Five Questions with Cynthia Hernandez, Project/Program Manager IV, DNRP

Cynthia Hernandez1. What was your first role at King County? I was hired to work as the Correspondence Manager for County Executive Ron Sims when he first became Executive in 1997. In those days most constituent correspondence came as paper mail addressed to the Executive, so I coordinated with departments to get those letters answered. I did some community engagement ghostwriting for the Executive on everything from proclamations and recognitions to talking points and book chapters. I also wrote the first “customer service” policies we had for responding to constituent inquiries and oversaw the development of the first constituent tracking database used by the Executive Office. It was a very interesting job, which gave me the advantage of working closely with Executive Sims and a great team of staffers, while also providing me a unique vantage point to learn about the breadth and depth of county services and offices, as well as the people behind them.

2. What do you do as a Program Manager IV for DNRP? DNRP has a proud history of excellence in the performance of its mission and has been on the leading edge of service delivery for decades. In 2000, the DNRP Director’s Office undertook a reorganization that embraced many of the tenets of Lean, including standard work and continuous improvement. I was asked to join the office to help standardize a departmental approach to Public Records responses and records management, and to facilitate continuity and alignment across the department and externally to the central county on a variety of initiatives, which over the years ranged from the Health Reform Initiative to Green Fleets, from Emergency Preparedness to Customer Service. Currently, my primary areas of focus are on maturing our Records Management and Public Records response practices across the department, and leading DNRP’s efforts to maximize the use of office space as part of the King Street Center Space Efficiencies Project. I also serve on a number of countywide cross teams working on the development of a variety of policies and plans.

 3. What do you like most about your job? I love the people who work for King County and the mission we share working for good government. That’s overarching. As for the details of my work, I really enjoy the variety of things I get to work on. I am very excited to have an opportunity to make contributions in as many areas as I do, and to learn so much while getting to know some very smart, dedicated colleagues from all across the organization.

4. What is the biggest challenge in your job? My top two challenges are limitations of time or resource (my own and in general!) and competing priorities among my customers. These challenges though have helped me develop valuable skills, such as organization and time management, patience, diplomacy, negotiation, and a keen interest in leveraging technology to be more efficient.

 5. What is one of your biggest projects for 2015? I am DNRP’s lead coordinator for the King Street Center Efficiencies Project, which will include a complete reconfiguration of the 7th floor of King Street Center, as well as modernization of workspaces. The benefits of this project are indisputable and lasting, but there is also a lot of change and disruption associated with such a project on the front end, which can be very difficult for the staff impacted by it. I am looking forward to the opportunities this work will present, and to the outcomes we will achieve.