What Do Regional Governments Do? “CARL” Answers the Call

How do you explain what a regional government does if you only have a moment?  Do you have an elevator speech?  Or have you given up on trying to explain it, even to your friends and family?

Telling the story of regional government is challenging.  It’s complex, unwieldy, and filled with nuance.  It also varies regional issues and geography.  Often, people start to focus on describing the process of formation and governance.  But that does not explain what a regional government does or the service it provides.

One of the goals of CALCOG is to share the story of how regional governments build stronger local communities.  This year, we challenged the participants in our California Academy for Regional Leaders program, which we affectionately refer to as “CARL,” to address this challenge. But in a way in which they were not accustomed.

We asked them to make a video explaining what regional governments do.  A video version of the elevator pitch.

We divided the class into five groups and tasked them with writing, directing and producing a two minute video to explain how regional governments build stronger communities.  Of course, none of the participants really had experience in making videos.  Creating situations where leaders have to work outside of their comfort zone in a team environment is just one of the many learning opportunities that CARL offers.

In this case, the project design made our leaders in learning think about their organizations and the service they provide from a different perspective.

All the videos were shared at the commencement ceremony, and the class voted on their favorites (there was a spirited competition, with some members of the class campaigning for their video while they accepted the coveted leadership badge marking completion of the course).  We promised to show the best video with deserving accolades.

Here are the top two vote getters.  How would you do such a video?

Group 5 (Mark Heckman, California Department of Transportation; Chirag Rabari, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Michael Zeller, Transportation Agency of Monterey County; Linsey Willis, Contra Costa Transportation Authority; and David Knudsen, Riverside County Transportation Commission) won first place.


Group 2 (Amanda Fagan, Ventura County Transportation Commission; Kelly Mcclendon, California Department of Transportation; Seana Gause, Sonoma County Transportation Authority; Javiera Cartagena, Southern California Association of Governments; and Stephanie Hu, Contra Costa Transportation Authority) won runner up. 


Congratulations to the entire CARL program participants who have now joined the ranks of “CARLA”–CARL Alumni.

To learn more about the program, click here.

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