Get short takes on city issues
Looking for a new way to learn about topics that are important to Minnesota cities? City Speak podcast provides short takes on city issues — from timely topics like legislative updates, to perennial content like city budgets and collaboration. You’ll hear engaging interviews and firsthand accounts of cities using their heart, hard work, and humanity as they provide excellence in city government across the state.
At less than 30 minutes each, you can listen to episodes of City Speak during your drive time, on your lunch break, or while taking a walk.
Most recent episodes:
Evan Vogel worked in state government before shifting to city administrator in Cambridge. Hear how he strives to make big things happen in his small city and creates a culture of appreciation for the hard work and talent of his city’s staff.
Dianne Miller has worked in Eagan for 20 years — first as an intern now as city administrator. She shares her leadership journey and how being curious helped build her expertise and how setting boundaries brought balance to her life.
Laurie Hokkanen worked for Chanhassen and moved on to several other roles and cities before returning to Chanhassen as the current city manager. Hear how those experiences helped build her confidence, understand the difference between formal and informal leadership, and reinforce the importance of staying true to her core values.
Elizabeth Torkelson shares her career transition from working in the Library of Congress to her new role as city administrator in Olivia. Hear how her experience at the federal level taught her the importance of being a resource and building relationships at the local level, and also how to distinguish between an ear and a cob of corn.
Sharon Hanson shares how she took on the first county coordinator position with Pipestone County and after 13 years there decided to make the leap to become the Marshall city administrator. Hear why she made the switch, and how good communication, teamwork, and strong connections have helped her in her leadership journey.
Faith Jackson, Bloomington’s first chief equity and inclusion officer, is a realist who has had some great successes in her work while also understanding she won’t achieve all her goals during her job tenure. Hear how her work in Bloomington is making progress in advancing racial equity and helping all residents feel they belong. Learn ways leaders can contribute by being visible in the work and making connections in their community.
Mankato Mayor Najwa Massad shares how her experiences as an immigrant and small business owner shaped her outlook on life and her role as mayor. Hear how living in a war zone, starting over in Mankato, and working in hospitality helped her learn to be strong, to lead by example, and to realize nothing is impossible.
When Lindy Crawford became the city manager of White Bear Lake two years ago, she shifted from being an expert on many things to managing and leading the experts. Hear how she handled that transition and allowed staff and officials time to adapt to change while bringing a fresh set of ideas and opportunities for growth.
Brad Martens transitioned from working in a small community where he wore many hats to being the city manager in Shoreview with long-tenured department heads. Hear how he learned to get out of the way and let the experts do their jobs, honor their work as they retire, and thoughtfully choreograph how to move forward.
Duluth Chief Administrative Officer Noah Schuchman shares how having a network of city leaders was instrumental in helping him when he began his career in city government and made an unconventional career shift. Learn how he cracked the code on the importance of getting and giving guidance and the impact it’s had on his city leadership journey.
We’re kicking off a new season of the City Speak podcast starting Sept. 1! Join host Luke Fischer, executive director of the League of Minnesota Cities, as he talks with city staff and elected officials who are new to leadership roles or who are going through a leadership transition in their community.
Highlights from Season 4
Crystal City Manager Anne Norris recalls how a budget process gone wrong provided a painful lesson on the importance of clear communication. She shares how owning the mistake helped rebuild trust with city officials and the community.
Buffalo Mayor Teri Lachermeier shares how a city redevelopment project taught her the importance of getting community input. She also describes her method to ensure people feel their opinion is heard.
Chatfield Clerk Joel Young shares how seeing others become downtrodden and cynical reinforced the importance of maintaining connections and relationships with others in local government. He also reveals the one word that has helped him through some stressful times.
Baudette Clerk-Treasurer Tina Rennemo chats with us about lessons she’s learned in her career. She shares the importance of learning by making mistakes, and explains how focusing on the great things happening in her city helps her stay positive.
Brooklyn Park Fire Chief and President of the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association T. John Cunningham shares stories from his experiences as a public sector leader and some of the valuable lessons he’s learned. Cunningham also shares his advice on surrounding yourself with supportive peers and keeping your focus on the important things even when the metaphorical fires are all around you.