NLCU Summit: Q&A with the University of Central Florida’s Roy Reid

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This is a guest post by Brian Egan.

Roy Reid serves as Executive Director of Communications at the University of Central Florida, pictured above. (photo: Mathew Hasegawa)

NLC is excited to announce the addition of Roy Reid, Executive Director of Communications at the University of Central Florida, to our lineup for the 2015 National League of Cities University (NLCU) Annual Leadership Summit in Orlando, Fla.

Roy is an expert in communications, public relations, and trust building. In addition to working with the nation’s second largest university, Reid has provided his expertise to global corporations such as Walt Disney World Resorts, Walmart and CSX. This September, Reid will lead a session on Building a High-Trust and Resilient Culture. In anticipation of our Annual Leadership Summit, NLCU sat down with Roy to ask him a few questions.

NLCU: What makes you passionate about this topic?

Roy: I have worked in the communications, public relations, public affairs and marketing space for more than 25 years. In that time, I have spent a majority of the time helping leaders deal with issues and crises. With a front row seat to some of the most challenging issues, I find that those who have a more intentional and engaging effort in earning, cultivating, and restoring trust are more likely to thrive in good times and bad. I find that this effort will cultivate a culture that prioritizes people, strengthen relationships and improve results.

NLCU: What does a high trust and resilient culture look like?

Roy: Outputs and outcomes are at or better than expected. People are engaged in their work and not just present. Issues are addressed head on with no fear and a commitment to the mission. Efficiencies and effective processes are improved on regularly. Risk is mitigated because people have an assurance that others are operating with a high degree of ethics. Employees are fiercely loyal and retention of great employees is high.

NLCU: From your experience, talk about a success story involving a leader building and maintaining a high trust and resilient culture.

Roy:  I will provide two. I live in Orlando, Florida, and have a great working relationship with our Mayor Buddy Dyer.  Since taking office in 2000, Mayor Dyer has always been about cultivating relationships and earning trust with the people around him. Perhaps the best example of his commitment to trust and relationships can be seen in three major initiatives over the past ten years: Lake Nona, SunRail, and the Downtown development. In each of these efforts, the mayor had to take a stand on issues and lead others to understand the importance to take risks in achieving greater results for our community. Throughout those three efforts he took responsibility for the relationships and worked to ensure that people understood the need, risk and benefits. Today, Lake Nona stands as an example of collaboration with private and public sector leadership and is delivering on its promise of economic development and improvements to quality of life in Central Florida. SunRail just completed its first year of operation and is the first leg of transit options that will grow into a network of rail options to move people throughout the region. Downtown Orlando is evolving into a place that people desire to live, work, and play with world class facilities and venues. There is much work to do in each of these areas and the mayor stays on the point of helping ensure that the right people and resources are in place.  In addition, the culture of City Hall reflects this idea and the culture there fosters a strong expectation of trust and results.

The other person I would cite is Ken Bradley, the CEO of Florida Hospital Winter Park and former Mayor of The City of Winter Park. I worked with Ken for a number of years at Florida Hospital and can attest to his commitment to first build trust and cultivate relationships in the effort to achieve great things. In 1999, we were part of the team that led the effort for Florida Hospital to acquire Winter Park Memorial Hospital. Throughout the process, our plans were framed up by the idea that we had to bring people together first (many of whom may have been at odds on other matters) to develop collaborations that would facilitate a smooth transition and ultimately deliver a high performing hospital. The hospital today is a shining example of how a healthcare provider works in conjunction with the community to deliver care. In addition, Ken served three terms as Mayor in Winter Park, taking the city through some of the most controversial and important transitions over the past decade.

NLCU: Why should elected officials be passionate about this topic?

Roy:  With all the distractions, political matters and interest groups, elected leaders must have clarity in how they will earn, build, cultivate, repair and restore trust so they can serve the communities effectively. Today’s marketplace and landscape are more convoluted and people are far more demanding of greater engagement and transparency from leaders — especially public officials. Research is clear that there is far greater skepticism and doubt in the minds of the public regarding public officials and government.

NLCU: What skills will local elected officials gain from your session?

Roy:  They will better understand how trust works. They will learn how trust can be measured in their culture. They will understand four guiding principles for how they should engage others each day. Finally, they will understand the four attributes that people look for in people they trust and understand how to strengthen them.

NLCU: Thank you, Roy. We look forward to hearing more about building a high trust and resilient culture when you speak on September 17 at the Annual Leadership Summit in Orlando.

***Click here to learn more about the NLC’s Annual Leadership Summit and register***

About the Author: Brian Egan is an intern from American University at NLCU, the National League of Cities University.