Emily Carrington, 29
City Clerk, South Portland
Emily Carrington, who recently took the reins as South Portland’s city clerk, has a passion for serving others, and says one of her top priorities – whether she’s working with a resident, student, colleague, or supervisor – is providing quality customer service.
“Many would say the city clerk is the face of the city – the person you may interact with first, and thus derive a lasting impression of the city from your interactions with,” said the 29-year-old who lives in Portland.
“I strongly believe in this – and that citizens come first,” said Carrington, whose father works in human resources. Carrington was chosen in October from a pool of 38 applicants for the position in South Portland.
“I work well in environments where there is a high expectation for quality,” said Carrington, who previously served as regional vice president/campus operations administrator and executive assistant to the campus president at Kaplan University in South Portland. In that position, she oversaw human resources for more than 120 staffers across all three Maine Kaplan campuses.
Carrington has a master’s degree in human resource management from Kaplan University and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of New England in Biddeford. She also holds a certificate from the Society for Human Resource Management and is a new member of the Maine Town & City Clerks’ Association, an organization of municipal clerks, deputy clerks and assistant clerks throughout Maine.
Carrington was hired as the front desk receptionist and admissions coordinator at Kaplan University’s South Portland campus – then Andover College – in September 2009, and in less than year, got promoted to academic coordinator and assistant to the academic dean.
“In that role, which I held for just over three years, I was responsible for the coordination of academic operations across the campuses and regulatory compliance within the academic department,” said Carrington.
Carrington brought some changes to the Kaplan campuses, which included “streamlining the on-boarding process of new faculty, and ensuring all faculty had completed initial and ongoing training.”
She also helped streamline and improve faculty communications and professional development opportunities, and assisted in the launch of the university’s nursing program in Augusta.
Carrington helped shape the job description of campus operations administrator at Kaplan after she proposed to manage and grow the university’s social media presence, improve staff communication, and serve as acting human resource generalist for all three campuses.
“Without a doubt, I have been fortunate to work in an environment that actively encourages employees to grow and supports matching individuals’ skills and interests with opportunities,” she said.
In South Portland, where she will also serve as registrar of voters, Carrington plans to utilize her skills in customer service, human resources, organization, technology and communications to fulfill her role.
“What I do is driven by what I’m passionate about and what I’m skilled at,” she said. “I believe it’s a strength to have skills and interests in many areas, and I strongly believe this new role will perfectly unite my passions with my skills.”
Carrington, who replaces longtime South Portland clerk Susan Mooney, said she loves being a “go-to” person and wants to ensure that South Portland’s residents are “well-served and well taken care of.”
During the transition – Mooney retired in November – Carrington said she felt “privileged” to learn from Mooney who she considers “an extraordinary leader.”
“There’s a lot to learn, and there’s a lot of work to be done,” she said. “I expect early mornings and late nights.”
Does Carrington consider herself a leader?
“The two best indicators of leadership potential are curiosity and resourcefulness,” she said, and “through these qualities, I believe I have the skills needed to effectively lead the clerk’s office.”
Carrington’s previous environment at Kaplan was “extremely progressive and innovative,” and there, she helped leverage the technology “at every level to expand and enhance” the university’s customer service and communication abilities. She expects to do the same in South Portland.
“I helped lead that change, and I have some big ideas that I’m eager to bring forward,” in South Portland, Carrington said.
Where does she see herself in 10 years?
“Employed with the city of South Portland as city clerk,” she said.
In her free time, Carrington enjoys the outdoors, reading, spending time with family and frequenting South Portland’s restaurants and shops.
“I very much enjoy living in Maine, and I most enjoy sharing all the natural resources that Maine has to offer with others, especially those who are new to the state or visiting from away,” she said. “I never get tired of being reminded of how lucky we are to live here.