are truly making a difference and challenging the status quo. Governing President, Cathilea Robinett, tours you through the halls of cities, counties and states to bring you a slice of what is best in American leadership today.

    Stockton’s New City Manager Sees an Opportunity During Troubled Times

    Stockton’s New City Manager Sees an Opportunity During Troubled Times

    A former Baltimore CFO and city manager for Cincinnati, Harry Black just started as Stockton’s city manager when the pandemic began, quickly followed by national protests. But with his extensive, unique career, he is ready to help the city succeed.
    Harry Black grew up in the inner city of Baltimore, and saw the impact that good and bad public policy had on his gritty neighborhood. After college, Black worked in several local government positions, giving him opportunities to grow and succeed. Eventually, Black returned to his hometown, but instead of landing in the inner city where he grew up, he took a job as the city’s new chief financial officer, with a corner office in city hall.
    “With my personal circumstances growing up in the inner city, I saw what the power of public service could be in terms of making a difference in the lives of people, particularly disadvantaged people,” said Black. “So, I’ve committed myself to trying to make a difference.”
    After bolstering Baltimore’s finances, Black moved to Cincinnati to fulfill a longtime dream and became a city manager. Though he admits he was not ready to leave his hometown, he knew he had to take the chance to pursue his goal. Then, one day out of the blue, Black received a phone call from the mayor of Stockton, Calif.
    Black has been the city manager of Stockton for barely four months but is already helping the city implement plans and develop ideas on how best to respond to the protests over the death of George Floyd, while balancing the financial devastation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
    He hopes to change the perspective of his new city. Black wants people to know that Stockton is not a broken city, but a place with an opportunity for optimization and enhancement. He hopes to take advantage of the uniqueness of Stockton to produce jobs, housing solutions and positive change to combat social and racial inequities while strengthening the community.
    “It’s not just the death of George Floyd, but it’s people using that as an opportunity to really vocalize inequities, injustice,” he explained. “And we’ve got to pay attention to this.”
    Listen to the episode to hear more about Harry Black’s unique path to becoming one of Stockton’s leaders, his love for cooking savory foods and his determination to help Stockton and the rest of the nation become more equitable and just.
    Learn more and subscribe for free to In The Arena at www.governing.com/ITA

    • 32 min
    Reforming Corrections in Pennsylvania with Data, Creativity

    Reforming Corrections in Pennsylvania with Data, Creativity

    John Wetzel uses decades of experience and an unyielding determination to serve Pennsylvania as the secretary of corrections. But he knows that the true value of leadership comes from data, creativity and good people.
    John Wetzel has worked in corrections for over 30 years, but he is sure not to take himself too seriously. Starting as a part-time correctional officer when he was in college, Wetzel has worked up through the ranks and has been Pennsylvania’s secretary of corrections since 2011.
    His many years in corrections have taught him the value of surrounding yourself with good people, the great human capacity for change and the importance of breaking generational trauma. “I think corrections has a really unique opportunity to really help people change their lives,” he says. “And when we do that, we also change the lives of their family members.”
    Wetzel understands that it takes a lot of hard work and determination to bring about change in communities, so that is why he trusts his staff to be creative: “The closer people are to the ground, the better their information as to how to operationalize things are. So, lean on that and use that.” This creativity has allowed the staff to adapt quickly when guidelines were administered to prevent the spread of COVID-19, swapping in-person visits for Zoom visits for the incarcerated individuals.
    Wetzel also keeps detailed spreadsheets to track data and figures that help analyze and improve the system. And when that is not enough, he uses his passion and strength to persevere. “It continues to be, certainly, a challenging environment, but an environment that gives us an opportunity to just reimagine how we deliver the services we deliver,” he points out.
    During this time of national protesting against policing and violence against Black Americans, Wetzel is even more inspired to use his role to create positive change. “As a Black man who runs a big criminal justice system, I have a foot in a bunch of these camps. So, this is a very personal issue for me.”
    Listen to “In the Arena” with John Wetzel to learn more about criminal justice reform, his focus on doing the next right thing and his in-depth knowledge of Columbo.
    Learn more and subscribe for free to In The Arena at www.governing.com/ITA

    • 37 min
    Alisha Bell: Wayne County’s Unstoppable Force of Leadership

    Alisha Bell: Wayne County’s Unstoppable Force of Leadership

    A county and national leader, Alisha Bell has learned how to be a successful public official by following the path her mother laid down. Now she ensures that her actions will help those who will one day follow her.
    Whether she is Commission Chair for Wayne County, Mich., president of both the National Association of Black County Officials and the Women of the National Association of Counties, or founding her own charity program, there does not seem to be anything that Alisha Bell cannot do.
    Bell’s success helps to uplift her community. When she was elected to the County Commission in 2002, she was the youngest African American woman in the entire nation elected to the post. Now, she is glad that she no longer holds that title, because it means that “there are so many more young African American women who have now sought out county government as a way to serve their community.”
    Ultimately, helping other people has always been Alisha Bell’s mission. She now serves the county where she was born and raised, giving her a strong connection to the community. When she faces challenges, she reminds herself to “be true to yourself, stay the course,” because she simply wants to make a difference in the lives of all Wayne County residents.
    Even as Detroit and other areas of Wayne County have been hit hard by COVID-19, Bell has been working with the county commission to tackle the virus and protect the community. “It's a slow process and we want to make sure that all of our employees are safe as they go back to work in the Wayne County buildings and then make sure that people get tested at the general public so that we know where our numbers are,” she says.
    Listen to the latest In the Arena episode to hear more about Alisha Bell’s prom dress donation program, her unique professional bond to her mother and the impact that the death of George Floyd has had on Wayne County.
    Learn more and subscribe for free to In The Arena at www.governing.com/ITA

    • 35 min
    County Commissioner Helps Others with Resources, Compassion

    County Commissioner Helps Others with Resources, Compassion

    Whether it’s a small county or a national stage, Mary Ann Borgeson leads Douglas County, Neb., and the National Association of Counties with compassion and the understanding of the impacts her decisions can make.
    Mary Ann Borgeson did not consider running for elected office in her home state of Nebraska until her husband encouraged her to do so. But, even after nearly three decades in public office, she does not look at it as being a politician or an elected official, she simply sees a job of caring for other people, which is really her driving force.
    As Douglas County commissioner, Mary Ann Borgeson honors the impact she can have on people’s lives every day through her closeness to the community. As president of the National Association of Counties (NACo), even though it is a larger scale, she still maneuvers her national role with community-level intimacy. “As president, you’re like a leader and an ambassador to the rest of the counties across the country.” She cares for counties across the nation by sharing stories, ideas and resources, to provide a network of support and connection.
    Mary Ann Borgeson works, at every level, through empathy. She is humbled by her experiences with victims of Hurricane Katrina, inspired by the words of Mother Theresa and powered by positivity and giving others care. Especially in hard times, “try to take care of yourself as well as your family… Remember your compassion and love that you’re able to give to each other.”
    Mary Ann Borgeson steps “In the Arena” and shares some of the joys of Nebraska, her hidden athletic talents and how she is working to support others during this national health crisis. Listen to her episode to hear more.
    Learn more and subscribe for free to In The Arena at www.governing.com/ITA

    • 22 min
    Betty Yee, State Controller, State of California

    Betty Yee, State Controller, State of California

    Betty Yee uses her role as California’s state controller to uplift underserved communities, encourage women participation in politics and public office and remind others that a state is only as strong as its individuals.
    Betty Yee grew up keeping track of the finances of her family’s laundry and dry-cleaning business and now she keeps track of the finances for the fifth largest economy in the world. As California State Controller, she sits on 70 different boards and commissions and is now helping to maneuver the devastating financial impacts that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the state’s budget. Her scope of duties as state controller is immense, working on everything from taxes and retirement funds to pollution control and wildlife financing. But she does not just use her financial expertise to make her impact.
    Betty Yee grew up in a San Francisco, Calif., household that did not speak English, and yet she received a sociology degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She arrived in Sacramento to work in the state Senate and noticed a gender disparity in the financial arena, and yet she now holds one of the top financial positions in the state.
    Even in the face of unprecedented financial crisis, Betty Yee finds opportunities for growth and betterment. She hopes that as California rebuilds its economy, it uses this opportunity to attend to communities that have been ignored in the past. “Our economy is only as strong as the financial health of each and every Californian.”
    Listen to her episode to hear more about her journey to becoming State Controller, coronavirus’ impact on California’s economy and, despite it all, serving with compassion.  
    Learn more and subscribe for free to In The Arena at www.governing.com/ITA
     

    • 34 min
    Serena DiMaso, Assembly Member, State of New Jersey

    Serena DiMaso, Assembly Member, State of New Jersey

    Whether it is a devastating hurricane or global pandemic, Serena DiMaso will be there to lend a helping hand. From the front lines and Assembly floor, DiMaso is constantly working to strengthen and uplift her community.
    Join Serena DiMaso “In the Arena” to hear more about her lifelong career of helping others, the history of the term “freeholder” and New Jersey’s efforts to combat the coronavirus.

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
30 Ratings

30 Ratings

Julia Allender ,

Great Podcast

This is a great podcast about women in the fight for the betterment of humanity. Topics we don’t often hear about but are important to know what’s going on around us.

I highly recommend it!

Eliana.g ,

Great Podcast super informative!

I’m so glad I was told about this podcast! Definitely in my top 3 to listen to!

mrmantini ,

Great podcast!

I hope it survives despite the sad demise of governing.com.

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