5. Today’s Speaker
• Masters of Public Administration
• Executive Masters in Municipal Management
• Registered Parliamentarian
• CEO of Meetings Solutions Group
• Former Director of Legislative Services/Regional
Clerk, Durham, ON
• Former Town Clerk, Whitby, ON
6. How are city clerks doing?
City clerks are very stressed right now, especially because of:
● Lacking a supportive network to provide guidance and encouragement
● Struggling to build and maintain confidence around difficult councilors
● Having confidence eroded, especially among new clerks
● Having difficulty saying “no” to irrelevant projects thrown at them
7. Avoiding Common Pitfalls
● Don’t let yourself become a “catch-all” for projects that don’t fit any particular
department; don’t be afraid to say “no”.
● Don’t make massive changes suddenly, especially as a new clerk. This can
damage trust and hinder your ability to build rapport among colleagues.
● Don’t try to be best friends with Council. Build your confidence with the
Mayor/CAO/City Manager, but maintain professional boundaries.
● Don’t be afraid to take risks. You need to if you want to advance your career!
● Don’t let yourself be pushed into an admin role; the Clerk has so much more to
8. Building Confidence & Taking Charge
● Build rapport with colleagues. This goes a long, long way!
● Instead of thinking of your strengths vs. weaknesses, think about your top strengths and
your bottom strengths.
○ Delegate your bottom strengths whenever possible.
○ Put a leadership plan in place and determine your goals and how your top strengths can be utilized
to achieve them.
● Guard your time.
○ Keep distraction-free time built into each day to assess (and re-assess) priorities, gather your
thoughts, and visualize how you want your day to be.
● Communicate your priorities to your team.
● Have the right tools to help you succeed.
○ Meeting management software significantly reduces administrative workloads and keeps
processes smooth and organized. It also helps you to “wrangle” difficult councillors and be able to
get things across the finish line more quickly.
9. Getting a Seat at the Table
To maximize your effectiveness as a City Clerk, you have to get a seat at the table
on senior management teams. Here’s how:
○ Tell the team what you offer
○ Explain how your position allows you to deliver on it
○ Understand personalities and demeanors of team members
● Join community organizations (e.g., Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.), or at least introduce
yourself to local chapters.
● Reach out to key stakeholders in your community and offer a meet-up, office
hours, etc. to discuss how you can best work together.
10. Tips & Tricks for Maintaining Balance
Whatever it means to you, you need to have a self-care routine both during and
outside of work. Here are a few ideas:
● Keep a journal
● Go for a walk every day, even when you don’t feel like it
● Start each day by visualizing how you want it to be
● Take breaks throughout the day
● Consistently re-evaluate priorities to focus your energy most efficiently
● Do daily affirmations
● Close out each day by focusing on what you did accomplish, rather than what