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Introducing the Second Cohort of White House Leadership Development Fellows

Today, we are proud to announce the 15 talented public servants who have been chosen for the second cohort of the White House Leadership Development Program.
“We’re creating a new initiative called the White House Leadership Development Program for Future Senior Career Executives…we want people to get new experiences that reenergize them, reinvigorate them. We want the next generation of leaders to have the experience of solving problems and building relationships across the government. Because one thing that we have to acknowledge is that our government often statutorily was organized for the needs of the 1930s or ‘40s or ‘60s, and too often, we get stove-piped at a time when we need people with different skillsets and different agencies to be working together.”
President Obama, December 2014

Today we are proud to announce that, following a rigorous selection process, 15 talented GS-15 employees have been chosen for the second cohort of the White House Leadership Development (WHLD) Program that began this month.

The selected Fellows hail from a variety of agencies, functional areas and backgrounds and represent the talent that thrives across government. Their interest in and enthusiasm for building a whole-of-government perspective and for driving results on mission-critical priorities is inspiring. The Fellows selected will gain valuable experience by serving a one year rotation on high-visibility, cross-agency projects, such as the Cross-Agency Priority Goals. Additionally, they will engage in an innovative development program that is targeted at building skills, networks, and exposure to collaborative practices required of enterprise leaders.

The second cohort begins their fellowships as the inaugural class of WHLD Fellows completes a very successful year. From strengthening the Senior Executive Service (SES) and driving enterprise-wide excellence in Federal hiring processes to promoting STEM education to improving customer service, these graduating Fellows have helped further government-wide efforts to drive innovation across government and better harness taxpayer resources to spur economic growth for the American people.

Examples of some of these efforts include:

  • Inspiring and equipping students to excel in STEM fields through the development and launch of two websites that provide a streamlined source of reliable information for both students and universities interested in Federally-sponsored STEM education training and funding opportunities.
  • Launching the Core Federal Services Council, a government-wide governance vehicle that employs data-driven best practices from both within and outside of Government to identify challenges in improving customer service, share strategies to address these challenges, and expand the use of feedback data and data-sharing.
  • Providing over 800 Federal subscribers with tools, networks, and best practices to help Federal employees work more effectively in partnership with local communities.

These contributions, and others, are central to the President’s Management Agenda, which aims to drive lasting change in how Government works—change that makes a significant, tangible, and positive difference in the economy and the lives of the American people.

We are confident that the second cohort of WHLD Fellows will build on this work and realize even greater gains. The impressive new group of emerging leaders, who have dedicated their careers to serving others, will bring the skillsets necessary to address critical management challenges facing the Federal Government and deliver lasting change. We also look forward to watching the outgoing Fellows bring their new set of experiences, skillsets, and management expertise back to their agencies to continue delivering a high-performing government the American people deserve.


The WHLD Program was launched in 2014 as part of the President’s continued commitment to training and developing our government’s high performers and strengthening the next generation of leaders who comprise the SES. Sponsored by the Executive Office of the President and supported by the President’s Management Council and the Performance Improvement Council, the program provides a unique growth opportunity focused on developing high-potential career GS-15s and equivalents poised to enter the next generation of career senior executives. Participants work on the Federal government’s highest priority and highest impact challenges that require the coordination of multiple Federal agencies to succeed. For more information on the WHLD Program, click here.

The 15 talented public servants selected for the second cohort of the WHLD Program are:

  • Bernadette Adams, Department of Education
  • Mark Ackiewicz, Department of Energy
  • Kelly Alexander, Department of Defense/Army
  • David Armitage, Department of State
  • Kathy Carson, General Services Administration
  • Carolyn Fleming-Williams, Federal Communications Commission
  • Robert Green, General Services Administration
  • Noreen Hecmanczuk, Department of Labor
  • Emily Kilcrease, Department of Commerce
  • Kevin McGhaw, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Mimi Reilly, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • John Rigg, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Vicki Simons, Environmental Protection Agency
  • Eileen Vidrine, Department of Defense
  • Ken Wright, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

To learn more about the Fellows, click here.


Beth Cobert is the Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Andrew Mayock is Senior Advisor at the Office of Management and Budget.