Public Leadership Member Interest Group (PLMIG)

Who are we?
The Public Leadership Member Interest Group (PLMIG) is a forum for networking and collaboration for those who study, teach, and practice leadership in the public domain. This includes civic, governmental, military, nonprofit, political, and social organizations and institutions typically characterized by a primary emphasis on serving the public good. Increasingly so, this also incorporates collaborative efforts between the aforementioned organizations AND for-profit businesses.

The PLMIG facilitates sharing of ideas, expertise, and resources to address public leadership issues. The PLMIG encourages the development and application of concepts, theories, research, and practical experience in the field of public leadership, and highlights emerging issues, challenges, opportunities, and best practices.

What are our current priorities?
  • Cultivate new MIG members and foster the network.
  • Solicit and promote Public Leadership sessions at the ILA global conference.
  • Establish a collaboration with the International Journal of Public Leadership for a special issue on PLMIG conference sessions and other submissions.
  • Recruit candidates for future PLMIG leadership roles.
How can ILA members be involved?
Members of the community can get involved by:

Submitting and volunteering to review proposals submitted to the Public Leadership track, part of the Annual Global Conference. Additionally, attending the PLMIG business meeting at the conference and networking with fellow members.

Suggesting ideas for and helping to organize webinars, submitting public leadership-related content for the ILA Interface newsletter, as well as providing resources for the MIG's collection of public leadership articles, books, reports, organizations, programs, courses, etc.

Past Events and Activities
2005-2017: Hosted the Public Leadership Networking Dinner at ILA's annual global conference.

How to Affiliate With This Community
ILA members who affiliate with a MIG receive occasional emails of interest from their MIG leaders including volunteer openings, updates on MIG initiatives, and opportunities to provide feedback. To affiliate/join: log in to this profile update form, scroll down and "Edit Your ILA Member Community Settings." Make sure to click Save in order to save your changes.

Contact ILA's membership team at with any general questions about ILA's member communities.

About Elzbieta Jablonska

Elzbieta Jablonska is both a seasoned entrepreneur and scientist, with two decades of experience across different industries and across diverse cultures.

Elżbieta's main interests are public leadership, transformational leadership, values-based leadership, good governance, democratic transitions, and policy behaviors in small states - her doctoral dissertation focuses on the case of Gross National Happiness in Bhutan. She holds a Master's degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from Warsaw School of Economics, MBA from Brennan School of Economics (Dominican University, Chicago) and is certified in Change Leadership by Cornell University.

While being a passionate educator (she teaches worldwide in the area of Entrepreneurship for social change, Cross-culture communication, Change leadership, International relations, Diplomacy), Elżbieta is also a successful entrepreneur, social entrepreneur, executive coach, and consultant. In 1997, she started her first privately held company in the field of engineering, introducing small producers from post-communistic countries to Western markets. Recently working as an advisor for nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.

Elżbieta has also worked extensively in many volunteer projects in a health sector: mental and geriatric clinics, family clinics, and in protecting disappearing cultures (e.g. Costa Rica, post-Yugoslavian countries, Poland, California). Currently, she is engaged in a governmental project for education in West Africa and a development project in South Asia. ×

Q&A With Chair-Elect of Public Leadership,
Russell Robinson

Q: What are you looking forward to as Chair of Public Leadership MIG?
I am excited to work with the other two chairs, Ariel Kaufman and Elziebeta Jablonska, as we expand the Public Leadership MIG foundation. Additionally, in my fourth year as a member of ILA and the Public Leadership MIG, I have found it to be a nurturing group as I have been on my doctoral journey. As a Chair, there is an opportunity for me to pay-it-forward on a larger level to benefit others on their doctoral journey.

Q: What new goals do you have for the year as chair?
One of my goals is to further connect ILA members, internal to the Public Leadership MIG, and across other MIGs to foster more collaboration and presentation that cross-MIGS. I would also like for submitted abstracts and presentations to further align academic research to practical implementation. I think part of strengthening the ILA and the Public Leadership MIG brands can be foster by taking academic research to that next step, which is putting it into practice.

Q: Why is the Public Leadership MIG important?
The Public Leadership MIG is important for a couple for a couple of reasons. The theme for the 2018 conference is "Authentic Leadership for Progress, Peace and Prosperity". At a local (domestic) and international, public leadership has to be in the driver's seat leading change, and not just reacting to it. Additionally, specific to the federal government, there is underrepresentation regarding millennials, who will be our future leaders. The public leadership MIG has the potential to be the "tip of the spear" for championing the next group of public servants.

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing leadership right now?
Answering this question from a human resource development lens, the biggest challenge is the selection and development of leaders. Throughout all facets of Public Leadership (academia, public sector, and non-for-profit organizations) preparing and selecting leaders, combined with the development to strategically lead organizations and lead an inspired workforce has been a challenge.

Leadership needs have become more complex over time. Having leaders that can foster organizational wellness by developing talent, creating an open and safe culture, effective strategic planning, and managing change successfully are crucial to success. I think all aspects of Public Leadership can strengthen the tools that leaders have in their arsenal to succeed.

Q: What's the best leadership oriented book you read for the first time last year?
Last year, I read Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team's Productive Power by Michael Mankins and Eric Garton. The focus of the book is helping leaders manage resources more efficiently. Looking at how you manage time (email and meetings), effectively manage and develop talent in a way that better an organization resonated with me. My passion is employee engagement and the authors suggest that employee energy is a notch above employee engagement.

I work for the Program Support Center, which is a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and my team used Time, Talent and Energy as the foundation to our talent management philosophy. Internally, this foundation allowed us to develop training to improve workforce development initiative.

Q: What is your favorite movie for illustrating leadership concepts?
Interestingly, when my wife and I talk about leading at our respective jobs, we often find ourselves quoting or paraphrasing scenes from HBO's The Wire. I am a major fan of that show. If I can, I try to incorporate some aspect of The Wire, be it a scene or quote into my presentations.

Even though the final episode aired in 2008, the concepts are timeless. Whether the focus is on the police, the education system, the drug game, or journalism, the scenes always translate to aspect of all leadership levels. ×

About Russell Robinson

Russell Robinson is the Director of the Behavioral Health Services' (BHS) Organizational Development and Leadership (ODL) division. BHS is part of Program Support Center's (PSC) Federal Occupational Public Leadership - Candidate Russell Robinson Health, which is a division of the US Department of Health and Human Service. The focus of his work is developing Human Resource Development solutions to wicked Federal government organizational problems.

He is also a doctoral candidate in Human Organizational Learning in the Graduate School of Higher Education Development (GSEHD) at the George Washington University. His research explores employee engagement and its relationships with employee voice and employee silence. Additional research includes practical application of change management, leader development and women & leadership studies. Additionally, Russell served on the Board of Directors of Lifepieces to Masterpieces, a Washington, DC after school program; and, he is the Treasurer of Corporate Counsel Women of Color.

Russell is a graduate of American University's Masters in Public Administration program, and received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Dayton. ×


Ariel L. Kaufman is an outreach specialist in Campus Community at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), a public land-grant institution with over 40,000 students. She has engaged in educational leadership through her research, teaching, and outreach activities for 15 years. She emphasizes that the relationships to people and to context matter in leadership. Her academic-community partnership professional connections with Growing Power are built upon sustained engagement. he has also worked extensively in the nonprofit sector and currently serves as Growing Power President of the Board of Directors ( She holds a Master's degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and contributes to UW-Madison's Coordinated Leadership Initiative ( ×

Public Leadership MIG Community Teams

Conference Creative Team
This team is responsible for creating innovative and exciting programming for the Public Leadership community at the ILA Annual Global Conferences.

Member Engagement Team
This team works to create, coordinate, and implement experiences throughout the year that serve and involve Public Leadership MIG members fostering active engagement and connection in between conferences. ×