My name is Samantha Wolfe and I am a management intern in the Town of Marana Manager’s Office and recipient of the Marvin Andrews Scholarship from the Arizona City and County Management Association. The award is a competitive scholarship established 22 years ago to honor Arizona graduate students in public administration with strong academic achievements. Andrews Fellows participate in a three-month internship with a city, town or county in order to become a new generation of leaders who aspire to careers in local government management.

Selecting the municipality/county where I would intern was not easy. Each locality provided a unique set of opportunities. However, when visiting Marana, I discovered a talented team of management professionals with visionary leadership, and I wanted to be part of this dynamic organization.

I chose Marana for several reasons. First, the Town is recognized for its first-rate management practices and has the reputation of being a well-run municipality. This is a testimony to the cohesion of the policy and administrative functions of the Town government and effective implementation of service delivery. Marana’s leadership uses its resources to invest in long-term initiatives while addressing citizens’ day-to-day concerns by empowering teams of dynamic and passionate staff.  This is one of the Town’s defining characteristics.

Second, the structure of the internship program — which includes rotations across all departments — includes a unique component that exposes interns to the exemplary work of employees while providing insight into the complexity of management.

Third, Marana’s size allowed for quality interaction with management and frontline staff. This is an opportunity unavailable to interns in larger communities.

Fourth, I am interested in learning how a community nestled between two of the most populated urban centers in Arizona retains its identity during accelerated growth. Furthermore, the charm of the Sonoran Desert displayed against the backdrop of mountain sunsets was difficult to turn down.

I have completed the departmental rotations and I was thoroughly impressed by the level of expertise and experience within each division. I am thankful for the opportunity provided by all the directors and staff who shared not only their knowledge, but their enthusiasm and commitment to serve this great community. The staff was exceptionally helpful in explaining to me the Town’s policies and services. Although each department provides a distinct set of services, a common thread of excellence and community-focused policies pervades the organization.

Furthermore, I strongly believe that the Town Manager’s vision to serve and sow into other people’s lives is invaluable.  This is an essential element that contributes to the integral transformation of an organization and nurtures a community.

Marana is a great place to live and work, and I am fortunate to spend the next several weeks learning from the Town’s public servants. They are quick to share their wealth of knowledge and I am happy to benefit from it.

(Editor’s Note: Samantha is originally from Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca in southern Mexico and has been in the U.S. for four years. She has a bachelor’s degree in international relations, a postgraduate degree in postmodern political systems and a master’s degree in public administration and urban management.  She has worked for the City of Phoenix Community and Economic Development Department, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and operated her own business in southern Mexico.)

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