In 2014, the Quality of Life Leadership Academy — the organization formed by the Michigan departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources and Agricultural and Rural Development — accepted into its ranks for the first time “nonprofessional” candidates such as secretaries and analysts. Kelly Ploehn, an analyst in the Environment Quality Department, was among those who participated in the 10-month program.
Ploehn, 37, helped develop a presentation to address employee engagement concerns. The findings, based on employee input, made some senior leaders uncomfortable, but Ploehn powered ahead, presenting her results along with recommendations to improve engagement.
Thanks to Ploehn’s perseverance, the Environmental Quality Department established an employee engagement team, naming Ploehn a team leader and representative for her division.