June 7, 2010 By Russell Nichols
The future leaders of government have a passion for public service and know how to navigate the Web to stay connected in ways that couldn't be done a decade ago.
That's the philosophy of Steve Ressler, (pictured) founder and president of GovLoop, a social network for civil servants. Bringing together these rising local, state and federal government leaders is the driving force behind the upcoming Next Generation of Government Summit.
Two hundred government leaders of tomorrow will assemble on July 6-7 at the Westin Arlington Gateway in Arlington, Va. Launched by GovLoop and the Young Government Leaders, the summit will rally the brightest minds in the public sector to exchange information, tips and case studies, and address the present and future issues facing governments.
By answering one simple question, you might get to attend the summit for free.
GovLoop will award five free registration passes to those who create the funniest, most creative, most inspiring and best overall short video responses to this question: "Why are you the next generation of government?"
Ressler wants to see innovative entries (i.e., no talking heads). He wants to see passion about public service with a creative approach in videos that are no longer than two minutes. The deadline is June 18. Videos must be submitted via GovLoop in a blog post form tagged "NGG Contest."
"Times are tough, but we think it's really important for the next generation of leaders to come to these types of events," he said. "As the baby boomers retire, we really need to equip these young leaders with the skills to do the job better."
As a third-generation public servant, Ressler saw government service as a way to tackle big problems such as Social Security, homeland security, war, health and the environment.
"I saw that there are more and more people like me," he said. "They come to work for the government not just for the benefits or the pension, but because they want to do something bigger than themselves."
In recent years, contests have been the ticket for connecting citizens with government officials. From President Barack Obama's YouTube addresses to the rise of e-town hall meetings, videos represent the trendy tool in the push for government transparency.
In prior years, Ressler said, GovLoop has done contests with text messaging and blog posts. This time, he said, he wanted to "kick it up a notch."
"Video puts a face on government," he said. "It's very important to see who people are and see the passion. Video adds a rich color to it all."