USC Price School of Public Policy

Price, APSEA collaborate to host public leadership, innovation symposium

November 25, 2014
Paul Danczyk, USC Price director of executive education in Sacramento

Paul Danczyk, USC Price director of executive education in Sacramento

For the last three years, the USC Price School of Public Policy has partnered with the Asian Pacific State Employees Association (APSEA) in designing and delivering the “Navigating Leadership” Series. Co-Directors Bekah Christensen, who serves on the APSEA executive board, and Paul Danczyk, USC Price’s director of executive education in Sacramento, worked with a steering committee of senior state executives that included Sacramento Advisory Board members Grace Koch and Margret Kim, in designing a speaker series leading up to the day-long symposium on Nov. 13.

With more than 250 state leaders in attendance, the symposium was held at the California Public Employees Retirement System, with corporate sponsorship from Google, Lexmark-Perspective Software, NWN IT Solutions and Services, OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates, ORA Systems Inc. and the APSEA Foundation.

The program is a national blueprint where diversity, educational excellence and collaboration unite. It brought together all state agencies and multiple departments to participate in applied leadership conversations.

“This is the most important state-focused training program of the year, as it highlighted core leadership practices while celebrating public service innovations,” Danczyk said.

The distinguished keynote speaker lineup included, in order of appearance:

  • Anne Stausboll, CEO, CalPERS, who spoke on the role of leadership and innovation
  • Linda Ng, President, Asian Pacific State Employees Association, on setting the leadership stage
  • Paul Danczyk, PhD, Director of Executive Education in Sacramento, USC Price, on the leadership role of curiosity to shape creativity and innovation
  • Martin Hoshino, Administrative Director, Judicial Council of California, on “social contracts” and noble purpose of public service
  • Secretary John Laird, CA Natural Resources Agency, on the power of individual backstories and “navigating” a career, bringing truth to reality, and intersectoral collaboration approaches
  • Secretary Karen Ross, CA Department of Food and Agriculture, on the need to be surrounded by experts, seeing the “big picture,” and “the art of the possible”
  • Secretary Anna Caballero, CA Business, Consumer Service and Housing Agency, on the approaches when responding to societal needs, and the role and importance of data in decision-making
  • Joe Xavier, Director, CA Department of Rehabilitation, on the declared v. default futures and the gift of expectations
  • Maeley Tom, State Personnel Board, on the role of fostering relationships, and recognizing and promoting talented individuals
  • Hon. John Chiang, CA State Controller, on leadership lessons centered around these themes: “your life next year should be better than the previous year” and to choose great friends
  • Jean Shiomoto, Director, CA Department of Motor Vehicles, on the need to understand your clients in relation to acceptance and affordability, the policy/procedure implications when a major change happens, and working relationships with external stakeholders
  • Secretary Diana Dooley, CA Health and Human Services Agency, on turning the state around, the role and opportunities of professional development, and a reminder that the best way to bring honor to your profession is to do great work
  • Robert Barton, CA Inspector General, on challenging our perspectives on and understanding of redemption and hope
  • Mark Ghilarducci, Director, CA Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, on building levels of trust, the need to be decisive when taking action, and the reminder to respond to constituents’/clients’ needs
  • Secretary Marybel Batjer, CA Government Operations Agency, on the impacts of millenials on the workforce to challenge workplace assumptions/practices—particularly on compensation, flexibility, and meaningful work
  • Carlos Ramos, Director, CA Department of Technology, on teamwork, change, and knowing the consumer
  • James Waterman, Regional Manager, Google, on the role of technology—it is there and ready to be used, we just need the wisdom to use it
  • Michael Wells, Undersecretary, CA Department of Veterans Affairs, on human capital and technology
  • Rebekah Christensen, President, ORA Systems, Inc, on the authentic you
  • Kish Rajan, Director, CA Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, on human characteristics of leadership

For more information about the program, visit