By Daniel Silliman
Sitting in her management classes at the University of Phoenix, Cynthia Jenkins heard a lot of people complain.
All of her fellow students, who were learning human resources management in the Masters of Business Administration program, seemed to tell the same story of bad bosses, low morale and petty office politics.
Jenkins said she didn't know what they were talking about.
In 12 years at the Clayton County Solicitor General's Office, Jenkins had seen bosses "courageous enough to stand up for their employees; team leaders go to bat for their team, and teams who were always willing to roll up their sleeves."
While others talked about earning an MBA, so they could fix the sort of things they had been forced to live through, Jenkins wanted to promote the models of leadership she had seen in Clayton County.
"I'm sure every department has leaders and good leaders, but I had never seen so many in one place," she said.
Jenkins went to the Clayton County Solicitor General's Office in 1993, when Keith Martin held the elected position prosecuting misdemeanors. Jenkins, formerly from New York, took an offered temp job, even though it wasn't in her field.
"I was in the [Information Technology] industry, and all the IT jobs were on the north side," she said. Jenkins worked on mainframes and installed computer programs, so she wasn't used to working with people and she wasn't familiar with the legal system. Quickly, she was given opportunities and encouraged to do both, she recalled, and she was also given ways to use her skills in the new environment.
Jenkins especially remembers three women she worked with. Sandra Schofill, B.J. Schofill and Trisha Orrell came in early every day and spent some time together. They were able, Jenkins said, to have great relationships in the office and manage the relationships.
"I always thought I was a person who appreciated people and didn't take people for granted, but they showed I had a lot of ways to grow," Jenkins said.
Sitting in her classes on motivational training and human resources management, up at the University of Phoenix, Jenkins started thinking about how she appreciated the leaders she had worked for in the Solicitor General's Office under Martin, and then under Leslie Miller-Terry, who currently holds the position.
"All of them were awesome," Jenkins said. "I just wanted to say, 'Thank you.' They break down walls and they help you to be effective."
Jenkins wrote "A Reason to Show up For Work Tomorrow Morning," and it was just self-published by Xlibris. The book started out as an appreciation and came to include those people Jenkins had worked with as examples of effective leadership models.
"I saw a lot of books about leadership, like 'this would be a way to exemplify leadership,'" Jenkins said, "but I'm saying, 'Well look at some people who actually did exemplify leadership.'"
The book is available at www.amazon.com.