Kellee Richards, a policy coordinator with Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, is enrolled in the Center for State and Local Finance’s executive education program in public finance.
Read her full interview below about the program, professional development and working for the state of Georgia.
Q. Why did you seek out continuing education?
I believe that, whatever field you are in, it is always important to remain relevant and seek out new and innovative ways to carry out your duties.
Q. How did you learn of the Center for State and Local Finance?
The CSLF was introduced in a financial meeting at my then (DHS) state agency.
Q. What have you found most helpful about the program/classes?
All my career has been at the state level, with separation of responsibilities and duties based on the agency and position. It has been interesting to see things from the perspective of the city or local level where a few are responsible for so many differing activities.
Q. Would you recommend this program to others, and why?
This program is far reaching and allows you to dig deeper into areas that you may have been familiar with but don’t work with it on a day to day basis. The stories you hear and the other personalities, whether from a lecturer or fellow attendee, does help to better understand the topics that are discussed. This program will help you fill the gaps about topics you don’t have all the knowledge about.
Q. Why, in general, do you think it is important for public finance professional to keep up their education/knowledge about the sector?
There are always changes on the federal and state level or accounting standards updates that as a public finance professional you need to maintain the latest information about.
Q. How important is it to have supervisors in your corner who care about your success and professional development?
It is always beneficial to have a supervisor that realizes the value to always improve and provide good public service.
Q. What have you found most rewarding about your career?
The ability to impact the state budget and responsibly provide for the states future has been very rewarding. In my career, I have had the opportunity to work with colleagues that have the state’s best interest in mind and that want to continuously improve our processes to protect the future of our state.
Q. What are some of your personal career goals?
My career path has been one of steady growth and I see myself in the next few years staying on that path. I have always concentrated on budget and finance and will one day hope to be in an executive position within a state agency.
Q. What piece of advice would you give to others interested in the field?
I would advise someone in a graduate school to have realistic goals about how quickly they will climb the career ladder. This is an exciting field, however, when starting out, you have to give yourself time to learn and have a more hands on experience before trying to change jobs. You cannot become an expert if you don’t stay long enough to learn your job.