Public Leadership Seminars with Donna Zajonc

Donna has made over 500 speeches and presentations throughout her career. She is entertaining, convincing, energetic, and informative. Call or email Donna to schedule a speaking engagement for your service club, workshop, board retreat, or motivational speech.

The following topics are presented in either a 45 minute keynote or can be expanded to a half or full day seminar.


Ten Qualities of effective leadership

Is your role so diverse that it requires a multitude of leadership qualities, especially during economic chaos and reduced resources? Much is written about leadership today and there's probably a new leadership book published every week addressing the need for strong leadership throughout our fast-changing society. But what is leadership and what are the qualities that are most essential for you to be the effective leader that you aspire to be? In this session, Donna will share the top ten qualities that she has experienced are the most effective leadership qualities. As a former elected state legislator and now a professional leadership coach and speaker, she will challenge you to reflect upon your leadership qualities and how to apply them to your work and private life. This inventory of leadership qualities includes both the soft (heart) and hard (head) stuff of leadership. Come prepared to engage with other leaders as together you reflect upon and apply leadership skills that matter most to leaders today.



Public Leader as Convener and Collaborator
Local and state officials can take the lead in decision making by convening community conversations to tackle problems before they become explosive. The old style of leading was based upon the idea that the public leader had all the power and answers. Today’s government leaders can leverage their power by convening people together in public conversations as a way of taking action but not taking sides. Learn the Eight Keys to Convening and transform your role as a public leader. Public meetings could actually become fun again!



Creating Powerful Partners
Growth and change are a way of life. People with differing viewpoints may go to battle with competing ideas for improvements. When "the way you've always done it" doesn't work anymore, learn to recognize how collaboration is essential to vibrant, healthy groups and communities. Work in partnership, embrace diversity, and take action in a way so that no one loses.

Participants will:

  • Apply The Four Stages of Public Leadership and insights into when to lead from which Stage;
  • Assess their individual "Leadership Point of View" and gain insights into their public leadership philosophies, motivations and unconscious behaviors;
  • Apply these roles to an Action Planning Tool for creating powerful partnerships for achieving results; and
  • Develop "authentic community politics" that focus on service and contribution.

Building and Repairing Trust
As leaders, if we do not have trusting relationships with our fellow leaders and staff, we simply will not be effective. But what is trust? How do we know when we have trust and most important, how do we repair it when trust is lost. Distrust is extremely expensive to the success of our organizations and our individual well being. There is a lot we can do to repair trust and we can actually increase trust much faster than we think.


Creating a Character-Based Public Organization

How do public leaders maintain their character when ethical lapses seem to be everywhere today? What is character and how do we build character in our local government? Complex and rapid global changes are presenting new ethical challenges far beyond anything imagined just a few years ago. In order to attract and keep quality workers who want to work in quality organizations, our public organizations must be more than ethical---they must be character-based. In this seminar, participants will learn tips on how to develop a character-based organizational culture so that citizens and employees admire you, as well as your public organization.



Keeping Your Passion for Public Service Alive

As a former Oregon State Legislator, Donna Zajonc understands the challenge today's public leaders face to keep alive their vision and inspiration for public service. In this presentation, Donna will help you rekindle your passion for public service and outline tips she has learned as a professional leadership coach. Sharing from her book, The Politics of Hope, she will introduce the Four Stages of Public Leadership providing the keys to maintaining your energy as a successful leader at work and in your community.



Public service: a calling or a craving?
Those of us dedicated to public service may discover there is a thin line between our calling to serve and our craving to serve. We may believe we are "suppose" to serve the public good, only to discover later that we occasionally doubt our decision and eventually loose our commitment to public service. When we can renew our call to service, we become aware of our passions, and our actions unfold with ease while dramatically increasing our effectiveness as a public leader.


Contact Donna by phone at 206.780.9300 or via email:



“I wanted to take a moment and thank you for your wonderful presentation. We don't often get to hear speakers of your caliber, and it was a most memorable session. We all took away a lot of valuable concepts, and I know they will be of use to us as we work through all of our various relationships and their joys and challenges.”

Susan Arnold, CAPP
Accounts Payable Manager
Starbucks Coffee Company