Interview with Rhonda Carter

Rhonda Carter
Associate Director, Enterprise Talent Development, VHA Healthcare Leadership Talent Institute, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC

Alumna of the GW-CEPL
Senior Leader Program

Please share what led you to public service, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and your focus there?
I started in the DC government following graduation from Virginia Tech in 1995 with a degree in health education.  Then I networked into the field of training and development in the federal government. After many years, I am now able to complement my health education background and career development at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

Why did you choose the Senior Leader Program (SLP) at GW-CEPL?
As a program manager for the Corporate Executive Development & Training (CEDT) program, I  researched many of the training opportunities available.  As part of my role, I attended to evaluate and determine suitability for employees.  I selected the GW-CEPL, SLP program as it was right for me according to my priorities: family, work and career development.  This program did not require an extended time away and was conveniently located in the DC metro area.

Did this program challenge you? What tools did the program provide you with?
I was brought out of my comfort zone and stretched to think about where I see myself in the next 5-10 years and how to position myself as a future leader, possibly SES.  The SLP provided me with more in depth knowledge and preparation for the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM's) Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs).

What did you enjoy and appreciate the most about SLP?
I enjoyed the site visits, which enriched the overall experience. I found Jared Peatman's training style very helpful and practical along with the facilitators. I appreciated the ability to network with others from my own large agency--finally put names and faces together, and with employees of other agencies.

How have you used the SLP to progress in your career?
The most helpful takeaways were the leadership lessons, learning about the different styles for leading teams.  I was recently promoted to a supervisory position.  I am reflecting on the experience, implementing the lessons learned while continuing to balance my priorities:  family, work and career development.