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Penn is helping Philadelphia's top officials to become better leaders.

Two weeks ago, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's senior administrators assembled at the Steinberg Conference Center on Thursday and Friday to participate in the University's executive education program, a two-day institute program to develop leadership and management skills.

Organized by Wharton's Center for Leadership, Wharton Executive Education and the Fels Institute of Government, the program's goal was to help the mayor and his administrators better serve the Philadelphia community.

The University ran a slightly different program eight years ago, when former Mayor John Street was inaugurated. When Nutter assumed office in January, Penn approached him with the idea of offering a similar program designed to meet the current Mayor's needs.

"Programs are always a negotiated product," resulting from discussions we have with the city, said Wharton professor Mike Useem, who helped organize the program.

Educational sessions, led by Penn faculty and an administrator from the Maryland governor's office, included topics such as leadership development, the effective implementation of change and the art of giving constructive performance feedback to employees.

Useem said the program was heavily discussion-based. His session on leadership even included interactive role-playing in which the city's senior administrators acted out scenarios where their leadership skills were really put to the test.

"The enthusiasm and the energy in the room were very strong," Useem said.

Deputy Director of Performance Management Patrick Morgan, who is also a Penn alumnus, said he appreciated having the opportunity to sit back and listen to his co-workers.

"We needed the time to just connect with our peers," he added, which is often not possible in the office because of time-consuming individual responsibilities.

However, participants of the program weren't the only ones who benefited from the program.

Faculty who led the different sessions said they also enjoyed the opportunity to hear the views of people from the public sector, which was particularly a change for Wharton faculty who normally teach private sector managers.

Overall, participants said the education that they received was both useful and enjoyable.

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