Harrisburg native, Mayor Linda Thompson’s political career took off after being elected to the City Council in 2002 and soared even higher when re-elected for a second term in 2005 as an at-large elected official as well as Vice President on Council. She gained the respect of the city and its residents through her passion, dedication and hard work in. With her demand for fairness, her passion for the people, her sense of right, and promises to do Mayor Reed’s job better than he did, I can see why a city desperate for hope put their trust in her and gave Linda Thompson the opportunity to serve as Mayor of Harrisburg.
Linda D. Thompson was sworn in as Harrisburg’s 33rd mayor on January 4, 2010 as the Capital City’s first African American female mayor. Mayor Linda Thompson managed to accomplish a few great tasks while in office and has since successfully championed the state-appointed receiver's financial plan for the city, but when the bad outweighs the good your image is tainted and difficult to restore.
In April 2013 Mayor Linda Thompson was said to be “flying blind” after losing Kevin Sadella as her spokesperson as well as an email statement from Bob Philbin claiming identity theft from the Mayor’s office: "The mayor's assistant is apparently using my old city email address to distribute information. Those emails are not coming from me. I don't have access to the city system and asked that the old address be taken down."
The perception that Thompson cannot get along with people is what started her fall and resulted in most of her executive staff leaving within the year of her taking office and some have gone public with statements that say Thompson was delusional, combative, and unwilling to accept counsel and advice. This is the worst mistake any person in a leadership position can make. Whether it be entertainment, business, or politics, as a leader you are who you are because of your team. The President can't be the president without a competent team by his side, but in Thompson's case she chose a team that had little to no political background, education, or professionalism to carry her through her term.
Being a public figure means that you are in the spotlight and everything you do is on public display. Public figures are held to a different standard and judged accordingly, and it would be wise to be above board and beyond reproach in one’s behavior. You have to be able to counter the bad with the good and we shouldn't have to go digging for your great accomplishments because your public relations team should already have it out there.
It was Gandhi who said “be the change you want to see in the world”. From the scumbag comment, to mocking protesters, to bullying reporters in public, you have to ask yourself, what kind of change did the mayor want us to see her as. Because if the mayor of the city exhibits petty behavior, holds grudges, perceives threats where none exist, and listens to no council but her own, we shouldn't expect her staff or the residents of the city be any different.
The mayor needed to have a little more finesse in her public interactions. It’s okay to be tough but you need to be flexible as well. Politics is about strategy, building partnerships, deal-making and it starts with having a solid experienced team that keeps your agenda moving in the right direction. The team should be loyal, but they should also have the ability to consul the leader with good honest advice and viable options to tough questions and hard choices. Unfortunately Thompson's team didn't have that ability.
“Reed loyalism”, racism, the monetary massacre, media deception, and gender bias all came with being a public figure and the first Black female mayor of the city of Harrisburg, but if anyone expected anything less you weren't being realistic.
If Mayor Thompson would have stuck with her team from the beginning she would have been a driving force behind the success of Harrisburg and would still be in office as we speak. She would have also had more opportunities to accomplish so much more then she did and she would have gone down in history as a legend to be remembered and respected.
With the new year comes a new administration and hopefully a new attitude, new opportunities, and new life for the city of Harrisburg.
If you are looking into becoming a public figure, the first thing on your agenda should be to find the best Image Consultant or Image Consulting team who will set you and your overall image up for success. You may be one of the most intellectual individuals, highly educated, well-versed, and even diversified in many different areas but if your image does not reflect that, you will not succeed.
An Image Consultant is a trained professional who helps to teach and guide a client to improvement in areas such as how you look, how you act, etiquette you exhibit, and overall presentation. Many times people get caught up on just the physical aspect of the job description, but an "Image" Consultant works on so many different layers.
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