Race: Mapleton City Council
Occupation: Academic Administrator
Education: PhD - Educational Leadership
What are the biggest issues facing your city and how do you plan to address them?
As I’ve interviewed dozens of citizens and the Mapleton City department leaders, the answer is overwhelmingly this: GROWTH. Recognized for its small-town atmosphere and strong community values, Mapleton is attempting to balance the inevitability of change with the desire to sustain the atmosphere and values for which we moved here in the first place. We’re in a time of incredible energy and positivity and I’m pleased with the City’s current efforts to analyze and strategize all major systems; the infrastructure analysis is underway and a study and update to our general plan, zoning map, and other essential functions (including Parks and Recreation) will soon commence. It is imperative that we complete these analyses and integrate appropriate findings into updated strategies. Decade-old plans are inadequate for our current trajectory. Updating zones to reduce change requests, enforcing open space requirements, and building our commercial infrastructure to support diversified funding sources are essential means to support short- and long-term vision for our community. Additionally, residents need increased communication and education regarding the functions of municipal government, how to affect change, and happenings around town. An omnidirectional communication strategy will address our many generations of residents. For example, developing a Mapleton 101 course (similar to Provo) that provides concise, monthly face-to-face education and is simultaneously streamed will educate and empower residents.
What sets you apart from other candidates?
We have an impressive array of candidates, each of whom brings something unique to the table. What I perceive best prepares me for City Council service is the diversity of professional, community, and academic experiences which have made me a conscientious leader, an educated consumer of information, a well-rounded problem-solver, and a thoughtful neighbor. Through my current C-level career, leadership and service on a variety of boards and committees (education, community, non-profit, business, government) combined with my passion for lifelong learning (as demonstrated by a PhD and additional certificate programs) help me conceptualize difficult information to make wise decisions. Additionally, I perceive myself a fairly neutral candidate and seek to understand the interests of the community over my own bias.
What relevant experience do you have for this position?
I’ve actually reflected a lot on this question, having initial doubts of worthiness! It was only after the encouragement of others that I realized it’s possible my experience has actually lead me to this role! As the Executive Vice President of Strategy and Engagement, my responsibilities include strategic leadership, institutional planning, and serving as a representative to the community. I believe it is my reputation for thoughtful engagement and follow-through that have aided my success on board and committee roles (and for which I’ve received numerous recognitions). For example, my current service includes such organizations as the American Council on Education, the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, BusinessQ Magazine, Utah Valley University, Provo City Economic Development, and the Utah Women in Higher Education Network. Additionally, I was formerly the board chair of the Central and Southern Utah Chapter of the American Red Cross. The richness of these experiences is one that cannot be gained outside of a commitment to service and community.
In addition to these leadership and service roles, I earned a PhD in Educational Leadership and have spoken, presented, and published on this and related topics. A lifelong learner, I’ve subsequently completed certificates in finance, advanced management, and even search engine optimization! In 2019, I completed the Political Development Series training program with the Women’s Leadership Institute. Simply put, I love learning!
The details of my experience and preparation are found on my LinkedIn profile (http://linkedin.com/in/jessicadegbert).
What previous elected positions have you held?
I have not held any elected positions associated with public office. I’ve been elected to leadership roles in many of the aforementioned organizations and lead dozens of committees and teams. I also completed the Political Development Series training as an added layer of preparation for this role.
Is there anything else you want our readers to know about you?
The role of the Council is to reflect the values, needs, and interests of the community. I believe in the power of an effective “council” and truly believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I welcome difficult conversations, knowing that shared goals – even in times of disagreement – results in a better answer than either party could’ve discovered on their own. Effective councilors are humble to continuously learn, take initiative to inform and seek feedback from the community, and are willing to set aside personal bias for the greater good. I am capable at integrating these principles into effective leadership and decision-making. Additionally, I’m energized by Mapleton’s future and want to be part of something so meaningful! I am qualified and committed to serving my community. I ask for your vote so that I’ll have the opportunity to serve you as well.