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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Mar. 5, 2018 1 year ago

'It's a real privilege': Ormond Beach City Manager talks female leadership

March 8, 2018, is International Women's Day. Get to know Ormond Beach's City Manager Joyce Shanahan....
by: Jarleene Almenas News Editor

Ormond Beach City Manager Joyce Shanahan is the only woman sitting up high with the City Commissioners every first and third Tuesday of the month. 

As one of five female city managers in Volusia County and with more than 25 years of experience in local government, Shanahan loves what she does.

“It is the most wonderful job in the whole world," Shanahan said. "There’s something different every single day — we have such amazing leadership here with the City Commission, we’ve got great employees, a wonderfully dedicated engaged community and that’s really the reason why I came here.”

Shanahan began her career with local government as an intern in the 80s with a council of governments up in Pittsburgh. She said her story is a little corny but, after the grocery store she worked in during grad school closed down, she was standing in a hallway at the University of Pittsburgh when one of her professors passed by her and asked if she would be interested in a paid internship. 

After 13 months helping small cities implement financial software, she was brought on board full time. She stayed in the same area for a number of years, and worked different finance-related jobs. That was, until the April Fool's Day blizzard of 1997.

“But there’s so many bright, young women out there, so our ranks are growing every day."

Joyce Shanahan, Ormond Beach City Manager

“I thought: ‘I’m done,'" Shanahan said. "I’m tapping out.”

Deciding to move somewhere warm and sunny, she ended up in Fort Walton Beach, where she stayed for 12 years, six of which she spent as the city manager. In 2009, she moved to Ormond Beach.

In the time she's been working with the city, two things she said the city is proud of accomplishing is the development of the downtown district and the construction of the Andy Romano Beachfront Park, which Shanahan called a "crown jewel" of the city.

For Ormond Beach Mayor Bill Partington, some of Shanahan's "secrets of her successes" include her focus on transparency and open door policy for citizens to come and voice their concerns. He said the kindness that she shows to both her staff and the residents comes through in how she approaches the job.

“She is very competent with the nuts and bolts of city government as far as the budget and finance side of it, but then she tempers that with a heart," Partington said.

Shanahan said it's a real privilege to be a woman in leadership today. While in Volusia County, she said all the managers treat and learn from each other regardless of gender, nationwide, she believes the city manager profession tends to be more male-occupied.

“But there’s so many bright, young women out there, so our ranks are growing every day," Shanahan said.

And when she's not working? You might spot Shanahan running. She recently ran her 100th half-marathon.

At the end of the day though, Shanahan said she doesn't like the limelight when it comes to her job. 

“It’s not about me," Shanahan said. "It’s about the community. It’s about the city and what they accomplish, and if I’m a small part of that, I’m happy to be a small part of that.”



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