Leadership Corner

Leadership Corner Forum – Keeping the conversation going

September 6th, 2019 at 11:06AM
Portrait of Chief Vicki Christiansen in uniform.
Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen

First, thank you once again for participating in last week’s all-employee call. As I’ve said before, it gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to connect with everyone. I enjoy the opportunity to talk with you about existing and emerging topics across the Forest Service. Above all, I thoroughly enjoy the chance to hear from you directly about the topics that affect you the most and working together to find a solution. The all employee calls always reinforce to me our agency core value of interdependence.

With that in mind, and knowing our time during these all-employee calls is limited, I encourage you to continue the conversation with us in our Leadership Corner Forum [Internal link]. And many of you have done just that, sharing your questions and concerns with us following the most recent all employee call. Please click on the forum link to see answers to all of the questions you asked after the call.

There are a few things I want to reiterate about the Leadership Corner Forum. The questions you ask in the forum matter, are taken seriously by my team and can lead to positive changes throughout the agency. We respond to comments whether you include your contact information or post anonymously. Responses to anonymous comments are posted within their own thread. Additionally, we are committed to providing a response as soon as we can.

During the last all-employee call and thereafter a number of concerned employees posed questions about the agency’s ability replace or procure new, high-end computers for personnel working in the scientific and geospatial communities were brought to our attention. After the call, we did some research and realized that the information disseminated about the CIO’s computer procurement exception process had caused confusion and employees working in this area did not feel their computing needs were being met. As a result, we have now identified available funding within CIO to purchase approximately 600 high-end computers. These will meet the needs of our scientific and geospatial communities as well as support the migration of all our computer assets to a Windows 10 operating platform. The CIO has clarified how they describe and talk about this ongoing process, hopefully eliminating this confusion in the near future.

I wanted to highlight this instance as a tangible example that illustrates how channels of communication like the all employee call and the Leadership Corner Forum are helping us create awareness around the issues that matter to you. When we know what matters to you, we can put our efforts toward solving those issues as a team.

I want to reiterate how important it is for me to be able to hear what you have to say, not just during all employee calls, but as situations arise or whenever you encounter an event that affects your workplace. These channels of communication are not meant to replace or supersede your immediate managers and supervisors; they are meant to enhance them. I hope the all employee call is one small way where you see the Forest Service bringing This Is Who We Are to life for employees. It is an opportunity for me, the Associate Chief and the Deputy Chiefs to be curious about your questions and responsive to the issues you raise. I hope our actions following the calls speak as loudly as our words during the call.

Thank you again for your involvement. Let’s continue to work together to make our agency better and to deliver the mission that has brought all of us to this place. The challenges are daunting at times, but I hope that through our vision and commitment we can be even better in the future. Because, as I’ve said before, these are the conversations that really matter.