Cindy West was not looking for any additional training. In fact, the Statesboro director of finance had already completed a number of continuing education classes.
As Statesboro’s top finance officer since 2008, West was in a comfortable rhythm when she received information about a new executive education program at the Center for State and Local Finance.
It seemed interesting, so West decide to try one class, then two, and after a year, she’d completed all the classes. In June, she became the center’s first graduate.
Not only were the instructors “very knowledgeable,” but the small class sizes encouraged discussion on level she’d not experienced in other programs, she said.
“I would come home excited about some of the things that I learned in class,” said West, 42. “I felt that I was growing and learning better ways to do my job.”
Items she created for class, she started using at work – almost immediately. An assignment to build a corrective action plan, for example, proved especially helpful as the city worked its way through changing its budget process.
West also plans to use the internal controls matrix provided by guest presenter Leslie Lowe while improving processes and policies in Statesboro.
“By the time I got through with all the classes, I was thinking differently,” she said, adding that she would recommend the program to anyone wanting in-depth training in public finance.
After attending, she advises participants to apply what they learn.
“A lot of times you go to conferences or you go to classes, and you want to make all these changes, but then you come back and get involved in your day-to-day responsibilities.
“The changes you want to make, they start slipping. Don’t let them. Find the time to apply it. Not only will you see greater benefits for yourself, but for the department or agency you oversee, as well.”