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May 2015


Anne Ferro HeadshotActors and actresses get all the glory and recognition when a movie makes it big. Their star power undoubtedly helps put people in the seats. They become the faces of the production and their performances are typically the “make-or-break” reason why movies become heralded classics or forgotten blunders.

The faces in front of the camera are always the ones who receive the accolades and pats on the back, but what about the people behind the scenes? They are vitally important to a film’s success, but they often go unnoticed because their names do not scroll at the beginning of the credits. Imagine Avatar without the special effects creating the characters or the sci-fi-like story. The people who worked behind the camera, developed the characters, “managed” the stars, wrote the script and served as go-fers are equally important to a bonanza box-office opening.

This behind-the-scenes approach can also be applied to our everyday work in the motor vehicle and law enforcement community. Our administrators are the public faces of their agencies and represent their states, federal districts, provinces or territories on high-visibility initiatives, but the front-line workers—those who implement new systems, the team lead who resolves an office conflict, the customer service representative who uses her judgment to resolve a customer issue—are the heart and soul of our success. These employees lead the charge on a day-to-day basis by completing tasks, resolving conflicts, maintaining the facilities and staying on message. Just like the administrators who empower them to succeed, these behind-the-scenes leaders are integral to the work we do in our jurisdictions.

With more and more of these smart and talented workers coming from the millennial generation, it is important that they continue to receive a clear sense of expectation, respect and recognition from their bosses. Working and leading behind the scenes enables our organizations to thrive from within. We must continue to empower these employees and provide them with the appropriate tools to succeed and lead. During the session titled “How to Inspire and Engage Millennials: A Conversation with Our Next Generation Workforce” at AAMVA’s recent Workshop and Law Institute, young leaders discussed the importance of an environment that fosters creative, team-oriented, challenging and fun workplaces. Providing this work environment and empowering our young leaders to keep us moving forward is the key to our future success.

And not surprisingly, fostering an empowered and thoughtful workplace works for all of our employees, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or background. Today and into the future, our behind-the-scenes leaders will step in front of the camera and lead our jurisdictions, representing their states, federal districts, provinces or territories. It is up to us to give them the proper tools that will cultivate their leadership talent.


Anne Ferro

AAMVA President and CEO