Name: Lori Sassoon
Title: Deputy City Manager
City: Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
After working in five cities in 20 years, Lori Sassoon has come to see local government as something of a team sport. That’s why, in her current role in Rancho Cucamonga, she’s so focused on finding innovative ways to empower City Hall employees to do their best work. “We want to retain the best people,” she said. “So we have been working to support employees in their personal and professional lives.”
Recently, she and her team implemented a “Baby on Board” program, which allows parents to bring their children into work until they are either 8 months old or crawling. When school was out last summer, they introduced a menu of options for parents with young children, including flexible scheduling, allowing them to bring their children in as needed, and on-site childcare.
Sassoon and her team also helped implement creative approaches to professional development. One initiative, called “Take your co-worker to work day,” gives City Hall employees the opportunity to shadow colleagues in other departments or at higher levels, in order to explore what career opportunities they might be interested in. Sassoon trains different people to take charge of the program each time it runs, so that others can get a feel for what it’s like to run a citywide program for employees at all levels. “We’re here to serve our community,” she said. “And to do that best we have to support and grow our people.”
“Part of our job as local government leaders is always having someone that we are mentoring and investing in, because our work can’t end with us.”