Brenda Parker, (pictured on the left) a budget analyst with the Georgia Technology Authority, was recently awarded the Certificate in Public Financial Management from the Center for State and Local Finance.
Over the course of a year, she completed all of CSLF’s executive education courses to achieve the certification. Parker, who has been with the state of Georgia for more than 20 years, is committed to applying what she’s learned to enhance processes within her agency.
We caught up with her before the winter holiday to learn why she wanted to further her career.
Q. Why did you seek out continuing education?
Although I have been in the same or similar roles for many years with the state, I feel it’s extremely important to seek continuing education courses. I believe taking courses such as these not only helps you learn new things but also helps to refresh your knowledge of processes that are in place.
Q. How did you learn of the Center for State and Local Finance?
I learned about the Center for State and Local Finance through the Georgia Fiscal Management Council.
Q. What did you find most helpful about the program/classes?
One of the things that I found most rewarding from these classes was connecting with counterparts from other state and local agencies. Being able to have open discussions with other financial managers to compare similar processes was valuable.
Q. Have you used, or plan to use any of the topics/ideas that were covered in the program?
I plan to use the topics/ideas covered in the program that hones in on several processes that we currently have in place.
Q. What was the most challenging aspect of the program?
The most challenging aspect of the program was the time commitment required to see the courses.
Q. Would you recommend this program to others, and why?
I would recommend this program to other financial managers. I found the information provided by the presenters and guest speakers very helpful. Additionally, the opportunity to connect with financial managers from other state and local agencies was worthwhile.
Q. Why do you think it is important for public finance professionals to keep up their education/knowledge about the sector?
Continuing education allows you to gain new skills, making you more desirable for your current job or for a new one. The job market is tough, especially after the Great Recession. Governments are doing more with fewer employees. Additionally, technology and the role it plays in supporting the business of government is always changing. Increased levels of expertise can help you keep pace with change and stand out among other job-seekers.
Q. What have you found most rewarding about your career?
The most rewarding aspect of my career is being able to give direct support to GTA management in a way that really makes a difference. The contribution I make is vital to GTA management in making key financial decisions that ultimately influence our overall success. I enjoy the challenge and I enjoy the responsibility that is required to be in a support role.
Q. What piece of advice would you give to others interested in the field?
Go for it! Working in a financial role within the public sector is a very rewarding career.