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August 2012
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TD Magazine

The Government Connection

Intelligence9
GovLoop, the social network for government employees, aims to inspire professionals across the public sector—federal, state, local, industry, and academia—by helping them to foster collaboration, learn from one another, solve problems, and advance in their government careers.

Founder Steve Ressler began his career at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. While there, he created the not-for-profit organization Young Government Leaders to build community among aspiring young federal employees through professional development activities, networking opportunities, fellowships, and scholarships. Motivated to connect government employees of all levels, ages, and agencies, Ressler then launched GovLoop in 2008.

Ressler attributes GovLoop's rapid success to the culture and learning environment that the government fosters. "In the public sector, people are helpful with each other because they're all on the same team—they're not competitors," he says. "Also, the government does not have a risky culture, so before people try new things, they want to hear what other agencies are doing, pose questions, and collaborate."

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Now with nearly 60,000 members, GovLoop provides user-generated content in the forms of personal profiles and posts, peer-to-peer material through blogs and discussions, and expert-shared learning through webcasts, research "dives," and ongoing training events.

The Next Generation of Government Training Summit (NextGen) is one such event that GovLoop and Young Government Leaders host annually. On July 26-27 in Washington, D.C., NextGen 2012 featured a variety of inspiring keynote and breakout sessions for Generation Y leaders, including driving change, creating innovation, and leading with emotional intelligence. The two-day event also offered practical skills building fit for young public sector employees, with training on project management, presentation design, decision making, and meeting facilitation.

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According to Ressler, much of the existing government training topics and formats cater to previous generations of government employees and do not meet the learning needs of this next generation of leaders. "Through NextGen, we connect Gen Y leaders and remind each other why public service matters, design training relevant to government workplace topics, and provide mentoring as well."

Are you a government employee? Get connected at www.govloop.com.

About the Author
The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.
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