May 2014

When I decided that I wanted to make my year as AAMVA Chair all about leadership, I was very excited to be able to bring something new and fresh to the position! I am happy to report that I have made every effort to move the organization forward and prepare us for the future, both internally and externally. Currently, we are working on the AAMVA Strategic Planning process, and we will have a refreshed plan in place by the time our August board meeting in Dover, Del., occurs.

This process has been a very good exercise, and one that equally balances the needs of member jurisdictions with allowing AAMVA to grow as an organization. The board is truly focused on setting goals that include cutting-edge technology and performance management, as well as internal staff development and growth. AAMVA staff members are among the most talented and dedicated people with whom I have had the pleasure of working during my 25 years of public service. Ensuring that they have all of the tools they need to do their jobs is of the utmost importance to the success of the organization.

I am also very excited about launching the AAMVA Leadership Academy (ALA). As many of you know, this is one of my most important initiatives as Chair. The ALA will be focused on bringing up-and-coming leaders from member jurisdictions together to complete an intensive week-long program that will include exposure to our federal and industry partners, as well as teaching valuable and specific leadership skills. The ALA will also allow for networking and exchanging of information among participating jurisdictions, which will further enhance the program by creating strong and valuable friendships.

I am also advocating for a portion of the ALA program to be dedicated to teaching creative leadership. All of our jurisdictions face similar fiscal and resource challenges that require “out-of-the-box” thinking and creativity. This leadership skill is sometimes overlooked, but it is extremely important. There is much efficiency that can be garnered by partnering with other agencies and/or industries. I have been using this approach for many years in Delaware, which has led to mutually beneficial creative partnerships with various agencies, as well as with private firms. I find that it takes a specific type of leadership skill and open-mindedness, and I want to share these concepts through the ALA. Look for more information on the launch of the Academy in the coming weeks. I hope to see you all at the upcoming conferences! 


Jennifer Cohan

AAMVA Chair of the Board