Leya Hartman is a City Council Aide for Councilman Christopher Herndon of District 8, an area that includes Park Hill, Stapleton, and portions of East Colfax and Montbello. She went through Black Belt Cohort #89 in July 2019, bringing with her a list of ideas, plenty of insight, and a positive spirit. After training, she took all the tools given to her and ran with them, earning her Black Belt Certification a month later. Leya continues to innovate and stay involved in Peak activities and is a Peak Bright Spot at the City and County of Denver.

The Innovations

  • Constituent Inquiries: This innovation focuses on creating a system to help manage constituents’ questions, standardizing the process and saving time by finding a way to easily recall data and provide faster responses to those that reach out. This innovation saves 52 hours annually between both her time and the customer’s and totals around $2,340 annually in soft savings.
  • Business Outreach Map (Pictured Below): This innovation focuses on visually mapping where they are doing their business outreach and prioritize where the next outreach efforts should occur. The goal of this innovation is to ensure that all businesses within District 8 are adequately seen and to strategize how to get the most impact from their efforts.

Bright Spot Q&A

Tell us a little about yourself; what should the world know about you?

“I am a Colorado native that loves to learn. Being a City Council aide is a dream job for me because I get to interact with some of the big players for city politics, learn about what is in motion for the city, and then utilize that context while working with residents experiencing the day-to-day ups and downs of Denver life. I am a big pasta lover and of course, I do all my work so that I can feed the love of my life, my kitten, Tesla.”

What made you interested in attending Peak’s Black Belt Training?

“Before this job, I was working with a business who utilized the LEAN model in all aspects of their business. It was extremely satisfying to work with a company that cared about continuous improvement. It motivated all levels of employees to come up with bigger and better ideas to get our customers the best product in the most efficient way. Employee buy in became easy with LEAN because you could turn anything into a creative competition for the fastest, most efficient idea and then turn around and test it and see if you had better sales and service that day. Customers always reported feeling cared for on a deeper level than similar businesses because we respected their time and experience as a top priority. Moving into a government job, I knew I might not benefit from that same reputation. When I learned about Peak’s goal to restore dignity to government by creating the most efficient systems that serve our citizens best, I was sold.”

What about your innovations are you most proud of?

“Coming from a background in customer care, I wanted to ensure I was committing my energy to creating a good experience with our council office for every constituent. My first innovation focused on constituent care by prioritizing quick response times and information tracking for each case. I know I’m not a robot and that is why I knew I needed a system. Before, I was using Wunderlist (a great to-do app) to track all my constituent cases, but I couldn’t easily recall the history of cases, sometimes losing data and being unable to search with keywords. With the help of Peak, I was able to identify my future state goal and recognize the issues with my current state of constituent case tracking. I learned how to use OneNote and now I have a template for each constituent case that comes in which means I use standard work every time, I can find the information I need fast, and I can easily see who I need to respond to and who I’m waiting to hear from. “

What advice do you have for other innovators or people seeking to innovate in the future?

“What motivates me about innovation is the promise of hope. I know it sounds cheesy. But honestly, it is easy for me to get bogged down in the tired systems that I begin to dread using on Monday morning. Peak tells me a different narrative. They’ve taught me that innovation means even in the most hopeless or overwhelming situations, you can improve. That’s good news; especially in a work place, the place we spend most of our time, and in our case, in a job that our citizens are trusting their taxes to. Innovation reminds me that job satisfaction is possible, and that is something worth investing in.”

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