Sunday, May 18, 2008

Good Things Do Happen to Good People

I was absolutely delighted to see Sheila Campbell chosen one of the top 10 innovators in government information technology this week, with the presentation of the 2008 Technology Leadership Awards. Bravo, Government Computer News! You got it right.

Being a web innovator is a thankless job. It’s tilting at windmills, rolling the stone uphill, and all those other old (but accurate) clichés. I don’t know anyone who has worked more tirelessly to make government websites meaningful to citizens than Sheila.

I first met Sheila as she was coming off maternity leave, in 2004. We were designated co-chairs of a cross-agency working group charged with developing policy recommendations for OMB, in compliance with the E-Gov Act of 2002, Section 207. Sheila was on the FirstGov (now staff and was not especially well-known in the web manager community. But she dug into that task like the dedicated pro she is.

We had a tight deadline (mandated by the legislation); and we had a geographic challenge – I was in Tucson, and Sheila was in DC. That meant that she had to do all the legwork in Washington. Sheila earned her place in the web manager community – and my trust and respect – by going way beyond the call of duty. She’s a born leader, and she was a great partner on a pivotal project.

Since then, Sheila created a website for government web managers (, shepherded a new training academy for government web managers (Web Manager University), and – at the same time – served as a leader of the Web Managers Forum and Web Managers Council. Those are great credentials. But that’s not what makes Sheila such a deserving honoree, in my book. It’s her sincere passion for using the web to serve citizens that puts her on one of my pedestals. It’s how she puts her heart and soul into that goal. It’s how she worries about doing the right thing and how she pushes the web manager community toward better service. Sheila is a true “public servant.” She never loses sight of her raison d'être. She never gives up. She’s a true leader.

Way to go, Sheila! You definitely earned this affirmation.

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