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In the Arena

Conversations about courage, compassion and creativity in public leadership.

Taken from a famous Theodore Roosevelt speech regarding his own time “In the Arena,” this podcast features government officials who are truly making a difference and challenging the status quo. Governing President, Cathilea Robinett, tours you through the halls of cities, counties and states to bring you a slice of what is best in American leadership today.


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Books mentioned on the podcast "In The Arena"
In the Arena

Book Recommendations from Officials Who’ve Been “In the Arena”

As 2020 comes to a close, we take a moment to reflect on the numerous books that government officials from across the nation have recommended over the past several years.

Karen Baker In the Arena
In the Arena

Service Before Self: Karen Baker’s Career in Public Service

The career public servant has served a president and in the cabinets of three governors, and is not afraid of tackling big, complicated jobs that help the disenfranchised while building better communities.

Jabari Simama In The Arena
In the Arena

The Many Chapters of Jabari Simama’s Life

Humble beginnings and a kind demeanor have made him a great public servant, including work as a city council member and college president. It also has led him to foster a deep friendship with legendary John Lewis.

Sheila Oliver In the Arena
In the Arena

How Sheila Oliver Made a Career of Breaking Glass Ceilings

Inspired by trailblazer Shirley Chisholm, New Jersey’s Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver has become a powerful and inspirational leader in her own right and has already left a mark that will last for generations.

Bruce Bond In the Arena
In the Arena

Finding Common Ground in an America That Will Not Agree

In a time of an extremely divided America, Bruce Bond works with his team to develop common ground and inspire others to create positive change.

Heather Repenning In The Arena
In the Arena

From Literature to Water: Heather Repenning on Impacting Change

She didn’t grow up dreaming of working in a position of power in a big city like Los Angeles, but her strong desire to help people and make the world a better place rerouted her into a career of public service.

Cathilea Robinett In The Arena
In the Arena

America "In The Arena" — How We Can Overcome

Life is an unpredictable collision of people and events that set our lives' trajectory and shape who we become. In this special episode of "In The Arena," host Cathilea Robinett talks intimately of the collision of people and events that have helped define the woman she is today.

Dr. Miles Davis, In the Arena
In the Arena

College’s First Black President on Digital Equity, Systemic Change in COVID

Dr. Miles Davis wants to use his platform as first Black president of Linfield college to affect systemic change. Even as COVID-19 drastically changes the face of education, Dr. Davis is determined to create the next generation of leaders.

Sharon Greenberger, In The Arena
In the Arena

Sharon Greenberger Fights for New York as YMCA President, CEO

As president and CEO of the New York YMCA, Sharon Greenberger is constantly working to make New York a healthier, happier community. Now she uses her decades of experience to transform The Y into a place of hope amid COVID-19.

Toni Carter In the Arena
In the Arena

Toni Carter, Minnesota’s First Black County Commissioner, Speaks Out

Ramsey County’s commissioner has fought for change in the state for the past three decades through vigorous community engagement. She has marked history with her achievements and now watches her son do the same as mayor of St. Paul.

Harry Black, In the Arena
In the Arena

Stockton’s New City Manager Sees an Opportunity During Troubled Times

A former Baltimore CFO and city manager for Cincinnati, Harry Black just started as Stockton’s city manager when the pandemic began, quickly followed by national protests. But with his extensive, unique career, he is ready to help the city succeed.

John Wetzel In the Arena
In the Arena

Reforming Corrections in Pennsylvania with Data, Creativity

John Wetzel uses decades of experience and an unyielding determination to serve Pennsylvania as the secretary of corrections. But he knows that the true value of leadership comes from data, creativity and good people.

Alisha Bell In the Arena
In the Arena

Alisha Bell: Wayne County’s Unstoppable Force of Leadership

A county and national leader, Alisha Bell has learned how to be a successful public official by following the path her mother laid down. Now she ensures that her actions will help those who will one day follow her.

Mary Ann Borgeson In the Arena
In the Arena

County Commissioner Helps Others with Resources, Compassion

Whether it’s a small county or a national stage, Mary Ann Borgeson leads Douglas County, Neb., and the National Association of Counties with compassion and the understanding of the impacts her decisions can make.

Betty Yee, In the Arena
In the Arena

State Controller’s Impact Goes Beyond a Balanced Budget

Betty Yee uses her role as California’s state controller to uplift underserved communities, encourage female participation in politics and public office and remind others that a state is only as strong as its individuals.

Serena DiMaso, In the Arena
In the Arena

Getting Her Hands Dirty: In The Arena with Assembly Member Serena DiMaso

Whether it is a devastating hurricane or global pandemic, Serena DiMaso will be there to lend a helping hand. From the front lines and Assembly floor, DiMaso is constantly working to strengthen and uplift her community.

Clay Jenkinson In the Arena
In the Arena

How Context, History Can Teach Leadership During Pandemic

Clay Jenkinson, Governing’s editor-at-large and humanities scholar on Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt, tells us how literature and history can help inform leaders in this time of global national crisis.

Bryan Barnett In the Arena
In the Arena

Community Inspires Mayor to Serve with Integrity

His passion for authentic relationships helps Bryan Barnett to excel as mayor of Rochester Hills and as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Even in a time when the nation is without strategy, he continues to lead with integrity.

Ryan Coonerty In the Arena
In the Arena

Ryan Coonerty on Building Santa Cruz for Future Generations

Ryan Coonerty has always been a part of the Santa Cruz community, from resident, to mayor and now county supervisor. Though his work is now countywide, his aim is still to create “a better place for the next generation.”

Lydia Mihalik, In the Arena
In the Arena

Lydia Mihalik Leads with a Fearless Adopted-Buckeye Heart

Lydia Mihalik is a fierce team leader and has a passion for improving the lives of others, two qualities that have suited her perfectly for Ohio’s public service as director of the Development Services Agency.

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