Center for Continuing Studies - Innovative Leadership for Lifelong Learning

Center for Continuing Studies - Innovative Leadership for Lifelong Learning - St. Cloud State University

MCFOA Athenian Dialogue

MCFOA - Minnesota Clerks & Finance Officers Association

September 10, 2014 | 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 pm

(held the day prior to the MCFOA 2014 Advanced Academy)


Ramada Hotel & Conference Center

1517 16th Street SW

Rochester, Minnesota


Sponsored by the:

 Minnesota Municipal Clerks & Finance Officers Association (MCFOA)


 The Center for Continuing Studies at St. Cloud State University



The premise of this program is the idea that clerks are leaders in very profound yet subtle ways. But leadership here is not the transactional vending machine citizens seem to believe about public management.

Our leadership is more transformational in nature. That is to say, the contribution of clerks to municipal leadership changes the perception of colleagues and citizens about the role and purpose of government.

MCFOA Athenian Dialogue flyer (PDF)


Dialogues are conversations that go beyond the usual knowledge recall and application process familiar to all municipal clerks in training seminars. They are unique because they explore leadership principles and practice, drawing on the insights contained in a book that all participants have read.

Dialogues are conversations in which clerks share their experience and understanding as it relates to the ideas of the author and the relevance of those ideas to their public leadership role.


The Book!Breaking Trail book cover

Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life by Arlene Blum

Challenging stereotypes, taking chances, finding balance, breaking barriers and
being a leader are all descriptive phrases that describe Arlene Blum and her book, Breaking Trail. But they could be equally applied to the life of municipal clerks. This book explores Blum’s life and experiences as she led the first all-female teams on ascents of Mount McKinley and Annapurna. She is the first American woman to attempt Mount Everest. But, her claim to fame is not limited to daring mountain climbing feats because Arlene Blum is more than a mountain climber. She is a biophysical chemist whose work led to legislation banning carcinogens in children’s sleep wear. Breaking Trail is a way of life for Blum who has much to teach us.

This book opens a broad range of dynamic conversations in leadership, working in multicultural environments, management, personal growth and environmental issues faced by clerks. Blum has integrated her experiences into workshops on the environment, on leadership and on cross-cultural training. One might call her fearless but her quote, "I was terrified", sheds light on how we overcome challenges and find successful solutions.



Susan Frost (WI)



Dialogues have been approved by IIMC for 3 CMC Education Points or 3 MMC Advanced Education Points (with completion of assessment form). Please refer to the Athenian Leadership Society Policy for Dialogue Guidelines.


Who Should Attend?

All clerks are welcome to register. There is a maximum of 30 participants, so register early!


Registration and Fees

The registration fee for the Athenian Dialogue $65.00 and is limited to 30 registrants. The registration fee must be postmarked prior to September 3. This fee includes instruction, course materials, one lunch, and refreshment breaks. Participants in this program will be responsible for purchasing a copy of the book themselves as well as a $15 registration fee to the Athenian Leadership Society at IIMC. More information on the society and Athenian Dialogues can be found at

A refund, minus a $30 processing fee, will be granted if you cancel by September 3. If you cancel after this date, you will not be eligible for a refund. A full refund will be issued if St. Cloud State University cancels the Dialogue.

Online Registration

Registration Form (PDF)

Check or money order is payable to SCSU. A $30 service charge will be applied if returned for insufficient funds, closed account or Stop Payment request. Mail with registration form:

St. Cloud State University

Attn: Amber Sonsalla, BH 211A

720 4th Avenue South

St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498



The MCFOA Athenian Dialogue will be held at the

Ramada Hotel & Conference Center

1517 16th Street SW

Rochester, Minnesota

Please check the website: for maps and location.


A block of sleeping rooms has been reserved at the Ramada Hotel & Conference Center at a discounted rate of a rate of $86.00 plus tax per room per night. In order to book your room at the group discounted rate, individuals need to call the hotel directly @ 800-552-7224. Please refer to “St. Cloud State Minnesota Clerks Academy” when making all reservations. Check-in time for all rooms is 3:00 p.m.

Please call the hotel by August 10, 2014. After this date, reservations will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis at the hotel or neighboring lodging property.


For Further Information

If you would like more information or have questions, please contact:

St. Cloud State University

Center for Continuing Studies

720 Fourth Avenue South, BH211

St. Cloud, MN  56301-4498

Gail Ruhland at 320-308-5759 (

Special Accommodations

To ensure full participation in this workshop, please inform us about any dietary requirements or physical challenges which should be addressed prior to your arrival.