How long have you been a FCCMA member?
I’ve been an FCCMA member since 1999.
Are you an ICMA member, why did you join, and how long have you been a member?
Yes, I am an ICMA member. I joined ICMA in 2000. ICMA provides excellent professional development learning opportunities. Through their webinars, training sessions and conferences, you can find a multitude of topics about which you can grow your knowledge of local governance and become a stronger, more capable leader.
Please describe your areas of formal/advanced education.
I obtained my Bachelor of Arts Degree from Florida International University in Marketing and International Business. Years later (married and pregnant with my second child) I attended Palm Beach Atlantic University and obtained my Master of Business Administration. It took three years (went part time and had a child in between semesters!). I’ve been a credentialed manager for 11 years with ICMA.
Why did you select a career in public service?
I didn’t select a career in public service…..it selected me. In my early twenties while looking for employment in my field of marketing I was blessed with the opportunity to become a Special Projects Coordinator for the Town of Lantana. My position involved planning numerous special events and programs in the Town. It was a dream job. It was then when I fell in love with the satisfaction of knowing you can make a direct positive impact on the lives of so many people in public service. I never looked back. I’ve since been serving local government for thirty years now.
Have you always been in the public sector or have you had experience in the private sector?
For a brief period of time (two years) I transitioned into the private sector as a project manager for a developer. I served as their “government liaison”. I enjoyed the work but missed joy in working for a local municipality. After a few years off of work (being a mom!) I went back into the public sector with the City of Boynton Beach.
Please tell us about your current position and give a brief job description if you are not a City Administrator/Manager.
I currently serve as the City Manager for the City of Boynton Beach. I started my career in BB as an Assistant City Manager working with Kurt Bressner. Kurt decided to leave and I was appointed as the Interim City Manager where I served in that capacity for 18 months. In December of 2012 I was appointed the City Manager. Our city is going through a renaissance right now. The face of BB has changed, for the good! For the most part our City is built out so we are experiencing tremendous re-growth and redevelopment in our community. We are a city of 77,000 residents and growing. Our city historically has been known as a retirement community however that has changed drastically. We now have a wonderful mix of young and older populations. Families are moving in in droves.
Please describe your typical day.
A typical day for me is bouncing around among numerous meetings! Sometimes I feel that is all I do. I work with an outstanding leadership team who requires general direction and off they go. Our staff team is tremendously talented and creative. We are often in problem solving mode which is fun. The creativity and problem solving skills of our staff is outstanding. I communicate with my City Commission often, staying in touch on hot topics. I am very fortunate to work with a Commission that truly loves what they do and are engaged and very supportive.
What is your favorite part of the job?
The favorite part of my job is watching staff create, problem solve and come up with fantastic ideas! We brainstorm often and so many good things come of it.
If you are involved in any volunteer or leadership activities in your community, please share with us a bit about what you do and why it is important to you.
I was just accepted to Leadership Palm Beach County this year. I’ve wanted to apply for several years however the timing never seemed to be right. This year it was! I will manage the time commitment necessary and look forward to giving back to the community.
What is your most memorable experience on the job?
My most memorable experience to date was the day we signed the bond documents to kick off our Town Square Redevelopment project. I felt very proud that we accomplished this. I vividly remember our long-serving city attorney looking at me and saying “Lori, you did it. You should be very proud today”. And I was. This project has been a topic of discussion for 20 years. It’s now under construction and it’s happening. It will re-define our downtown and our City. It’s a $250M redevelopment project (P3) that will include a new municipal complex, new police station and fire station, multi-family residential, retail, office and some beautiful open space.
What are your hobbies/interests?
I enjoy my fur babies. I have two dogs (one a rescue). Mia and Scooter. We are now empty nesters so I enjoy doting on my pups (ok and my husband too!). My decompression time is yoga and reading, both of which I do regularly and enjoy thoroughly.
If you could give one piece of advice to people interested in a career in public service, what would it be?
Stay true to yourself. Always be honest and act with the highest integrity. You can always learn new skills. In fact, you should every day. Don’t let your “job” define you but you must be fully committed to achieve your highest capability.
Who were your mentors and how have you passed this information down to other aspiring public administrators?
My strongest mentor in my career was Ron Ferris who is Palm Beach Gardens City Manager. Ron “raised” me in local government for the first 12 years of my career while working in the Town of Lantana. He pushed me every day to learn and grow and provided opportunities for me to do exactly that. By the time I left Lantana I had experience as a Special Project Coordinator, a Town Clerk (certified), a Public Works and Utilities Administrator…..you name it and I feel like I did it!! He was a tremendous supporter of learning and taking risk. When things didn’t always go the way we planned he was there to pick you right up, tell you to brush it off, learn from it and keep going. I credit Ron with being one of my greatest supporters and I appreciate him very much!
What career would you pick if you were to pick another?
If I were to pick another career, I would love to work for a non-profit as an Executive Director. That’s where I see myself in the future when I’m ready to do something different. I see the passion and joy from those that work in this sector (and the stress) but they truly embrace and value the work they do because they are helping others.
Do you have a story you can share about how being a member of FCCMA has helped you or impacted you in a positive way?
I’ll never forget the support and encouragement I received from Ed Mitchell (former President of FCCMA) when I was going through a very difficult time at work – politics were a mess and I was stuck in the middle. Ed called me regularly to check on me and sometimes we talked for an hour or so. We became good friends and I’ll always remember how he helped me through it.