January 2016
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The Public Manager

Cassie Brennand

Monday, January 11, 2016

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As a leadership and executive development specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Cassie Brennand has been a driving force behind the Federal Coaching Network, a program designed to give federal agencies access to internal certified coaches at no cost. She also is leading a government-wide effort to train federal employees as coaches.

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About Cassie Brennand

Cassie Brennand was named one of "30 Learning Professionals Under 30" by Elliott Masie, a technology and workplace learning futurist with his own international awards program. As a leadership development specialist for the Office of Personnel Management, Brennand has cultivated and grown the Federal Coaching Network. She also manages the President's Management Council Interagency Rotation Program, which allows federal leaders to undertake long-term assignments with different agencies.

Brennand has a master's degree in industrial and organizational psychology, and has studied human-centered design, which she says informs how she designs and implements leadership development programs at OPM.

What attracted you to this career?

I am passionate about helping people maximize their careers and develop as leaders, and OPM is the perfect fit for the type of work I love to do. I started my federal career with OPM five years ago as an intern while completing my master's degree in industrial/organizational psychology. Through my work, I have the opportunity to provide guidance and support to agency leadership development efforts across government. My portfolio includes conducting research, developing tools and resources, and coordinating multiple interagency programs—including the Federal Coaching Network.

Tell us about the Federal Coaching Network. How has it evolved?

The Federal Coaching Network fosters a coaching culture by empowering leaders to practice self-reflection, creative problem solving, accountability, and candid and respectful communication. Our goal is to cultivate continuous learning and individual and organizational performance excellence by promoting positive leadership.

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In 2013, in partnership with the Chief Learning Officer's Council, OPM assembled a core working group to identify certified coaches within federal agencies. We officially launched the Database of Internal Federal Coaches in June 2015, and are working to share coaching services across government at no cost.

You also have experience in "human-centered design." Can you tell us what that is, and how it affects your work?

Human-centered design is exactly what it sounds like—a creative process for designing solutions focused on the needs and perspectives of the people who are being impacted. This approach has proved invaluable in multiple aspects of my work—from streamlining strategic planning efforts to maximizing collaboration with our stakeholders. Human-centered design is an effective way to pull together multiple perspectives and distill them into critical action items.

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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