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Next Generation Policy Making - The Move Toward Online Collaboration & Open Government

Michael Reardon (Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Department of Labor), Mary Martha Churchman (U.S. Department of Transportation), Bryna Helfer (National Academy of Public Administration), Danielle Germain (National Academy of Public Administration), Nadia Ibrahim (Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Department of Labor)
Emerging Topics
Location: Room 201
Average rating: ****.
(4.67, 3 ratings)

President Obama has called for government to become more transparent, participatory and collaborative. In response, federal agencies and other national leaders are devising new and innovative ways to leverage the interactive Web and the benefits of collaborative technology to make policy and solve government’s complex problems. This interactive and diverse panel discussion will explore some effective examples of federal information-sharing initiatives that foster an open culture and framework for collaboration. These include:

• The U.S. Department of Labor’s ePolicyWorks effort, a collaborative initiative among key national policymakers that addresses specific barriers to employment faced by people with disabilities through information-sharing and the development of comprehensive resources and strategies. The first phase of this effort includes the ePolicyWorks Health Care workspace, an online, limited-access forum focusing on the intersection of employment, disability, and health care to promote an increase in employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

• The National Academy of Public Administration’s Collaboration Project, a “wikified” space where agencies share ideas, examples and insights on the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in the field of public governance.

• The U.S. Department of Transportation’s United We Ride initiative leveraged the emerging power of Web 2.0 collaboration tools and engaged its stakeholders in an online National Dialogue. Through the integration of collaborative Web-based technologies, the Dialogue was open to key stakeholders across the country and engaged them in a creative, interactive conversation about the future of coordinating transportation services for people with disabilities, older adults and people with limited incomes. The outcome of this Dialogue will serve to inform future decisions by the initiative’s overseeing council, the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM), about policies, programs and updates.

Attendees will: • Hear how federal agencies are creating open technology environments in order to engage national stakeholders in productive dialogues about key policy issues; • View live demonstrations of some of the collaborative applications mentioned above; • Learn how Web-based technologies, such as Microsoft® SharePoint and wikis, can help overcome organizational challenges, encourage creative thinking, create communities and improve communication around public policy; and • Explore additional ways that federal agencies and departments can execute the goal of a more open and transparent democracy.

Michael Reardon

Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Department of Labor

Michael Reardon is a Supervisory Policy Advisor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the U.S. Department of Labor. He directs ODEP’s Employment Supports Policy Team, which addresses a wide range of issues affecting the employment of people with disabilities, including transportation, housing, assistive technology, personal assistance and health care. He previously served as the Disability Program Manager for the Department of Transportation’s Office of Civil Rights and as a Policy Advisor for the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities. He came to Washington, DC from Columbus, OH where he was Director of the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Alliance, a state-level advocacy organization for people with disabilities. He has a Masters in Public Policy from Ohio State University where he also attended law school.

Photo of Mary Martha Churchman

Mary Martha Churchman

U.S. Department of Transportation

Mary Martha Churchman works for the Federal Transit Administration in its Washington, D.C. headquarters. Since January 2008 she has served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Program Management. Among other responsibilities, she oversees the work of the team implementing the United We Ride initiative to promote coordination of public transit with human service transportation. Since January, 2009, she has been actively involved in the development of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and implementation of FTA’s Recovery Act Programs.

From 2001 through 2007 she served as Director of the Office of Transit Programs, where she was responsible for administration of the major FTA formula and discretionary grant programs, including the urbanized and non-urbanized formula programs, the formula program for elderly and persons with disabilities, the Job Access and Reverse Commute Program, the bus discretionary program, the fixed guideway modernization formula program, the Over-the-Road Bus program, and two new programs authorized by SAFETEA-LU – the tribal transit program and the New Freedom formula program.

For many years previously Mary Martha managed the Section 5311 program of formula assistance for public transportation and intercity bus service in other than urbanized areas and the Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) and oversaw the management of the Section 5310 program for elderly and persons with disabilities.

She entered the Department of Transportation as a DOT Management Intern in 1976. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wittenberg University, in Springfield, Ohio, and a Masters of Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Bryna Helfer

National Academy of Public Administration

Bryna Helfer is the Senior Director of Civic Engagement. Bryna’s primary focus is on Budgetball, a new fiscal sport to engage youth in the issues related to our fiscal future. She also works closely with the Collaboration Project and other NAPA Initiatives to build community and stakeholder engagement.

Bryna has over 25 years of experience initiating, leading, and facilitating interagency coordination, program development, strategic planning, program evaluation, and systems change initiatives. She has a long history of coalition building at the federal, state, and local levels, and is known for her ability to forge partnerships between governmental programs and community based organizations. Her federal experience includes the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Federal Transit Administration. From 2002-2007, Bryna served as a senior staff advisor for the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility, leading a successful effort to coordinate policies, programs and services across eleven federal departments to enhance transportation services for people with disabilities, older adults, and individuals with lower incomes. The U.S. Department of Transportation presented Bryna with its Meritorious Service Award for this work and its Gold Medal Award for her efforts in Gulf Coast recovery after Hurricane Katrina.

Bryna has been instrumental in implementing innovative solutions for difficult challenges during her leadership roles in the development and implementation of the National Resource Center for Emergency Medical Services for Children, the Traumatic Brain Injury Technical Assistance Center, and Project ACTION (Accessible Transportation in our Nation). As a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Bryna also has a long history of using recreation and games as a medium to effect change.

She received a Doctorate Degree in Education from The George Washington University; a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Services from George Mason University and a Bachelors Degree from Ohio University in Therapeutic Recreation.

Danielle Germain

National Academy of Public Administration

Danielle Germain is the Director of the Collaboration Project at the National Academy of Public Administration, a nonprofit, independent organization chartered by Congress to tackle government’s most complex management challenges. The Academy’s Collaboration Project is an independent forum of leaders committed to leveraging web 2.0 and the benefits of collaborative technology to solve government’s complex problems. She led the National Academy’s successful White House Recovery dialogue on IT solutions; and the first of its kind national pilot project on citizen engagement sponsored by the Federal CIO Council, Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. General Services Administration, titled “A National Dialogue on Health IT and Privacy.”

Danielle has extensive experience working with organizations in the good government and federal information technology communities. Before working at the National Academy, Danielle served as the Chief of Staff at the U.S. General Services Administration and in management positions at the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council; the Council for Excellence in Government; the Information Technology Association of America (now TechAmerica) and IBM’s Office of Governmental Programs. Danielle also served as a congressional aide to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

A native of Nashua, N.H., Danielle earned her master’s degree in International Relations and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1998 and a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College in 1993.

Nadia Ibrahim

Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Department of Labor

Nadia Ibrahim has worked as a Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) since 2003. As a Senior Policy Advisor on the Employment Supports Team, she assists in coordinating the agency’s cross-team Health and Employment Initiative, which includes mental health and personal assistance services (PAS) issues.

Prior to joining ODEP, Ms. Ibrahim served as a Peer Counselor at the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV), a community-based resource and advocacy center managed by and for people with disabilities. There she provided one-on-one peer counseling, independent living skills training; and information and referral services in working with participants to establish and attain their goals in areas such as employment, housing, transportation, and personal care. She has also worked with U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP), which ensures access to information and opportunities to federal employees with disabilities through the provision of workplace accommodations, as well as Macmillan Publishing USA.

Ms. Ibrahim holds a Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communications from Kent State University in Ohio as well as a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she graduated cum laude with a concentration in healthcare social work. She is a licensed social worker in the state of Maryland.

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