2020 was a year unlike any other with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the new challenges that we faced along the way. As we continue into 2021, let’s look back to the past year through reflections from the peak team.
In 2020, Peak practiced what we preached and adapted to change! We were one of the first innovation teams in the country to go virtual with all training and workshops. Check out our feature with Bloomberg Cities here: https://bloombergcities.medium.com/denvers-peak-academy-practices-what-it-preaches-and-pivots-97f4c8697a38
As a result, we were able to build partnerships and train participants from across the country and form a partnership with Kaiser Permanente. The team jumped in to help multiple teams and projects across the city with data and project management as we made it our mission to be excellent public servants in whatever capacity we were needed. In addition, we created a new course called Recovery from Chaos: Healing the Government from Within. 2020 brought us closer as a team as we leaned on each other through juggling childcare, workload, and long days. We always kept our cameras on and cried and laughed through the toughest days. The Peak team continued to amazed me with their heart, dedication, and commitment to the city. On a personal note, my family accomplished our dream of moving to Erie, Colorado. We’ve loved Erie’s small town charm for quite a while and are happy to now call it home. And, in the middle of pandemic motherhood, I accomplished my personal goal of reading 100 books in one year and publishing a literary essay, which you can read here: https://www.themanifeststation.net/tag/melissa-akie-wiley/
Jerraud’s 2020 Peak Project Highlights:
Pepsi Center COVID-19 Testing Project: In 2020, the Denver Peak Academy helped Denver’s Department of Safety (DOS) design and implemented a system to provide COVID-19 testing for constituents that don’t have affordable & easy access to testing.
With the help of the project’s leads, Murphy Robinson (DOS), Zachary McDade (DOS), Jon Fischer (Technology Services – TS) & Kevin Anthony (TS), the City & County of Denver (CCD) effectively established COVID-19 testing for thousands of constituents at the Pepsi Center & multiple locations around the CCD.
COVID-19 Virtual Happy Hours: In 2020, with Melissa Wiley’s help, the Denver Peak Academy facilitated multiple virtual happy hours to help the Denver Peak Academy and the Budget & Management Office stay connected.
These virtual happy hours helped the teams align themselves to the COVID-19 Public Safety Mandates & inspire other Peak Partners to facilitate virtual events dedicated to elevating and sustaining positive team morale & culture during remote work/the COVID-19 Pandemic.
My biggest accomplishment of 2020 was the addition of a new family member, Riley Jade Brown! Megan and I are so happy to have Riley in our family and it has been a true joy to get to know her 🙂. As for Peak team work, I spent a lot of time supporting the amazing Denver public servants who served in the Emergency Operation Center for COVID response. I also helped facilitate a citywide effort to pay Denver contractors faster, which has received positive feedback from customers. 2020 was most certainly a difficult year, but I am so hopeful for good things to come in 2021. Some of my projects for this year include supporting the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment, and assisting with the COVID vaccination effort.
Andy worked with Denver County Courts to improve the Civil Court Filing process from a paper folder-based process to a digital process, eliminating the need for ordering and creating a folder for all Civil Court cases filed with Denver County Court. This was able to save the courts $11,000 worth of staff time, $3,000 worth of material costs, and $9,000 worth of customer time. Additionally, the elimination of the Civil case folders made for on-demand access to the case files for Court staff, eliminating both transportation, motion, and inventory waste from the process. (A workshop session with the group is pictured above).
Andy and Katie completed a long overdue 6S of the Peak shared drive. They reduced the main file structure from 22 folders down to 10 folders and subfolders are limited to 3 folders deep. The organization allowed Peak to save 68.1 GB of file space (63% reduction), eliminate 24,312 files (70.5% reduction), and 4,850 total folders (75.9% reduction). The cleaned-up shared drive has since been moved to SharePoint, providing easier access to Peak team members.
Outside of work, Andy and his family welcomes a baby boy to the family in mid-December.
In both my work and personal life, 2020 was a year of continuous growth and new endeavors for me.
In work, I was able to work with Excise and Licenses to overhaul their shared drive and prepare themselves virtually for the year ahead. I worked with Denver Public Library to streamline their Curbside Pickup Process to ensure that people have easy access to library resources during the pandemic. I also worked with Denver Elections on their Curbside Ballot Pickup Process to allow residents access to ballots in a socially distanced environment. I also worked with the Peak Team to develop our new virtual Public Service Superhero training to give employees the tools and guidance they need to work on projects to handle today’s challenges.
In my personal life, my best friends and I started the Fourteener Fund nonprofit in order to provide scholarships, mentorship, and resources to graduating high school seniors in the community. In 2020, we awarded our first $1,000 scholarship and held a virtual TED Talk inspired event called Defying Odds to raise $5,000 towards five 2021 scholarships.
I am always proud to work for the City and County of Denver, though that has never been truer than it was in 2020! I supported after-action improvements for the Emergency Operations Center, a citywide prompt payment initiative, and CPD’s 2021 work plan development, among others. I also enjoyed working with my Peak teammates to create our new online Public Service Superhero training, as well as integrating equity concepts throughout all our training materials. At home, I directed all my cooped-up energy into running and completed an unofficial half-marathon (my first). I also enjoyed the extra time with my family, including my dog who was blissfully unaware of the craziness of the world. I would be remiss if my 2020 recap did not to include a huge statement of gratitude to all the public servants that gave so much to keep our communities going – THANK YOU!
The year started off with a bang as I was surprised to receive the 2019 CCCMA Trailblazer Award in February for my work creating the Colorado Women Leading Government Conference. I was also thrilled to meet the Office of Children’s Affairs (OCA) team in person at the end of February since I was scheduled to begin a Peak Partnership with them in March. Then, COVID hit and all of our lives were turned upside down as we continued serving our residents to the best of our ability. I loved being able to help with the citywide response by working with the auxiliary shelters at Denver Coliseum and the National Western Stock Show Complex, and the Tasty Food team as they pivoted to emergency feeding serving the most meals ever during a school year. I also loved the work I did in the virtual Peak Partnership with the passionate team at OCA and all of the individual public servants I got to help this year through virtual Green Belt and Public Service Superhero Training. We celebrated my daughter’s second birthday with Cookie Monster balloons in May, and got to have the second annual Colorado Women Leading Government Conference in August with a virtual audience of over 260 women from Colorado and Arizona. I also wrote an article for Public Management Magazine and curated an International City and County Management Association conference session on keeping women in the workforce during the pandemic and beyond. I look forward to a 2021 of reimaging government systems to support the most marginalized in our community as we recover.