Name: Monica R. Allen
Leadership Charlotte (LC) Class: Class 35 (Best Class Ever)
Title/Company: Director, Strategic Planning & Evaluation – Mecklenburg County, Government
Hometown: From Chicago by way of Oklahoma City
Education: B.A. in Psychology (Hampton University, VA), M.A. in Psychology (The College of William & Mary, VA), Ph.D. in Organization and Management – General Business (Capella University, MN)
Current personal or leadership goals: I really believe in the role of government in the way it can positively impact a community. In my current role, while I am not a direct service provider, I do support the key decision-makers in understanding Mecklenburg County’s social and organizational psyche through data and other critical information. Therefore, my leadership goal is to continue to be the best at what I do by being a servant leader.
What advice that you would you give to current Leadership Charlotte participants?
I have always loved the fact that Leadership Charlotte encourages participants to be their authentic selves. I think if one goes into the program thinking that it is just another leadership program, then they won’t reap the full benefit and reward of the experience. Therefore, to the current participants, be your authentic selves, show courage and be vulnerable while in the program. This is a must. The program will move you in a way you never knew but you MUST be open to what is has to offer and that means being open to yourself and others’ opinions.
How did your Leadership Charlotte experience affect what you’re doing today?
What Leadership Charlotte gave me I can’t get anywhere else. I can’t even get it with the 19 years of work experience I have. Therefore, I do think that Leadership Charlotte allows me in my roles and personally to see things holistically. To say, how might what we do here affect what happens there? What are the unintended consequences of the work we do if we do not see things in totality? How can we sequentially, simultaneously or strategically address the problems before us and who needs to be at the table? All these questions I can tackle just a little bit better than before my experience and this is an amazing feeling.
Greatest personal accomplishment and why:
My greatest personal accomplishment was jumping out of a plane AND landing safely (very key in the experience). In 2018, I went to Vegas with my sister and as a birthday gift she purchased a skydiving experience via Skydive Las Vegas. I consider this an accomplishment because I have a serious/horrible fear of heights. And, what this experience did for me has had me vulnerable (strapped to a stranger’s frontside with only 4 clips although he had done more than 5,000 jumps at that point, so I was okay) but with courage – both things that Leadership Charlotte helped continue to instill in me.
What do you hope to be doing (differently) in five years?
I do foresee me expanding beyond my role in the County and continuing to grow my small consulting business. I think there is a great need in the non-profit, small business and local government spaces for strategy consulting, and I see me as one of the key small, minority and women-owned businesses here (or wherever I am) to provide such services.
I also hope to travel more and begin taking one to two major trips a year to somewhere that will allow me to experience cultures that are not familiar to me.
What’re you doing in the community these days?
My biggest involvement in the community is serving on several non-profit boards such as with the YMCA of Charlotte – Harris/Harris Express, Promising Pages and the Association for Strategic Planning. I also serve as the Chairwoman for the National Forum for Black Public Administrators – Strategic Planning and Development Committee. And, through the Crown Jewels Links of Charlotte, Inc, we are working with Samaritans Feet, addressing human trafficking in the community, and preparing the community for Census 2020.