Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

How I Lead: Building Trust and Communication Between Teams


Ken Sosne is director of regional grant operations at the Health and Human Services Department’s Administration for Children and Families. He has more than 20 years of service as a budget analyst, grants officer, administrative officer and resource manager at agencies including the Federal Public Defender’s Office and Immigration and Border Protection.

What is the best leadership lesson you've learned?  

One needs to be patient and watch how others command a room.

How did you get to where you are today?

I always was willing to work hard and forget about the hours I was putting in, and I dealt fairly with others.

What leadership lessons do you try to convey to your team?   

Fairness, keep your eye on the mission and always remember your oath of public service.

What do you look for in potential employees when making hiring decisions?

I look for a strong educational background, a well-rounded portfolio and an individual with a sense of both self and leadership.

What do you do after work for fun or to relax?

I enjoy spending time with my wife, cooking and going out to our beach home that someday will be our retirement venue.

What is the best mistake you've ever made?

Being too forthright in a meeting and getting a strong rebuttal, thereby allowing me to learn to listen better.

Describe your average day in 10 words or less.

Overbooked, stressful, too many competing priorities, and rewarding at times.

What strengths do you bring your organization?

I have the ability to gain trust and bring my many years of experience to an organization to share a unique viewpoint and to enhance collaboration. I am able to facilitate communications between teams.

What career accomplishment are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud of utilizing my strong education background to support a public mission and the ability to hire the best and the brightest.

What is the most important thing you have learned in your career?

I have learned that a strong education is important. Also, to place an emphasis on risk-taking and maintaining a strong support network of colleagues and family as you move up the ladder.

What was the biggest career risk you took?

Bidding for my GS-15 manager’s position and finding out that being a federal manager is very difficult but can be rewarding. It turned out positively in that I perform well under trial-by-fire and was able to utilize the training I gained from previous work opportunities. I learned that not everything is what it seems and you need to be resilient.

What motivates you?

The mission of my current agency, HHS, motivates me. I support the Head Start and Technical Assistance to Needy Families programs. I have been lucky to have had a good federal career. I am now looking forward to the rewards in a retirement phase, when I plan to stay involved with a new career teaching or helping nonprofits and social justice organizations.

Lynnie Martin is the Young Government Leaders (YGL) Public Relations Director and the founder of the YGL GOLD Academy. Her day job is at the Department of Homeland Security where she is working in her dream job as a Training Specialist. She is in charge of several developmental and rotational programs for the 3,000 employees within her directorate. Lynnie moved to Washington, DC from the west coast and enjoys all the opportunities provided by living in our nation’s capital.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.