Alumna Touts MML Women's Training Program

Allison Watkins

NMU alumna Allison Watkins is profiled in a feature story on the benefits of a Michigan Municipal League training initiative that helps women advance their skills and leadership abilities to become strong local government managers. Watkins has served as Newberry village manager since 2019. Despite her extensive experience as HR and community relations director for Newberry, and working with AmeriCorps NCCC, she recalled having imposter syndrome, a feeling she was not where she should be.

“I had 17 years of experience managing people, 17 years of leadership experience and 17 years of training,” she said in the story. “Yet here I was questioning how I am in charge here. How did I end up here? Nobody must be watching.

“I think the [Women's Municipal Leadership] program is fantastic. It really helped me gain some confidence. It was helpful in networking and discussing the challenges many of our communities face. It was nice to have that network to reach out to and ask, ‘Are you experiencing this?'”

Watkins earned a bachelor's degree in history from NMU in 1999 and an MPA in 2016.

According to the story, titled “Narrowing the Gender Gap in Municipal Leadership,” the Michigan Municipal League launched the multifaceted program in 2018. It provides leadership development and management training in the areas of municipal budgeting and finance; economic development; and council-manager relations. 

Participants have the opportunity to learn directly from seasoned local government executives and also receive executive coaching and participate in mock interviews to help prepare them to move on to the next levels in their careers.

So far, the free five-month program has served 135 women, with many of them going on to serve as municipal managers or in other executive positions in local government. Read the full story here.

Prepared By

Kristi Evans
News Director

Categories: Alumni